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12 Stuffed-With-Fluff Facts About Disney's Winnie the Pooh

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You probably already know that Disney’s Winnie the Pooh was based on a book series—and that the book series was based on some stuffed animals that belonged to author A.A. Milne’s son. But that’s just the beginning of Winnie the Pooh’s story. Here are some more stuffed-with-fluff facts about what happened when Disney took over.

1. Walt Disney was introduced to the book via his daughter, Diane.

“Dad would hear me laughing alone in my room and come in to see what I was laughing about,” she said. “I read [Milne’s stories] over and over, and then many years later to my children, and now to my grandchildren.” Disney’s daughters’ literary preferences were a major influence in his decision to make several movies, including Mary Poppins.

2. It took nearly 30 years to get Pooh onscreen.

Diane was a child in the late ‘30s and early ‘40s. The first Pooh movie didn’t come out until 1977. Why the long wait? Walt had actually tried to acquire the rights to Pooh as early as 1937, but he didn’t receive them until 1961, and released the first featurette in 1966. The 1977 film combined three of those featurettes (Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, and Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too) into one movie, with new animation that united the stories together.

3. A young Clint Howard (actor and Ron's younger brother) was the voice of Roo in the early featurettes.

But that wasn't the only work he did for Disney. Howard also voiced an elephant in The Jungle Book, and, as an adult, appeared in The Rocketeer.

4. The 1968 short Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day was the last animated short produced by Walt Disney before he died.

In fact, he ended up posthumously winning the Best Animated Short Oscar for it in 1968.

5. Winnie the Pooh was originally voiced by Sterling Holloway.

Holloway was also the voice of Kaa in The Jungle Book and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, among others.

6. These days, Pooh’s distinctive tone is provided by Jim Cummings.

Cummings will occasionally use his talents to call Make-a-Wish patients while in character. He also calls other young fans who aren't sick, with results that are just as heartwarming.

Here’s another tidbit about Cummings that might blow your mind: The man who speaks so sweetly for everyone’s favorite honey-loving bear has also provided the throaty growl for Scar in The Lion King. When Jeremy Irons developed voice problems while recording the song “Be Prepared,” Cummings stepped in and finished the job. See if you can tell where he takes over:

7. Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too won a Grammy.

In 1975, the short took home the Grammy for the Best Album for Children, a category was discontinued in 1994. The soundtrack included this catchy tune:

8. It’s Winnie the Pooh—not Jim Cummings, and not Sterling Holloway—who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

He’s one of four Disney characters to be recognized. The others are Snow White, Donald Duck—and Mickey Mouse, of course.

9. The character of Samuel Gopher is only found in the movies.

There’s even a sly reference to this in Winnie Pooh and the Honey Tree, when Gopher says, “[I’m] not in the book, y’know.” (He’s actually referring to the phone book.) Strangely, however, A.A. Milne’s niece later said that her uncle had considered adding a gopher character to his books, but the chapters he wrote with the rodent were ultimately dropped by his publisher.

10. Craig Ferguson is currently the voice of Owl.

He replaced long-time voice actor Andre Stojka in 2011. The New York Times calls Ferguson "a particularly fine Owl."

11. Pooh once ran for president.

He wasn’t just a write-in vote—he actually had an organized campaign, including a “Winnie the Pooh for President” convention in 1968 at the Hollywood Bowl. More than 10,000 supporters showed up to see Pooh and pals perform musical numbers such as “Hunny in Every Pot” and “A Good 5-Cent Candy Cigar.” After losing the election, Pooh made one more go of it in 1972 when he received the nomination from the Children’s Party ticket. He announced his platform and campaign strategy from his “West Coast retreat,” AKA Disneyland.

12. The score to the early featurettes included musical instruments representing each of the Hundred Acre Wood residents.

Rabbit was a clarinet, Owl was the ocarina and French horn, Kanga was a flute, Roo a piccolo, Piglet an oboe, and Eeyore was a bass clarinet. Pooh himself was represented by a baritone horn.

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Feeling Down? Lifting Weights Can Lift Your Mood, Too
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There’s plenty of research that suggests that exercise can be an effective treatment for depression. In some cases of depression, in fact—particularly less-severe ones—scientists have found that exercise can be as effective as antidepressants, which don’t work for everyone and can come with some annoying side effects. Previous studies have largely concentrated on aerobic exercise, like running, but new research shows that weight lifting can be a useful depression treatment, too.

The study in JAMA Psychiatry, led by sports scientists at the University of Limerick in Ireland, examined the results of 33 previous clinical trials that analyzed a total of 1877 participants. It found that resistance training—lifting weights, using resistance bands, doing push ups, and any other exercises targeted at strengthening muscles rather than increasing heart rate—significantly reduced symptoms of depression.

This held true regardless of how healthy people were overall, how much of the exercises they were assigned to do, or how much stronger they got as a result. While the effect wasn’t as strong in blinded trials—where the assessors don’t know who is in the control group and who isn’t, as is the case in higher-quality studies—it was still notable. According to first author Brett Gordon, these trials showed a medium effect, while others showed a large effect, but both were statistically significant.

The studies in the paper all looked at the effects of these training regimes on people with mild to moderate depression, and the results might not translate to people with severe depression. Unfortunately, many of the studies analyzed didn’t include information on whether or not the patients were taking antidepressants, so the researchers weren’t able to determine what role medications might play in this. However, Gordon tells Mental Floss in an email that “the available evidence supports that [resistance training] may be an effective alternative and/or adjuvant therapy for depressive symptoms that could be prescribed on its own and/or in conjunction with other depression treatments,” like therapy or medication.

There haven’t been a lot of studies yet comparing whether aerobic exercise or resistance training might be better at alleviating depressive symptoms, and future research might tackle that question. Even if one does turn out to be better than the other, though, it seems that just getting to the gym can make a big difference.

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