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History & Press

THE CREATOR:

Mr Michael George Nicholas was born in 1955 and raised in the town of Walton – Liverpool. His creative mindset and outlook was somewhat imminent at a young age with a lack of interest in the mundane norms of society, always thinking outside the box, always looking for adventures and conjuring his own excitements. As time went by and George grew older his creative focus and intensity was to become animated in more ways than one! The creative mindset that he grew up with was soon to pay off with the ability to apply that fictional animation into real life manifestations and creations.

George’s artistic abilities allowed him to create the Worlds longest mural at the famous Alder Hey Hospital. This was granted a Guinness World Record in 1985. As well as mural works George was responsible for the great comic concepts – Scouse Mouse and Ace which were mass distributed throughout the UK in 1983 as well as published in the Liverpool Echo newspaper.

His talents continued in those years working and managing concepts with the likes of Nigel Parkinson, Nick Reynolds and Julie Evans in his small shed where they worked on the likes of Ninja Turtles, The Wanted Comics, Board Games, logos and packaging designs… It was that very shed-studio that the Were Bears turned from an idea into a creation!

George continues to this day to offer his services worldwide from private works to corporate installations. He also specialises in character concept design and illustration and runs the Charity Art for Their Sake.


CORPORATE HISTORY:

The early 80’s boom in character concepts for the mass-consumer markets worldwide was not something to miss. With huge American brands setting the pace with extensive backing from the likes of Universal, Hasbro and Kenner, the toy industry was looking for new licenses to brand, and creators like George where hawking for deals in order to get there concepts recognised. In January 1983 George obtained a National deal with the well-known toy company called Hornby – the creators of Scalextric and Hornby trains. Whilst these toys where extremely popular, the ever demanding consumers craved new types of toys. The Were Bears concept was just the ticket! A teddy that could appeal to boys with a cool storyline! The toy-line began production and was distributed within the United Kingdom in 1983. This included the four main characters called Grizzler, Howler, Gums and Fang. In 1986 The Fifth Were Bear called Growler was introduced alongside the four Terror Ted Characters called Chomp, Snapper, Grunt and Munch. Each Were Bear Toy was packaged in a cardboard Castle shaped box and included a story line cassette tape which was narrated by Mr Oliver Postgate who also voiced Bagpus! Clearmark publications also printed and distributed a total of 7 Comic Books which were available in most newsagents and national chains like W H Smiths. Other items that where produced included lunchboxes, slippers and stationary.

Hornby also sub-licensed the concept to an American Toy brand that produced a line of toys called Beasty Bears.

In 2012 George and his friend set out to re-produce the bears. A factory was setup in order to sample the original Were Bears and a small batch of Limited Edition Collectable soft toys where produced. This created a world-wind of interest back into the brand which subsequently leaded to a re-launch. After acknowledging the fact that there is still interest in the concept and characters market research showed most of the users where in fact the original users of the Toys who had now grown up…

In 2014 George met Tony Fisher, a young entrepreneur and Were Bear enthusiast from Hull who specialises in production and distribution of licensed consumer goods. After many late-night phone calls the ideas continued flowing and the idea to re launch the Were Bear license as a retro themed merchandise brand was concluded and put into action. 31st Of October 2016 marks the date for the Were Bear™ relaunch. The aim is to give the fans a dedicated source for everything Were Bear related and continue the much loved concept for years to come.

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PRESS:

Throughout the mid 80’s and early 90’s many press related opportunities appeared from the fast selling Toy Line branded by Hornby, they even reached the Cover of the 1990’s Toy Industry Newsletter. Most famously they made an appearance on the popular TV Show ‘Going Live’ which was hosted by Phillip Schofield!