In 2004 through 2006, in keeping with the Beanie Babies craze which was sweeping across the collectors’ world, Ty Beanie Babies produced “Clover, the 4-H Bear” as a 4-H Exclusive, sold only through the 4-H Mall (not at retail stores) and as an internet exclusive.
The toy bear featured the bright green and white 4-H emblem on its chest and a matching green ribbon tied in a bow around its neck. A Ty paper tag is affixed to the left ear. Inside the tag reads: “Clover, Date of birth October 2, 2004, Heads together to think things through, Hands that will work hard for you, Healthy living that we share, Hearts that show how much we care.” The Beanie stands approximately 8 ½ inches tall. The bear was available in gold fur, white fur, and tan fur.
A separate Ty Beanie Babies project was Johnny the John Deere Bear,” which was also a 4-H exclusive. The emerald green fur bear had a yellow and green John Deere logo on its chest, and a yellow visor cap on its head with a green 4-H emblem on the front, and a matching yellow ribbon tied into a bow around its neck. It’s paper Ty tag in its left ear reads: “Johnny, Date of birth June 26th 2006, Everyone across the land, Work together hand in hand, Live well; love well; think things through, And you’ll succeed in what you do!”
4-H novels and children’s books may not be well known in today’s 4-H; however, starting in the 1920s and in every decade since then, new ones have appeared. Several dozen titles are documented and, at one time, Miss Gertrude Warren from the 4-H USDA office issued a listing of “approved” 4-H juvenile literature. While current research has not uncovered this listing, many of the titles are included in the “4-H Novels” segment of the “4-H books and printed archives” section of the National 4-H History Preservation website.
“Tom Boy and the Champ,” a 1961 Signal Pictures’ production and released by Universal International-Films, starred Candy Moore, Ben Johnson, Jesse White and Rex Allen.
Tommy Jo, a 13-year-old Texas ranch girl, wins a calf at the county fair and names him “Champy.” While training the animal, Tommy Jo gets caught in a storm and develops polio. With the help of her aunt and uncle and her parson, Tommy Jo learns to walk again and discovers that the secret of training Champy is to soothe him with music. She enters her pet – now grown – in the Houston Fat Stock Show, but loses when her radio breaks down and no music is available. The parson encourages her to persevere, and with the help of the local 4-H Club, Tommy Jo is able to enter Champy in the International Live Stock Exposition in Chicago. They win the grand championship when the parson sings a song to Champy. Tommy Jo’s happiness is short-lived, however, as she learns that all champions are auctioned off for beef. Unable to raise the $30,000 auction price, Tommy Jo has a relapse and is rushed to the hospital with pneumonia. Fred Anderson, a kindly meatpacker, saves Champy from the slaughterhouse and reunites him with Tommy Jo at the hospital. During the International Exposition segment, the film shows the National 4-H Congress parade in the Arena.
Advertised through National 4-H News, “the intriguing ‘feel good’ entertainment was produced in honor of 4-H Clubs across the country.”
Music from the film includes:
Get Ready with the Ribbon, Judge Written by Tommy Reynolds and William Lightfoot
Who Says Animals Don’t Cry Written by Tommy Reynolds and William Lightfoot
One of the most recent segments added to the National 4-H History Preservation website is the 4-H Promotion and Visibility Compendium. This is a collection of short stories – currently numbering over 170 – highlighting 4-H promotion and visibility over the last century. It includes many truly interesting and inspiring stories with new ones continually being researched and written.
In the 50s though 80s during many National 4-H Weeks, Lawrence Welk paid tribute to 4-H and to the special week being celebrated. Often Myron Floren, the popular accordion player in the orchestra, and a former 4-H’er, would give the tribute and play a special song, or it could just as well be another member of the Welk musical family.
Some of the stories highlight 4-H members, clubs or leaders while many others recount the connections 4-H has been fortunate to have with hundreds of VIPs through the years. These stories involving U.S. Presidents, NASA astronauts, Hollywood stars, corporate CEO’s, TV personalities, sports stars and top educators and scientists show that 4-H has been held in very high esteem decade after decade.
These stories are scattered throughout the Compendium, showing a broad segment of VIPs with special relationships to 4-H. Here’s a short list of 25 – Dwight Eisenhower, Reba McEntire, Bob Hope, Dolly Parton, Jeff Gordon, Arthur Godfrey, James Cagney, Judy Garland, Natalie Wood, Amelia Earhart, Walter Brennan, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Ann Landers, Ronald Reagan, David Letterman, Lawrence Welk, Will Rogers, J. C. Penney, Eleanor Roosevelt, Orville Redenbacher, Ed Sullivan, and Sugar Ray Leonard. In this group alone, some were 4-H alumni, some made 4-H films or appeared in 4-H radio and TV promos, others spoke or entertained at 4-H events or helped raise funds for 4-H.
Reading through the stories of the 4-H Promotion and Visibility Compendium is a quick way to learn a lot about what makes 4-H so special. For those new to 4-H, these stories are a great way to capture some of the spirit and energy of the program through the decades. If you have been involved in 4-H your entire life, we can still guarantee you that there are stories here which you have never heard about before.
The American Dairy Association sponsored a serial shown on the “Mickey Mouse Club’s” second season called “Adventure in Dairyland.” The series starred Disney actors Annette Funicello, Sammy Ogg, and Kevin Corcoran and also featured Midwestern actors Glen Graber, Fern Persons, Herb Newcomb, and Mary Lu Delmonte, as the McCandless family from Madison, Wisconsin. It was filmed on location at the Dr. Ira Sisk dairy farm in Verona, Wisconsin, while the cast and crew stayed at a hotel in Madison. Filming took place during June 1956, and when it was completed, Annette, Sammy and Kevin returned to California to start work on “Further Adventures of Spin and Marty.”
The eight episodes of the series are titled: “Off to Wisconsin,” “Moochie’s Escape,” “The Trouble with Pigs,” “The Runaway Tractor,” “The Case of the Deadly Paint Brush,” “The Turning Point,” “The Kids Take Over,” and “The Storm.” The Wisconsin filming involved 29 cast members which included 14 local 4-H members.
The advance crew, with four large trucks from the Burbank studio full of generators, cameras, kleig lights, costumes and props, arrived at the Sisk farm, overlooking the Sugar River, on June 4, 1956. Filming for the farm scenes commenced the second week of June, and wrapped up June 29.
In the series, Jim McCandless and his wife have two teenagers, Jimmy and Linda, and little Moochie, plus their handyman, Paullie, who’s a bit of a character. Sammy and Annette take to their hosts right away, and soon settle into the routine of farm life. They meet Moochie’s pet chicken, admire Mrs. McCandless’s flower garden, and are amazed to see how Paullie yodels to call the cows into the barn for the night. Jimmy shows Sammy the machinery used for automatic cow milking, and they watch the local veterinarian cure a calf made sick by eating paint from Moochie’s forgotten brush. At a local 4-H meeting they try dancing the polka and enjoy the European folk singing.
The 8-program series originally ran on Disney in November of 1956, during the second season of The Mickey Mouse Club. Touting educational programming, one of the program features was to be an ongoing set of serials examining future careers for kids and the daily lives of those following such careers. The first series was about airline careers, “American Pilot, Airline Hostess,” sponsored by TWA. The American Dairy Association sponsored the second series. At the behest of the ADA the series was filmed in color, the only original production for the Mickey Mouse Club that was.
Disney stopped showing the series on The Mickey Mouse Club after the 1958-59 season and the film rights then transferred to the American Dairy Association, who made the series available to schools, 4-H and other interested groups through the Education Film Library Association for several years.. ADA also published a 16-page, color, storyboard booklet, “Adventure in Dairyland,” which was distributed free of charge.