The Symphony Bears

The bears were purchased in 1954 at a Stuttgart toy store by several members.  They were purchased on a whim, and were never intended to have any special significance.

Soon, however, they began to accompany our members to brewery evenings and eventually traveled everywhere with the orchestra.  Walking along towing a bear was a great way to get a few chuckles (or occasional frowns) from passersby and to meet people.   Forward was the smaller bear, Onward the large one, and George Andrix brought in Sideways when he joined the orchestra in 1955.  There had been no intention of using the bears as an Army irritant, but it turned out that way after they stood a few inspections and appeared on a few stages with us.

Many Army officers thought the bears were undignified, childish, and somehow reflected poorly on the Army. Even some orchestra members were upset by the presence of the bears. Other officers, though, accepted the bears in the lighthearted spirit in which they were intended. One such was escort officer Captain Burke, a veteran of heavy combat in Korea, who occasionally even took charge of properly placing the bears on stage for concerts -- one on the left, one on the right.

In late 1955, things became too hot for them to remain in Stuttgart.  They were shipped home to the states, where they still reside, although somewhat the worse for wear.  The end came with a direct order from our Colonel to "make sure none of those silly-ass bears are on the bus."

An Artist's View
(Drawings courtesy of Regis Cronauer)

These were probably drawn by Arlie Moran (Violin, 1958)
The artist was identified by Homer Holloway

A Bear Cartoon

Another Bear Cartoon

Photos courtesy of Jerry Pollack

Allen Gove & Pal
June, 2002 -
Forward enjoys retirement at the home
of 'cellist Allen Gove (not retired)
Allen & Forward
A similar pose from 1987

The bears - well seasoned travelers

Photos courtesy of Susanna Valpreda
Bordeaux Harbor
Bordeaux, France - the Nato Tour
The bears inspect the harbor

Bordeaux Carnival
Bordeaux street carnival,
not Jack's performing animals -
just visiting
Bordeaux Market
Open-air market in Bordeaux
The bears usually made a hit with the ladies
Bordeaux Carnival
Onward visits a carnival in Bordeaux, where
he continues his job as good-will amabassador

Photos courtesy of Tom Crown

PR at work
Onward and Forward were always willing to be good will ambassadors

Strange Encounter
Once in a while, a real live animal would encounter the bears -
as usual, this pet is mystified by an animal on wheels

Photos courtesy of Chris Earnest

Lake Luzern
Forward and Onward at Lake Luzern, Switzerland
Forward w/book
Forward playing it cool

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