April 27, 1956 – The Humphrey the Bear Short Film Hooked Bear is Released to Theaters
“Give me that! Now, go fish like a bear!”
On April 27, 1956, the Humphrey the Bear short film Hooked Bear was released to theaters. This was the first of two shorts in Humphrey’s own series; his run unfortunately ended when short films were discontinued in 1965. It was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Al Bertino and Dave Detiege.
Ranger Woodlore steps out excitedly from his cabin, as the fishing season has begun and the lake is full of happy fishermen. Humphrey the Bear is also fishing, but not as well as those with fishing equipment. Seeing their success, Humphrey runs off to the fish hatchery and grabs all the equipment he can find. Woodlore, who had been measuring the size of the catches to keep the visitors happy, realizes that the lake is running out of fish, and quickly makes his way back to the hatchery. He comes across Humphrey with the stolen gear, and orders Humphrey to go back and “fish like a bear.” He enters the hatchery and fills up a trough with water, and places rainbow trout eggs in the trough. The fish sprout up like weeds, and Woodlore releases the fish into the lake.
Humphrey finally catches a tiny fish, but it is soon eaten by a larger fish. Although he manages to retrieve his tiny catch, he realizes after he let the larger fish go that he can use the tiny fish to catch the bigger fish. His plan works, and he is soon holding two armfuls of fish. When Woodlore comes back to drop in more fish, Humphrey gets overly excited and drops his entire catch, realizing too late what he’d done. He starts to sob, but starts his plan again, until Woodlore makes him drop the small fish because it was “too small.” As Humphrey walks underwater gathering his catches again, he spies a huge fish and tries to catch it, only to find that it was a child’s toy. Desperate, he takes the rudder from a child’s toy ship and ties it to his head, making it appear to the fisherman that there’s a shark in the water. As the fishermen flee, Humphrey starts gathering all of their caught fish.
Humphrey runs across Woodlore again and hides the fish in a nearby container. When he sees Woodlore dumping more fish into the container, he is excited, and drops himself into the container when Woodlore is not looking – not realizing that the “container” is actually a small plane that will air-drop the fish into the lake. Humphrey hangs on to the plane for dear life, but when he sees more fish drop, he tries to catch them, and falls into the lake. Woodlore gets a phone call from the Chief, who informs him that fishing season ended the day before, and Woodlore quickly sends the fisherman packing. Woodlore tells Humphrey that fishing season is over, leaving Humphrey with no fish. He then reveals that hunting season has started, and Humphrey runs around the park, dodging bullets every which way.