Smokey Bear - Smokey Bear (never Smokey "the"
Bear) first appeared in August 1944 in a poster drawn for the US Forest Service
campaign by Albert Staehle. The original Smokey had large claws and a pointy
snout. But later, in 1946, Rudy Wendelin, a Kansas born illustrator made Smokey's
image a bit friendlier by removing his claws, and rounding out his nose.
In 1950, the
illustrated Smokey Bear became flesh and fur when the public fell in love with a
fire-burned bear cub discovered in the aftermath of forest fire in Lincoln
National Forest, New Mexico. The cub was adopted by the National Zoo in
Washington, D.C. and became an immediate hit with the public. When the original
Smokey died in 1976, he was replaced by Little Smokey (who died in 1990).
THE SMOKEY BEAR SHOW/ABC/1969-71, a weekend cartoon series followed Smokey as he
fought for the conservation of America's forests and wilderness. Smokey's
catchphrase is "Remember, only you can prevent forest fires (updated to
In one classic commercial spot, Smokey posed as a beautiful, sexy woman who asked everyone to
"be extra careful" when they visit the forest. The commercial ends with Smokey
pulling off his disguise and saying "If you knew it was me, would you have
The Smokey Bear Historical Park located in Capitan, New Mexico (where
Smokey Bear was buried) features displays about the career of Smokey as well as
exhibits on fire-fighting and forestry.
If you want to read what children think of Smokey Bear check out the book "Letters To Smokey Bear" edited by Bill Adler,
pictures by Susan Perl. and published in 1966 by Wonder Books, New York, A Division of Grosset & Dunlap, Inc.