Smokey's Vault:
August 24, 2002 12:35 PM   Subscribe

Smokey's Vault: all about the history of the campaign, the "real" Smokey Bear, and Smokey's unique place in American culture. Created in 1944, the Smokey Bear campaign is the longest running public service campaign in US History. Smokey's forest fire prevention message remained unchanged for 50 years until April 2001, when the Ad Council updated his message to address the increasing number of wildfires in the nation's wildlands.
posted by josephtate (11 comments total)
My dad, who has worked for the NC Forest Service for the last 20 years, has done lots on the educational side of his job, and has had to don the bear suit on many occassions. In grade school, that is the coolest thing when Smokey the Bear comes to visit your school, and you know that it's your dad in there. Plus you get to drive a cool truck.
posted by corpse at 12:37 PM on August 24, 2002

It's about time someone tried to raise awareness on the importance of Smokey and The Bandit. I would say the influence that this film has made on American cinema will be seen for years to come.
posted by bradth27 at 12:50 PM on August 24, 2002

Is Smokey too old school? The Forest Service Employees for Environmental Ethics (FSEEE) are claiming that it's time for him to retire, and for fresher blood to take his place. Their mascot is Reddy the Squirrel, and his message is: "No one can prevent wildfires. Be Ready." I kind of like Smokey better, but I think that maybe the FSEEE have a point about prevention. And, if Smokey is going to be aimed more at adults now, maybe there's room for more than one fire prevention mascot.

And, on preveiw, what bradth27 said.
posted by bragadocchio at 12:59 PM on August 24, 2002

that is the coolest thing when Smokey the Bear comes to visit your school

If your dad worked in the Smokey realm, then you should know his name is Smokey Bear and not Smokey the Bear.

Some years back I was visiting Atlanta with some people and at some point we started arguing about the whole "the" thing. So we approached a park ranger type outside of the MLK (birth?)house and asked him if he had further info. The grumpy guy basically just told us to go away.
posted by gluechunk at 1:01 PM on August 24, 2002

I used to have a smokey bear comic book. #1! It sucked.
posted by imaswinger at 1:16 PM on August 24, 2002

Holy cow, they should definitely go back to the old school campaign. I wouldn't even go into the forest anymore.
posted by Stan Chin at 1:24 PM on August 24, 2002

If that one bothers you Stan, I'd definitely recommend that you stay away from of Jose Gudaalupe Posada's art used for the Dia de los Muertos.
posted by bragadocchio at 2:14 PM on August 24, 2002

I just like that he says "smokes" for cigarettes. That seems a bit slangy.
posted by Wood at 2:38 PM on August 24, 2002

We used to have greenhouses, and an intercom system was used between the house and the greenhouses. My sister used to play her "Little Marcy visits Smokey the Bear" album with the intercom on so mom & dad could enjoy it - for hours & hours.

Of course, with the channel open they couldn't tell her to turn it off without leaving work. I still sometimes get that creepy music in my head and any mention of him brings it all back....
posted by Salmonberry at 3:44 PM on August 24, 2002

Smokey the Bear Sutra.
posted by ceiriog at 3:59 PM on August 24, 2002

i read some where that the OSS had bought an air charter service, used it and sold it off. one branch of this service were these planes that dump water on forest fires. the company (not OSS) who purchased the charter service where one of the first to help promote Smokey the Bear.
posted by clavdivs at 4:24 PM on August 24, 2002

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