The Three Bears (Looney Tunes)

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The Three Bears
Looney Tunes character
3bears cartoon cel.jpg
First appearanceBugs Bunny and the Three Bears February 26, 1944
Created byChuck Jones
Voiced byPapa Bear
Mel Blanc (1944)
Billy Bletcher (1948–1951)
Frank Welker (1990–1991)
Jeff Bergman (1991)
Will Ryan (2003)
Maurice LaMarche (2013)
Mama Bear
Bea Benaderet (1944–1951)
Mel Blanc (1948)
Tress MacNeille (1990–1991)
June Foray (1991)
Joe Alaskey (2003)
Grey DeLisle (2013)
Baby Bear
Kent Rogers (1944)
Stan Freberg (1948–2003)
Joe Alaskey (2004)
John DiMaggio (2013)
In-universe information
SpeciesBrown bears

The Three Bears are animated cartoon characters in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The dysfunctional family consists of Papa Bear (sometimes called Henry), Mama Bear, and Junior Bear (sometimes spelled Junyer or Joonyer).[1] The characters were featured in five theatrical cartoons released between 1944 and 1951.[2]


  • Henry Bear (better known as Papa Bear) is the father of Junior Bear and the husband of Mama Bear. Papa is a mean, violent, nasty, loud-mouthed, short-tempered, nervous and often abusive little dwarf bear. He would usually punch or kick Junior (an over-sized muscular buffoon) if he does something wrong or says something stupid. He's never abusive with Mama Bear (except for near the end of What's Brewin', Bruin?) but would sometimes act rude to her, such as telling her to "shut up" (especially when she's trying to tell him something important).
  • Mama Bear is the mother of Junior Bear and the wife of Papa Bear. Mama Bear is the long-suffering, polite, and considerate (and deadpan) middle-bear, although she often resorts to thwacking one of them with a rolled-up newspaper to keep the peace. She would usually try to tell Henry something important, but Henry usually just tells her to "shut up" and won't listen. While she doesn't seem to show it, she has a great deal of affection for her husband; however, when Bugs Bunny flirted her in order to distract her and gave her a kiss on the lips, she took it a bit too seriously and gained a crush on him. Mama Bear attempted to seduce him and inevitably left his face covered with lipstick marks, much to his dismay.
  • Junior Bear (sometimes spelled Junyer or Joonyer) is the child of Henry Bear and Mama Bear. He is seven years old, yet he is twice as tall as his parents, and has a heavy voice. He is very dim-witted, naive, and childish, but has a good heart. He idolizes his "good old Pa", who is often abusive toward him. He appears to be an adult because of his size, but still is a child. Junior still wears diapers even though he is seven years old.

First appearance[edit]

Animator Chuck Jones introduced the trio in the 1944 cartoon Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears, in which Bugs Bunny invades the home of the three bears, and Mama Bear takes a fancy to him.[3] In the short, Papa Bear tries to feed his starving family by having them act out their roles in the traditional fairy tale from which they derive their name. Unfortunately for them, when they were out of porridge, Mama substitutes carrot soup for it, and the "Goldilocks" they lure turns out to be Bugs. Purcell and Liepien, in Parallel Curriculum Units for Social Studies, Grades 6-12 , recommended this film as part of the study of the sociological implications of humor;[4] Steven Case, in Toons That Teach, also mines this work for pedagogic value.[5]

Further theatrical appearances[edit]

Jones brought back the Bears for his 1948 cartoon What's Brewin', Bruin?, this time without Bugs.[6] Here, Papa Bear decides that it's time for the Bears to hibernate; however, various disturbances interfere.[7] Junior's voice is here supplied by Stan Freberg.[8]

Other Three Bears cartoons included Bear Feat, released in 1948[9] and Bee-Deviled Bruin, released in 1949.[10] The final Three Bears cartoon of the classic era, A Bear for Punishment (1951), parodies cultural values surrounding the celebration of Father's Day.


  1. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. pp. 261–262. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ Liebman, Roy (2010). Vitaphone Films: A Catalogue of the Features and Shorts. McFarland. p. 280. ISBN 978-0786446971. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  4. ^ Purcell, Jeanne H.; Leppien, Jann H. (2009). Parallel Curriculum Units for Social Studies, Grades 6-12. Corwin. p. 122. ISBN 978-1412965408. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  5. ^ Toons That Teach: 75 Cartoon Moments to Get Teenagers Talking. Videos That Teach. Zondervan/Youth Specialties. 2005. p. 24. ISBN 9780310259923. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 182. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  7. ^ Liebman, 2010. p292
  8. ^ Pat Saperstein (April 7, 2015). "Comedian and Voice Actor Stan Freberg Dies at 88". Variety. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  9. ^ Liebman, 2010. p298
  10. ^ The Bee-Deviled Bruin on IMDb[better source needed]