HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SMOKEY THE BEAR TURNED 70 ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 8, 2014.
Wow, hard to believe that Smokey the Bear turned 70. Smokey the Bear is probably one of the best and enduring PSA’s put out by the government and the US Department of Forestry. Over the decades Smokey the Bear has had makeovers. Personally, I like the 50′s and 60′s Smokey. What is most interesting is that Smokey’s PSA’s were not originally from the Forestry department, but from the “Wartime Ad Council” instead. Smokey’s job was to warn Americans of the danger of forest fires, not those set by Americans, but by the Japanese. During World War II, Japan launched fire bombing balloons into the jet stream hoping to destroy American natural resources.
Remember … Only You!
The Forest Service unveiled Smokey Bear as a symbol for fire prevention on Aug. 9, 1944. Tidwell said the country averaged about 160,000 wildfires annually in 1944, compared with 60,000 today, a decline he attributes to the Smokey Bear campaign.
Up to 90 percent of U.S. wildfires are caused by humans, according to the National Park Service.
Tidwell said today’s wildfires tend to be larger due to drier, hotter weather. With more people living near forested areas, Smokey’s message is more relevant than ever, he said.
Smokey The Bear Song – 1952
He goes to work in blue jeans and utters only one sentence, but his message is loud and clear – “Only you can prevent wildfires.”
Smokey Bear just turned 70 years old, and his image is getting a reboot, reports CBS News’ Ben Tracy.
“Smokey has had a little work done. His costume has been updated… He’s got a fresh new look,” said Peggy Conlon, president of the Advertising Council, the organization that has overseen Smokey’s iconic image from the beginning.
“Ninety-four percent of Americans recognize Smokey Bear,” she said. “He’s really survived generations. And he’s beloved and everybody remembers his phrase.”
Smokey was created in 1944, one of the first campaigns from the newly created “Wartime Ad Council.” The same folks also coined the phrase, “loose lips sink ships.”
Smokey’s job was to warn Americans of the danger of forest fires — not those set by Americans — but by the Japanese. During World War II, Japan launched fire bombing balloons into the jet stream hoping to destroy American natural resources.