1 9 6 5 – 2 0 0 3 (Australia)
2 0 0 7 – 2 0 0 8 (Australia)
Originally produced by NWS-9 from their Adelaide studios, Here’s Humphrey first introduced Australian children to the silent prancing character of Humphrey B Bear on 24 May 1965.
The character of Humphrey was created by Rex Heading, a production manager at NWS-9 at the time, because the station needed a replacement for their star Bobo The Clown for the afternoon children’s show The Channel Niner when Bobo defected to the new Channel 0 network.
The bear character was named after the American comic strip Joe Palooka which contained a lovable giant blacksmith named Humphrey Pennyworth.
Rex Heading recalled; “We had a competition to name the Bear on The Channel Niner . . . but we’d already determined what he would be called. The idea to call him Humphrey was taken off a comic strip called Joe Palooka. In it was a hillbilly character who wore huge boots called Humphrey someone who was a great bear-shaped character”.
“We did get a competition entry that said ‘Humphrey’, but Humphrey appeared to me to be a great name for a bear and the ‘B’ balanced the ‘Humphrey’ with the ‘Bear'”.
For 20 years, the person inside the Humphrey costume was dancer and choreographer Tom Fairlie. Other costume-fillers (usually dancers) have included Tony Balzan, John Maclean, James Badger and Edwin Duryea.
With his helpful companion narrating his adventures through the magic forest, the mute bear with no pants on entertained and educated audiences for years. Humphrey’s human assistants on the show have included Ian Fairweather, Patsy Biscoe, Glynn Nicholas, David Sadler, Heidi Grieg, Terry Webb, Ann Carter and Peter Utson.
The Nine Network created a new series of Here’s Humphrey in December 2007.