AMERICAN NOTES: Anybody Give a Hoot?

For 26 years, Smokey the Bear has been a uniquely successful advertising gimmick to remind Americans about the dangers of forest fires. Now the Federal Government wants to spread the word about environmental pollution, but it is caught up in a bureaucratic battle over what cartoon character should embody the cause.

The Interior Department champions its three-year-old Johnny Horizon, an earnest-looking, middle-aged white outdoorsman who, critics say, cannot possibly appeal to the young, to ethnic groups and to those who live in cities, where the pollution problem is worst. His message,...

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