Sears as well as Disney gave the tubby little cubby their support with this little record package featuring members of the film cast and a special campaign song.
WINNIE THE POOH FOR PRESIDENT
Disneyland Records 563 (Sears Exclusive / 7” 45 RPM)
Released in 1976. Producer: Gary Krisel. Music: Stratton & Christopher. Running Time: 8 minutes.
Voices: Sterling Holloway (Pooh); Laurie Main (Narrator); John Fiedler (Piglet); Billy Simpson (Christopher Robin).
While there were a slew of cartoon characters that were “awarded” presidential campaigns, only a few had multiple campaigns. One such statesperson was Winnie the Pooh, who was also unique in that he had the powerful economic support of Disney and Sears.
Pooh is such a low-key property, it’s easy to overlook how much of a promotional juggernaut he has been over the last 50 years. In addition to tie-ins with products like Wheat and Rice Honeys Cereal, he and his friends have been merchandised and revived in films, TV and records.
Pooh had already been featured on over two dozen Disneyland Records when the 45 RPM coloring book and record set, Winnie the Pooh for President was released. This was not his first campaign. In the turbulent year of 1968, Pooh was a candidate as part of a Disneyland entertainment experience called “On Stage U.S.A.” In 1972, there was a stage show and Main Street, U.S.A. parade celebrating Pooh’s presidential run.
Pooh’s 1976 campaign had the distinction of a Sears promotion, which featured this record and in-store point-of-purchase materials. Sears’ association with Disney’s Pooh was massive. Year after year, Winnie the Pooh Collection clothes, as well as lots of Pooh merchandise, were a staple of Sears stores and catalogs. Sears also sponsored of TV network broadcasts of the Pooh featurettes.
Here are some highlights from the 1972 parade at Disneyland:
As evidenced, from the music in the above clip–the Disneyland Band playing “Hip-Hip-Pooh-Ray” from Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day — there was no recorded campaign song until 1976, when Larry Groce wrote and performed what is likely his first of many Disneyland Records.
The record is especially interesting because of the voices of Sterling Holloway as Pooh and John Fiedler as Piglet. Holloway even talk-sings in the song. Perhaps as an attraction for parents, the record has educational content, with Christopher Robin offering a basic overview of the American election process. It was produced just before Jymn Magon arrived and produced his first Disney records, the Little Golden Book and Record series, all featuring original songs by Larry Groce.
WTVJ, which in 1976 was a CBS affiliate in Miami, produced a homegrown “Pooh for President” special.
WTVJ’s facilities also supported The Jackie Gleason Show, Flipper and Gentle Ben in the mid-sixties. Chances are that it was taped in connection with The Skipper Chuck Show, a long-running daily series in the long-lost tradition of local kid’s shows with audiences, games, comedy bits, puppets, cartoons and in-studio commercials. Tim Hollis explores this and other shows across the nation in his book, Hi There, Boys and Girls: America’s Local Children’s TV Programs.
GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Winnie the Pooh for President”
This includes the dialogue section in mono:
To hear the song in stereo, as well as see photos and info about the events in Disneyland over the years, visit here.