The story of Winnie-the-Pooh is known – quite possibly – to everyone. The film versions of the story have been translated into nearly every language and the original books have sold – conservative estimates as of 1996 put sales over 70 million copies. And that does NOT include the four books published by Dutton press in the US and Canada, nor the foreign-language editions printed in more than 25 languages.
In fact, the story is so successful that it can be argued A.A. Milne’s creation has kept the Walt Disney Company afloat during its harder times. Since Walt Disney acquired the film rights to the story in 1961, because his daughters liked Pooh so much, Pooh feature films, videos, teddy bears, and other merchandise have made incredible sums of money for Disney. It is estimated that Winnie-the-Pooh generates as much revenue as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy, and Pluto combined.
But the story, of course, is more than money making machine. It is a timeless tale of childhood and our limitless imaginations. It is about friendship, loyalty, and doing Christopher Robin’s favorite thing, “Nothing.”
In this episode of From the Vault, we’ll hear traditional readings from the Pooh series, taken from the program Doing Nothing, produced by Elliot Gould in 1970 for Pacifica Station KPFK. We’ll also enjoy Frederick Crews reading from the The Pooh Perplex in 1964, a fictional work in every way, in the true spirit of Pooh. We’ll wrap up with a special original musical production by the Athenian School Drama Workshop, a high school production production (with all of the wit, glory, and mistakes that come with such productions) that truly exemplifies the childlike energy of Winnie the Pooh, Christopher Robin, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Owl, Rabbit, Kanga and Roo.