The Terry Bears are characters created for TerryToons. They are two mischievous twins who one way or another always ended up causing trouble for both their self's and their father, Papa Bear.
The characters are of course named after Paul Terry and the studio as a whole, they were created to be the mascots for TerryToons, but before their first cartoon even began production it was quite clear such a thing wasn't going to happen, the studio's biggest stars were Mighty Mouse and Heckle & Jeckle, it was clear that there was no way these new characters could overtake them in popularity. However they were already designed, and you can never have too many recurring characters, so they went along with the pair anyway.
The first of their outings was "Tall Timber Tale", directed by Connie Rasinski and released during July, 1951, which introduced the bears, their father, their mother, and set the young tyke's personality as being two mute trouble makers, always messing with their father, with the mother never realizing that her kids are little devils. This was one of only two cartoons to feature the Mama Bear (The other being 1952's "Thrifty Cubs"), supposedly the writers believed it would be funnier if the Papa had to be both a father as well as a mother to boys. Connie, Eddie Donnelly, and Mannie Davis worked interchangeably on the series directing the series.
For the next cartoon "Little Problems" aside from not having the Mama Bear, things were about the same, however soon after two things about the children changed; one, they were now far less malicious and instead only caused problems trying to help their Papa or simply do what seems like the right thing to them, and two, now instead of having no dialog, they spoke, voiced by Roy Halee with his performance pitched up five semitones to make him sound young.
They look about the same and wear the same color clothing, so there is nothing to help us tell them apart, but even if there was, it wouldn't make much of a difference, as oddly the two bears were never given individual names.
The conflict was normally provided by Papa Bear, partly because he was very incompetent when it came to doing things like hunting or working, and partly because he's very grumpy and sometimes incredibly unreasonable, likely from always having to deal his less than well-mannered offspring. However, it is clear that he cares for and loves his boys, even if he isn't the type to shy away from spanking them or completely losing his temper.
One reoccurring character throughout their series was the family pet Pago, who was actually named after Connie Rasinski's dog. He was a large, floppy cheeked, mutt, who the boys adopted in the cartoon "Nice Doggy". He was was a soft-hearted, uncoordinated, loving hound who enjoyed playing with the boys, yet would always get on Papa Bear's nerves, causing him to threaten to throw Pago out numerous times, but Pago would always prove his worth in the end and be allowed to stay. A few things of note is that he hates baths, loves cute animals, and is deathly afraid of danger.
Like other TerryToon characters, the family was spun off into comics. St. John Publishing was licensing the TerryToons properties just then, and included the Bears in Paul Terry's Comics, sometimes on the cover. Later St. John also gave them their own title, which proved unsuccessful and only lasted for three issues in 1952-53. There was little if any other licensing.
The final cartoon to star the kids and their father was 1956's "Baffling Business", there were 17 cartoons in all.
In 1955 the retiring Paul Terry decided to sell the studio along with their characters to CBS and 20th Century Fox, The new owner installed Gene Deitch in charge of things, under his direction characters like Mighty Mouse and the rest were phased out in favor of new creations, and sadly this was the end of the Terry Bears, they haven't had any further appearances in the way of cameos or guest roles.
Pines Comics for one reason or another decided to create one more issue devoted to the Bears in 1958.
The Terry Bears then joined the general mix of Terrytoons, to be used as fillers in CBS cartoon shows, and of course that includes Mighty Mouse Playhouse. Later, they became part of the Terrytoons package sold to individual stations all over America, to be used on locally-hosted shows alongside other theatrical cartoons such as Woody Woodpecker and made-for-TV cartoons such as Clutch Cargo. Giving the characters much-needed exposure.
- Papa's Day of Rest
- Snappy Snapshots
- Little Anglers
- Nice Doggie
- Papa's Little Helpers
- Picnic with Papa
- Thrifty Cubs
This pair of well-meaning delinquents aren't the most recognized duo in animation, but they were billed as top stars for the studio, their cartoons were regularly showcased on TV, and the cartoons themselves are well-liked by the people who have seen them.
Kids who cause problems for the adults around them are a dime a dozen, however, the two little bears managed to get some laughs and be unique in their own right, they may be gone, but they ain't forgotten. They and their pranks will always be remembered, and as their father, he'll just have to grin and bear it.
- The color of their pants changes throughout the series.