Owls in Popular Culture

Give a hoot! Don't pollute!

                                                                                             -- Woodsy Owl

Owls hold a special place in popular culture and show up in a variety of manners. From cartoon owls to college mascots, owls really are everywhere.

The United States Forest Service uses Woodsy Owl to implore the public to “give a hoot, don’t pollute” while Mr. Owl declares it takes 3 licks to get to the center of a tootsie pop. The movie Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole was adapted from Kathryn Lasky’s book series The Guardians of Ga’Hoole.  

Disney’s Professor Owl taught many of us about singing and music. Speaking of music, the (now apparently defunct) blog Owl Things Considered dedicates four separate posts to songs about night owls! And we couldn’t write about owls in pop culture without mentioning Hedwig from Harry Potter.  

If you’re interested in owls and advertising, take a look at some of the sources available in the J. Walter Thompson Advertising America Collection, available online through Adam Matthew. J. Walter Thompson himself loved owls and they adorned “everything from his stationary to his umbrella” and indeed were part of the symbol of the company.

Finally, from serving as mascots such as Temple University's  Stella The Great Horned Owl to being a central part of the Bryn Mawr College seal,  the owl as a symbol of wisdom abounds in academia. 

[1] 1897. J. Walter Thompson Co. Advertising. Available through: Adam Matthew, Marlborough, Advertising America, http://www.jwtadvertisingamerica.amdigital.co.uk/Documents/Details/jwtpb003003 [Accessed January 05, 2023].

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