For his first birthday, Christopher Robin Milne received a stuffed teddy bear from Harrods of London named Edward. The bear, later rechristened Winnie the Pooh — in honor of a real bear at the London Zoo and a real swan named Pooh — was a gift from his father, author A.A. Milne, and was soon joined by a stuffed tiger, donkey, pig and a kangaroo and her joey. With the help of Christopher Robin’s imagination, they inspired a series of stories and were joined by Owl and Rabbit, both entirely A.A. Milne’s creations. Today the stuffed versions of Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and Kanga reside in the care of the New York Public Library where they are on permanent display to the public.
To celebrate the beloved stuffed animals, Wolfgang ‘Woolie’ Reitherman, director of the original featurettes and 1977 film, had a set of plush commissioned to be used in the iconic opening scenes which were meant to take place in Christopher Robin’s bedroom. Unbeknown to Reitherman, Burny Mattinson (who started at the company in 1953 and continues to work for Disney to this day, where he last served as story supervisor to the 2011 film) had his wife create a Pooh to be used for the film. Although it was too late for that Pooh to be used in the film instead, he now makes his debut Winnie the Pooh out in theaters on July 15.
To commemorate the appearance of Pooh and his friends in the new film, Disney Store will soon be offering a limited edition set consisting of replicas of the actual plush used in the film’s opening. The plush range in sizes of 7 1/2″ for Roo through 24″ for Pooh and come complete in a canvas duffel bag. Made of a special fabric to give the plush a ‘well-loved’ feel, the edition size is limited to just 300 pieces.
No information on when the set will be released or how much it will cost is available at this time but we will update as more information becomes available to us.