Welcome to Pooh Corner is a live-action/puppet television series that aired on The Disney Channel, featuring the characters from the Winnie the Pooh universe portrayed by actors in human-sized puppet suits, except Roo, who was usually a traditional puppet.
Each show began with an introduction sequence with Laurie Main speaking to the audience. He would relate what he was talking about to an event that occurred in the Hundred Acre Wood, the home of the Pooh characters, and then he would proceed to read from a book entitled Welcome to Pooh Corner. He would then narrate the episode acted out by the characters. The action was filmed before a blue screen, rather than using traditional sets.
Since the show was designed for The Disney Channel before it began airing commercials, there were no breaks for commercials. As a result, the show lasted a full thirty minutes. The main story ran about twenty minutes followed by two shorter segments. The first segment was a music video featuring one of ten songs, used over and over throughout the show's run. These songs were written by the Academy Award winning Sherman Brothers who had provided the majority of the Winnie the Pooh music over the years. The Sherman Brothers also wrote the show's theme song, using the music from the original Winnie the Pooh theme song from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
The last segment of the show was a presentational arts and crafts demonstration. One of the cast members would speak to the narrator, looking directly into the camera, while they showed the viewers at home how to make something.
In addition to normal episodes, several holiday episodes and educational specials were also produced, such as Too Smart for Strangers (1985), where Pooh and his friends explain to people what to do when they meet someone they don't know. They also discuss "Not-Okay touching," at a time when cases of child molestation were becoming more frequent, and was used as a guide for victims and their families.
Dumbo's Circus, another Disney Channel live-action/puppet television series, was produced in a similar way, with actors in costumes in front of a blue screen. The show's title derives from the second Winnie the Pooh storybook, The House at Pooh Corner.
Welcome to Pooh Corner began airing in 1983, and was removed from the channel when it began airing commercial breaks in 1997. As a result, the show's VHS releases have become hard to find. There are currently no plans to release Welcome to Pooh Corner on DVD from Walt Disney Home Entertainment.
- Hal Smith - Winnie the Pooh and Owl
- Will Ryan - Rabbit and Tigger
- Phil Baron - Piglet
- Ron Gans - Eeyore
- Kim Christianson - Roo
- Diana Hale - Kanga
- Laurie Main - Narrator
- Robin Frederickz - Additional Voices
- "Try a Little Something New" (Rabbit's Theme)
- "Just Say, 'Yes I Can'" (Eeyore's Theme)
- "You're the Only You" (Tigger's Theme)
- "I Hum to Myself" (Piglet's Theme)
- "The Right Side" (Winnie the Pooh's Theme)
- The precieding songs had their music and words written by Robert B. and Richard M. Sherman.
Home media release
- Main article: Welcome to Pooh Corner videography
- Welcome to Pooh Corner differs on many things from its other incarnations:
- Piglet always has on a scarf, or a muffler as the narrator calls it.
- Tigger is red with black stripes and has a talent for art.
- Rabbit is a talented magician aside from being a gardener.
- Eeyore has a talent for dancing. His house is made of wooden planks, complete with a door and weather vane.
- Owl always has on glasses, and on several occasions, a pilot's head and scarf when flying. As he begins to take off, a sound of a plane's engine starting can be heard, followed by the take off.
- Roo's character originally was a toddler and would most often be sitting on something like Eeyore or Tigger's back, Kanga's pouch, or his high chair. In later episodes, his character was portrayed as being more preschool-aged; he was then able to walk around in more scenes and was never in his mother's pouch. He also always wore a red shirt, but later changed to a white collared shirt. (However, at least one storybook published around the time did have him wearing one).
- It is also notable that very few of the actors who played the characters in the original Disney Pooh short films reprised their roles here, nor are the parts played by any of the characters' current voice actors such as Jim Cummings.
- Christopher Robin and Gopher never make any appearance in all the episodes, though Christopher Robin is mentioned in the 1986 educational special Pooh's Great School Bus Adventure.
- Pooh's theme song, "The Right Side", was originally used in Mary Poppins (although the song was cut out in the movie's release).
- The animatronic costumes used for the characters were created by Alchemy II, Inc, headed by Ken Forsse who later created the toy sensation Teddy Ruxpin.
- For the French version of the show, the narrator sequences were changed to suit the French audience. The host was played by French actor Jean Rochefort from 1985 to 1987, and then Vincent Perrot in 1988.
- The French intro sequences show Rabbit is as a drawing, rather than a stuffed animal, like the rest of the characters. The third and final opening does this to Piglet's appearance as well, though he is also still shown as a doll during Pooh's shot.