20 Surprising Facts About The Care Bears Movie

MGM Home Entertainment
MGM Home Entertainment

Care Bear stare! Gather around, Brave Heart Lion, Share Bear, Birthday Bear, and the rest of the gang, and let’s learn something new about The Care Bears Movie—the original (and still the best) film starring one of the 1980s' most beloved animated properties.

1. The film starred lots of big names in voice-only parts.

Mickey Rooney quite notably played Mr. Cherrywood, our narrator, but the film also featured the singing talents of veteran actor Harry Dean Stanton (as the singing voice of Brave Heart Lion), and beloved pop star Carole King (of “You’ve Got a Friend” fame) sang the title song.

2. The Care Bear Cousins made their first on-screen appearance.

Although the Care Bears proper had already starred in a pair of television series, The Care Bears Movie marked the first on-screen appearance of the so-called Care Bear Cousins, including Brave Heart Lion and Playful Heart Monkey.

3. Strawberry Shortcake Meets the Berrykins played before the film’s theatrical showings.

The 25-minute animated short found Strawberry Shortcake battling an icky-smelling cloud that infiltrates Strawberryland, aided by new friends the Berrykins (and also Banana Twirl, who never appeared in another Strawberry Shortcake outing again).

4. The film was a major hit for Canada.

The Care Bears Movie made more than $34 million at the box office, making it Canada’s highest-grossing hit for the entire year of 1985.

5. It was also a box office smash in the United States.

With a $23 million box office take just in the U.S., The Care Bears Movie was almost the number one G-rated feature film of 1985, though it ultimately lost the top spot to a reissue of 101 Dalmatians. Still, it ended up number two for the year, beating both Follow That Bird and Rainbow Brite and The Star Stealer.

6. The film inspired two tie-in books.

Both Meet The Care Bear Cousins and Keep On Caring were released by Parker Brothers after the film hit the big screen. The popular books were reissued mere months later, with both serving as charming backup material for the film.

7. The Care Bears Movie premiered as part of a Special Olympics event.

Although the movie didn’t open in North America until March 29, it actually premiered on March 24 at a benefit for the Special Olympics.

8. In Germany, the film is known as Der Glücksbärchi Film.

The tongue-twisting title loosely translates to “Happiness Bears Film.” In Germany, the Care Bears are known as “barchis.”

9. The feature was one of the first films to be made from a toy line.

The Care Bears were snuggly toys before they ever made it to the big screen, and The Care Bears Movie marked one of the first times a studio attempted to reverse engineer the process, making a toy and then giving its fans a movie to enjoy.

10. The movie doesn’t include every single Care Bear or Care Bear Cousin.

Missing from the film? Both True Heart Bear and Noble Heart Horse.

11. The film was only the second feature ever made by Nelvana.

The Canadian entertainment company had previously made specials and television series, but The Care Bears Movie was only the second feature-length film they ever made. Later, the company also crafted both of the follow-up features, Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation and The Care Bears Adventure in Wonderland.

12. The Care Bears Movie was director Arna Selznick’s feature debut.

Although she had previously directed the television special, Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name, The Care Bears Movie was Selznick’s first feature film. She later worked on both sequels and The Care Bears Family series.

13. It’s an award winner.

The Care Bears Movie won Canada’s Golden Reel Award, given to whichever Canadian film earns the most at the box office for any given year. Although the award is now given out by the Canadian Screen Awards, in 1985, it was still part of the Genies, which function as the country’s own version of the Oscars.

14. The movie was in the making for a number of years.

Despite the popularity of the Care Bear toys, the film didn’t get off the ground very quickly. Although it was planned as far back as 1981, its creators had trouble finding a movie studio to actually make the film.

15. The Care Bears went after another enemy after the film’s release.

In 1985, The Care Bears Help Chase Colds, A Practical Cough and Care Guide for the Entire Family was released as a promotional tie-in for the film—albeit one that provided very valuable advice for families and fans everywhere.

16. There were rumors of a sequel mere days after the first film opened.

Although we’re used to hearing about possible sequels as soon as new features open, that was still a rarity back in the '80s, especially when it came to kids’ films. Within just weeks of blowing up the box office, the media was already speculating that we were due for more Care Bear hugs.

17. The movie hit home video in just months.

Eager to capitalize on its popularity, The Care Bears Movie hit Beta just three months after it arrived in theaters.

18. The Care Bears Movie was written by the head writer of Inspector Gadget.

Peter Sauder penned the screenplay for the movie, one of his many gigs as a Nelvana employee. In addition to serving as the head writer of Inspector Gadget, he also wrote the Strawberry Shortcake short that played in front of the movie, along with the earlier TV special The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine and both sequels.

19. A number of the Care Bears were voiced by the same people.

Eva Almos provided the voice for Friend Bear, Champ Bear, and Swift Heart Rabbit, while Melleny Brown voiced both Birthday Bear and Cheer Bear, and Patricia Black played Funshine Bear and Share Bear.

20. The Care Bears went to the Cannes Film Festival.

Even though The Care Bears Movie opened months before the prestigious festival kicked off, the Care Bears—including people dressed up as the Bears—hit Cannes to promote the film.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Good Gnews: Remembering The Great Space Coaster

Tubby Baxter and Gary Gnu in The Great Space Coaster.
Tubby Baxter and Gary Gnu in The Great Space Coaster.
YouTube

Tubby Baxter. Gary Gnu. Goriddle Gorilla. Speed Reader. For people of a certain age, these names probably tug on distant memories of a television series that blended live-action, puppetry, and animation. It was The Great Space Coaster, and it aired daily in syndication from 1981 to 1986. Earning both a Daytime Emmy and a Peabody Award for excellence in children’s programming, The Great Space Coaster fell somewhere in between Sesame Street and The Muppet Show—a series for kids who wanted a little more edge to their puppet performances.

Unlike most classic kid’s shows, fans have had a hard time locating footage of The Great Space Coaster. Even after five seasons and 250 episodes, no collections are available on home video. So what happened?

Get On Board

The Great Space Coaster was created by Kermit Love, who worked closely with Jim Henson on Sesame Street and created Big Bird, and Jim Martin, a master puppeteer who also collaborated with Henson. Produced by Sunbow Productions and sponsored by the Kellogg Company and toy manufacturer Hasbro, The Great Space Coaster took the same approach as Sesame Street of being educational entertainment. In fact, many of the puppeteers and writers were veterans of Sesame Street or The Muppet Show. Producers met with educators to determine subjects and content that could result in a positive cognitive or personal development goal for the audience, which was intended to be children from ages 6 to 11. There would be music, comedy, and cartoons, but all of it would be working toward a lesson on everything from claustrophobia to the hazards of being a litterbug.

The premise involved three teens—Danny (Chris Gifford), Roy (Ray Stephens), and Francine (Emily Bindiger)—who hitch a ride on a space vehicle piloted by a clown named Tubby Baxter. The crew would head for an asteroid populated by a variety of characters like Goriddle Gorilla (Kevin Clash). Roy carried a monitor that played La Linea, an animated segment from Italian creator Osvaldo Cavandoli that featured a figure at odds with his animator. The kids—all of whom looked a fair bit older than their purported teens—also sang in segments with original or cover songs.

The most memorable segment might have been the newscast with Gary Gnu, a stuffy puppet broadcaster who delivered the day’s top stories with his catchphrase: “No gnews is good gnews!” Aside from Gnu, there was Speed Reader (Ken Myles), a super-fast sprinter and reader who reviewed the books he breezed through. Often, the show would also have guest stars, including Mark Hamill, boxer “Sugar” Ray Leonard, and Henry Winkler.

All of it had a slightly irreverent tone, with humor that was more biting than most other kid’s programming of the era. The circus that Tubby Baxter ran away from was run by a character named M.T. Promises. Gnu had subversive takes on his news stories. Other characters weren’t always as well-intentioned as the residents of Sesame Street.

Off We Go

The Great Space Coaster was popular among viewers and critics. In 1982, it won a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Children’s Programming—Graphic Design and a Peabody Award in 1983. But after the show ceased production in 1986, it failed to have a second life in reruns or on video. Only one VHS tape, The Great Space Coaster Supershow, was ever released in the 1980s. And while fan sites like TheGreatSpaceCoaster.TV surfaced, it was difficult to compile a complete library of the series.

In 2012, Tanslin Media, which had acquired the rights to the show, explained why. Owing to the musical interludes, re-licensing songs would be prohibitively expensive—potentially far more than the company would make selling the program. Worse, the original episodes, which were recorded on 1-inch or 2-inch reel tapes, were in the process of degrading.

That same year, Jim Martin mounted an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign to try and raise funds to begin salvaging episodes and digitizing them for preservation. That work has continued over the years, with Tanslin releasing episodes and clips online that don’t require expensive licensing agreements and fans uploading episodes from their original VHS recordings to YouTube.

There’s been no further word on digitizing efforts for the complete series, though Tanslin has reported that a future home video release isn’t out of the question. If that materializes, it’s likely Gary Gnu will be first to deliver the news.