There’s a bear in the woods

Hal Riney, who has just died, worked with Ronald Reagan in 1984 to present the ‘Ready for Peace’ presidential election campaign, justifying Reagan’s push to maintain the arms race with the Soviet Union. Hal Riney himself provided the voiceover for the ad featuring a brown bear wandering through the wild. The ad finishes with a picture of Ronald Reagan, with the slogan, “Prepared for Peace”.

Ronald Reagan Bear in the Woods

“There’s a bear in the woods. For some people the bear is easy to see. Others don’t see it at all. Some people say the bear is tame. Others say it is vicious and dangerous. Since no one can be sure who’s right and who’s wrong, isn’t it smart to be as strong as the bear, if there is a bear?”

So what is the bear about? Is it about the pro-gun lobby, supporting the rights of hunters? Is it about the dangers posed by a changing environment? Or is this a reference to the Soviet Union? Despite Reagan’s portrayal of the Soviet Union as an evil empire, Reagan eventually collaborated with Mikhail Gorbachev to begin the downsizing of both countries’ nuclear arsenals. Was it really about the bear market?

See the Wikipedia article dedicated to the Bear in the Woods advertisement. Useful links include George Raine’s behind the scenes story, a quicktime copy of the ad at AllPolitics.

Filed under: Commercials, Politics