One of the original shows of The Disney Channel, the first live action Winnie the Pooh show debuted the day the Disney Channel launched on April 18, 1983. The show debuted at 7 am EST, making it the first program to air on The Disney Channel.
Disney Archivist Dave Smith described the show as performers in costumes and masks in storybook a settings. The show used a technique described as “advanced puppetronics.”
The half hour time-blocked show would consist of a live action introduction by an Englishman played by Laurie Mann, who would relate what he was talking about to an adventure that once took place in the Hundred Acre Woods between Winnie the Pooh and his friends.
The voices of the Hundred Acres Friends were Hal Smith, Will Ryan, Ron Gans, Phil Baron, Kim Christianson, and Robin Frederick. The costumed actors would perform in front of blue screens with the backgrounds being added after recording.
120 episodes were filmed of Welcome to Pooh Corner, which aired until 1986. Most songs performed on Welcome to Pooh Corner were written by Robert and Richard Sherman. The exception is “A Part of Me” written by Phil Baron.
Six four-episode VHS cassettes were released by Disney in the mid 1980s. No DVD releases have occurred, and the show is not airing on any Disney outlet. Not all is lost, however. In an attempt to preserve the Disney Channel, Leslie Mann’s wicker chair, the costumes and Pooh plush dolls used on the show are on display in a prop warehouse in Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida.
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