January 10, 1988 – The Animated Series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh Premieres on Disney Channel
“He’s round and he’s fuzzy, I love him because he’s just Pooh Bear, Winnie the Pooh Bear, looking for fun, chasing some honey bees.”
On January 10, 1988, the animated series The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh premiered on the Disney Channel. It ran for four seasons, with 50 episodes in total. It would go on to win the Emmy Award for Best Daytime Animated Program twice, once in 1989 and once in 1990. The series starred Jim Cummings as Winnie the Pooh, Paul Winchell as Tigger, John Fiedler as Piglet, Ken Sansom as Rabbit, Hal Smith as Owl, Peter Cullen as Eyeore, Michael Hough as Gopher, Tim Hoskins as Christopher Robin, Nicholas Melody as Roo, and Patty Parris as Kanga.
The first episode, “Pooh Oughta Be in Pictures,” begins on a dark and stormy night in a gloomy castle, with the characters of the Hundred Acre Wood being chased through the dark halls. It turns out that Christopher Robin has just been imagining things while avoiding eating his carrots. After eating the carrots, he’s allowed to go see a scary movie called Birdzilla, scaring Piglet before they even go in. Piglet gets so terrified that he knocks over almost everything in sight as he tries to flee, including Christopher Robin, who is laden down with snacks. Piglet jumps into Pooh’s lap after seeing a scary spider in the film, causing Pooh’s candy to drop to the floor. As Pooh and Piglet search for the candy, Piglet gets caught in a web of gum, believing it to be from the spider. Unfortunately, as Pooh tries to free Piglet, the two get caught in the gum until Christopher Robin frees them. Piglet continues to be terrified by everything in the movie theater. Tigger and everyone try to cheer Piglet up with a song about how the monsters aren’t real.
The next day, everyone talks about the film, and Christopher Robin proposes that they all make their own monster movie. Pooh will be playing the hero thanks to a hero scarf, while Tigger will play the monster. Piglet would rather sit out, but the gang convinces him that his role is very, very important: he will be the one chased by the monster. Tigger heads off to get his costume – a giant carrot – and heads back to the group. Rabbit is in his garden, pulling out his carrots, when Tigger stops by. Rabbit is terrified of the “giant carrot,” and thinks that the carrot is going to attack him and has eaten Tigger. Unfortunately, Tigger can’t undo the costume’s zipper and prove that he’s just Tigger, but when he asks for help, Rabbit has already fled. Rabbit then enters the movie set and screams that he’s seen a monster, and when Tigger arrives, everyone else runs away, thinking the monster is real. Tigger chases them through the woods, but the group stops running after a while, thinking they should try and save Tigger from the giant carrot.
Pooh comes up with a plan, and when Tigger arrives, the plan goes awry due to fear, but Tigger is able to break free after he falls in the hole. Rabbit is beyond relieved to find that it’s just a costume. Piglet walks away, dejected, sad that he was too scared to help the others, especially Pooh, and claims that no one needs a friend who’s always afraid. That night, Piglet is still upset, but is surprised when Pooh stops by to visit with a present: the hero scarf. Piglet refuses, as he still thinks Pooh shouldn’t be friends with a fraidy-cat. Pooh leaves the scarf behind, and heads off to get advice from Christopher Robin, when he gets caught up in the costume and calls out for help. Seeing the hero scarf, Piglet decides to go and save Pooh. Piglet crashes down a hill, but manages to save Pooh. The next day, when making the film, Piglet now gets to play the hero, while Pooh plays the one getting chased.