Congratulations John Stanley and wife Elissa 2UE’s New Voiceovers

Humphrey B. Bear to change television station?

January 26th, 2007 at 10:30pm

The news I heard on Monday afternoon was quite possibly the best news I have heard all week. According to Showbiz guru Peter Ford on 2UE’s John Stanley afternoon show (and many other shows and stations it would seem), moves are afoot at Banksia Productions to sever ties with Channel Nine, and sign with Channel Ten to provide new episodes of “Here’s Humphrey”.

Since 2003, Channel Nine have only run repeats of Here’s Humphrey, and brought Humphrey out alongside Hi-5 during Carols By Candlelight. You would think this would have been enough for the show to be gone forever, but it’s not, as Banksia still produce a Spanish, American and Mandarin version of Humphrey (they fly the hosts to Adelaide for filming), which effectively keeps the show alive.

The repeats of Here’s Humphrey have effectively been Channel Nine’s answer to the “what to do when Kerri-Anne’s on holidays” dilemma, and he has been treated as an irrelevance since the Hi-5 marketing juggernaut hit the screens.

In my view, Humphrey is more suitable for children than Hi-5 which seems more appropriate for an older audience, as I fail to see how skimpy costumes and semi-teen behaviour help a preschooler learn and develop. Humphrey, according to his website, is a perpetual four year old, forever discovering the world, and having lots of fun doing it. Actually, I’ll let the website explain:

Each episode of Humphrey is designed to entertain and educate its audience as they join in the fun with Humphrey B Bear. Humphrey enjoys exploring and pretending. He likes playing, singing, dancing and being with his friends. The essence of the program is in its star that will forever be four years of age and loves every minute of it.

Everyday is a new adventure for Humphrey. An adventure that parallels the needs, fears and fun of the average four year old child. Humphrey Bear explores life as they do, reinforcing their self esteem and showing them it’s OK to make mistakes (after all everyone does). We don’t always have to be the best at everything, it’s more important to simply take part.

Immensely more useful to a preschooler than a bunch of virtual pop-stars!

Humphrey has been on Channel Nine without ads since 1965, and I can understand them wanting something which will make more money, but some things are more important than profits, and if Channel Nine fail to see that, then I hope Channel Ten (or even Channel Seven) do pick up Humphrey, as the nation is a poorer place without new and up-to-date episodes of Here’s Humphrey.

I think Humphrey is one of the best children’s entertainers we have in this country, and just as it would be an incredible tragedy if the ABC were to cancel Play School, it would be a tragedy if new episodes of Humphrey don’t return to television soon.

As the Here’s Humphrey theme song “Humphrey’s Best Friends” says “Hooray for Humphrey, Good old Humphrey. Hooray for Humphrey Bear!!”

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Entertainment,Samuel's Editorials,TV/Radio/Media

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16 Comments

  • 1. Bearded Clam  |  January 27th, 2007 at 2:31 am

    Skimpy costumes and semi-teen behaviour?

    Have you actually watched hi-5? And have you had any experience with early childhood development?

    Could you provide me with examples of semi-teen behaviour?

  • 2. Trish from Memphis  |  January 27th, 2007 at 6:02 am

    Semi-teens dress a lot skimpier than Hi-5 these days…my kids LOVE the show…little kids deserve a better show than Humphrey..they respond well to the catchy music and bright colors and cute people…just like everybody else.

  • 3. David-H-Eastwood  |  January 27th, 2007 at 9:01 am

    Huhphrey should be arrested for indecent exposure.
    The halfwit runs around wearing a top but no trousers.

  • 4. Bearded Clam  |  January 27th, 2007 at 9:16 am

    I think Humphrey deserves one of these…

    BIFF BANG POW

    COP THAT!

  • 5. Samuel  |  January 28th, 2007 at 4:33 am

    Seeing as my response to Chuck A. Spear’s comment on this subject at Brown Noise Unit pretty much cover my reply to comments left here, I will quote both.

    Firstly, from Chuck A. Spear:
    A question regarding your Humphrey editorial:

    Does this mean as well as a station change, you would like to continue to see Humphrey B Bear without ads?

    If so, given your stance on the possibility of the ABC having ads, would you agree that the the higher quality of journalism and public ownership of the ABC is

    “more important than profits”

    Also, do you really think the nation as a whole is a poorer place without Humphrey? I would have thought that given your post/letter on maturity you would understand that there are more important issues facing our wide brown land.

    When Fat Cat was axed, there was a small amount of sadness but we all moved on to bigger and better things.

    On the flip side when Countdown was axed, some people just couldn’t let it go and still can’t. People like Molly Meldrum, Daryl Cotton, John Paul Jones and Ross Wilson just keep banging on about how great they and it were. It is embarrassing.

    While it is clear I can’t move on from being banned from your blog, It does spin me out that you are still an active watcher of Humphrey B Bear. Yes, it is harmless and you could be doing burnouts at the local MacDonalds instead, but do you understand that four year olds would not comprehend that Hi-5 are wearing

    “skimpy costumes’

    and acting like pre-teens. How does a pre-teen act btw?

    I would have thought that most young males, including myself – although I am not that young, would find the hosts of Hi-5 quite attractive and would enjoy watching it if they had children or not. C’mon. They are hotties. And so are the males if you are that way inlined.

    For example, one of the Wiggles won Cleo Bachelor of the Year a few years back because all the mothers of young children voted for him.

    What qualifies gives you to assume that Hi-5 does help a

    “preschooler learn and develop”

    And how does Humphrey if he

    “is a perpetual four year old”

    I hope you respond, because while I can understand someone of an adult age wanting Humphrey on Tv if they have young children, I don’t think you have any idea what you are talking about with this editorial.

  • 6. Samuel  |  January 28th, 2007 at 4:39 am

    And now my response.

    A question regarding your Humphrey editorial:
    “Humphrey has been on Channel Nine without ads since 1965, and I can understand them wanting something which will make more money, but some things are more important than profits, and if Channel Nine fail to see that, then I hope Channel Ten (or even Channel Seven) do pick up Humphrey, as the nation is a poorer place without new and up-to-date episodes of Here’s Humphrey.”
    Does this mean you would like to continue to see Humphrey B Bear without ads? If so, given your stance on the possibility of the ABC having ads, would you agree that the the higher quality of journalism and public ownership of the ABC is “more important than profits”

    OK, two separate issues there. Yes, I would like to see Humphrey continue without ads, and I would hope that forms part of any deal Banksia make with any network. I wouldn’t mind the station running a block of ads after the show, just not during.

    I’ve previously stated that I wouldn’t want ads to have any association with ABC News…and don’t delude yourself, the ABC isn’t some sort of holy grail of professional journalism. They do better than others on a lot of counts, but there’s a lot of very good journalism outside the ABC too.

    Also, do you really think the nation as a whole is a poorer place without Humphrey? I would have thought that given your post/letter on maturity you would understand that there are more important issues facing our wide brown land. When Fat Cat was axed, there was a small amount of sadness but we all moved on to bigger and better things. On the flip side when Countdown was axed, some people just couldn’t let it go and still can’t.

    Of course there are more important issues than whether Humphrey is on the television or not, but if we only focus on the big issues and ignore the small ones, then why bother in the first place?

    Yes I do think the nation is a poorer place without new episodes of Humphrey…the time will come one day for us to move on, but we aren’t there yet in my view.

    While it is clear I can’t move on from being banned from your blog, It does spin me out that you are still an active watcher of Humphrey B Bear. Yes, it is harmless and you could be doing burnouts at the local MacDonalds instead, but do you understand that four year olds would not comprehend that Hi-5 are wearing “skimpy costumes’ and acting like pre-teens. How does a pre-teen act btw?

    Yes, I still watch occasionally, I don’t have much time these days, but I do like to catch the odd episode here and there. I know I’m not in the target demographic and don’t get the same benefits from it that a preschooler would, but it’s fun to watch Humphrey and his adventures…much like it is fun to occasionally watch Play School and watch actors have fun pretending to be horses or building things out of toilet paper rolls and cardboard boxes.

    The fact that four year olds would not comprehend that Hi-5 are wearing “skimpy costumes” is precisely my point…they don’t comprehend it, they see it as normal, which in turn plays into the hands of the marketers who want to offload similar costumes and bizarre toys like that “Bratz” thing. Maybe it’s just me, but I think kids should be kids, and not trained to follow popular culture before school age…even then I struggle to see the point until about the age of 10 or 11 when kids start to become an awful lot more self-conscious.

    I quite happily went through high school willingly ignoring most of popular culture, and I’m certain that has something to do with not really being exposed to it until about the age of nine. It’s my opinion that if more kids had that opportunity, we would have a smarter, more free-thinking society, and less people who act like sheep simply for the sake of being part of “the group”.

    I’m not saying socialising isn’t important, just that uniformity seems to a bit out of hand, and that people shouldn’t feel as much of a pressure to “fit in”.

    And I said semi-teen, not pre-teen. Hi-5 are certainly no-where near the level of explicitness of body-language that our pop stars are, bit the insinuations are pretty clear to me…it wouldn’t hurt them to dress down a little bit. They’re a good fun group, but I think they go a bit over the top with their image.

    I would have thought that most young males, including myself – although I am not that young, would find the hosts of Hi-5 quite attractive and would enjoy watching it if they had children or not. C’mon. They are hotties. And so are the males if you are that way inlined.

    It’s not something that I pay a huge amount of attention to. In reality, I’m quite asexual in terms of attraction to people. But I will agree, they fit the “attractive” image…I wonder how attractive they would be without make-up?

    What qualifies gives you to assume that Hi-5 does help a “preschooler learn and develop” And how does Humphrey if he “is a perpetual four year old”

    I’ll assume that you’re not mixing my words around again, and you are in fact asking me why I think Hi-5 DOESN’T help a pre-schooler learn and develop.

    Educational material can generally be described on a scale ranging from purely educational (and generally boring), to purely fun (and barely educational), the scale has to be matched to the target demographic, but I think you get the idea. For the purposes of this, I’ll make it a 0-10 scale, with purely fun being 0, and purely educational being 10.

    I see Hi-5 being more towards the fun end of the spectrum, probably around the 2-2.5 mark. I’m not denying it has some educational merit, but it’s more of a fun thing than anything else. I’m certainly not trying to get it thrown off the air, it has its place.

    Humphrey is closer to the 3.5-4 mark. Being a perpetual four year old means that the target demographic can easily relate to him (even if they don’t realise it), and as he sees the world in the same way they do (just with some “editorial direction” for lack of a better term), it’s easier for him to teach things like, for instance, crossing the road safely…not that I would rely on a television program to do that, but it helps to reinforce the message.

    I think it’s important to note that anything above about 5 on the scale is going to struggle to hold the attention of a preschooler for more than a few minutes…hence the reason for the really big pictures in books aimed at preschoolers. The text of most of those books would probably rank a seven or eight, but the pictures help to bring it back.

    I hope you respond, because while I can understand someone of an adult age wanting Humphrey on Tv if they have young children, I don’t think you have any idea what you are talking about with this editorial.

    Well there you have it…a response…and I’ll finish it off with this, I don’t want the nation to lose Hi-5, nor do I want the nation to lose Humphrey. It is up to parents to decide what their children watch, and choice is a good thing…I would like to see that choice maintained and strengthened, as the longer Humphrey is only shown as repeats, the less relevant the show becomes, and the less of a viable choice it becomes.

    If it were my household and my children, Hi-5 would not be appearing on the screen (except at Carols By Candlelight and other, more incidental appearances, such as a news story). In fact I think I would bring up my children up in a similar way to the way I was brought up…minimal contact with popular culture. I’m certain that many other parents would be aghast at the thought of such a thing, but I would rather that my children grow up to be a result of their own minds, and not that of collective popular culture. I would have no problem with them voluntarily increasing their exposure to popular culture as they get older if that is their wish, but I’m not going to force it on them.

    Samuel

  • 7. David-H-Eastwood  |  January 28th, 2007 at 9:25 am

    As a matter of interest, the ‘B’ in Humphrey B. Bear stands for Bogart. (not to be confused with the word ‘bogan’ ).

  • 8. Samuel  |  January 28th, 2007 at 11:47 am

    Actually not true, the B stands for Bear. Humphrey was originally named Bear Bear, and was named Humphrey by virtue of an on-air competition. See the Humphrey history page for more details.

  • 9. John B1_B5  |  January 28th, 2007 at 1:26 pm

    Bear Bear ?
    Hmmmm ……. overtones of “Bootros Bootros” .

  • 10. Bearded Clam  |  January 28th, 2007 at 11:17 pm

    Where on earth did you get “Educational material can generally be described on a scale ranging from purely educational (and generally boring), to purely fun (and barely educational)”?

    Good material can be fun and purely educational. Fun and education arent mutually exclusive concepts. Maybe educators in Canberra are a little different from where I grew up.

    And, speaking as someone who has several years in the field of early childhood development, kids get much moe from hi-5 than Humphrey. Kids arent thick. They learn so much more from watching real people than a mute bear.

  • 11. Samuel  |  January 28th, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    My observations Bearded Clam…and I don’t think you understand the scale properly.

    For example, if I were teaching maths to preschoolers and started writing on the blackboard “1+1=2, 2+2=4, 3+3=6” etc, and explained it as dryly as I was writing it, I would be ranking somewhere around the 10 mark.

    If instead I explained it in terms of bowls of porridge in the three bears’ house, and had a story to go with it, we would probably be looking at about a 4 or 5.

    The latter teaches exactly the same thing as the former, but in a more interesting and engaging way. The material being taught is not the sole influence on the “pure education” status.

    Why do you think Humphrey has multiple speaking human assistants? Of course kids learn from people, but the notion of a funny bear with a personality (regardless of whether they comprehend it) is engaging to a preschooler.

    Everyone has their own opinion on this topic, and I’m not disputing that you, as someone with “several years in the field of early childhood development”, have plenty of knowledge to share on the matter…but I learnt a long time ago from listening to and analysing the nonsense of child psychologist Dr. John Irvine that just because an “expert” says something, doesn’t make it correct.

  • 12. Craig-Dubious  |  January 29th, 2007 at 12:15 am

    “a funny bear with a personality” .

    Try – ‘A funny bear with a personality disorder’.

  • 13. Samuel  |  January 29th, 2007 at 12:18 am

    And how exactly do you come to that conclusion Craig?

  • 14. davky  |  January 29th, 2007 at 7:00 am

    I grew up on HBB and Fat Cat and I just adore Patsy Biscoe – she was (and still is) my musical hero.

    Having said this, I can also appreciate Hi 5. They ARE sexy. (I quite fancy the red head.) But they also treat kids in a non-patronising way, which is unique for kids shows. I think this is good as it instills a little bit of responsibility in kids – something that I feel is too often taken away.

  • 15. Craig-Dubious  |  January 29th, 2007 at 7:31 am

    Ask me no questions and I’ll tell you no lies.

  • 16. Bearded Clam  |  January 29th, 2007 at 12:10 pm

    Sam, did you not type this?

    “Educational material can generally be described on a scale ranging from purely educational (and generally boring), to purely fun (and barely educational)”

    …which suggests “pure” education cannot be fun? And conversely, you also wrote that “pure” fun is not very educational.

    Just taking your words at face value here, Sam. I think I see what you were trying to say. The use of a two-ended scale isnt the right way to measure usefulness of education / materials. Maybe a two-by-two grid with 4 classifications: educational and fun, educational and not fun, fun but not educational, neither fun nor educational.

    Lets talk finger-painting. The kids I work with freaking love it. its the highlight of their week to do finger painting on a big-ass sheet of butcher paper. We get the kids to practice writing their ABCs and their names. According to your words, as this is “pure” fun, it cant therefore be educational at the same time? Whereas I would describe it as both educational AND fun.

    And have you actually sat with a four-year old and looked at how “engaged” they actually are with Humphrey? Of course there are many factors contributing to their engagement level, but generally, my kids are more engaged by hi-5 (and even more
    by the Wiggles) than the likes of Humphrey and Barney.

    And again, could you provide me with some examples of “semi-teen behaviour”?

    Sorry for the long post, but this is something I believe very strongly in.


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