Saturday, July 4, 2009

Don't Let Our Forests Become Once Upon A Time...

As the traditional fourth of July fireworks and festivities get into full swing I thought this Smokey Bear PSA was very timely as well as perfect for the blog.

Did you know Smokey Bear originally came about in response to using Disney's Bambi as a 'Prevent Forest Fires' poster?

Walt Disney's motion picture, "Bambi" was produced in 1944 and Disney let the forest fire prevention campaign use his creation on a poster. The "Bambi" poster was a success and proved that using an animal as a fire prevention symbol would work. A fawn could not be used in subsequent campaigns because "Bambi" was on loan from Walt Disney studios for only one year; the Forest Service would need to find an animal that would belong to the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Campaign. It was finally decided that the Nation's number one firefighter should be a bear.
Here's an early PSA using Bambi footage combined with an animated Smokey Bear. As it's from 1964 it's in black and white but there was no doubt it reached people:

The Walt Disney Company has since allowed the use of their characters from Bambi (see campaign poster & ad at start of post) and is currently employing Sleeping Beauty to help spread the message of fire safety. There are two approaches. One is the more gentle, 'protect our friends in the forest' which you can see below:

The other is more dramatic, letting us know most fires are caused by humans and could be prevented:

You can see both Sleeping Beauty PSA's at the Smokey Bear website here. In addition to resources for children's education in fire safety, the website has many tips and resources on how to prevent wildfires.
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