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Sunday, August 9, 2015

Smokey Bear celebrates his 71st birthday today!


”Remember … only YOU can prevent forest fires.”

Smokey Bear as been one of the more effective characters for a continuing ad campaign — ever. He’s been in print, television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) and is recognized by 95 percent of adults and 77 percent of children in the U.S., according to the Ad Council.

Smokey’s likeness has been marketed in comic books and Little Golden Books, with Tonka toys, salt ‘n’ pepper shakers, clocks, clothing, bobblehead dolls, in songs and as stuffed animals. Inexplicably, Smokey has also had his own brand of charcoal briquettes, matches and lighter — all in the 1960s.
Smokey Bear turns 70
And although his look has changed ever-so slightly since his creation in 1944, what hasn’t changed is his trademark ranger’s hat, jeans and shovel, along with his request for personal responsibility in the forests. This year marks Smokey’s 70th birthday, and his original slogan was “Smokey Says — Care Will Prevent 9 out of 10 Forest Fires.” That slogan was modified by the Ad Council in the late 1940s to “Remember … Only YOU Can Prevent Forest Fires”, and again in 2001 to say “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires”.

According to the Ad Council, which administers Smokey’s image along with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters, Smokey’s original illustration was created in 1944 by Albert Staehle. Smokey’s most enduring look was given to him by Rudy Wendelin, who drew’s Smokey’s likeness for more than 30 years and can be see in the model sheet above (lower left of the sheet).
Smokey Bear
Smokey's debut poster was released on August 9, 1944, which is considered his anniversary date. 

Smokey The Bear Song - 1952

Eddy Arnold sings "Smokey the Bear" for an old public service announcement. Purists will tell you that his name is "Smokey Bear" - without the "the". It was this song, which was quite popular with kids in the 1950's, that changed his name in common use. It's not Eddy's fault, the song was written by Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins. However, the Smokey Bear Act of 1952 (16 U.S.C. 580 (p-2); 18 U.S.C. 711) that shortly followed the release of this song, mandates that he only be referred to as "Smokey Bear".

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.
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