Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!
Three screwball bears--Hair, Square and Bubi--constantly sneak out of Wonderland Zoo for a night of fun on the town, much to the chargin of Mr. Peevly, the zookeeper and his all-thumbs assistant Botch. Usually at the zoo, the bears use their wits and bit of conniving to bargain for better conditions at the zoo for them and all the other animals.
The bears' cave is another matter. Hidden behind the barren rock walls are upscale and modern furnishings including plush beds, a rumpus room, a fully stocked kitchen and more. In a quirk known only to Square Bear, the trio usually makes a getaway on an invisible motorcycle. The bears' antics usually get Peevly in hot water with his superior, the zoo superintendent, but Hair's fast talking usually bails him out.
Hair Bear is named as such because of his large orange afro. Bubi Bear is the short one, prone to speaking in unintelligible goobledygook. Square Bear has a hat that covers his eyes and he has a voracious appetite (severely put to the test in the episode "The Diet Caper"). Other zoo denizens include Fur-Face the lion, Fumbo the elephant, Stretch the giraffe, Pipsqueak the mouse, Bananas the gorilla, and many others.
The show played one season on CBS and was shelved for a year. It returned Sunday mornings in 1973 and was moved to Saturday mornings at 8 AM Eastern in January 1974. Contrary to other sources, the show did not go into syndication under the name "The Yo-Yo Bears" after its CBS run ("The Yo-Yo Bears" was the show's working title). The show remained dormant until 1984 when cable's USA network ran the show. It has also been played on Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
Western Publishing Company published nine issues of The Hair Bear Bunch as a comic book under its Gold Key arm. It also appeared in issue #13 of Hanna-Barbera Fun-In. All the comic book stories were drawn by Hanna-Barbera layout artist Jack Manning. In the first issue, Hair was given a jutting chin (similar to Scooby-Doo's) as this is how he looked in preliminary art and the comic story was being drawn before the show made it to TV (this preliminary version can be seen briefly in the debut episode, "Keep Your Keeper"). When the show debuted, Hair's face was more refined.
Joe Flynn (of McHale's Navy) was originally recruited to be the voice of Mr. Peevly. But as Ken Spears recounts, Flynn didn't work out in recording sessions for the first episode. So, long-time H-B voice John Stephenson was brought in to voice Peevly in a Joe Flynn voice. In 1994, there were plans to revive the Hair Bear Bunch as the middle feature of 2 Stupid Dogs for its second season, but the plans never went forward.
|Daws Butler||Hair Bear|
|Bill Calloway||Square Bear|
|Paul Winchell||Bubi Bear|
|John Stephenson||Eustace P. Peevly|
|Joe E. Ross||Lionel J. Botch|
|Season One||September 11, 1971||January 8, 1972||16|
- At a Glance: Additional information about the series
|Episode Collections - Various Series|
|1970s Volume 2||October 27, 2009||2||
|The Complete Series||March 14, 20131||2|
1 Through Warner Archive.