The real story behind 'Winnie-the-Pooh' as ‘Christopher Robin’ movie hits theaters

As Disney releases the highly anticipated Christopher Robin film, a spotlight is being cast on the true story behind Winnie-the-Pooh's best friend, which is rooted more in reality than fiction.

The film stars Ewan McGregor as the adult version of Christopher Robin, whose adventures with Pooh, his honey-hunting bear, have captivated audiences young and old for decades.

In 1921, long before Walt Disney turned Pooh into an international star of TV and films, Christopher Robin Milne was given a teddy bear on his first birthday from his father, A.A. Milne, who purchased a stuffed animal from Harrods department store.

The stuffed animal was named Edward Bear, the proper name for Teddy. Years later, Edward would be renamed Winnie. 

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From the time Christopher Robin Milne was a baby until he was about 8 years old, he would receive stuffed animals that would later serve as the inspiration for Tigger, Eeyore, Piglet and Kanga.

As he watched his son interact with Winnie and friends, A.A. Milne thought his child's interaction with the collection of animals would make a great bedtime story.

Milne linked up with artist Ernest H. Shepard and used the stuffed animals as the inspiration for the first Winnie the Pooh poem, where he was known as “Teddy Bear.”

The writings appeared in Punch magazine and in the book they wrote together, When We Were Very Young, which was published in 1924. 

In a four-year period, three more books followed that featured the beloved bear and his stuffed squad, 1926’s Winnie-the-Pooh; 1927’s Now We Are Six; and 1928’s The House at Pooh Corner. 

The books and poems about Pooh brought great success to the author, and the characters became favorites with young children and their families around the globe. 

Their popularity led Disney to license the film rights to the characters in 1961.

Five years later, Pooh, Christopher Robin, Tigger, Piglet, and the rest of the gang appearedon screen for the first time in the animated short Winnie-the-Pooh and the Honey Tree.

In 1977, Pooh got the feature film treatment in the classic The Many Adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh. The characters would later appear in various TV series, movies, video games, short films and specials.

Pooh's most recent appearance came last year where he was a special guest in the popular children's program, Doc McStuffins. 

As Pooh evolved in popularity from the 1940s to the ‘70s, the original dolls that belonged to Milne’s son toured the world. Since 1987, they went on display at the New York Public Library, and they've remained there ever since. 

In 1998, the original plush figures became the subject of international scandal after a British Member of Parliament decided they should be returned to England.

But the United States and England later agreed that Pooh and his friends were happy, healthy, and being cared for in meticulous fashion on American soil, and unanimously decided that they will remain in New York City. 

Christopher Robin is in theaters now.

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