Spurdo Spärde (born December 2, 1978), better known by his stage name Pedobear, is not just an international celebrity and cultural icon, but a polyglot and history's most famous bear. The cultural influence of Pedobear cannot be underestimated. He inspired, promoted or created the world's favorite stuffed cuddly toy, and casts a continuing influence on the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides/Girl Scouts.
Thanks to Pedobear, we have the bear hug, cheerleading, and the undergarment called the teddy. It was he who made it possible for girls to be seen in public wearing underwear. Pedobear was the star or subject of silent films, television and books, transformed mathematics and dating, inspired cruise ships and theme parks, and entered politics and the priesthood.
In November 1902, United States President Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt invited some friends and their families on a bear-hunting trip. Roosevelt was unaware that one member of the party, Benjamin Franklin-Oldkirk, an ancestor of the co-founder of the animal rights group PETA, was opposed to hunting.
While separate from the rest of the group, Franklin-Oldkirk and his young son found a small brown bear with exceptionally large, round ears. He told his young son to remove his clothes and dressed the bear in them to disguise the creature. When asked by Roosevelt why his son was naked on a bear-hunting trip, Franklin-Oldkirk said, "Bear hunting? Oh, I thought it was bare hunting."
He and his wife later adopted the bear, but to protect him, they claimed he was not a real bear but a boy in a bear suit. To get people to believe the story, he claimed President Roosevelt had rescued the boy.
The cartoon of the "boy in a bear suit" became very popular and inspired the most popular stuffed animal in the world. Named after Finnish Ambassador Spurdly Spärding, the stuffed animal toy was delivered to children all over the world by Santa Claus, and became known as "Spurdo Spärde". It is now one of the best-selling toys in both the Western and Eastern world. Every Christmas season, children across the world plead "I want to cuddle with Spurdo!"
In spite of Spurdo's inability to speak, he did quite well in school in Chicago, Illinois. While some have claimed this is because he threatened other children into doing his homework for him, there is no evidence of Spurdo ever threatening a child. Based on his report cards, he quickly mastered reading, writing and arithmetic. He also learned sign language, and even as a child became a popular guest at the American Asylum for Deaf-mutes.
Unfortunately, the more abstract concepts taught in junior high made school increasingly difficult for the bear, and his grades began to drop. The other boys began making fun of him. They also snapped him with wet towels because he showered in the boys' locker room "while wearing his bear costume". He was often caught trying to escape the boys' abuse by hiding in the girls' showers.
Fortunately, Spurdo found his niche. While his bear claws made it difficult for him to throw or catch a ball in American football, he excelled at blocking and tackling. Much more muscular than the other players, he was also very difficult to tackle, especially when he pushed away opposing team members with his very large claws. He was soon made quarterback of the Chicago Junior High School Bears, and was no longer teased for "always wearing his bear suit". He rarely threw the football, but ran with it and made touchdown after touchdown.
Adopting the odd-yet-endearing name "Pedobear", Spurdo became extremely popular with the junior high schools girls and with parents and younger children. Attendance at the football games set new records, and brought in more donations for the school. Apparently his recognition as a local sports star inspired his school work, for he began getting straight A's in all his classes, which were primarily taught by helpful coaches.
This continued in high school, where the "quarterback who never throws the ball" led his Chicago team to the Illinois high school state championship in both his junior and senior year. He also served as mascot for two Chicago High School sports teams, the baseball Cubs and the basketball Wookies (now called the Bulls). He continued taking classes taught by helpful coaches, and graduated in 1916 as Chicago Academy High School's valedictorian.
He attended the University of Chicago and played for both the wrestling and football teams, becoming quarterback in his sophomore year. Starting that year, the football team won the NCAA Championships for three years running. Once again, Pedobear made straight A's in all his classes, which were primarily taught by helpful coaches. He graduated in 1920.
Robert Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scouts as an organization in 1908, a few months after the first scout encampment at Brownsea Island Scout camp in 1907. Pedobear was one of the charter members. While the organization was originally targeted for boys between the ages of 11 and 16, younger boys wanted to join. In honor of "the boy in a bear cub costume", Baden-Powell formed a younger boy division in 1916 that was named Cub Scouts.
Pedobear was not the first Eagle Scout, the highest achievement possible in the organization, who was recognized in 1912. He was, however, part of a trio of extremely famous people installed in 1913. The others were Francis J. Parater, later a seminarian who has been nominated in the Roman Catholic Church for sainthood, and Alfred Kinsey, who later became a biologist and professor of entomology and zoology known for his research on human sexuality.
Pedobear was especially recognized for his skill in survival, fishing, climbing, outdoor skills, gymnastics and wrestling.
Girl Guides, Girl Scouts and Sailor Scouts
Shortly after Boy Scouts began, girls told Baden-Powell and Pedobear that they too wanted to become scouts. This seemed completely impractical at the beginning of the 20th century, as girls' skirts and dresses were so short they could barely move for fear of exposing their nether regions. At that time, girls were not allowed to wear underwear in public. Traditionalists feared that, if girls knew they were covered "downstairs", they would make unladylike movements.
Pedobear challenged these oppressive clothing restrictions. He reportedly wrote an article in the Scout newspaper that said, "If a girl is not allowed to run, or even hurry, to swim, ride a bike, or raise her arms above her head, how can she become a Scout?" Rather than longer skirts, he called for girls to be allowed to wear underwear. This logical solution that had nothing to do with his personal tastes was supported by Agnes Baden-Powell, the Boy Scouts founder's sister and one of the 20th century's first feminists. She famously asked, "if boys can wear underwear, why can't girls?" She promoted the teddy and "knickers" (named after the teddy or camiknickers) as suitable wear for females, although the girls' version featured a crotch.
The Baden-Powell siblings later formed the Girl Guides (in American called Girl Scouts and in Japan Sailor Scouts) in 1910. As with younger boys and Boy Scouts, younger girls wanted to participate in scouting. Robert Baden-Powell's new wife Olave then formed Brownies, named in honor of the brown Pedobear. Because of Pedobear and the Baden-Powells, it soon became acceptable for girls to be active like boys. The acceptance of athletic girls exposing their panties also led to the 1923 acceptance of girls into the previously all-male sport of cheerleading.
Pedobear also solved a 200-year-old mathematical problem in dating etiquette and matrimony.
In the early 18th century, Isaac Newton and Gottfried Leibniz independently developed a form of mathematics that combined calculus, socialization and multiplication. This form of mathematics was named "calcification". It was used to determine the minimum age a given person should be allowed to date, and in reverse to determine if someone was too old to date. The formula they developed independently was where is the age of the subject and is the minimum age of the object of affection. For example, for a 40-year-old man, this would be , showing that a 40-year-old man should not date anyone under the age of 27.
The formula proved problematic. It reached an equilibrium at age 14: . Below this point, the formula produced what mathematicians call "nonsense". For example, a 13-year-old would find the minimum age he could date: , while the minimum age a person aged 13.5 could date would be , creating a paradox. The pair of doctors of mathematics attempted to bypass the problem in a joint statement, claiming "this formula proves anyone under age 14 should neither date nor marry".
This pronouncement did not sit well with religious conservatives. They pointed out that Joseph, father of Jesus Christ, was approximately age 60 (minimum dating age by the formula: 37) when he married Mary, who was between the ages of 12 and 16. And Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullāh, the founder of Islam, was at least age 50 (minimum dating age by the formula: 32) when he married Aisha, who was either six or seven years old. For many years, the formula was labeled "liberal" and blasted by conservatives.
The dilemma remained unsolved for over two hundred years. Then one day the 49-year-old Pedobear was on a row boat excursion on the River Thames with 46-year-old Reverend Donald Duckworth and three young sisters, including 8-year-old Philipa "Phil" Farnsworth (who later played both Alice and Lolita). While the two men were using examples from croquet to teach the girls how to multiply, suddenly Pedobear grasped the solution: the dating equation had a missing factor. The correct equation was . By this version, the minimum age a person could date or marry was always zero. Conservatives and liberals both grabbed hold of the "Pedobear equation", and it became official policy for dating and marriage in most of the world in the mid-20th century.
In addition to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (originally titled Alice's Adventures Underground), Pedobear has been a major character in some of the world's best known books.
Michael Bond based Paddington Bear on a lone stuffed Pedobear toy he noticed on a shelf in a London store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve in 1956. He bought it as a present for his son James. Ironically, as Bond — like everyone else at the time — believed Pedobear to be a human in a bear suit, the fictional Paddington is a real bear.
In the books, the Brown family discovers Paddington Bear carrying marmalade sandwiches in a battered suit case while wearing his Aunt Lucy's bush hat. Mr. and Mrs. Brown and their young children Johnathan and Judy soon convince Paddington to join their family.
The series of books began with A Bear Called Paddington (1958). The first three stories in the collection are "Please Look After This Bear", where Paddington accidentally meets Judy in the girls' lavatory; "A Bear In Hot Water", where the parents struggle to convince the shy bear to join his adopted younger brother and sister in the bathtub; and "Paddington Goes Underground", where the bear gets in trouble with an inspector after he unwittingly brings Jonathan and Judy some underground comic books.
The book series continued to feature Paddington's adventures with his family, including Paddington's Blue Peter Story Book (1973) and 1974's Paddington on Top.
Peter Pan and Wendy
To avoid being mistaken for the British secret agent, James M. Bond wrote children's stories under the name of J. M. Barrie (sometimes pronounced "beer-E"). Following in his father Michael's footsteps, he also created a fictional version of Pedobear. Barrie restored the corrupted American name Pedo to its original Pedro, then translated that into the British version Peter. Peter Pan's pretend wife and mother he named after his favorite American fast-food restaurant Wendy's.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Pedobear also inspired the character of the Cowardly Bear who was afraid to approach the young Dorothy in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. After Disney purchased all rights to Pedobear's image, the bear character was changed in subsequent printings of the book and in the 1939 movie to the Cowardly Lion.
Alice, Dorothy, Wendy and Pedobear all feature prominently in Lost Girls, a comic book series for children written by Alan Moore and illustrated by Melinda Gebbie. In this series the helpful Pedobear (here called "Captain Rolf Bauer" to avoid possible lawsuits by Disney) searches for and rescues lost girls in various parts of the world. He then brings them safely to Austria where he kindly lets them share his rooms with him at the Hotel Kindergarten. The Captain then teaches them how to earn a living serving the hotel's clientele. They them become employed by the kindly hotel manager, Monsieur Rougeur, who is also modeled on Pedobear.
The mute Pedobear had a successful film career that suddenly ended when silent movies gave way to talkies in the late 1920s. His most memorable films include The Four Bears of the Apocalypse (1921); The Hunchbear of Notre Dame (1923); Pedobear Goes to College (1924); and his most successful film which became a theme throughout his life, Bedtime for Pedobear (1925).
Animation and theme parks
Animator and businessman Walt Disney acquired the rights to use Pedobear as an animated character in 1928. Many people mistakenly believe his first public appearance was as "Steamboat Willie" (November 18, 1928, on Pedobear's thirtieth birthday). In this black-and-white cartoon, Pedobear chases the stowaway preteen girl Minnie Mouse. In the short, Walt Disney provides the voice for Pedobear, as he did in many of the animated films. It's here that Minnie utters the now famous line, "By my skirts, that Willie moves like a steamboat!"
Pedobear's true first animated appearance was in the highly controversial silent black-and-white children's cartoon "Pedobear is Plane Crazy" (released May 15, 1928). Pilot Pedobear tries to convince the very young stewardess Minnie Mouse to be his co-pilot. But because his small plane doesn't have a co-pilot seat, he tells Minnie she'll have to sit on his lap. Pedobear continually tries to seduce Minnie, and when she refuses he uses force, finally throwing her out of the airplane. After seeing his young love fall to her death, he despondently crashes his plane into a tree.
The short was extremely controversial because it featured an implied rape and murder-suicide, Pedobear wore nothing but his birthday suit while Minnie Mouse wore nothing but a very short skirt, and, most controversial of all, the very young Minnie Mouse and much older Pedobear were of very different races.
After a lawsuit filed by an attorney for the real-life Pedobear was settled out of court, the short was remade in 1930 with a sound track as "Plane Crazy". In this version, Pedobear wears shorts and his stewardess is now a skirt-and-bloomers-wearing cub named Minnie Bear. She is thrown out of the plane as a practical joke by Pedobear, who safely catches her with the aircraft. After willingly kissing Pedobear, Minnie jumps out and improvises a parachute by removing and using her bloomers.
In 1929 Walt Disney created a children's organization called The Pedobear Club, which eventually led to the vision of a theme park featuring Pedobear. On July 18, 1955, in Anaheim, California, Pedoland was first opened to the public. It quickly became one of the most popular theme parks in the world. It was followed by Pedo World in Orlando, Florida; Tokyo Kumaland (Japanese for Pedobear Land), which became the most popular park; Pedoland Paris; Hong Kong Pedoland; and Pedobear Cruise Line where "everyone's free to be a child" on their choice of two ships, Steamboat Willie or The Love Boat.
Pedobear is one of the most seen bears on television. In addition to guest starring roles, he starred in two hit television series, but his first appearance on TV was in a commercial.
The first television appearances both by Pedobear and by future star Anne Bancroft was in a popular 1940 commercial made by the children's undergarment manufacturer, Skintees. In the ad, 9-year-old Bancroft plays a girl who prepares to jump rope in a public park while wearing a short dress. Pedobear plays her old-fashioned uncle, who stares at her in wide-eyed shock for fear she is about to expose herself "downstairs". The girl's mother reassures the concerned uncle by saying to her daughter, "Show Uncle your Skintees, dear." The girl lifts her dress and holds it up while an announcer describes the girl's underpants. The girl then starts jumping rope while laughing and saying, "Silly old bear." The commercial, which was broadcast in the southern United States, concludes with the announcer saying, "Wear Skintees panties for modesty, please."
Pedobear's first regular starring role on television was playing himself in The Adventures of Pedobear and Lolita (1948 to 1953). Pedobear starred with newcomer Philipa "Phil" Farnsworth, the 8-year-old daughter of television's inventor Philo Farnsworth, who played Lolita and was billed as "the new Shirley Temple". Because the two stars were known as Pedobear and Phil, fans of the program called themselves "the pedophiles".
The program was originally a one-hour sketch comedy show, with Phil doing the talking and Pedobear providing comic facial expressions and physical comedy, often while chasing Phil. The couple often performed together in dance, ice skating and wrestling. They portrayed many recurring characters, including Pedobear as Lolita's fumbling, hands-on gymnastics coach Huggy Bear who often interrupted her gymnastic routine to give her a "bear hug". The program featured a supporting cast and guest stars, and sketches frequently featured toys made by the show's sponsor, the Ideal Toy Company.
One of the program's recurring "inside jokes" referred to Pedobear playing the part of himself. Perhaps the show's most famous line was from the sketch "The Play's The Thing" wherein Lolita said, "Pedobear likes playing with himself, but he likes playing with me better." Each episode would end with Pedobear putting Lolita to bed, and whispering something in her ear to which she'd make a very surprised expression. At that point the announcer would say, "Lights out!"
The program was extremely popular, and was credited with being a prime factor in the popularity of television. Later television star Miley Ray Cyrus said, "You can't believe how many people like watching an older man chasing a young girl. Look at how people loved watching me get chased by older model Justin Gaston." Jamie Lynn Spears, who was impregnated as a young teenager by the adult Casey Aldridge, agreed saying, "That's what television is all about." Television set sales went from half a million during the show's first year to over thirty million when Pedobear's second television show ended in 1956.
Where in the world
By 1953 ratings for the sketch comedy had dropped, and according to TV Guide the now 13-year-old Phil was seen as "too old to be chased by a middle-aged man". Also the Federal Communications Commission was putting increasing pressure on television networks because "television was not living up to its promise as an educational medium." The program changed its title, sponsor and format. Now a half-hour program that taught geography through comedy, it focused on Pedobear trying to find Lolita, now a world-traveler played by 8-year-old newcomer Leiloni Anderson. The new program's title became, Where in the World is Lolita, Pedobear? and it was sponsored by Skintees, which now produced not only children's undergarments, but also children's swimwear, hosiery and leotards.
In each episode, Lolita would run away from home because of a misunderstanding. She'd travel to some part of the world, which was unknown to the viewer and to Pedobear. She always sent Pedobear a clue, which was usually in the form of a Skintees product. At this point the announcer would say, "it's time for Pedobear to sniff out clues!" Pedobear would travel, while the announcer would describe the geographical features the man-in-a-bear-suit encountered. He would always find her, clear up the misunderstanding, and take her back home. Each episode would end with Pedobear putting Lolita to bed, and whispering something in her ear to which she'd make a very surprised expression. At that point the announcer would say, "Lights out!"
This second version of the program ended in 1956, but the influence of the two shows continued. The second program inspired an adult series with main characters who evaluated clues to uncover the truth. This was called The X-Files. This program in turn inspired a children's version, which in honor of the original fan club of Pedobear and Phil was called The Pedo-Files.
Seal of Approval
In 1949 The Adventures of Pedobear and Lolita became the first television program to win the University of Georgia's "Excellence in Children's Programming Award", then usually called the "CP Award". Pedobear's back-to-back television programs won the award every year from 1949 to 1953, and from 1955 to 1957. (In 1954 the award was given to the Pedoland television program, which featured Pedobear.) As a result, the award became informally but universally known as the Pedobear Award. The nickname was made formal in 1996 when the university was acquired by The Walt Disney Company.
In recognition of Pedobear's tremendous contributions to the education of America and the training of children, a television network was created in his honor. The American non-profit public broadcasting television service was named Pedobear Service (PBS).
The Pedobear Seal of Approval, which is given in all media made at any time for "outstanding excellence in presentations featuring children", was created on Oct. 1, 2003.
As Pedobear moved into his senior years, people became increasingly curious as to why he did not seem to age. Even his family, the Franklin-Oldkirks who knew he was really a bear, didn't know why. The American public also wondered why a man who loved children so much had never married or had children of his own.
To avoid suspicious Americans, in 1975 he moved to England and worked as a wrestling umpire and gymnastics coach. But like many American actors, wrestlers and gymnastics coaches who followed him, Pedobear soon went into politics. Surprisingly, his muteness did not hurt his career, but enhanced it. As political commentator Stephen Colbert said, "It's better to be thought an idiot than to open your mouth and prove it. And unlike every other politician, Pedobear never speaks."
In 1978 Pedobear was elected mayor of Guildford, but his term was short lived.
Shortly after being elected, the "bear-man-in-a-bear-suit mayor" gave a toddler girl named Cindy Lou Who his trademark bear hug. While he was hugging the little girl in the midst of a crowd of supporters, Cindy Lou felt his back looking for the zipper of his bear suit. As she later reported, "I thought it would be ever so funny to unzip the mayor. Only I was too young to understand his position, and thought he wasn't the mayor and an umpire, but was an emperor." Not finding a zipper, she believed he wasn't wearing a bear suit at all, but was a real bear. In a line that has since become famous she said, "The emperor is naked."
Rumors spread like butter that the "man-in-a-bear-suit" might actually be a real bear.
Pedobear quickly retreated from the public eye and decided to become a monk. As St. Francis of Assisi is the patron saint of animals who actually preached to them, Pedobear became a Franciscan. He dedicated himself to chastity, poverty and obedience. Because of his dedication and because it was considered holy for a monk to take a vow of silence, the mute monk quickly rose, and became a Roman Catholic priest.
Always popular with children, he oversaw a Catholic orphanage, which led to extreme controversy within the church.
Roman Catholic nuns traditionally disciplined their charges with spankings, but Pedobear emphasized gentle, corrective discipline and giving children reassuring bear hugs, doing cuddles, and skin-to-skin contact through massages and other techniques to reduce tension and "muscle knots", which they believed led to misbehavior. Several priests and nuns adopted Pedobear's methods and called themselves the "Knotty Nuns and Pedophile Priests". The methods did not prove popular with the traditional Roman Catholic hierarchy, though, and eventually Pedobear was forced to leave the priesthood.
The secret exposed
Pedobear's secret was already suspected, and he knew he couldn't keep it hidden forever. On July 26, 1991, while with long-time friend Pee-wee Herman following a joint appearance at Pedo World, Pedobear was arrested in Sarasota, Florida. This was for allegedly masturbating publicly in an adult theater. Pedobear was suspected of "self-pleasuring" while watching a marathon of French-inspired erotica featuring young girls including the French-directed Pretty Baby, Fessées pour Lycéennes (actually a French translation of the British film School Girl Spank), Spermula and Maladolescenzaand (sometimes translated as "Pedo Love").
Police soon discovered they had arrested the wrong bear, as the one actually seen in the adult theater was American talk show host Conan O'Brien's frequent guest Masturbating Bear. As Pedobear was obviously innocent and O'Brien's bear had a license to masturbate in public, they were both released.
Tragically, however, the police had attempted to perform a strip search of Pedobear, and discovered there was no way to remove his "bear costume". He was a real bear.
His fans were shocked. As one mother said, "We thought for so long he was just a harmless, kind-hearted old man who liked chasing young girls. Now we learn he's an animal!"
Pedobear retreated from public life, until he found acceptance in his adopted country of Japan.
Scientists had long wondered about Pedobear's long life, which was highly unusual for a bear. In 2009 he finally agreed to let them perform genetic tests. It was discovered that Pedobear is one of the previously thought extinct North American Sun Bears. Scientists had believed that the long-lived bears had died out 10,000 years ago with the extinction of the Sun Bee. The bears lived primarily on honey produced by virgin sun bees. Unlike most bears, the males typically reached sexual maturity between ages 13 and 18, whereas females reached it at about age 3 or 4. People now understood why Pedobear had never been able to marry a suitable mate.
Still living in Japan, the world's most famous bear is known there as Kuma Chan ("bear who loves children"). The supercentenarian bear is currently in college studying art, biology, Shinto and Sumo wrestling, and plans to become an elementary school teacher.
Pedobear was drawn by Clifford Berryman (1903), Walt Disney (1928), Otto Messmer (1954), Hanna-Barbera (1975), and Kuma Chan (2009).
- People in those days were very gullible.
- While Pedobear did not play professional sports, three professional Chicago teams were named in his honor. These are the Chicago Bears (football), Chicago Cubs (baseball), and Chicago Wookies (basketball).
- Some detractors claim the report was actually written by Agnes Baden-Powell, but this is unverified.
- Morality maven Mary Whitehouse expressed concern about possible misinterpretations over the construction of Paddington's hat. So it was soon changed from his Aunt Lucy's bush hat to his Uncle Pastuzo's bush hat.
- Mr. and Mrs. Brown were based on author Michael and his wife, and Johnathon and Judy were based on their son James and his best friend Wendy.
- Because Mary Whitehouse expressed concerns that the title could be misinterpreted as a sexual reference, this was re-released in 1998 as Paddington's Blue Ball Story Book.
- Paddington's Blue Peter Story Book hinted at the meaning of Peter as a form of Pedo.
- The old-fashioned Walt Disney disapproved of girls' publicly showing undergarments.
- Young girls who gained recognition for their wholesomeness on the television version of The Pedobear Club included Annette Funicello, Christina Aguilera, and Britney Spears.
- The children's underwear company Skintees™ is often misunderheard as "skin tease".
- According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this is the first recorded use of the word pedophile.
- The Adventures of Pedobear and Lolita made the first recorded use of the term "bear hug", which became a Pedobear trademark.
- Pedobear is variously known as Kuma Chan, Kuma, Pedobär, Paedobear, Pedo Bear, Pederoso, Pedrobear, Supercentenarian Bear and くま.