The Three Bears
Looney Tunes character
The Three Bears as seen in What's Brewin', Bruin?
First appearanceBugs Bunny and the Three Bears (1944)
Created byChuck Jones
Voiced byHenry Bear:
Mel Blanc (1944–1949)
Billy Bletcher (1948–1951)
Frank Welker (1990–1991)
Jeff Bergman (1991)
Ed Asner (1993)
Will Ryan (2003)
Maurice LaMarche (2013)
Andrew Dickman (2023)
Fred Tatasciore (2023–present)
Harrietta Bear:
Bea Benaderet (1944–1951)
Mel Blanc (1948)
Tress MacNeille (1990–1991)
June Foray (1991)
Joe Alaskey (2003)
Grey DeLisle (2013)
Candi Milo (2023)
Stephanie Southerland (2023–present)
Junior Bear:
Kent Rogers (1944)
Stan Freberg (1948–2003)
Joe Alaskey (2005)
John DiMaggio (2013)
Stephen Stanton (2023)
Ben Diskin (2023–present)
In-universe information
SpeciesGrizzly bears
GenderMale (Papa and Junior)
Female (Mama)

The Three Bears are animated cartoon characters in the Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies series of cartoons. The dysfunctional family consists of Henry "Papa" Bear, Mama Bear, and Junior Bear (sometimes spelled Junyer or Joonyer).[1] The characters were featured in five theatrical cartoons released between 1944 and 1951, based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears.[2]



First theatrical film

Animator Chuck Jones introduced the trio in the 1944 cartoon Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears, in which Bugs Bunny invades the home of the three bears, and Mama Bear takes a fancy to him.[3] In the short, Papa Bear tries to feed his starving family by having them act out their roles in the traditional fairy tale from which they derive their name. Unfortunately for them, when they were out of porridge, Mama substitutes carrot soup for it, and the "Goldilocks" they lure turns out to be Bugs. Purcell and Liepien, in Parallel Curriculum Units for Social Studies, Grades 6-12, recommended this film as part of the study of the sociological implications of humor;[4] Steven Case, in Toons That Teach, also mines this work for pedagogic value.[5]

Further theatrical appearances

Jones brought back the Bears for his 1948 cartoon What's Brewin', Bruin?, this time without Bugs.[6] Here, Papa Bear decides that it is time for the Bears to hibernate; however, various disturbances interfere.[7] Junior's voice is here supplied by Stan Freberg.[8]

Other Three Bears cartoons included Bee-Deviled Bruin and Bear Feat, both released in 1949.[9] The final Three Bears cartoon of the classic era, A Bear for Punishment (1951), parodies cultural values surrounding the celebration of Father's Day.

Film appearances

The entire Bear Family appears in Looney Tunes: Back in Action movie as tourists from Paris (Papa Bear is voiced by Will Ryan, Mama Bear by Joe Alaskey and Stan Freberg returns as the voice of Junior Bear).

The Three Bears make a cameo appearance in Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas as Daffy's employees.

The Three Bears make a cameo appearance in Space Jam: A New Legacy in Bugs Bunny's flashback alongside other Looney Tunes leaving Tune World.

Television appearances

Ma Bear has a cameo appearance in Season 1 of the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Prom-ise Her Anything", released in 1990, in which she appears as at the ACME Looniversity junior prom as a canteen cook providing refreshments.[10]

The entire Bear Family appeared in "Teddy Bears' Picnic" (Papa Bear voiced by Frank Welker, Mama Bear voiced by Tress MacNeille, and Junior Bear voiced by Stan Freberg), where Elmyra followed them to an all-bear picnic. The running gag featured Papa repeatedly getting injured—either by an angry, tougher father bear also at the picnic, or by Junior. Each time Papa tried to punish Junior by hitting him on the head, Mama Bear hit Papa on the head with a rolled-up newspaper first, eventually leading Papa to hit himself on the head with the paper.

The entire Bear Family appears in a painting on the bedroom wall in the Animaniacs episode "Nighty-Night Toon".

Papa Bear (listed in the credits as Vern) appears in the Animaniacs episode "Garage Sale of the Century" (voiced by Ed Asner) as a bachelor, where he has a garage sale, swindling his customers out of their money, and refusing to give refunds, but the Warners took the expression too literally and wanted to buy his garage. Papa Bear refused to sell his garage, and after the Warners attempted to bargain with him and auction off his garage, he saw through their ruse, but his customers demanded refunds. Papa Bear attempted to lie about donating all of his "profits" to charity, but Wakko used his garage door opener (which he repaired after accidentally breaking it earlier) to expose his money, and his customers (including Batman, Buster Bunny, Babs Bunny, Dizzy Devil), and especially an old woman who he rudely refused her a refund (a penny) and threw into a tree earlier in the episode, got their refunds by force, leaving Papa Bear broke, and so he caved in and sold his garage to the Warners for 26¢ (even though the actual value was $20,000) as it was attached to his house.

The Three Bears appear in The Looney Tunes Show episode "Ridiculous Journey" from its second season (Papa Bear voiced by Maurice LaMarche, Mama Bear voiced by Grey DeLisle and Junior Bear voiced by John DiMaggio). They are seen driving on a vacation trip, with Junior frequently causing mishaps.

The Three Bears star in the Looney Tunes Cartoons episodes "Moody at the Movies" and "Life's a Beach," featuring their ill-fated trips to the theatre and the beach. The Bears also make a cameo appearance in the episode "Happy Birthday Bugs Bunny!"

The Three Bears appear in the Bugs Bunny Builders episode "Honey Bunny". Here, while ill-fated and unlucky as usual, Henry is depicted without his short temper or abusive nature, due to the show being aimed towards preschoolers.

See also


  1. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. pp. 261–262. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved 8 April 2020.
  2. ^ Lenburg, Jeff (1999). The Encyclopedia of Animated Cartoons. Checkmark Books. p. 147. ISBN 0-8160-3831-7. Retrieved 6 June 2020.
  3. ^ Liebman, Roy (2010). Vitaphone Films: A Catalogue of the Features and Shorts. McFarland. p. 280. ISBN 978-0786446971. Archived from the original on July 29, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  4. ^ Purcell, Jeanne H.; Leppien, Jann H. (2009). Parallel Curriculum Units for Social Studies, Grades 6-12. Corwin. p. 122. ISBN 978-1412965408. Archived from the original on May 5, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  5. ^ Toons That Teach: 75 Cartoon Moments to Get Teenagers Talking. Videos That Teach. Zondervan/Youth Specialties. 2005. p. 24. ISBN 9780310259923. Archived from the original on May 10, 2016. Retrieved November 12, 2015.
  6. ^ Beck, Jerry; Friedwald, Will (1989). Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies: A Complete Illustrated Guide to the Warner Bros. Cartoons. Henry Holt and Co. p. 182. ISBN 0-8050-0894-2.
  7. ^ Liebman, 2010. p292
  8. ^ Pat Saperstein (April 7, 2015). "Comedian and Voice Actor Stan Freberg Dies at 88". Variety. Archived from the original on November 17, 2015. Retrieved November 13, 2015.
  9. ^ The Bee-Deviled Bruin at IMDb Edit this at Wikidata
  10. ^ "Prom-ise Her Anything". IMDb. 8 October 1990. Archived from the original on 31 December 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2020.