Wild Design: Bongo’s Frontier Fashion

By Rebecca Cline, Director, Walt Disney Archives

Long before Henry led the Country Bears in their “Jamboree,” or even before Walt Disney made Davy Crockett’s raccoon skin cap all the rage in the 1950s, another famous Disney bear nearly sported some very “lively” headgear on top of his little red cap.

These story sketches for an unproduced comedy gag for the featurette Bongo (1947) were rediscovered in the Walt Disney Archives art collection a few years ago, but still delight us every time we talk about them. Created circa 1945, the drawings are not signed—so we cannot confirm the artist—but as Disney Legend Marc Davis was a character animator on the film, they may have provided inspiration for him when he helped create the beloved Audio-Animatronics® characters of Henry and his raccoon pal Sammy in the late 1960s for the eventual Country Bear Jamboree at Disney Parks.

Either way, consider this a coincidence we find to be “beary” fun.