🔮 A Random Thought ~
The Knickerbocker Doll & Toy Company was founded in New York city in 1925 by Leo L. Weiss. The company made what today we call plush toys. Then they were simply stuffed animals. In 1983 the company was sold to Hasbro. Consequently the items made between 1925 to 1983 are now considered collectors items. No longer simple stuffed toys.
In 1955 Knickerbocker began making a teddy bear they called the Pouting Bear. It was 10″ tall, brown, with a brown and white striped cloth tummy, plush stuffed, and had a plastic pouting face with closed eyes.
When I was a kid, this pouting bear was my “security blanket”. Beary was his name and I went everywhere with him. Or he went everywhere with me. On vacations, to the store, it didn’t matter where I was or where we were going, Beary was right there with me.
At some point when I was around 10, my Mom worried I’d lose him and then what would we do? I heard her talk about it with my GodMother Elizabeth and her concern became my worry. That summer we took a trip to Myrtle Beach to visit my Uncle who was stationed at the Air Force Base there. My Mom being your average busy body made mention to him about her concern. He picked up my bear and began examining him and that’s when I walked in from the beach with my older sisters.
I must have had a look of great concern on my face, because he immediately said “Don’t worry, I’m looking for his birth certificate”. What a great thing to think of in a moments notice to put a kid at ease. He asked me to grab the magnifying glass and help him find it. What he was looking for was the product tag. Beary had been washed so many times that the words were quite faded, but he was able to use a flash light, the magnifying glass and write down not only the company, but a city and state location.
With that information, Mom got on the phone and called information who transferred her call to long distance information, who transferred the call to New York City. And that’s why I remember this event. My country Mom was so excited to talk to an operator in New York City that her reaction seriously cracked us all up!
With the information we needed in hand, we wrote a letter to Knickerbocker asking where we could find the Pouting Bear, because he wasn’t in stores any longer. And by “we” I mean me. Mom supervised of course, but I was the one who wrote the letter. Weeks went by and I thought they’d never reply to my letter. I nearly forgot about writing them when months later my Mom presented me with a response from Knickerbocker Toys!
The company let us know that they still made the Pouty Bear here in the 1970s and gave us a list of stores in our area that carried them. But they let us know that he had gone through some changes. Namely he had a new furry tummy.
I was excited to get the letter, but school was back in full swing and I had homework. I left the letter with Mom and I went off to my room. Yeah I was 10, this really was as exciting to me as it was to Mom. But that’s what Mom’s do. I know, I’m a Mom now and I get how she felt.
A couple of weeks later my Uncle came up to Virginia for Thanksgiving. I really like my Uncle Robert, so I was glad he was visiting. We all sat in the den and watched football while my Mom and one of my sisters made turkey dinner. Knowing my Mom, she would have waited until half time to spring a surprise on us. She entered the room and announced “I have something for you” and from behind her back she presented two new Knickerbocker Pouty Bears with a gold furry tummy. One for me and one for Uncle Robert. I named my new guy, Bearzy. Yeah I was real unique, I know.
The next summer we once again drove down to Myrtle Beach for summer vacation. Uncle Robert’s house was only two blocks from the beach so it was an easy and cheap vacation. Who doesn’t love that?!
When we arrived however Uncle Robert wasn’t home and wasn’t going to be home for several hours. My Mom and my sisters began looking for ways to get in. Yeah, my Mom was seriously nuts sometimes. But they were able to break into a back window. Only problem was, I was the only one small enough to crawl through.
As they were lifting me through the opening, my Mom says “I sure hope he’s still here and didn’t move closer to the base. Or we’re breaking into someone else’s house.” Well Geez MOM, thanks for that bit of fear as I’m halfway through the window and about to fall on the bed. Thankfully I noticed his pouty bear, sitting between the pillows of his very neatly military made up bed. Mom wouldn’t be going to jail this time.
Once inside I went through the house and unlocked the front door. Mom, being Mom was waiting there, holding my two bears and handing them to me with a smile.
I have discovered there was a third version of the Pouty bear, but there seems to be some confusion concerning his run. He was all brown with no distinguishable different tummy.
With the advent of the internet I’ve been able to look around and locate some Knickerbocker history, but what’s available is a little lacking when it comes to certain product runs. There’s one place that says this third version was the first Pouty Bear. But another says it was a run that began after 1976. So I’m not sure as I can’t verify either version I found.
I still have Beary and Bearzy. They sit on a shelf in our bedroom. Next to my Build A Bear collection!
If you’re a Knickerbocker Pouty Bear collector and you have some knowledge about their history, I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment on this post and let me know. I’d greatly appreciate it!