RVOD153 Vision in the Forest

(1957, Educational/Short, color)


Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

Pedo-Bear: The Motion Picture

Rating: ***1/2

In a Nutshell:

Respecting the forest pleases Smokey the Billboard Ghost Bear.


Don't just stand there kid, run!
Singing star Vaughn Monroe camps in the wilderness with his family, introducing them to us while singing his hit song, “Riders in the Sky.” His youngest daughter gets bored and wanders away to engage in unspecified wood lore. In the middle of the forest, she comes across a billboard of Smokey the Bear, who springs to life to nod his head wisely at her. She returns to camp, declaring, “Smokey is real!” Mr. Monroe obligingly switches to a song extolling the virtues of a ranger-hatted man in a bear suit.


Bear suits innnn thaaaa skyyyyy...Fire... bad... I’m pretty sure someone mentioned that in passing. Mostly, though, it’s about the environmentalist mascot epiphany of a country singer’s daughter. At five minutes, the short doesn’t have much opportunity to elaborate, so “Smokey is real” is pretty much the beginning and end of the fire safety instruction. Still, it’s a nice song, sung by a man with a nice voice.

For mockery purposes, the quasi-religious reverence offered to a man in a bear suit is a comedy gold mine. Not to mention the fact that most of Vaughn’s family is hideously ugly. When Vaughn introduces his wife, Kevin says, “Played here by the corpse of my grandmother.” Mike notes that they need more sun “to stop resembling the Vampire Council from Twilight.” As the Smokey song continues to the end, Bill says, “Keep singing! Smokey demands your constant tribute!” It’s quite short even for a short film, but it packs a lot of ridiculousness per second.