The Berenstain Bears (1985 TV series)

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Not to be confused with The Berenstain Bears (2003 TV series).
The Berenstain Bears Show
Berenstain Bears 1985.jpg
The main shot from the opening, showing all four main characters.
Genre Comedy
Created by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Developed by Joe Cates
Written by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Earl Kress
Rowby Goren
Bill Shinkai
Story by Stan and Jan Berenstain
Directed by Buzz Potamkin
Creative director(s) Chris Cuddington (Season 2)
Voices of Brian Cummings
Ruth Buzzi
David Mendenhall
Christina Lange
Josh Rodine
Frank Welker
Theme music composer Elliot Lawrence
Composer(s) Elliot Lawrence
Country of origin Australia
United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 2
No. of episodes 52
Executive producer(s) David Salter (Production Executive; Season 1)
Keith Amor (Executive in Charge of Production; Season 2)
Producer(s) Buzz Potamkin
Editor(s) Robert Ciagilia
Running time approx. 22 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera
Southern Star
Original network CBS
Audio format Stereo
Original release September 14, 1985 (1985-09-14) – March 7, 1987 (1987-03-07)
Preceded by The Berenstain Bears Play Ball
Followed by The Berenstain Bears (2003 TV series)

The Berenstain Bears Show is an Australian-American animated comedy television series based on Stan and Jan Berenstain's Berenstain Bears children's book series, produced by Hanna-Barbera and Southern Star Productions.

It aired on the United States from September 14, 1985 until March 7, 1987 on CBS with over 52 11-minute episodes in 26 half-hour shows produced. Each show consisted of two episodes, the first being an adaptation of one of the books, the second being an original story.

The series was nominated in 1987 for a Daytime Emmy award for Outstanding Performer in Children's Programming; it was also nominated that year for a Humanitas Prize in the category of Non-Prime Time Children's Animated Show.


Reruns aired briefly on TLC's Ready Set Learn block from September 28 to November 13, 1998 when a contract dispute forced TLC to pull the show off the schedule. During the early 2000s, reruns were later seen as part of a syndicated kids' programming block from now-defunct DiC Entertainment which primarily aired on some stations of FOX and the also now-defunct UPN, but the episodes were edited and time-compressed by DiC. The series has not been seen on American television since 2006 and it is not mentioned on The Berenstain Bears website.

A few episodes were available on VHS, but the opening title as well as the title cards were changed. The introduction scene showing highlights from the episodes was removed. The opening title shot was flipped (The Bear Family now runs in the opposite direction). The opening title was previously accompanied with the caption: "The Berenstain Bears Show: Created By Stan & Jan Berenstain," which was removed entirely. The episode title cards were originally dark green with a round portrait in a wooden frame. The title cards on the VHS releases instead use part of the main title sequence. The end credits now scroll and the end music is sped up. The 2009 DVD releases use the edited versions of the episodes that have previously been released on VHS, but use unedited versions of episodes not previously released on VHS.


The series tells the story of a bear family that lives in a tree, the bears are just like humans. The family consists of Mama Bear, Papa Bear, Brother Bear, and Sister Bear. The series teaches lessons, continues from the TV specials, and expands Bear Country as well as character development. Each episode follows the struggles of the family, mainly the cubs. Other episodes involve "The Bear Detectives and their sniffer hound Snuff", Papa Q. Bear's attempts of honey gathering, interaction with forest creatures, and attempts by villains to take over Bear Country. It states that Brother Bear is in 2nd grade then in 3rd Grade while Sister Bear is in kindergarten then in 1st grade.

The characters and setting are from various books written by Stan & Jan Berenstain as well as from several television specials by Joe Cates.

Other characters are Actual Factual, Big Paw, Mayor Horace J. Honeypot, Farmer Ben, and Grizzly Gramps & Gran. Characters also introduced are Officer Marguerete, Queen Nectar, and Jake. Queen Nectar and Jake are neither bears nor antromorphic but they do talk and interact with the humanoid bears. Sister Bear plays with many of the forest animals such as Frog & Butterfly. There are many other background characters that live in the nearby forest land; The Bears live among the forest and nature just as they did in the television specials.

The main antagonist of the series is the swindler Raffish Ralph, and occasionally Weasel McGreed, seen in six episodes. To a lesser extent, Too Tall Grizzly is another antagonist.


Stan & Jan contracted with independent producer Joe Cates in 1979 to make a Christmas Special. They continued to make one holiday special each year for five years. They stopped making holiday specials after "The Berenstain Bears Play Ball" and began making a TV series based on the books and to a lesser extent, the same TV specials produced. Joe Cates and Buzz Potamkin produce this TV series as well. Elliott Lawrence continues to score music for the episodes which are based on his compositions from the five specials, although faster pace. While they no longer break out in song, the theme music (matching part of Stars and Stripes Forever) resembles the song lyrics from the specials. The programme is now produced by Southern Star with new voice actors. The characters no longer talk in rhyme, and the TV series has the updated appearance and no longer has the rustic design of the earliest books. This TV series expanded tremendously of Bear Country which includes many characters, economy, and government. As a result, the episodes have a faster timing and the characters seem much busier compared with the TV specials. The stories are now told without narrator and are 11 minutes in length. The Bear Family had complex patterns on their clothes which were changed to solid colours for the animated specials, with the exception of Mama Bear's inside hat. The TV series omitted the spots entirely, but Mama's yellow "Go And Meet" hat was featured in a "Ghost Of The Forest" adaptation. Also it should be noted that "Ghost Of The Forest" resembles a Halloween special, but it is a regular episode.


Season Episodes Originally aired
First aired Last aired
1 26 September 14, 1985 (1985-09-14) June 3, 1986 (1986-06-03)
2 26 September 13, 1986 (1986-09-13) March 7, 1987 (1987-03-07)


  • Brian Cummings - Papa Q. Bear, Mayor Honeypot, Too Tall, Bigpaw, Jake, additional voices
  • Ruth Buzzi - Mama Bear, Grizzly Gran, Teacher Jane, Officer Marguerite, Queen Nectar, additional voices
  • David Mendenhall - Brother Bear
  • Christina Lange - Sister Bear
  • Josh Rodine - Cousin Freddy
  • Frank Welker - Raffish Ralph, Actual Factual, Weasel McGreed, Farmer Ben, Henchweasels, additional voices
  • Julian B. Wilson - Additional Male Voices
  • Marissa Mendenhall - Additional Female Voices


  • Produced & Directed by: Buzz Potamkin
  • Originally Developed for Television by: Joe Cates
  • Production Executive: David Salter
  • Animation Director: Chris Cuddington (1985–1986), Jon McClenahan (1986–1987)
  • Associate Producer: Gordon Kent
  • Story Direction Supervisor: Cullen Blaine
  • Story Editor: Rowby Goren
  • Production Manager: Jack Pietruska
  • Layout Supervisor: Margaret Parkes
  • Animation Supervisor: Di Rudder
  • Original Music Composed & Conducted by: Elliot Lawrence
  • Music Arranged by: Lanny Meyers
  • Music Recorded at: Regent Sound Studios
  • Voice Tracks Recorded at: Buzzy's Recording Services
  • Re-Recorded at: Post Sound
  • Post Production Supervisor: Arthur Lazarus Klein
  • Production Coordinator: Diane Allman
  • Film Editor: Robert Ciagilia
  • Post Production: Pacific Video
  • Produced in association with: Joe Cates Co. Inc.
  • Post Production Coorndiator: Jason Rock
  • Director of Post Production: Jason Stiff

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