This past weekend my mind wandered to a show I started working on for Disney about seven or eight years ago. It was the CG animated My Friends Tigger & Pooh. It was such a delight to draw Winnie the Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Eeyore, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, Lumpy, and anyone else who came to the 100 Acre Wood during those two and a half seasons that we created their adventures. You, however, only were able to watch two of those seasons. We actually were halfway through planning the third season before the network decided that the first two were enough.
We did something in our show that seemed to polarize the Pooh fans, though. Christopher Robin was not included. Instead, we introduced a little girl named Darby to the stories. Darby was voiced by Chloë Grace Moretz when she was just a wee lass. She has gone on to bigger things working in movies with directors like Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese, but once upon a time she delivered great enthusiasm in her conversations with Pooh and Tigger.
Despite all of Darby’s cuteness and charm, fans missed Christopher Robin, including Queen Elizabeth who purportedly had an aide call the Disney Channel suggesting that Christopher Robin be returned to the Wood. Regarding the young boy’s absence, “the Queen is not amused,” was the rumor floating around the studio. So, while Darby remained, Christopher Robin did return for a few episodes, though one time the gang spent an episode calling a frog “Christopher Robin” thinking that the boy had turned into the amphibian, naturally.
Another element of this series was that Darby led Tigger and Pooh as the “Super Sleuths.” It was a fun device where something would happen, and the residents of the woods needed help solving the problem. Every episode they would don their Super Sleuth outfits, then go off to “think, think, think” in an attempt to find the answer, often causing more chaos in the process.
You know, while working on the show, my mother sent me a drawing that I did at the age of 5 of Disney’s Winnie the Pooh. It was so surreal to see I had an interest in him all those years ago, and then was making a living drawing him. I tease you with that, however. Little Chad’s art is not available to share with you here at this time, but eventually it will find its way here on the ol’ blog.
My Friends Tigger & Pooh really was a delightful show, and had some really wonderful scripts by our writers led by Brian Hohlfeld and Nicole Dubuc. It was a treat working with everyone, and especially getting to see the great Jim Cummings work his magic as Pooh, Tigger, and the Beaver, Peter Cullen (Optimus Prime) who was Eeyore, Ken Sansom who (though now deceased) was Rabbit for many years, Rob Paulson (famous for Pinky from Pinky & the Brain) who did a raccoon, Max Burkholder (from TV’s Parenthood) as Roo, Dee Bradley Baker who was an amazing dog (Buster), as well as even Mark Hamill (yes, Luke Skywalker himself) who did a recurring character of a turtle.
It is available on DVD. Settle down with your little ones, put on your thinking caps and watch all the charming adventures of Darby, Tigger, Pooh and the gang!