When the Smokey Bear fire prevention campaign began in 1944 he was known as just that, “Smokey Bear” without “the” in the name.
But in 1952 Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins wrote what became a successful song named “Smokey the Bear”. They said adding “the” enhanced the song’s rhythm. A Little Golden Book published about the bear in 1955 followed the songwriters lead and also used the incorrect “the” version of the name.
All this created confusion, but the name of the fire prevention icon is and always has been Smokey Bear.
A few years ago the U.S. Forest Service gave a grant to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources who teamed up with students from the Columbus College of Art and Design and 2Tall Animation Studio to research, design, and create a new Smokey Bear animated video and song.
Notice his name…
A teacher’s kit is available that has wildfire prevention activities, lyrics to the song, a Smokey Bear comic book, and coloring pages.
As the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted a hearing to consider the nomination of Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to be the new Secretary of the Interior, Smokey Bear became an issue.