After Happily Ever After with Goldie & Bear

It’s (another) tale as old as time: Goldilocks innocently wanders into the Three Bears’ cottage… eats their porridge… breaks Baby Bear’s chair(!)… She drifts off for a nap in Baby Bear’s bed, only to be awakened by the three ursine homeowners themselves—and runs into the forest, seemingly never to darken that doorstep again. But Goldie & Bear—and its executive producer/director Chris Gilligan—asks the question, “What happened after the fairy tale?” And the short answer is that they become the best of friends and go on to have adventures with other fairy-tale characters, some of whom we’ve seen before in Disney shorts or features and some that we’re seeing come to life for the first time in Disney animation.

Goldie & Bear debuts September 12 on WATCH Disney Junior, and each episode features two 11-minute stories that showcase this unlikely friendship via situations that kids ages 2–7 will be able to relate to, using humor and story beats that parents will find entertaining, too. “There’s definitely a wink in there,” Gilligan explains, adding that the series is intended to serve both kids and parents as a first exposure to—or a reminder of—these iconic tales. “This might kickstart them pulling the book of fairy tales off the shelf and rereading some of these, or perhaps even reading them for the first time.”

Goldie and friend

Gilligan was just 4 years old when he first felt compelled to become an animator, creating a first two-panel flip book. He later expanded to something a little more complex and longer-form: “My sister had these paperback novels and the paper was super thin,” he remembers. “I used to take them and I could draw on the back page and then flip the next page up. I ruined many of her books doing these flipbooks!”

It’s no surprise that Gilligan’s first series for Disney Junior would be based upon a fairy tale. “Pinocchio was the definitive film for me,” he says. “It’s that notion of bringing something inanimate to life that hooked me right there [on animation].” Christopher Finch’s book, The Art of Walt Disney, was another touchstone when he was 9 or 10. “This book came out and it was, like, $100—and that felt like $1 million to me. But the local library actually got it, and they had it on this central table on this lazy Susan—they moved the giant dictionary and put this thing there!—and forget it, they couldn’t get rid of me. I used to walk to the library and pore over this thing.”

3 little pigs

Goldie & Bear’s CG animation is a mash-up of 2-D and 3-D that’s intended to evoke a storybook quality that’s immersive and makes a viewer feel like they’ve entered an illustration. For the series’ look, Gilligan was inspired by another childhood memory, of a View-Master toy. For Disney’s View-Master reels, Gilligan recalls, “They did these 3-D dioramas—they actually built little puppets and scenes from the movie, but in 3-D. They were beautifully lit and beautifully crafted. That’s the kind of aesthetic we were going for—mixed with 3-D technology and what’s working now.”

This is the first time that we’ve seen a Disney take on “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.” But Gilligan is proud to point out that the story has a Disney pedigree that even predates The Walt Disney Company, going back to Walt’s earlier endeavor—Laugh-O-gram Studio. “Walt’s first animations were based on fairy tales. And among the first ones that he did was ‘Goldilocks and the Three Bears,’ back in 1922.”

Disney’s fairy-tale legacy goes back farther than even its own “once upon a time…” And now, with Goldie & Bear, that legacy endures happily ever after.