Thursday, November 09, 2006

give a hoot

*So, I set out to do a retro piece on Woodsy the Owl. His, "give a hoot don't pollute" campaign is one that everyone is familiar with-he's cute and this was the basis for this post. Until I kept reading, and finding more information about the true origin of the bear-that it wasn't originally Harry Rossoll who created it--but it was the War Ad Council not the Forest Service. Below is an exerpt taken from Hart Williams Blog.

"In 1937 President Roosevelt kicked off a national campaign to reduce the number of fires caused by people. With approximately forty million acres lost to fire each year across the nation, this campaign featured Uncle Sam as a forest ranger. The message spoke to human element of fire, emphasizing peopleÂ’s responsibility in protecting the forest. The message- “Your Forests Your Fault Your Loss- was a powerful message for the public.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor during WWII, the Japanese also attacked an oil field near the Los Padros National Forest in California. With so many men in the military and only a skeleton staff of firefighters remaining, the potential for wild fires struck terror across the country. Americans feared that a fire could destroy our forest resources when wood products were greatly needed for the war effort. As the prevention of wild fires came into focus, the Wartime Advertising Council developed fire prevention posters with slogans such as, "Forest Fires Aid the Enemy," and Careless Matches Aid the Axis.
In 1944, Walt Disney released the movie “Bambi,” and allowed the Forest Service to use the deer on their campaign posters for one year. This proved effective and showed that a forest animal helped get the message across. The Forest Service decided to continue using an animal and chose a bear for their fire safety mascot.
The Forest Service chose the name to be Smokey Bear, after Smokey” Joe Martin, who had been the Assistant Chief of the New York City Fire Department. On August 9, 1944, the first poster of Smokey Bear was produced, drawn by Albert Staehle.
And, as noted, they came up with Smokey in 1944, the alleged brainchild of one illustrator, Rudolph Wendelin, who, though rumored for years to have been a Disney cartoonist (thus, garbling the whole Bambi-to-Smokey PR transition by the War Council) was a forest service artist.
Artist Rudolph Wendelin helped conceive and draw the U.S. Forest Service mascot and spokesman "Smokey The Bear" for 40 years. Mr. Wendelin took "Smokey" from bear cub to animated protector of U.S. Forests.
Wendelin began his career in 1933 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the U.S. Forest Service as a draftsman and illustrator. He transferred to the Washington D.C. office in 1937. Serving in the Navy during WWII, he rejoined the USFS again as illustrator back in D.C., helping launch the Smokey Bear project and painting Smokey in hundreds of situations that highlighted natural resources conservation and the prevention of forest fires.
Then, having proven that cartoon characters (Bambi) could be effective, and having generated their own (Smokey), the propaganda flacks seized on a bear cub in New Mexico."

*This is where the War Advertising Council became the Ad Council. This is when they did find a bear cub who was hurt in a fire in New Mexico-and where the campaign changed slightly and had a true animal hero survivor. This leaves me wondering why hasn't Bush created an animated hero for his efforts in the Iraq war? Something like, excess oil aids the enemy..he could have had his War Ad Council staff draw up some poor 'Oily the Bird' in an oil spill and why the US should steward all oil to prevent further animal misfortune. It could have been the greatest ad campaign/propaganda the world has ever seen...what a missed opportunity for the Republican party. Damn, I HATE bad news, I just wanted to post a cute little owl. At least it was morphed into benevolent ends in the end and not just for a continued war effort. Anyway, here is the current Smokey Bear incarnation. Where the hell is Woodsy? He was the whole point of this post.

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Anonymous wes said...

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12:00 PM  

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