The voices behind Winnie the Pooh characters can be seen all over classic TV

The Hundred Acre Wood must be adjacent to Mayberry.

Images: The Everett Collection

The beloved characters of the Hundred Acre Wood continue to charm new generations. Odds are, however, when you think of Winnie the Pooh, Disney's interpretation of the bear comes to mind before the A.A. Milne's original creation.

Beginning with Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree in 1966, Walt Disney turned the classic children's tales into colorful cartoons. They are a joy to behold, certainly, but you could likely identify Roo, Tigger and Piglet by the voices alone. So much of the character's personality came thanks to the voice cast, an ensemble of veteran actors.

You might not recognize all their names, but their faces turned up all over classic television. Heck, you can see most of them on The Andy Griffith Show. Let's take a look at the humans behind the toons.

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1. Jon Walmsley as Christopher Robin


We start with Christopher Robin, the namesake of the latest Disney Pooh film. Bruce Reitherman, the son of a Disney animator who voiced Mowgli in The Jungle Book, was the first to voice Christopher Robin in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree (1966). Two years later, he was replaced with Jon Walmsley for Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. (Both of these shorts were collected in the 1977 feature The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.) Walmsley went to play Jason Walton, the musically talented second-oldest brother, on The Waltons for nine seasons.

Image: The Everett Collection

2. Sterling Holloway as Pooh


Pooh himself turned up on The Andy Griffith Show. Sterling Holloway, the veteran actor who voiced the honey-loving bear, had a career stretching back decades. In 1962, he popped into Mayberry in the episode "The Merchant of Mayberry." He played the title character, Bert Miller, a door-to-door salesman who looks to settle down and set up a shop. Andy helps the entrepreneur out, especially after resident rich guy Ben Weaver looks to step on the little man.

Image: The Everett Collection

3. Clint Howard as Roo


Clint, the younger brother of Ron Howard, had no issue working with bears. He got up close and personal with the real thing in the 1967 film Gentle Giant and its subsequent TV series Gentle Ben. Around the same time, Howard was voicing Roo in Honey Tree and Blustery Day. Of course, who could forget him as Leon on The Andy Griffith Show?

Image: The Everett Collection

4. Paul Winchell as Tigger


Winchell lived an unparalleled career. Who else can claim to be a pioneering ventriloquist and the inventor of the artificial heart? (No, really. He built and patented a mechanical heart for humans.) He came to fame working stages with his dummies, Jerry Mahoney and Knucklehead Smiff. Later, he would voice Tigger in dozens of Winnie the Pooh cartoons for Disney. On Perry Mason, he meets a much darker fate in "The Case of the Nervous Neighbor," as seen here.

5. Hal Smith as Owl


Mayberry denizens knew Hal Smith better as Otis Campbell, the town drunk. The character actor also found plenty of work at Disney. He first voiced Owl in 1966, and continued to bring the bird to life for three decades. Not only was he Owl, he worked on DuckTales, too. You can also hear him in Scooby Doo, Where Are You!, The Fantastic Four, Captain Caveman… and so much more.

6. John Fiedler as Piglet


Tigger's pal Piglet is here, too! John Fielder plays an associate director in Hollywood in the Perry Mason episode "The Case of the Tragic Trophy." His distinctive voice could be heard coming from Piglet up until 2005.

7. Howard Morris as Gopher


The first Walt Disney short replaced Piglet with a gopher to appeal to Americans. Weird in hindsight to think that Americans wouldn't enjoy a pig. Bacon is practically our national food. The British newspaper The Daily Mail attacked the decision, writing, "It appears in the Very Unenchanted Forest of film production, a gopher is worth more than a Piglet!" Original Pooh illustrator E. H. Shepard called the change "A complete travesty." Others staged protests. Which is to take nothing away from the brilliant Howard Morris. Best known, at least visually, as Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, Morris was the voice behind everything from Jughead Jones to the Hamburglar. 

Image: Disney

8. Junius Matthews as Rabbit


World War I veteran Matthews mostly stuck to the recording booth, working in radio for years before landing the role of Rabbit in the early Disney Pooh cartoons. His high-pitched rasp made him the perfect performer for old prospectors, chuck wagon cooks and miners. He worked on television, too, here and there. Here, you can see him alongside Charles Bronson in the Have Gun – Will Travel episode "The Man Who Wouldn't Talk." He does talk, playing "Clem," and you immediately recognize him as Rabbit.

9. Sebastian Cabot as the Narrator


Perfectly cast as the gentleman butler on Family Affair, Mr. French, Cabot also turned in brilliant performances for Disney. He brought Bagheera to life in The Jungle Book, and narrated several Winnie the Pooh films between 1966–77, until his death.

7 things you might not know about Winnie the Pooh's screen career


The bear made his TV debut on 'The Shirley Temple Show.' READ MORE

Image: NBC

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