Jason and the Argos Gnomes (Part Twenty Two): The Care Bears

Tenderheart, Cheer and Bedtime Bears

If you was growing up in 1986, and had a younger sister, chances are she may have been aware of several popular toy franchises from America. One was the Cabbage Patch Dolls, launched with much chutzpah and hysteria in late 1983. Another was My Little Pony, based around the shenanigans of psychedelic ponies.

Neither of the two aforementioned creations spawned films. The Care Bears did with its own film, The Care Bears Movie released in 1985. This would lead to spin-off films and animated serials, popular on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.

From Care-a-lot with love

The Care Bears started out as illustrations in TCFC’s range of greetings cards in 1981. Those Characters from Cleveland (a subsidiary of American Greetings) took the bears to heart with Elena Kucharik design the original ten characters. Before their first feature length film was released, a few one-off TV movies brought the bears to public attention.

By 1985, the launch of The Care Bears Movie and its spin-off cartoon would see the ten bears sold in many a toy shop worldwide. The cartoon series ran from 1985 to 1988, with TV-am showing it on Saturdays in the UK.

For the uninitiated, each Care Bear has an icon on its stomach, demonstrating the personality and role of each bear. Cheer Bear would be outgoing; Tenderheart Bear encouraged people to show and express their feelings whereas Bedtime Bear was very sleepy and hoped everyone have a good night’s sleep.

Another fourteen Care Bears was launched in 1986, with a few more added in the early noughties. The franchise is still alive and well attracting younger fans, and ’80s children for its nostalgia value.

  • Argos Catalogue edition: Spring/Summer 1986;
  • Page and item numbers: page 255, items 25, 26 and 27;
  • 1986 Prices: £13.95;
  • 2014 Prices: £36.91.

S.V., 22 December 2014.

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