Happy Share Your Care day! Oh, have you not heard about this national holiday? I hadn't either, but that's a cool thing about my Daily Doodles, you learn something new on the daily!!
Care Bears™ Share Your Care Day is celebrated annually on September 9. Care Bears are on a mission to spread caring andsharing around the world, and encourage fans to spread caring, sharing, love, friendship, acceptance, fun and happiness to those you love everyday! Share Your Care Day inspires giving and volunteering in significant ways.
For more than 35 years, Care Bears have taught children of all ages about sharing their feelings and caring for others. The Care Bears toy line was initially introduced in 1983 to caring fans everywhere.
At their core, CARE BEARS™ SHARE YOUR CARE DAY have heart and are all about love, caring, and sharing with others. Care Bears also support charities around the world, helping families in need. Through We Care Bears, ZachKapCares, Fathom/en-ABLE, United Way, Operation Smile, and many more they bring hope and caring to others.
With help from a team of Care Bears Ambassadors, Care Bears hope to generate national support for a movement called #ShareYourCare to inspire people toward philanthropic generosity not just on that day, but every day of the year!
Their history is quite the story, and friendly heads up, it's a 5 minute+ read.
Following the success of their first big franchise (Strawberry Shortcake) back in 1979, American Greetings introduced the Care Bear characters in late 1981 through a line of greeting cards. Children’s book illustrator Elena Kucharik did the original artwork for the cards. The line was a joint development by Those Characters from Cleveland, AGC’s licensing division, and MAD (Marketing and Design Service of the toy group of General Mills).
As they had done with Strawberry Shortcake back when it was called “Project I,” AGC called the Care Bears franchise “Project II” as they strove to make the character program secret until advertising was ready. At the start of the franchise, Care Bears was already established as its working title.
After two years and millions of dollars, Care Bears were privately introduced to investors in 1982 and then to the world at the 1983 Toy Fair in New York City, where a Broadway-style play was planned to celebrate the launch. By then, Morry Weiss’ son and current co-CEO, Jeff, was in college at Yeshiva University in New York City and had been working summers at Those Characters From Cleveland. One month later, the bears hit shelves nationwide and the first Care Bears television show aired.
1984 saw the release of another special, The Care Bears Battle the Freeze Machine; a miniseries based on the toys was distributed by Lexington Broadcast Services Company in syndication. A spin-off line, the Care Bear Cousins, was introduced the same year.
In 1985, the Bears and Cousins starred in their first movie, The Care Bears Movie, produced by Nelvana Limited and released by The Samuel Goldwyn Company. It became the highest-grossing animated film made outside the Disney market at the time of its release. Later that autumn, a television series from DIC Entertainment which was co-produced by Nelvana and based on the characters was made, and it ran for 22 episodes in syndication.
The following year, Nelvana completely took over the animation rights for the franchise with a second movie entitled Care Bears Movie II: A New Generation. Released by Columbia Pictures, the film featured a new villain, Dark Heart, and introduced more of the Care Bears and Care Bears Cousins.
Later that fall, The Care Bears TV Series (also from Nelvana) premiered on the ABC network, lasting two seasons and consisting of over 70 episodes. The Bears’ last theatrically-released film, The Care Bears’ Adventure in Wonderland, debuted the following summer. The Care Bears Nutcracker Suite, the last ever Care Bears movie made in the decade (and was the last movie of the franchise right up until 2004), premiered on the Disney Channel in 1988. Originally planned to be a feature film, it was decided to launch the film as a direct-to-TV movie after the previous film flopped at the box office.
As with many other animated franchises of the 1980s, the Care Bears movies and TV shows were designed and created primarily to sell the pre-licensed characters and related merchandise. This has been noticed, more or less, by the franchise’s long-time aficionados, and have also been acknowledged by the writers and producers of the shows and movies. Over 40 million Care Bears were sold between 1983 and 1987, and during the decade, American Greetings printed over 70 million of their cards. In whole, the sales of their merchandise reached over $2 billion during the 1980s. This made them one of the most successful toy lines of its time, alongside “My Little Pony” and “Transformers.”
As the 80s came to an end, the Bears’ popularity faded away. At the start of the 1990s, an attempt to relaunch the phenomenon came in the form of Environmental Care Bears. Only a few select Bears from the 1980s line were used, with some changes (for example, Proud Heart Cat was released as a bear, sporting the symbol of a heart-shaped American flag).
During the late 1990s, another two revivals were attempted, but both failed to match the success of the original toy line. In 1996, retailer ShopKo released only Tenderheart, Cheer, and Bedtime Bears, and during 1999, in an imitation of Beanie Babies, Kenner made six “beanlings” based on Tenderheart, Share, Friend, Cheer, Bedtime, and Good Luck Bears.
The same year the beanlings were made, Jay Foreman, president of current distributor and manufacturer of toys for the franchise, Play Along Toys, bought the rights to the Care Bears franchise for just under $1 million. Three years later, the Bears came out of hibernation to celebrate their 20th anniversary. A big event was planned for that year as Play Along began to roll out the new product lines; thus began a major trend as the toys became popular once again.
In 2002 American Greetings relaunched the Care Bear brand as part of the Bears’ 20th anniversary celebration with a series of dolls, toys and movies. The artwork and design of the bears were changed for relaunch. Also, Funshine Bear’s gender was changed from female to male, Champ Bear’s colors were changed from tan to true blue, with his tummy symbol changed to a winner’s cup with a star, and Share Bear’s tummy symbol was changed from a milkshake with two straws to two lollipops crossed. The change to Share Bear’s symbol stems from Play Along Toys’ suggestion of the change on the grounds that sharing a milkshake may spread germs. Apart from that, many other minor changes were made to the designs, mostly involving lightening the colors of the bears and minor redesigns to the tummy symbols.
In the midst of this revival, Play Along released brand-new toys based on the newly-redesigned Bears, sold at stores such as Wal-Mart, KMart, Toys “R” Us, Target, K•B Toys, and Mervyns. The new merchandise included the Bears doing aerobics; Tenderheart Bear as a patient (casting the child that is playing with the toy as the doctor); Champ Bear as a fireman; and the Care Bears themselves as Cubs. Over 70 million 13-inch plush Bears have been sold since the re-launch. In addition, Lionsgate Home Entertainment and subsidiary FHE Pictures, in association with Nelvana, have made two direct-to-DVD computer-animated films, Care Bears: Journey to Joke-a-lot in 2004 and The Care Bears’ Big Wish Movie. in 2005. Also worth noting is that the role of unofficial leader was apparently temporarily transferred from Tenderheart Bear to Champ Bear shortly before the 2005 movie, and it is unknown if the role was returned to Tenderheart after the movie. Various other music CDs featuring the bears and video games were also produced. No Care Bears movie was produced in 2006, but hints of the second revival and the upcoming movie, Oopsy Does It!, started circulating among fans in the Internet towards the end of 2006.
In 2007, American Greetings relaunched Care Bears again, first with a series of dolls, then a new movie (Care Bears: Oopsy Does It!) and immediately after with a new TV series (Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot). The animation and artwork is completely different than the originals giving the Care Bears have smaller body structures and redesigned tummy symbols (now called belly badges). Also, instead of Nelvana, the film and the animated series are once again produced by DiC. As part of the franchise’s 25th anniversary celebrations, the Bears were redesigned. The series premiered on CBS’ KEWLopolis block on September 15, 2007. The Care Bears universe was also rebooted upon the 2007 relaunch.