Smokey’s debut poster (above) is considered his anniversary date. Overseen
by the Cooperative Forest Fire Prevention Campaign, the first campaign poster
was illustrated by Albert Staehle.
Also in 1944, Forest Service worker Rudy Wendelin became the full-time artist
for the campaign. He was considered to be Smokey Bear’s "caretaker" until he
retired in 1973.
Rudolph "Rudy" Andreas Michael Wendelin (1910–2000)