The Three Bears


The Three Bears are fun characters to work with but hard characters to draw, because their form reflects their character in a way that Bugs’s or Daffy’s form does not. Papa Bear has to be ready to explode, and sometimes he does. Mama Bear must look like a slattern, and Junyer appears to be what he is -- an oversized baby.

In their traditional role, the Three Bears are paid, in a way, to go out and be the Three Bears with Goldilocks, but they also have a home life, which is what we encounter in the cartoons. Not only does the bear family contrast with our idea of normality, the three bears are in contrast to each other as well. They are the negative of the ideal American family, a prefiguration by several years of such early dysfunctional-family television sitcoms as All in the Family. There is the small, angry father, the same dowdy mother, and the bid, dumb child.

My own experience as a father inspired at least one of these cartoons. A Bear for Punishment, in which Baby Bear forces his father to submit to the dubious joys of being pampered on Father’s Day, is based on my own efforts to escape a Father’s Day breakfast of scrambled eggs lovingly prepared for me by my daughter, Linda, when she was about six years old.

The Three Bears appear in:

  • Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears
  • What's Brewin' Bruin?
  • Bee-deviled Bruin, The
  • Bear Feat
  • A Bear for Punishment