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Posts Tagged ‘Smokey Bear’

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Posted in Interesting Items  by Steven on September 15th, 2008
Original Smokey Bear Illustration by Rudy Wendelin

Original Smokey Bear Illustration by Rudy Wendelin

Folks of a “certain age” can immediately finish the saying in the title of this post, and probably remember getting the comic book in school that told the story of the real-life Smokey Bear, a black bear cub found up a burned tree after a forest fire, his paws and hindquarters severely burned.

This original pencil and ink illustration of Smokey Bear is signed by Rudy Wendelin, with the comment in pencil along the bottom edge Paul – There is no “the” in Smokey Bears name. R

That comment dates this illustration as 1952 or later, as the hit song “Smokey the Bear” was released in 1952. The authors of the song, Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins, added the “the” in Smokey’s name to match the rhythm of the song. This has caused confusion ever since!

Rudolph Wendelin (1910 – 2000), a US Forestry Service employee, became the first full-time illustrator of Smokey in 1944, and remained the “guardian” and chief creative mind for this national symbol until his retirement in 1973.

This is a consignment item from Alexander Autographs, listed on eBay.

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