Tuesday, Sep. 2, 2014

Toychest Time Machine: Were Bears

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June 1, 2010

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Are you ready for these teddies?

Anyway, these Care Bears with claws were originally the creation of artist/cartoonist George Nicholas, who then granted the distribution rights to UK-based toymaker Hornby. Coinciding with a comic book, each bear was given their own backstory and included a special audio cassette with an adventure tale on it. There were four Were Bears in the initial release (Howler, Grizzler, Gums and Fang) each featured reversible features (head and hands) that instantly turned them from cute to downright creepy. The lined proved to be so popular that a second series was released 2 years later called Terror Teds.

The origin behind the Were Bears (as depicted in the comics) was actually pretty interesting despite an encroaching “cheese factor.” Essentially, the best toy maker in all of Bavaria, Baron Egon Baconburger (see what I mean?), is working late one night when he suddenly succumbs to the family curse: lycanthropy! Taking this horrific transformation in stride, Baconburger decides to prowl the countryside and leaves behind his latest cuddly creations, a quartet of teddy bears. The bears inexplicably come to life and then also transform into… well, Were Bears.

Okay, so it admittingly doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but regardless they were popular enough to attract interest from Hollywood in their heyday and were even reseurrected (sort of) a year or so ago by another UK-based artist Steven Wheeler in a modestly animated 3D trailer for an apparent relaunch. It’s actually pretty creepy compared to what’s shown above, you can check it for yourselves out here.

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About Author

Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

  • Jon and Nicole Guerra

    I had one of these. It was red, orange, and purple. Tried to scare people with it but that never worked, haha.

  • Strange Kid

    I want to say that I had one, the concept sounds really familiar, but I can't for the life of me remember for sure.

    Were there ever any other stuffed animals with similar features?

  • awkward posture

    Man, these things…intense; incredible; timeless. Wish I owned one, but maybe I did. It's hard to remember.

  • ladracul

    I remember My Pet Monster, but that didn't have a transforming quality…although I don't know if these made it stateside…

  • Strange Kid

    My Pet Monster was my running partner back when I was little, he was so cool. Been looking for one to put in the clubhouse, but I can't find one nowadays for under $100 though, what a shame.

  • Jon Guerra

    Popples maybe? I always wanted a My Pet Monster. I think they even started reselling him in the…90's(?) Failed to get one then also. Yeah I looked for one too all are pretty expensive. Had a Halloween Boglin though. I wonder what happened to that thing?

  • Strange Kid

    @Jon Guerra: Popples, huh? Never heard of them, but Google seems to think they're the evil offspring of Care Bears and Rainbow Brite. :)

    Boglins, though, now we're talking. I scored one in fairly decent condition a month or so ago (Dwork I believe) for a sweet deal.

    It's funny that as a kid, I treated all of these things so frivolously, but now that I'm older I'm being charged to "repossess" my memories. Haha, gotta love capitalism.