5 Things You May Not Know About The Country Bears’ Teddi Barra
Take a trip into the hollers of Frontierland at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and you’ll come across Grizzly Hall. It is, in this humble writer’s opinion, the most important music hall in the history of Country and Western and old time mountain music. Grand Ole Opry, eat your heart out.
Grizzly Hall is home to the Country Bears, who have been performing in the Country Bear Jamboree since 1971. While my personal favorite will always be Big Al, the shimmering star of the group is unquestionably the Last of the Big Time Swingers: Teddi Barra.
1. Teddi Barra’s Song Was a Billboard Country Top 20 Hit
While many Disney attractions used original music, the Country Bear Jamboree relied on popular country songs. The number sung by Teddie Barra is called “Heart, We Did All That We Could” which was actually a BillBoard Country Top 20 hit in 1967. The song was originally sung by Jean Shepherd, a true pioneer for women in country music. She became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1955 and recorded 24 studio albums.
2. Her Personality and Style Are Based Off A Vaudeville Legend
Teddi Barra’s extravagant look and sultry personality were taken from the legendary Mae West, star of stage and screen. In fact, Barra’s quote, “Why don’t you come up and see me sometime?” is a variation on a Mae West quote from the movie She Done Him Wrong. The original line was, “Why don’t you come up sometime and see me?”
Outside of her career as an actress, West was a comedienne, singer, playwright, and even did a stint in jail. Her outrageous personality influenced a number of other Disney characters as well, including Jenny Wren from the Silly Symphony, “Who Killed Cock Robin?”
3. She Has A Very Detailed Backstory
The liner notes to the Country Bear Jamboree album contain a detailed history of the Country Bear’s favorite chanteuse:
“Teddi Barra was discovered sitting on a soda fountain stool in an ice cream parlor three miles from Gentry, Arkansas. From there, her rise in show biz was meteoric, and the ravishing beauty is known as The Jewel of the Dakotas. Though she has always wanted to perform serious drama, her fans have never let her forget her feather boa and her parasol, both of which have been promised to the Daughters of Benton County Western Museum when they wear out. In Grizzly Hall she performs her famous “Heart, We Did All We Could” while descending from the ceiling on a swing. She has been called The Last of the Big Time Swingers.”
4. She Was Voiced By Another Country Music Legend
Though Teddi Barra sings a Jean Shepherd song, her voice was provided by another legendary figure from the world of country music: Patsy Stoneman. The daughter of country music pioneer “Pop” Stoneman, Patsy was one of 23 children. She sang and played the autoharp, taking her father’s place in the family band after he passed away. Beyond that, her biographer notes that, “ “She had 10,000 vaudeville jokes and song lyrics in her head, and they’d come bubbling up. She was witty, she was funny, and she was sometimes more straight-talking than people wanted to hear.”
With a personality based off of Mae West, and a voice provided by Stoneman, it’s no wonder that she steals the audience’s hearts whenever she swings into the show.
5. She’s Romantically Linked to One of Her Co-Stars
At the risk of running into tabloid territory, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that more than a few folks think that Teddi Barra is the sweetheart of Henry, the MC of the Country Bear Jamboree. The two have been overheard flirting throughout the show, and there’s reason to believe that if Henry managed to find a ladder, he’s probably with her right now.