Care Bears: Care-A-Lot Castle

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Care Bears: Care-A-Lot Castle



The Care Bears: Care-A-Lot Castle was a Sally animatronic show produced in 1987, becoming the first official show of the company's to utilize intellectual properties (after a previous attempt was made to adapt The Berenstain Bears for an IAAPA display).

Only installed in two venues worldwide, it was a very short lived endeavor that ended up lasting for just around five years. However, this instance would lay the foundation for Sally's future work with intellectual properties and established brands.

Historical Background

Development

In 1986, while production on Nelvana Studios' Care Bears Family was underway, Sally Industries obtained a license from American Greetings and Nelvana to develop an animatronic stage show based on the Care Bears franchise. Under the leadership of Sally, the show was produced in-house at their Jacksonville facilities and with no involvement from the crew behind the animated series.

An Associated Press article announcing the development of the Care-A-Lot Castle show (1986)

Janet Sherman, who had been heavily involved with Sally's animated shows by that point, would once again spearhead the script writing and soundtrack editing. All music and vocals were recorded at the Jacksonville-based Warehouse Studios, where soundtracks for Daniel and the Dixie Diggers, Gwen and the Magical Music Makers, and other Sally shows of the 1980's were produced. At Warehouse, several new songs written specifically for the show were recorded in conjunction with repurposed songs from the aforementioned Dixie Diggers and Magical Music Makers shows. The cost of producing Care-A-Lot Castle was said to have been about $150,000 at the time.

Installations

The first of the two Care-A-Lot installations was located at Dunia Fantasi, an Indonesian theme park, and officially premiered under the name Beruang Madu (Sun Bear) in June 1987. The animatronic figures of Tenderheart and Funshine used in Dunia's show were initially displayed at the 1986 IAAPA expo. Although the English soundtrack was recorded first, Dunia requested Sally to assist in producing a localized dub. The local Indonesian band COCKPIT was recruited to provide the voices of the characters. A new storyline was said to have been written, eliminating the presence of both No-Heart and Beastly, as well as mentions of any other Care Bears characters (Hugs and Tugs). Also unlike the English version, this dub was said to have been one full track (approximately 20 minutes in length), instead of 4-5 minute long segments. Despite the production of this dub entirely taking place in Indonesia, the soundtrack was confirmed to be sent to Sally for programming in their Jacksonville facilities. After the show was sent to Dunia, Tenderheart and Friend Bear's cosmetics were swapped for unknown reasons (most likely a maintenance error). As of now, the only resources publicly available that confirm this installation's existence are snippets of the dubbed soundtrack uploaded by Theme Park Journey; newspaper clippings which mention Care-A-Lot being installed at Dunia Fantasi; a park map that lists the show's former location paired with a picture of the characters; and production photos that were posted on Sally's current website. Given the lack of proper documentation of this show, it is also unknown when it was decommissioned (with some sources claiming to be 1992) as well as the current whereabouts of the Care Bears figures.

The second, most well-known installation of the Care-A-Lot show was located at Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom in Allentown, Pennsylvania. This version premiered at the start of the 1988 season, to tie in with the park's integration of Care Bears characters. Dorney's clone was almost identical to the original in Dunia (although the character figures and flower props were refined). Given that this set used the original English soundtrack, No-Heart and Beastly's off-stage interactions remained, as well as the brief mention of Hugs and Tugs. Dorney Park's Care-A-Lot show was placed in an outdoor "theater" structure, located just across from the park's Care Bears gift shop, which itself was adjacent to several kiddie rides in that area. When Dorney Park's licensing agreement with Nelvana and American Greetings expired in 1992, the animatronics were allegedly destroyed at the request of rights-holders. Despite this, the English soundtrack would be digitally preserved by Sally around 1996 (four years after the removal of both shows), and would be officially released to the public on June 22, 2022.

Characters

Tenderheart Bear

As the de-facto leader of the Care Bears, Tenderheart is a reddish-brown bear who strives to bring love and care to children beyond the realm of Care-A-Lot (as indicated by a heart-shaped symbol on his "belly badge"). In this interpretation of the character, Tenderheart is portrayed as the voice of reason in a given situation. Whether it be teaching the importance of having fun, remaining friends with someone no matter the affiliation, or to recognize the feelings of other people, Tenderheart knows that sharing and caring are the best things in the world.

Bedtime Bear

Bedtime is a bright blue bear who often sleeps around Care-A-Lot during the day. This is because at night, he ensures the safety and happiness of children in their sleep, protecting them from harmful nightmares. On stage, he could be seen in a night gown with a pillow and blanket, which depicts him as "sleeping" in his default position. Despite his tired demeanor, he joins in several songs with the rest of the group whenever he isn't "sleeping."

Cheer Bear

A perky, pink bear who adores rainbows, Cheer is a positive and outgoing bear who brings hope to those who need it most. Similarly to Toby the Dragon from Gwen and the Magical Music Makers, Cheer Bear has a cloud-shaped tunnel with multi-colored rain curtains, which hide her figure when the show is idle or whenever she's absent for a portion of a segment. Unlike Toby, however, Cheer slides down a rainbow-colored slide while moving through the rain curtains head-on. Whenever Cheer's around, your smile will surely become a rainbow!

Friend Bear

(Voiced by Debra Rider in the English version) Friend Bear is the epitome of a caring individual, being someone you can depend on during the good and bad times. She is an orange bear with flower symbols on her belly badge. In some segments, she would "grow" flowers to share with everyone (these were simple flower props that would rise from part of the structure in front of her). Like Tenderheart, Friend Bear understands the importance of being friendly with other people, especially by being selfless and looking out for others.

Funshine Bear

(Voiced by Martha Trice in the English version) A yellow bear with a sunshine belly badge, Funshine encourages everyone to have a wonderful day (even if the sun doesn't always shine). She uses her cloud-shaped car to navigate through the left-side of the Care-A-Lot structure, sometimes in a constant forward and reverse motion during songs (albeit on a turntable). Whenever danger could be lurking about, such as No-Heart and Beastly unleashing dark clouds upon the world, Funshine would do anything in her power to push the dark clouds away in an effort to preserve care and love!

Grumpy Bear

Despite his name and personality, Grumpy is a periwinkle blue bear that values friendship and love (even if things can be negative at times). Positioned between Tenderheart and the Care Meter, Grumpy helps monitor the amount of happiness there is in the world by sometimes joining either Cheer or Tenderheart in handling situations. This means he (along with Tenderheart or Cheer) can be absent for a brief period in a segment before returning through his rotary cloud pillar (a turntable). Make no mistake, Grumpy is sure to bring out your inner smile!

No-Heart

One of the two characters in this show to be created by Nelvana, No-Heart is a grim, wicked wizard who wishes nothing but grief upon the world and especially upon the Care Bears. Although he and his sidekick, Beastly, attempt to destroy all the happiness and caring in the world, the Care Bears always find a way to foil No-Heart's plots. Unlike the Care Bears themselves, No-Heart was depicted as a disembodied voice in the soundtrack (meaning he was not physically present), exclusively in the English version.

Beastly

The bumbling, clumsy sidekick to No-Heart, Beastly is a type of monstrous creature who despises the Care Bears and assists No-Heart in his evil plans. However, due to his incompetency, Beastly is the partial reason why good ultimately outshines the evil in Care-A-Lot and in the world. Like No-Heart, Beastly was also a character created by Nelvana and also depicted through a disembodied voice in the English soundtrack (with no physical presence).

Baby Hugs and Tugs

Hugs and Tugs are baby bear twins, under the care of their beloved Grams, that are aspiring to become true Care Bears like the older members. They do not actually appear in this show (neither in animatronic form, nor through disembodied voices), as they are only mentioned in passing by Friend Bear in the "Grumps" segment of the English soundtrack.

Animatronics

Dunia Fantasi

Animatronic Manufacturing Date Status
Cheer Bear 1986 Unknown
Funshine Bear 1986 Unknown
Tenderheart Bear 1986 Unknown
Bedtime Bear 1986 Unknown
Grumpy Bear 1986 Unknown
Friend Bear 1986 Unknown
Care Meter 1986 Unknown
Flowers 1986 Unknown

Dorney Park

Animatronic Manufacturing Date Status
Cheer Bear 1987 Destroyed
Funshine Bear 1987 Destroyed
Tenderheart Bear 1987 Destroyed
Bedtime Bear 1987 Destroyed
Grumpy Bear 1987 Destroyed
Friend Bear 1987 Destroyed
Care Meter 1987 Destroyed
Flowers 1987 Destroyed

Gallery

Dunia Fantasi

Dorney Park

Videos

Link Description Filming Date Publish Date
YouTube Dorney Park's Care-A-Lot Castle performing the "Cloudy" Segment 1988-1992 October 28, 2006
YouTube Dorney Park's Care-A-Lot Castle performing the "Rainbow" Segment 1988-1992 January 18, 2010
YouTube Excerpt of the Indonesian dub, using footage of the Dorney Park show. 1988-1992 January 16, 2016
YouTube Excerpt of the Indonesian dub, using footage of the Dorney Park show. 1988-1992 February 6, 2016
YouTube Complete English Soundtrack N/A June 22, 2022