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The Bear That Wasn't (1967)

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A bear wakes out of hibernation in the middle of a human society that blindly refuses to recognize him as an animal.


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Title: The Bear That Wasn't (1967)

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Complete credited cast:
Paul Frees ...
Narrator (voice)


The Bear That Wasn't is a ten minute animated short about a bear that settles down for his long winter nap. While he is asleep the progress of man continues. He wakes up to find himself in the middle of an industrial complex. He then gets confused by the foreman as a worker and is told to work. To this he responds, "but I'm not a man, I'm a Bear." He is taken to each of his successive bosses, who try to convince him that he is just a very hairy man that needs a shave... Written by <>

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Release Date:

31 December 1967 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Bjørn eller ikke bjørn  »

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Did You Know?


This was MGM's last theatrical animated short. MGM's animation focused on television after this title was released. See more »


Featured in Zomergasten: Episode #16.3 (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderfully dated, beautiful lost cartoon of the '60s
4 October 2008 | by (Minneapolis, USA) – See all my reviews

Ever wonder how the psychedelic, existential mindset of the 60s transferred itself to the next generation? Well, this cartoon is your answer. Starting with the existential title "The Bear that Wasn't", kids and viewers of all ages are taken on a mind trip where self-identity conflicts with social identity, and modern-day bureaucracy and hierarchy are satirized and exposed. All of this is done through some of the most beautiful and artistic animation of Chuck Jones, with its use of autumnal colors, shapes, shadows and outlines, all set to a Sergio Mendes-esquire mid-late 60s jazzy score, with its own psychedelic overtones. Not to mention the unusual length of this 'cartoon'--10 minutes. There all other tasty little tidbits of that time period too -- the Bear has a cigarette hanging out of his mouth for most of the cartoon while he is bewildered at what is happening to him.

To think that little kids might have been zoned in to this in front of the TV on Saturday morning, while eating their breakfast cereal. What could they possibly be thinking after watching this? They say the 1960s counter culture was largely influenced by the fact that college campus theaters would show European new wave films, and so here were all these college kids innocently going to the campus theater, just cause it was there, yet being exposed to these radically artsy subversive films. This helped sow the seeds of a counterculture and the era which brought the widest and most pervasive critique of the society and everything about it, its values, norms, etc.

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