Care Bears

Care Bears

To a child, life can often be a confusing and cruel place, with a steady onslaught of playground taunts, annoying siblings and unforgiving adults to navigate on a daily basis. Sometimes you just needed the companionship of a non-judgmental, and preferably fluffy companion to keep things in balance. Enter the Care Bears, ready to set the world right with their never-ending affection that kids welcomed with wide open arms.

Evolving from a line of greeting cards, the Care Bears were unleashed on the world by Kenner Toys in the mid-1980s. The cuddly collection of 12” bears consisted of ten unique critters, each a distinctive color, and adorably named Tenderheart, Funshine, Good Luck, Cheer, Friend, Grumpy, Wish, Bedtime, and Love-a-lot.

The bear-loving folks in Canada, Australia and the UK were treated to an additional line of Forest Friend and Sea Friend bears. Common to all of the furry friends were the distinctive plastic heart embedded into every bear tush, signifying their authenticity in a world of imposters.

In later years, more inhabitants of Care-a-Lot (where the Care Bears called home) made their way onto store shelves, along with a number of related items. Multiple sizes of bear were available from the diminutive 6” bears to the formidable three-foot-tall models.

And for those that just couldn’t get enough of the Care Bears, a variety of books, puzzles, bed sheets, and other goodies were ready to fill in the gaps. Ceramic and porcelain Care Bears, Hide-N-Seek Care Bears, Care Bear Cousins, and even environmentally aware versions all claimed a piece of the Care Bear pie.

And, like any toy of this respectable stature, the Care Bears would successfully cross over into movies and television. Mickey Rooney and Carole King lent their voice to 1985s The Care Bear Movie, which led to two animated television series, The Care Bears and The Care Bear Family.

The Care Bears were all about using the power of love to conquer any case of the blues that life had to offer. If one unwisely chose to fend off the love of a Care Bear, they risked contending with the renowned all-powerful “Care Bear Stare”, an intervention of the entire bear community. Standing side by side, the clan (not to be confused with Clan of the Cave Bears) focused their collective energy on negative emotions until they melted into a pool of nothingness.

Such was the power of the Care Bears, such was the love of the Care Bears, unconditional and never-ending. And to a kid, there were few things that matched the security and friendship that these compassionate critters provided.

If you were the proud owner (parent?) of a Care Bear back in your youth, or maybe even a whole closet full, we’d love to hear all of your recollections in our comments section, as we tip our hats to these memorable toys.

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