The real Christopher Robin spent may years in anguish for the fantasy boy his father created and which he had to play the part of on a regular basis. He was resentful that his mother ended up dressing him to match the illustrations by E.H. Shepard instead of the other way around. What’s worse is that later at boarding school Christopher Robin was teased mercilessly about his father’s character. And he didn’t make peace with being recognized as the namesake for everyone’s favorite books until late in life, despite becoming a book seller which put him in constant contact with fans.
The Winnie-the-Pooh we know today is less about hyphens and more about animated adventures and it would take two business-minded widows to make that happen.
Walt Disney acquired the rights to the series only in 1961 even though he had been trying to purchase rights since the ’30s. Disney only was able to do so after Milne’s death when his widow, Daphne, licensed certain rights. That same year the widow to Milne publishing agent Stephen Slessinger, Shirley, also sold what rights her husband had acquired from Milne in the ’20s.
With both of these stones in place, Disney could begin production on the first animated Pooh film under the Disney umbrella, a franchise which today brings in an estimated $6 billion a year for the family entertainment company.