Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch (CBS, 1971-1972)
This is another Hanna-Barbera cartoon that I saw in a repeat run as a second generation viewer. This is one is from the 70s, and is one of the more bizarre ideas. Before I go further into what it’s about, here’s how I first saw Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch. Before I went to secondary school in the mid-90s, I would put the TV on, usually at this time of day there wasn’t much to watch beyond The Big Breakfast and the like.
But for a while on BBC2, there was a strand called something like The CBBC Breakfast Show, featuring various things, including this, which helped to keep my mind off what things the day might bring for a short while at least. I thought that this was in about 1994, but it was actually in 1997, I don’t know why but I thought it was earlier than that. And this was 25 years old even then!
Help! It’s The Hair Bear Bunch began with a rather unusual but catchy theme song that sounded like it contained some milk bottles being banged. Three bears starred, but there was no porridge here though. Episodes in Radio Times were often simply described as “zany ursine antics” (I’m sure that Zany Ursine Antics made the first round of the UEFA Cup once in the 80s).
They were Hair Bear (who had a great hairstyle), Square Bear (who wore a hat over his eyes), and Bubi Bear, who all lived in The Wonderland Zoo, Again, like Top Cat, Hair Bear seemed to be channelling Phil Silvers/Sergeant Bilko with his voice, while Bubi Bear would often talk nonsense, maybe he was a distant relative of Boomhauer off King Of The Hill.
They would often escape from their zoo on an invisible motorbike rather strangely. They are always thinking of taking part in bizarre schemes whilst trying to stay one step ahead, the other zoo animals could only look on at them in admiration. Then it was up to Mr Peevly to capture them, although he often had no idea that they had gone. And Botch was his appropriately-named assistant, as he was often of no use.
I suppose you could say that they were smarter than the average bear, oh no, that’s the wrong cartoon. I was surprised to discover that there were only 16 episodes in one series, which did seem like a recycling of Top Cat a decade on to some extent. And this was also often featured in Cartoon Network’s Cult Toons, which as I have said before, is a show that was worth the OnDigital subscription price alone.