Digitizing the Berenstain Bears

Many of our younger fans are familiar with our Television Series on PBS, but did you know the Bears have been on the small screen since 1979?

Here at Berenstain Studios we recently received all of our tape reels, beta-max tapes, DVDs, and VHS tapes of our TV Specials, and TV episodes from our 1985 Television series. These had previously been housed at an outside storage facility. This meant it was time to make some room in the archives!

Our studio archives house all of the original art from the Berenstain Bear books from the beginning as well as many of Stan & Jan’s comics from before the Bears. We also keep at least 5 copies of each of our books published, and now it is home to all of the original tape reels. Here’s a look at all of the space needed just for books:

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Below you can see all of the tapes, DVDs, Digital Beta-max tapes, as well as all of the 1″ tape reels. You may even recognize some of the VHS tapes from your own childhood.

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While this may not look too exciting, we at Berenstain Studios were looking forward to seeing some of the cartoons  – some of which have not aired on TV in over 30 years!

Many of the more familiar episodes from our 1985 series can be found online, as they are easily pirated from DVDs, but there were quite a few episodes that only existed on the 1″ reels. Here at the studios we mostly deal in writing and illustrating the books, so we do not have the equipment to see what condition the reels were in, or to digitize them. This task required an outside service to take what was on the reels and make it up-loadable for all to see. For these special episodes,  we ran into quite a few issues. Some were internationally formatted which required a more niche and not as universal equipment, while other reels were partially damaged, or improperly labeled.

Example Reel package and reel:

 

Through all this we are happy to say we were able to digitize each of the episodes from our 1985-87 Television Series on CBS as well as the 5 Television Specials that aired on NBC from 1979-1983. All of these are now available in full on our Youtube Channel, even what seemed to be our most elusive episode, “The Berenstain Bears and the Super Duper Bowl”!

you can watch all of the episodes on our Youtube Page, and find information on each episode and TV Special Below.  To Learn more about how the Berenstain Bears were first animated, check out our previous blog post: You Can’t Animate a Plaid Shirt.

NBC TV Specials

Title  Air Date
The Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree 12/2/1979
The Berenstain Bears Meet Bigpaw 11/20/1980
The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Surprise 4/14/1981
The Berenstain Bears’ Comic Valentine 2/13/1982
The Berenstain Bears Play Ball 5/6/1983

 

CBS TV Series

Episode Season Ep Air Date
The Messy Room 1 1 14-Sep-85
The Terrible Termite 1 2 9/21/1985
Go Fly A Kite 1 3 9/28/1985
The Trojan Pumpkin 1 4 10/5/1985
The Spooky Old Mansion 1 5 10/12/1985
The Fly Away Pizza 1 6 10/19/1985
The Giant Bat Cave 1 7 10/26/1985
The Wild Wild Honey 1 8 11/2/1985
The Neighborly Skunk 1 9 11/9/1985
The Missing Pumpkin 1 10 11/16/1985
Too Much Birthday 1 11 11/23/1985
To The Rescue 1 12 11/30/1985
The Soccer Star 1 13 12/7/1985
Shoot the Rapids 1 14 12/14/1985
The Knight to Remember 1 15 1/18/1986
The Superduper Bowl 1 16 1/25/1986
The Not So Buried Treasure 1 17 2/1/1986
The Condemned Backscratcher 1 18 2/8/1986
Kong For a Day 1 19 2/15/1986
Blaze a Trail 1 20 2/22/1986
No Girls Allowed 1 21 5/13/1986
The Missing Dinosaur Bone 1 22 5/13/1986
The Spookiest Pumpkin 1 23 5/13/1986
The Dancing Bees 1 24 5/20/1986
Learn About Strangers 1 25 5/27/1986
The Disappearing Honey 1 26 6/3/1986
In the Dark 2 1 9/13/1986
Ring the Bell 2 2 9/20/1986
Forget Their Manners 2 3 9/27/1986
The Wicked Weasel Spell 2 4 10/4/1986
The Truth 2 5 10/11/1986
Save the Bees 2 6 10/18/1986
Get in a Fight 2 7 10/25/1986
The Bigpaw Problem 2 8 11/1/1986
Get Stage Fright 2 9 11/8/1986
Go Bonkers Over Honkers 2 10 11/15/1986
The Great Honey Pipeline 2 11 11/22/1986
The Great Grizzly Comet 2 12 11/29/1986
The Sure-Fire Bait 2 13 12/6/1986
The Cat’s Meow 2 14 12/13/1986
The Trouble with Friends 2 15 12/20/1986
The Coughing Catfish 2 16 12/27/1986
The Substitute Teacher 2 17 1/3/1987
The Mystery Mansion 2 18 1/10/1987
Bust A Ghost 2 19 1/17/1987
The Ice Monster 2 20 1/24/1987
The Crystal Ball Caper 2 21 1/31/1987
The Raid on Fort Grizzly 2 22 2/7/1987
The Forbidden Cave 2 23 2/14/1987
The Hot Air Election 2 24 2/21/1987
Life With Papa 2 25 2/28/1987
Save the Farm 2 26 3/7/1987
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Mother’s & Father’s Day Reading List

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and Father’s Day is not too far behind! Celebrate Mamas and Papas with a list of some of our favorites.

We Love Our Mom

The Berenstain Bears We Love Our Mom!

 

We Love Our Dad!

The Berenstain Bears We Love Our Dad!

 

Mother's Day Blessings

The Berenstain Bears Mother’s Day Blessings

 

Perfect Fishing Spot

The Berenstain Bears and the Perfect Fishing Spot

 

Mama's Day Suprise

The Berenstain Bears and the Mama’s Day Surprise

 

Papa's Day Suprise

The Berenstain Bears and the Papa’s Day Surprise

 

Love One Another

The Berenstain Bears Love One Another

Inside the Bear Family Tree house

Have you ever wondered how a family of 5 bears fits into one little tree? While getting ready to illustrate our upcoming book,  The Berenstain Bears Show & Tell we wondered the same thing! We’ll go back through the years to the Bear’s home how it first appeared, and how it has evolved to its current state in our newest book.

A bi-section of the Bear’s Tree house was first seen in 1974’s The Berenstain Bears and the New Baby. In this iteration we see a two storied house. The first floor featured mainly the kitchen and  a small family den, while the second floor houses Mama & Papa’s room and a little room for Brother Bear.

New Baby

The Next full view of the house comes in 1979’s The Berenstain Bears Activity Book. In this iteration two levels  are added: a Basement, and now a third story for Brother & Sister’s rooms.

Activity Book.jpg

While getting ready to draw an updated  bi-section of the Bear’s Tree house, there were a few complications. First off the Bears’ tree house has changed a bit over the years. When illustrating the interiors of the house, the illustrator has more freedom to add space and the tree house feels more like a regular home. However, it gets tricky when fitting these rooms into a cylindrical house in the trunk and branches of a tree. The house is a lot like Mary Poppins’ Bag, much more spacious inside than it appears outside!

The Bears’ Basement

The Basement has not changed much over the years, you can still see the roots of the tree coming down from the ceiling like stalactites, and it functions like most basements do: storage, and a little dark and creepy to cubs.

Basement

The Kitchen & Living Room

Both of these rooms have definitely changed over the years. The Bear Family kitchen first appeared very rustic, with an old time-y stove and love of pots and pans hanging from hooks on the wall. The Bears’ kitchen now is much more modern, with a sink, cabinets, and refrigerator.

Bears kitchen

The Living Room has also expanded from a little TV and a bench in a den off the kitchen to an entire  room with a Couch, easy chair, and room for the Bear Family to spread out.

Bears living Room

The Cubs’ Room.

In “The Messy Room” The cubs had a LOT of stuff. In subsequent books the Cub’s room has been greatly simplified and they seem to have streamlined all of the clutter while still keeping their classic bunk beds.

Cubs' Room

The Attic

Much like the basement the attic has not changed much. At one point it was changed to Honey Bear’s new room, but in books since it has switched back to an attic full of antique treasures.

Bears attic

Honey's Room

So finally we have an updated version of the Bears Tree house, ready for 2017 in our new book The Berenstain Bears Show & Tell coming out May 2, and available for pre-order now. Side view Show & Tell

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Jan Berenstain’s War Years

jan-about-1942

Jan Berenstain in 1942

In 1943, Soon after Stan left for the Army  Jan Berenstain (then Jan Grant) took a break from her schooling at The Philadelphia Museum School for Industrial Arts (Now UArts) to begin training to be an aircraft riveter. She describes the decision in Stan & Jan’s Autobiography, Down a Sunny Dirt Road:

“At the end of the school term, though, girls were talking about joining the WAVES or the WACCS or doing war work. I was definitely missing the the inspiration of working with a full class of talented artists, too and told Mom and Dad I was going to take a year off from school and earn some money, starting that summer.

I showed up at the U.S. Employment Office on Broad Street with some second-year work I’d done in mechanical-drawing and jewelry classes. I was sent the same day to join a class of young women forming up at Bok Vocational School in South Philadelphia to train to be aircraft riveters. After 2 weeks of on-the-job training (meaning we were paid), we joined the workforce at Brill’s Trolley car factory which had won a Navy contract to assemble center wing sections for PBY Flying Boats.”

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Jan’s seated on the far left at the graduation celebration for her Riveting class.

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The PBY Catalina Jan worked on at Brill’s served as a Maritime patrol and search-and-rescue seaplane.

Recently Mike Berenstain unearthed an Essay written by Jan after her return to school, describing more in-depth her experience working at the Brill Trolley Car Factory. It is a stream of consciousness writing that vividly portrays the day to day bustle and exhaustion brought on from the tireless work done by Jan and many women left stateside during WWII.

jan-essay-pg-1jan-essay-pg-2jan-essay-pg-3jan-essay-pg-4jan-essay-pg-5jan-essay-pg-6jan-essay-pg-7jan-essay-pg-8

Ultimate Christmas Reading List!

Its December and Christmas is just around the corner. Since it is the season of cheer we have compiled a list of every Berenstain Bear Christmas book just for you! We hope you have a Wonderful and warm Holiday Season.

night-before-christmasThe Berenstain Bears’ Night Before Christmas

old-fashioned-christmasThe Berenstain Bears’ Old Fashioned Christmas

save-christmasThe Berenstain Bears Save Christmas

get-ready-for-christmasThe Berenstain Bears Get Ready for Christmas

nutcrackerThe Berenstain Bears and the Nutcracker

trim-the-treeThe Berenstain Bears Trim the Tree

christmas-treeThe Berenstain Bears’ Christmas Tree

christmas-angelThe Berenstain Bears and the Christmas Angel

joy-of-givingThe Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving

very-first-christmasThe Berenstain Bears and the Very First Christmas

meet-santa-bearThe Berenstain Bears Meet Santa Bear

bears-christmasThe Bears’ Christmas

Guest Post, Myth-busters with Emily Berenstain

Hi Everyone,

My name’s Emily Berenstain, I’m the granddaughter of Stan and Jan Berenstain, and the daughter of Michael Berenstain. I wanted to take a minute to clear up a few things about the books and debunk some myths about our last name.

People have questioned the pronunciation of my last name since I can remember. It’s not a name you hear every day.

Many people would ask me, “It’s BerenstEIN, like the Bears right?” to which I would respond “No it’s actually BerenstAIN, like the Bears”. It was never a big deal when people got it wrong, I would just chuckle and correct them, a simple mistake. But then this last summer for some reason the fact that our name was spelled “Berenstain” and not “stein” got brought up again and again and people took to the internet in frenzy!

It was pretty funny at first, seeing how upset people were that they had remembered the Bear Books incorrectly. “It’s Berenstain? Not Berenstein? My whole childhood is a lie!” I remember seeing someone’s comment on Facebook. Everyone started asking me about it, friends of friends, coworkers, long lost classmates from elementary school. It was getting kind of crazy! The internet presence grew and grew until it was trending on Facebook! Even a few celebrities commented on Twitter about it.

Some people would not accept the fact that they had been pronouncing the name incorrectly for so long. I even saw pictures online where people photo shopped the name to “Berenstein”, it was ridiculous! There were many different theories circulating the internet about our name, some believed we changed the spelling on purpose (why on earth would we do that?), and then a few believed in the Mandela effect. According to the Mandela effect, a parallel universe exists aside of ours where the books are indeed spelled “Berenstein”. My response to that theory is, who knows maybe there is another universe, who am I to say there isn’t? But in this universe, the Bears are and have always been the Berenstain Bears.

-Emily