Not only is Gummi Beasrs one of the best cartoons to ever come out of the 90s but that theme tune is easily one of the front-runners for the best cartoon theme tune in the history of theme tunes. If you don’t believe me let it be known that it lasted six seasons and over 90 episodes.
As a child I loved the colours, the characters and the music. As an adult in the early noughties, I would throw on my radio while studying and Ray Foley of TodayFM would run a segment called Lazy Radio where he would end on the ultimate high note of the horns kicking off the tune.
Even listening to it now makes my heart jump with happy nostalgia!
If you are unfortunate enough to be too young to remember this let me fill you in.
Long ago there was a thriving civilisation of small bears called Gummi Bears that lived alongside the humans until the growing rivalry and jealousy among the humans forced the Gummies to flee. This left only a small colony known as the Gummi-Glen Gummies to prepare should they return.
That colony soon forgot their purpose and they became the stuff of legends among the humans. This changes when they meet a little boy called Cavin who has a Gummi medallion. This unlocks the Great Book of Gummi which reveals the lost knowledge of their past. The colony is now dedicated to rediscovering their heritage with the help of a few trusted humans while preventing new enemies from exploiting their heritage to their own ends.
There was obviously so much to love about this cartoon as a child. In particular I loved the Gummi Bears; Gruffi – the grumpy gummi with a good heart, and a bit of an attitude, which makes him completely relatable as an adult! Grammi – the motherly figure, and Zummi – the sweet and soulful little guy with a hint of Bill Murray. Gruffi was my absolute favourite; he was very funny with his interactions with all the other Gummis and, together, each one brings something to the party. They all gain the fun ability of powerful bouncing when they drink Grammi’s Gummiberry Juice – an age-old recipe passed down from Gummi to Gummi that has helped them bounce free of the odd scrape or two.
Looking back on this cartoon, which was released in 1985 in the US making it 30 years old (YIKES!), what immediately struck me was how ambtious the show was. The design of the characters and the world was fantastic and the writers never feared to send them off to new lands and locations, meaning that the show was rich in imagery. The characters were created with the right feel of familiarity despite the fact that they were a fresh concept.
Point of interest: apart from DuckTales and Gargoyles, Gummi Bears was the only show in the Disney Afternoon generation of TV animation that had a series finale. All the other shows such as Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers and Talespin lacked a ‘last episode’, and were for the most part ended on open notes.
Years later, it still has that classic Disney touch that many fans enjoy. In retrospect, it almost feels like Walt Disney was testing the waters with this cartoon as it has a touching similarity to The Black Cauldron which was released in the same year. There is also what seemed to be a dry run for Ariel and Triton’s relationship in The Little Mermaid in Princess Calla and King Gregor. With the beautiful scenery and animation is it any wonder that very few, if any, cartoons were on par with Gummi Bears? It even exceeded the quality of much Japanese animation made for TV at that time. Gummi Bears is often credited by animators and animation historians as having helped jump-start the massive boom of television animation in the late 1980s all through the 1990s.
I loved revisiting this as an adult. The amount of material that was locked away in my mind was incredible! I was able to remember almost all of the dialogue and funny bits as soon as I got into watching it. Definitely a must-watch for the young and old alike.