Is Smokey Bear's middle name "The?"
Fact is, however, for nearly 60 years many, many people have also added the "The" to the name. In fact, the hit 1950s song about the fire-fighting bruin included it because it helped the flow of the music. Us youngsters back then just picked up on it and haven't changed at all.
And an old Forest Service public service film has Eddie Arnold singing the song with the added "The" along with it being included in the opening credits.
As Wikipedia notes: "The campaign to remind the public of the correct version of the name is almost as old as the Smokey Bear campaign itself."
Sorry, purists, you aren't going to win this one.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn