Care Bears

Care Bears

author unknown

In 1983 the Care Bears danced their way into our hearts and arms through television and cuddly toys still being made and re-envisioned today. The bears were introduced by artist Elena Kucharik in 1981 for a greeting card line for the “Those Characters from Cleveland” division of American Greetings (which also produced Strawberry Shortcake, the Get-Along Gang, Herself the Elf, Lady Lovely Locks, Madballs, My Pet Monster, Holly Hobby, and the Popples). They sprang to life on TV first under DiC and later Nelvana and were manufactured as toys by Kenner, books by Parker Brothers and comics by Marvel Star. Amongst various sizes of plush toys and a plethora of other merchandise there were also poseable and collectible figures released as well as Butterick patterns to make your own pillow- type bears, which were popular with children’s cartoon characters at the time. The Care Bears kept on going through movies and recordings through Kid Stuff Records.

Kenner re-launched the bears in 1991 with Random House issuing companion books then sold to Play Along Toys in 2002 for another relaunch. American Greetings followed suit in 2005 with 20th anniversary toys and movies. During these years there were several changes to the characters and in 2007 for the 25th anniversary relaunch new bears were added to the lineup and a new tv series followed. The new tv series was changed significantly from the 80s incarnation and shortly thereafter in 2008 American Greetings tried selling the rights to the Bears but pulled out when a legal battle with the proposed buyer ensued. The toy rights changed hands from Play Along to Hasbro  in 2009 with new toys following in 2013. Hasbro lost toy rights in 2014 to Just Play who currently manufacture the Care Bears toys. The latest show, Care Bears and Cousins aired on Netflix in 2015. 

Care Bear Cubs commercial courtesy tracy80sgirl

The idea around the Care Bears goes like this: a tribe of rainbow-hued bears live in the clouds in a kingdom called Care-a-Lot (they have animal cousins who live on earth in the Forest of Feelings). The job of these bears is to make sure the world cares and they monitor the caring around the globe on their Caring Meter in Care-A-Lot’s town square. When the Meter dips it alerts them that people are letting darkness creep into their hearts as they give themselves over to selfishness, greed and unkindness. To help fight this, each bear is able to enact the “care bear stare” which is concentrating the power of their unique tummy symbol into a powerful ray of light that can infuse its target with  love and caring. Just like the Care Bears are always trying to bring love and caring into the world, their enemies are tirelessly working to bring the opposite about. Their Cousins on earth also have tummy symbols but enact the “Cousins call” which is combining their respective animal voices into one big sound rather than using the stare because the when the Care Bears discovered they had cousins, they gave the animals their tummy symbols.

A characters powerhouse for American Greetings, Care Bears are still considered one of the greatest merchandising lines to come out of the 80s with an estimated $2 billion in sales during that decade. On this page we are only going to focus on plush and playset/ figures as the list is nearly endless! For a great source of other merchandising photos you may want to check out Jan Lindenberger’s Care Bears Collectibles, 2007. 

 

Care Bears full character list click here.
For TV episodes and movie click here.
For Books and other media click here.

Kenner Plush Bears – all have a forelock, tummy symbol and a heart “tush tag”

36″
Tenderheart Bear
Cheer Bear
Wish Bear

18″
Bedtime Bear
Birthday Bear
Cheer Bear
Good Luck Bear
Love-A-Lot Bear
Tenderheart Bear
Wish Bear

13″ “Standard Sized”- this was the most common size of bear
Bedtime Bear
Birthday Bear
Cheer Bear – also was issued in a satin version which resembled a Fisher Price Puffalump doll
Friend Bear
Funshine Bear
Good Luck Bear w/ winking eye
Grumpy Bear
Love-A-Lot Bear
Tenderheart Bear
Wish Bear (and star friend Twinkers)
Grams Bear (14″) w/ pink shawl
Baby Hugs Bear w/ cloth diaper
Baby Tugs Bear w/ cloth diaper
Champ Bear
Share Bear
Secret Bear**
(UK) I Love You Bear
(UK) Harmony Bear (w/ musical note tummy symbol)
(UK) True Heart Bear
(UK) Daydream Bear
(UK) Sea Friend Bear
(UK) Forest Friend Bear
(UK) Surprise Bear

My first Love-A-Lot Bear, 13″

**Secret Bear said the following phrases when his string was pulled:
“I’m Secret Bear.”
“I promise I won’t tell.”
“Who’s your favourite Care Bear?”
“Do you have a secret?”
“You can tell me anything.”
“You’re my secret friend.”

Care Bear Cousins
Lotsa Heart Elephant
Swift Heart Rabbit
Bright Heart Raccoon
Brave Heart Lion
Gentle Heart Lamb
Cozy Heart Penguin
(UK) Loyal Heart Dog
(UK) Playful Heart Monkey
(UK) Proud Heart Cat
(UK) Treat Heart Pig *extremely rare
(UK) Noble Heart Horse

11″
Care Bear Cubs
(had molded, velour-covered faces and plush bodies with forelocks, came with a flower-shaped bottle, and cloth bonnet, sweater or booties)
Bedtime Bear Cub
Cheer Bear Cub
Funshine Bear Cub
Share Bear Cub
L’il Proud Heart Cat Cub
L’il Swift Heart Rabbit Cub
L’il Bright Heart Raccoon Cub

My First Care Bear (Kenner Nursery plush crib attachment)
Pink Bear w/ heart tummy symbol
Blue Bear w/ heart tummy symbol

6″ Mini Care Bears
Grumpy Bear
Good Luck Bear
Funshine Bear
Champ Bear
Share Bear
Cheer Bear
Friend Bear
Birthday Bear
Love-A-Lot Bear
Bedtime bear
Wish Bear
Tenderheart Bear
(UK) Daydream Bear
(UK) Forest Friend Bear
(UK) Harmony Bear (music notes symbol)
(UK) Sea Friend Bear
(UK) Surprise Bear
(UK) Trueheart Bear

I love them all!

1991 New Issues(Bears had brighter fur, smaller, more rounded faces with large tufts of hair and bigger eyes, coloured paw hearts and redesigned tummy symbols)
Bedtime Bear
Tenderheart Bear
Tree Planting Bear
4th of July Bear / Proud Heart Bear
Love-a-Lot Bear
Cheer Bear
Share Bear
Precious Heart Bear 1992 Kenner Toy Fair catalogue. Had a star key attached to the paw that opened her tummy symbol to reveal a space inside to keep treasures and a mirror that reflected the most important person to Precious Heart- you!

Special Issues

Prize Bear – Runner up prize to a contest in 1985 with Women’s Day Magazine for children to write an essay on “How you show that you care.” Tummy symbol featured Tenderheart and Brave Heart lion holding a shield. There were prize bears made with either Cheer Bear, Tenderheart or Bedtime Bear’s bodies, 7 known to exist.

20th Anniversary Collector’s Editions (Play-Along Toys, Carlton Cards, Nanco 8″ beanies, 10″, 12″, 13″, 14″, 20″, 28″)
A ton of these bears were released in multiple size and special editions from multple nmanufacturers!

Funshine Bear (8″, 8″ talking edition, “Hugger” bear, 19″ Easter Bunny edition, 13″ Santa edition)
Tenderheart Bear (8″, 13″ Santa edition, 28″)
Daydream Bear
Bedtime Bear (10″, 12″, 13″, I Can Talk edition)
Grams Bear
Cheer Bear (10″, 12″, 13″, 20″ Easter edition)
Champ Bear (10″, 12″)
Good Luck Bear (8″, 10″, 13″)
Birthday Bear (5″ keychain, 10″, 13″)
Share Bear (Milkshake tummy symbol, 8″, 14″, 16″)
True Heart Bar (9″, 12″, hat and mittens)
Friend Bear (8″, 15″)
Wish Be

Cozy Heart Penguin

ar (8″, 8″ talking edition, 12″)
Secret Bear (12″, 13″)
America Cares Bear (8″, 10″, 12″, 16″)
Grumpy (10″, 13″)
Bedtime/ Wish (Cuddle Pairs edition)
Love-A-Lot (8″, 10″, 12″, Sing-Along edition 12″)
Harmony Bear (13″ 3-hearts tummy symbol)
Proud Heart Cat (8″)
Lotsa Heart Elephant (8″, 8″ Easter Edition)
Cozy Heart Penguin (8″)
Gentle Heart Lamb (8″)
Brave Heart Lion (12″)
Bright Heart Raccoon (12″)
Loyal Heart Dog (8″, 12″)
Swift Heart Rabbit (8″)
Playful Heart Monkey (8″)
Baby Tugs (10″)

25th Anniversary (“Silver anniversary” editions featured Swarovski crystals in eyes, silver noses, silver paw hearts and silver detailing around the tummy symbols with coloured fur)
Tenderheart Bear (all-white/ silver edition, came boxed with or without a DVD of the first CB movie)
Tenderheart Bear (All white/ silver edition w/ red tummy symbol, came boxed with 4 DVD set)
Tenderheart Bear (Heart of Gold Bear, coloured fur, gold tummy symbol, boxed w/ DVD)
Tenderheart Bear (Heart of Gold Bear, white fur, gold tummy symbol, boxed w/ CB Battle the Freeze Machine)
Funshine Bear
Grumpy Bear
Cheer Bear
Love-A-Lot Bear (with or without DVD of The Land with No Feelings)
Bedtime Bear
Share Bear
7″ Bear set (Cheer Bear, White fur Tenderheart Bear, Bedtime Bear boxed w/ CB Battle the Freeze Machine DVD)

35th Anniversary

25th Anniversary DVD

Rainbow Heart Bear (13″, boxed w/ commemorative certificate of authenticity. Ran concurrent with the Create My Care Bear contest for kids to design a new bear)
Pink Power Bear (Pink ribbon for Breast Cancer tummy symbol)

Prototype Toys  Prototypes are early physical mockups of what will become the finished toy manufactured. These are often similar in design and size to what makes it to the shelf but can have differing colours, textures, etc to the final product and are very valuable to collectors because of their uniqueness. Listed below are known Kenner prototypes from private collections. 

Plush
Treat Heart Pig – pink, no symbol on tummy
Treat Heart Pig – blue, no symbol on tummy

Poseable 1st shots  3″ , many of these wonderful rare items are owned by PoseablesParadise.com where you can view detailed photos of them. 1st shots are toys made to test out the molds to be used on finished toys. 

Grumpy Bear  fully coloured, 1 piece, no arms/ legs/ copyright info
Love-A-Lot Bear fully coloured, 1 piece, no arms/legs/copyright info
Grams Bear’s basket unpainted
Funshine Bear’s net unpainted
Unamed Bear pink blank body, yellow arms
Unnamed Cub Bear light brown blank body w/ pink limbs, possibly Wish Bear’s head mold w/ 2 rights arms and 2 left legs
Hardcopy Prototype for Wish? Bear dark brown blank body, slightly larger than 3″ finished product.
White poseable boxes initial mock up boxes w/ feed back cards containing final product notes.
Proud Heart Cat w/ True Blue Ribbon 1986, fully coloured, unreleased
Treat Heart Pig w/ Sweet Surprise 1986, fully coloured, unreleased
Playful Heart Monkey w/ Merry Music Maker 1986, fully coloured, unreleased
Loyal Heart ZDog w/ Waggin’ Flag 1986, fully coloured, unreleased
Lotsa Heart 1st shot no markings, no heart tush tag
Gentle Heart Lamb lighter shade of green, slightly rounder in belly, larger eyes
Brave Heart Lion 3″ not confirmed if this is a true prototype
Brave Heart Lion miniature resin, hand-painted Brave Heart holding candy box
Share Bear miniature resin, hand-painted Share Bear holding candy heart, missing left arm.
Cheer Bear miniature resin, hand painted Cheer Bear holding megaphone
Champ Bear miniature resin, hand painted Champ Bear with foot on a ball, missing right arm.
Cozy Heart Penguin miniature resin, hand painted Cozy Heart with ice skates
Baby Tugs Bear miniature resin, hand painted Baby Tugs kneeling with baby blocks
Lotsa Heart Elephant miniature resin, hand painted Lotsa holding hand weights
Baby Hugs miniature resin, hand painted Baby Tugs holding green paper dolls
Bright Heart Raccoon miniature resin, handpainted Bright Heart kneeling on book, holding unpainted candle

Other International Issues

Angelorso“Angel Bears” produced by Vir in Spain and Italy. They are boxed plush bears with a similar “A” on the tummy as the Argentina angel bears. Their bodies and ears are coloured with a white head and all have half-lidded eyes that gives them a “sleepy” look. They also have wings attached to the back and rainbow striped tails.
Yellos Bear
Blue Bear
Pink Bear
Orange Bear
Green Bear
Red Bear

Baby Angelorso Had the word Baby written underneath the tummy symbol.
Pink Baby
Red Baby
Blue Baby

Angelorso Counsins : Los Superamigos de Angeloso Like Care Bears, these bears also had winged animal cousins with “A” tummy symbols issued in plush who came boxed with a cassette tape and accessory. These alsohad rainbow striped tails.
Yellow Dog w/ Magnifying glass
Green Rabbit w/ Shoulder bag
Red Cat w/ Hobo stick
Orange Cat
Blue Lamb(?)
Rainbow Dog (tan body w/ red ears and rainbow blanket, stands on all fours unlike other cousins)
Brown Mouse (?)

Angelorso Friends: Epoca de Angeloso Simple animal dolls with rainbow striped bodies, no tummy symbols.
Green Elephant
Blue Dog
Orange Rabbit

 

Figures and playsets

1st series poseable figures (bears had curl of hair on forehead, no accessories, 3″ high)
Tenderheart Bear
Cheer Bear
Grumpy Bear
Friend Bear
Love-A-Lot Bear
Wish Bear
Funshine Bear
Good Luck Bear
Baby Hugs
Baby Tugs
Grams Bear
Professor Cold Heart with hat
Cloudkeeper with pushbroom

2nd series poseable figures (3″ bears had curl of hair on forehead, were carded with accessories)

Lotsa Heart lephant

Good Luck Bear w/ clover leaf shovel
Friend Bear with watering can
Baby Hugs bear with Sweet Lickity Lollipop
Baby Tugs Bear w/ Big Diggity Bucket
Grumpy Bear with folded umbrella
Bedtime Bear w/ Snooze Alarm
Birthday Bear w/ Happy Birthday banner
Cheer Bear w/ Merry Megaphone
Friend Bear w/ Friendly Sparkler
Funshine Bear w/ Suncatcher
Love-A-Lot Bear w/ bouquet of hearts
Tenderheart Bear w/ Caring heart mirror

Cousins
Bright Heart Raccoon w/ Clever Candle
Brave Heart Lion w/ Trusty Shield
Cozy Heart Penguin w/ N’ice Skates
Gentle Heart Lamb w/ Peek-a-Boo Bell
Lotsa Heart Elephant w/ Mighty Trunk
Swift Heart Rabbit w/ Speedy Skateboard

Miniature Care Bears figures 2″ 48 figures

International Poseables

Spain/ Italy
Tantemosse Angelorso Bears by Luca and Vir, 4″ tall w/ accessory
Yellow bear w/ trumpet
Orange bear w/ ice cream
Pink bear w/ pillow
Blue Bear w/ candle

Angelorso PVC Miniatures. Multiple colours of bears were made in the same poses.
Bear w/ bow and heart with arrow
Bear w/ egg basket
Bear w/ butterfly
Bear w/ violin
Bear w/ honeypot

Argentina
Angel Oso (Angel Bears) These were produced by Fun City in 1991 using Kenner molds and boxes may have both Fun City and the previous maker of Angelorso Bears Vir on them.
Deportistas (Sporty Bear/0
Goloso (Sweet Tooth Bear)
Dormilon (Sleepyhead Bear)
Bromista (Prankster Bear)

France
Pampers Diaper mail order poseables which had the Pampers logo either on their diaper or back of the head.
Baby Hugs Bear
Baby Tugs Bear
Grams Bear

Other figures

PVC plastic figures by ASC, Bears and Cousins 1 3/4″ – 2 2/3″ 1983
Ceramic 3-4″ figures, Bears and Cousins 1980s
Porcelain 2.5″ – up figures 1980s

Playsets

Care-a-Lot playset, Kenner 1983 w/tummy symbol dial
Cloud Mobile vehicle with umbrella, basket and blanket Kenner
Care Bears Rainbow Roller Kenner

Other Merchandise 

Included lines of clothing, household items, clothing for bears, roller skates, furntiture and collectible displays to name a tiny few of the items produced during the original Care Bear craze. 

 

 

Sources:
Care Bears Collectibles by Jan Lindenberger
Toonseum
Poseable Paradise

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