The voice of Winnie the Pooh turned up in Mayberry too
…and so did Roo!
Winnie the Pooh is back. To be fair, A. A. Milne's beloved bear has never faded from popularity over the last century, but he has a new Disney movie. The upcoming film Christopher Robin follows in the footsteps of Paddington, bringing the bear to live-action with the magic of computers.
This is hardly Disney's first foray into the Hundred Acre Wood. When you think of Winnie, most likely the roly-poly Pooh of Disney cartoons comes to mind. The cute animated Pooh made his debut in 1966's Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, which was followed by Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day (1968) and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too (1974). In 1977, the three shorts were compiled into the feature-length The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. It is here that we get our memories of the springing Tigger and melancholy Eeyore.
Narrating the tales was a familiar star of 1960s television, Sebastian Cabot. He played the refined British butler Mr. French in the sitcom Family Affair. But he was not the only voice in Disney's Winnie the Pooh cartoons with sitcom experience.
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.
It's a memorable entry in season two, but realizing that Bert Miller is Winnie the Pooh adds another layer of delight on reviewing. Holloway naturally sounds just like Winnie the Pooh — his voice is raspy, warm, high-pitched — in everyday dialogue.
Oh, and he's not the only Winnie the Pooh character in Mayberry. You can find Roo, too. Clint Howard, the brother of Andy Griffith Show star Ron, voiced the kangaroo. Clint Howard frequently turned up on the sitcom as Leon, the quirky little cowboy kid with a serious sandwich addiction.
How could we forget Owl? The feathered know-it-all of the Hundred Acre Wood was voiced by Hal Smith, best known as Otis Campbell, the town drunk of Mayberry.
And that's not all. Gopher, a character not featured in the original A. A. Milne books who was introduced by Disney in Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, was voiced by skilled voice actor Howard Morris. Of course, Mayberry fans recognize him as Ernest T. Bass.