The Bear That Wasn’t (film #18 on Disc #3 of Looney Tunes Golden Collection, Vol. 3 DVD (Warner Bros., 2005)). [Category: Hollywood]

Charming 60s cartoon made by Chuck Jones and Frank Tashlin at MGM about a bear out of water, so to speak. A bear wakes up from hibernation only to find his forest has been chopped down and plowed over and made into a factory, Worse, the plant foreman refuses to believe he’s not a bear, thinking he’s just a recalcitrant employee in a fur coat. He takes the bear up the chain of command and each boss refuses to believe he’s a bear. The bear finally gives in to all this pressure when they show him some bears in a zoo, and they refuse to believe he’s a bear because he’s on the other side of the bars. This cartoon has a highly interesting and rather surprising theme of how groupthink does not necessarily equal truth. Considering it was made by a big company, it’s surprising the project saw the light of day. The story is charmingly animated in the sparse 60s style. What Jones and Tashlin were doing at MGM, I don’t know, but this is a great little rarity nonetheless.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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