Disney Celebrates Pooh’s 80th

Disney today launched a global campaign marking the 80th anniversary of Winnie the Pooh, one of its most enduring and lucrative properties. The 18-month celebration will be commemorated with new Pooh-related entertainment products in a wind-up to Disney Channel’s 2007 premiere of the CG-animated, learning-focused preschool series My Friends Tigger and Pooh.

The 80th Anniversary celebrates the London Evening News’ first printing of a Winnie the Pooh story on December 24, 1925. Created by A.A. Milne, the beloved property went on to flourish in many forms, including storybooks, animated feature films, home video releases and television specials and series. The latest animated production, Pooh’s Heffalump Movie, was released theatrically by Disney earlier this year and proved that the tales from the Hundred Acre Woods are still a draw for kids around the world.

“Pooh’s 80th Anniversary celebrates the tremendous heritage of this franchise, and a key initiative for Disney is to continue to develop Pooh with new creative programs across the company that will keep it fresh for the next 80 years,’ comments Matt Ryan, senior VP of Disney Corporate Brand Management. ‘The new Winnie the Pooh television show planned for 2007 is part of that effort.”

The anniversary push kicked off today with the New York premiere of Disney Live! Winnie the Pooh, and will continue globally through 2007. Other Mouse House divisions getting in on the act are Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Radio Disney, Disney Consumer Products and Walt Disney Records.

Buena Vista Home Entertainment will release Pooh’s Grand Adventure on DVD for the first time in March of 2006, while Radio Disney launches ‘Pooh’s-Days’ every Tuesday on its Playhouse Disney block. Disney Stores will feature special Winnie the Pooh product shops promoting a new infant line and Walt Disney Records will release a new, original song titled ‘My Friend Pooh’ by recording artist Ralph Covert. In addition, Disney Publishing will put out an 80th anniversary edition storybook and coloring book next fall.

First Book, a national nonprofit organization focused on giving children from low-income families the opportunity to read and own their first new books, will be one of the charitable organizations that will benefit from the 80th Anniversary efforts. Throughout December, Disney Live! and First Book will hold reading events in the New York area, including a celebrity reading event at the New York Public Library on Dec. 20.