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September 2

September 2, 1955 – The Donald Duck Short Film Beezy Bear is Released to Theaters

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“You think it was a bear. Oh no, it couldn’t have been one of my boys.”

On September 2, 1955, the Donald Duck short film Beezy Bear premiered in theaters. It was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Dave Detiege and Al Bertino. It is one of the few Donald Duck short films filmed in Cinemascope.

It’s another day at Donald’s honey farm, and Humphrey the Bear is once again tring to steal Donald’s honey. Donald storms over to Ranger Audubon’s station to complain. Audubon doesn’t believe that it could be one of his bears, but Donald is adamant. Audubon and Donald reach an impasse where they agree not to cross into each other’s properties, with Humphrey going crazy over the honey he can’t eat. He manages to sneak into Donald’s farm again and traps the bees before making off with one of the cartons of honey, but the bees manage to chase him back into the national park. He continues to make his way back, trapping the bees in various (but inevitably failing) ways. Audubon still doesn’t suspect Humphrey, though he comes close to finding the truth several times. Donald manages to come across the bear at one point, taking his honey back. When he attempts to trick Humphrey, the trick backfires, and he, Humphrey, and Audubon end up in the lake.

April 27

April 27, 1956 – The Humphrey the Bear Short Film Hooked Bear is Released to Theaters

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“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 fish, but it is almost gobbled up by a bigger fish

Humphrey finally catches a fish, but it is almost gobbled up by a bigger fish

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.

November 3

November 3, 1950 – The Goofy Short Film Hold That Pose is Released to Theaters

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“When the day’s toil is over, are you the type person who drags his weary body home, slumps into a chair feeling beat, bored, bushed, and listless? If so, you need a hobby!”

On November 3, 1950, the Goofy short film Hold That Pose was released to theaters. This short marked the first appearance of Humphrey the Bear, who went on to not only be Donald’s nemesis, but have a small series of his own in 1956 with two shorts: Hooked Bear and In the Bag. Hold That Pose was directed by Jack Kinney, with story by Dick Kinney and Milt Schaffer.

The short begins with Goofy falling to the floor after a long day’s work. He crawls into his home and makes his way to his chair while the narrator declares that he needs a hobby. The narrator thinks that Goofy should take up photography, and he soon picks up everything from the photo shop. He takes all the supplies home and creates his own home darkroom, although he electrocutes himself on the red light socket. He spends forever winding his camera roll, but when he finally does, he is able to take his camera outside.

Goofy attempts to prop up the sleeping bear in the bear pit of the zoo for a photo op

Goofy attempts to prop up the sleeping bear in the bear pit of the zoo for a photo op

His first stop is the zoo, where he enters the bear pit, ignoring the signs to keep out. He then attempts to prop up Humphrey the Bear, who is fast asleep, and Humphrey falls on him. He finally gets Humphrey to stand up and stay in place, but for some reason his camera is shooting upside down. When he takes the shot with the flash powder, the powder blows up in Humphrey’s face, and sends Goofy fleeing for his life as Humphrey chases him all over the bear pit. Humphrey escapes the pit, as does Goofy, and continues the chase all over the amusement park. Goofy continues to shoot photos while he runs, even when he boards a taxi driven by Humphrey back to his own apartment. However, in the end, Humphrey and Goofy bond over the photos Goofy has taken, with Humphrey selling autographed pictures of himself for 10 cents.

October 23

October 23, 1953 – The Donald Duck Short Film Rugged Bear is Released to Theaters

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“This is Bear Country: a quiet, peaceful part of the forest reserved exclusively for Mr. Bear.”

On October 23, 1953, the Donald Duck short film Rugged Bear was released to theaters. This marked the second appearance of Humphrey the Bear overall, and the second of five appearances in Donald Duck short films. The short was directed by Jack Hannah, with story by Al Bertino and Dave Detiege.

The short begins at a section of the forest for Bear Country, with dozens of bears sleeping soundly. The bears are alerted by the narrator that hunting season has begun, and while they all flee to their cave, Humphrey the Bear continues to sleep. He is soon woken up by flying bullets, and is locked out of the cave when all the other bears seal themselves inside. Humphrey runs crazily around the woods, dodging hunters, and comes across a house in the woods. Once inside, he realizes he’s in a hunting cabin, with guns and stuffed bear heads on the walls. As he tries to escape, he sees Donald walking to the house, holding a shot gun. He frantically tries to hide, and disguises himself as a bearskin rug.

Donald pretends to shoot his bearskin rug, making his "rug" rather nervous

Donald pretends to shoot his bearskin rug, making his “rug” rather nervous

Donald wipes his feet on the nervous bear’s back, and as he sits to clean his shotgun, he pretends to shoot the rug, which causes Humphrey to nearly panic. As Donald decides to light a fire in the fireplace, he uses Humphrey’s nose to light his match. Humphrey barely suppresses a yelp, and when he looks behind him to see where Donald (and, more importantly, the gun) is, he gets his nose stuck in the barrel and has to quietly follow Donald through the house. He manages to free himself when the kitchen door is slammed in his face, and when he tries to sneak away, he finds that hunting season is still occurring, and has to stay inside to stay safe.

Donald returns from getting his snack, and sits on Humphrey’s back in front of the fire. After swallowing a stray bit of Donald’s popcorn, Humphrey gets the hiccups; fortunately, Donald thinks he has the hiccups instead of his rug. After getting a drink of water, Donald returns and decides to take a nap on his rug. A stray spark from the fire jumps out and lands on Humphrey’s back, and he catches on fire, but he masks his scream by turning up the radio, waking Donald, who quickly puts the fire out. Seeing the mess this caused, Donald throws Humphrey into the washing machine. Poor Humphrey emerges after the dry cycle as a giant fur ball, which Donald remedies by cutting off his hair with a yard trimmer. Donald then curls himself up in the rug to fall asleep, much to Humphrey’s dismay.

Humphrey is relieved that Donald has left for the season

Humphrey is relieved that Donald has left for the season

Hunting season soon ends, and the bears clean up the mess the hunters left behind. Donald leaves his hunting cabin, and Humphrey, looking more than a little worse for wear, is relieved that he can finally escape. He hears a strange knocking from the wood box near the fireplace, and is surprised to find that the bear rug he’d rolled up and replaced at the beginning of the season was, in fact, another live bear, who thanks Humphrey for hiding him and taking his place. Humphrey looks at the camera with bloodshot eyes, a look of disbelief on his face.

July 27

July 27, 1956 – The Special Short Film In the Bag Premieres in Theaters

“First you stick a rag, put it in the bag, bump bump, then you bend your back, put it in the sack, bump bump.”

On July 27, 1956, the special short film In the Bag was released to theaters. This short was the second of what was to be a potential series for the character Humphrey the Bear, but the series was canceled when the Disney Studios stopped making short films. Humphrey was introduced in the 1950 Goofy short Hold That Pose; he then was an antagonist for Donald Duck in several shorts. In the two shorts released, Humphrey’s foil was a good-natured park ranger named J. Audubon Woodlore. The short, filmed in Cinemascope, was directed by Jack Hannah, with the story by Dave Detiege and Al Bertino. Humphrey was voiced by James MacDonald and Ranger Woodlore by Bill Thompson. Smokey the Bear also makes a cameo in this short.

The guests are leaving the campgrounds, and Ranger Woodlore steps out of the ranger station, perturbed at the mess the guests have left behind. He begins to clean, when he realizes he has all the help he needs. He calls over Humphrey, who gathers all the other bears when Woodlore offers a surprise. He tells them that they’re going to play a game, and the bears are all excited. Woodlore sets up the playing field, and has Humphrey hand out the equipment to pick up the trash.

The bears seem to enjoy their “game,” dancing to the little ditty that Ranger Woodlore invented

Ranger Woodlore begins to sing a song to inspire the bears, and they pick up trash with vigor, until they notice they’ve just been doing the ranger’s chores. They angrily dump out the trash and storm away. Woodlore has an idea to get them back – he makes his special batch of chicken cacciatore, but tells them “He who does not clean up his section of the park does not get any supper.” The bears race to put all the pieces of trash in Humphrey’s section, leaving him as the dupe. He races to clean, but his bag snags on a branch and rips open, sending trash flying everywhere.

Humphrey is sent once again to clean, but is struck by misfortune at every turn. He finds an unused match in the trash, and sets to light the pile of trash on fire, when Smokey the Bear steps on it and warns the audience that only they can prevent forest fires. Desperate, Humphrey sees a hole in the ground, shoves the trash in there, then triumphantly skips to get his supper. Just as he’s about to reach for the plate, the “hole” starts to shake, and a sign reveals that it’s actually the geyser Old Fateful. It erupts, sending trash flying all over the park. Ranger Woodlore apologizes, but reminds him that rules are rules, and Humphrey once again dances as he picks up trash around the park.