HUG made his debut in the pages of Ted Menten's 1983 book, The
TeddyBear Lovers Catalog. That book was
translated into several languages, including Japanese, and
Hug received fan letters from collectors around the world. The following
year saw the publication of a whole book of his cartoons, The World According
Later that year the North American Bear Company created a
plush version of Hug and in 1985 introduced a smaller version, Hug Jr.
When the International charity, Save the Children,created a special division called Bear-Aid the next year, Hug was chosen as the
official spokesbear. Hug and Ted traveled around America and teamed up with movie
stars and sports celebrities to raise money for the children's charity. North American Bear created Bear-Aid T-shirts for Hug to wear
and also introduced a Baby Hug plush toy and a limited edition of Hug's own toy
bear called Buddy. In subsequent years Hug and Ted
visited schools and hospitals around the U.S. and later around the world.
Ted talks about creating HUG.
"That, in a nutshell, is the
history of Hug. His inspiration is another story. I have always enjoyed
cartooning, so it seemed only natural to create a cartoon Teddy Bear for my
first Teddy Bear book. I thought about how Walt Disney often
named his characters after their habits or principal characteristics —
for instance, in Snow White there is Dopey, Bashful, Sleepy, Grumpy and
so on, or the rabbit,
Thumper, in Bambi. Being hugged
is what Teddy Bears do best, so he was easy to name.
In the classic tradition of Punch and Judy, Lucy and Charlie
Brown, or Kermit and Miss Piggy, Hug needed a foil. At the time there was a
long-standing divide in the collecting community
between those who favored plush bears and those who preferred plush
rabbits, so I cast a bunny — or Bunnee — in that role. And as Hug's
nemesis, I came up with Tech, the mechanical bear, as a symbol of all that
technology plagues us with, like prerecorded messages. Finally, Li'l Buddy
stands for all that is innocent in each of us.
For this new edition, The World According to Hug has been recreated in full color, and I've added some additional strips from BearHugs and TeddyBear Review."
The Future of HUG
HUG is a natural for many different products from plush toys
to T-shirts, mugs, wisdom plaques, plates, and various book projects like paper
dolls, puzzles, and kid's activity books as well as greeting cards.
With funding, these projects will be made possible by
licensing as well as direct product production.
Over the years, Hug's wit and wisdom has appeared as posters
and various teddy bear sponsored activities.