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Help!...It’s the Hair Bear Bunch! is an American animated television series, produced by Hanna-Barbera, which originally aired for one season on CBS from September 11, 1971, to January 8, 1972. Daws Butler, Paul Winchell and William Callaway voice the three bears that comprise the Hair Bear Bunch, while John Stephenson and Joe E. Ross voice Mr. Peevly and Botch, respectively, the two individuals who patrol the zoo in which the bears live. The series' producer was Charles A. Nichols, with William Hanna and Joseph Barbera directing, and Hoyt Curtin serving as the composer.

A 13-issue comic book series was created by Gold Key Comics and began distribution in November 1971. Many television critics compared the premise of the show to other Hanna-Barbera productions, such as Top Cat and Yogi Bear. While in syndication, the series aired on multiple television networks in the United States, including Boomerang, Cartoon Network, and the USA Network. In total, Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch! contained sixteen 30 minute-long episodes. It has also been released digitally to the Google Play Store and iTunes Store and physically on DVD as part of Warner Bros.' Archive Collection on a four-disc set.

Plot

The series follows the Hair Bear Bunch, a group of three bear cousins who live at the local Wonderland Zoo. They also serve as the "wacky heroes" of the show. The three bears would occasionally escape their luxurious cage to ride on their "invisible motorcycles"; however, they would always return to the cage before Mr. Peevly or Lionel Botch were able to catch them. The bears had several motives for pranking and fooling Mr. Peevly and Mr. Botch, including trying to "improve their living conditions" and wanting to "embark on get-rich-quick schemes". The bears also wore clothes; according to author Christoper P. Lehman, Hanna-Barbera "dressed the bears in counterculture apparel" in order to stay on track with the "mainstream" fashion in the United States.

Characters

The series features the following five main characters throughout its run:

  • Daws Butler as Hair Bear, the afro-wearing leader of the Hair Bear Bunch. While developing a voice for Hair Bear, Butler "approximated his voice" to that of Phil Silvers as Sergeant Bilko in CBS's The Phil Silvers Show (1955–1959).
  • Paul Winchell as Bubi Bear, the "more level-headed confederate" to Hair Bear.
  • Bill Callaway as Square Bear, the most idiotic and "dimwitted" of the three bears. His personality has also been described as "dopey" and "laid-back".
  • John Stephenson as Mr. Peevly, the irritable, frustrated and authoritarian zookeeper at Wonderland Zoo who the three bears constantly try to outsmart.
  • Joe E. Ross as Lionel Botch, the "harebrained assistant" to Mr. Peevly. He is constantly completing work for Mr. Peevly, despite him putting Lionel "in dangerous situations for selfish reasons".
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