|Welcome to Pooh Corner|
|Narrated by||Laurie Main|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||120|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Original network||The Disney Channel|
|Original release||April 18, 1983 –|
December 25, 1984
Welcome to Pooh Corner is a live-action/puppet television series that aired on Disney Channel, featuring the characters from the Winnie the Pooh universe portrayed by actors in human-sized puppet suits, except Roo, who was originally a traditional puppet. The animatronic costumes used for the characters were created by Alchemy II, Inc., headed by Ken Forsse who later created Teddy Ruxpin. The show was first aired on April 18, 1983, the day The Disney Channel was launched. Its timeslot for its early run was at 8:30 a.m. Eastern/Pacific Time, making it the third program of The Disney Channel's 16 (later 18) hour programming day. Reruns of the show aired on The Disney Channel until May 30, 1997.
Hal Smith, Will Ryan, and Laurie Main were the only three actors from the original four Pooh shorts to reprise their roles here (Smith, who had voiced Owl ever since the beginning of Disney's Winnie the Pooh franchise, had recently replaced Sterling Holloway as the voice of Pooh; Ryan had provided Rabbit's voice in the 1983 short Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, replacing Junius Matthews; and Main was the narrator for Winnie the Pooh and a Day for Eeyore, replacing Sebastian Cabot). The show's title derives from the second Winnie the Pooh storybook, The House at Pooh Corner.
This series was the only incarnation in the history of Disney's incarnations of Winnie the Pooh in which we could actually see the narrator aside from only hearing his voice. He would present each episode. The show would start off with him greeting the viewers "Welcome to Pooh Corner" and then relate what he was talking about to an event that occurred in the Hundred Acre Wood, the home of the Pooh characters, and then he would proceed to read from a book entitled Welcome to Pooh Corner. He would then narrate the episode acted out by the characters. The action was filmed before a blue screen, rather than using traditional sets (the same technique was used for Dumbo's Circus, another live-action/puppet series that ran on The Disney Channel).
Since the show was designed for The Disney Channel before it began airing commercials, there were no breaks for commercials. As a result, the show lasted a full thirty minutes. The main story ran about twenty minutes followed by two shorter segments. The first segment was a sing-along music video featuring one of nine songs, used over and over throughout the show's run. These songs were written by the Oscar-winning Sherman Brothers who had provided the majority of the Winnie the Pooh music over the years. The Sherman Brothers also wrote the show's theme song, using the music from the original Winnie-the-Pooh theme song from The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, albeit with a slightly altered tempo.
The last segment of the show was a presentational arts and crafts demonstration that took place at the Thoughtful Spot. One of the cast members would speak to the narrator, looking directly into the camera, while they showed the viewers at home how to make something.
When the series first started out, the narrator was seen sitting in a small library. As the series progressed, he is moved into a small playroom which eventually is seen having plush versions of Pooh and his friends.
The songs were written by the Academy Award-winning songwriting duo of Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. The Sherman Brothers also wrote the majority of the well known Winnie the Pooh songs, including "The Wonderful Thing about Tiggers" and "Heffalumps and Woozles" from the 1960s, and in 2000 wrote the score to The Tigger Movie.
Sometimes, if an episode ended a few minutes early, a certain character would sing a song entitled "A Part of Me", which was written by one of the voice actors, Phil Baron. The song depicts the importance of a certain body part that each character was singing about:
Six VHS tapes were released by Walt Disney Home Video in the mid-1980s for the then new video home rental market. Each tape contained four episodes.
The show was also released on VHS PAL in the UK as part of a six-volume set which also each featured an episode of Good Morning, Mickey!, Donald Duck Presents, The Mouse Factory and Mousercise. Each tape contained one episode of Welcome to Pooh Corner.