The Day I Realized the Care Bears Were Not Real

…was a sad day for me. Growing up as a kid, I had a vivid imagination that would lead me on all sorts of adventures. I would relentlessly watch pretty much any and every cartoon and/or kids show that came my way. If it was around in the late-80s to mid 90s in Ireland, you can be sure I watched it.

The Care Bears were one of my favourites. We had the movie (taped from the TV of course, complete with an ad for Economy 7 featuring the Seven Dwarfs from Snow White) and I watched it fairly frequently, so much so, that I probably could still spout it word for word. As well as the movie, there was also the TV shows. Funnily enough neither I nor any of my siblings ever had an actual Care Bear and I’ve never really learned why.

I enjoyed the Care Bears a lot. The large cast of characters probably had a lot to do with it as I could easily identify with a few of them, especially as they all had their own unique characteristic. In fact I distinstly remember telling my mother that someday I wanted to turn into a Care Bear. I can admit this now because I’m an adult who can grow a moustache and drive a car.

Being the trusting kid that I was, it never occurred to me that the Care Bears were actually created by American Greetings in order to sell cards. The day I discovered that, I was pretty disappointed. I could accept if they were a cartoon first and then a card, but the other way around had me feeling a bit left down. I can’t think of the exact reason, but it was probably something to so with the fact that it was a corporation, rather than a single person who was repsonsible.

Like any other kid, I could tell the difference between what was and wasn’t real, that was easy. The Care Bears, unlike other cartoons, seemed to stand on a higher moral ground, and this I seemed to like (must be the Catholic upbringing or something). There were plenty of other shows around doing the same. Heck, it seems like every TV show made between 1970 and 1985 had some sort of moral to it but those were blatantly obvious in comparison.

Perhaps I was a bit gullible. Perhaps other kids felt the same about other shows, I don’t know. Did the realization scar me for life? Nah, it wasn’t near as bad as they day I realized Disney World was just another theme park, but that’s a story for another day.

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