Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation - Lew Marshall (Mike Lah uncredited); Layout - Bick Bickenbach; Backgrounds - Fernando Montealegre; Dialogue and Story Sketches - Charlie Shows and Dan Gordon; Titles - Art Goble; Production Supervision - Howard Hanson.
Cast: Yogi, English hunter - Daws Butler; Yowp - Don Messick.
Released: week of Monday, October 27, 1958 (repeat, week of April 25, 1959 and December 14, 1959.
Plot: Yogi protects a little fox from a hunter and his yowping dog until hunting season ends.
It’s only appropriate that I, Yowp, should pick my screen debut for the first cartoon we’ll talk about here.
The earliest Yogis are the most fun, since they haven’t been locked into a tiresome formula. No Boo-Boo. No Ranger Smith. In fact, there’s nothing to say Yogi’s cave is in a park, let alone Jellystone.
The story opens with something atypical of H-B cartoons—a chase past the same background over and over again. The little fox runs past the same trees four times before stopping behind a rock (on a foreground cell). There weren’t too many backgrounds in this cartoon, and the woodsy meadow got the most mileage.
For some reason, H-B liked incidental characters with football-shaped heads. The unnamed fox has one, at least in some of the shots. It’s reminiscent of the original Tony the Tiger cartoons where Tony’s head could be tossed for a touchdown.
The fox is eventually chased into Yogi’s cave, where he hides unbeknownst to his host. The hunter pulls Yowp out of the cave twice and it’s at that point we get this cutsy bit to your right and Yogi decides to save the frightened fox from the hunter, who is attired in a chic chequered jacket like a number of incidental characters in the early Yogis and Hucks.
A little series of gags follows. The fox is first disguised as a “Davey Cricket” hat, which fools the Hunter-from-the-Thamas but not the intrepid Yowp. It appears Mike Lah takes over to animate as our heroes try to escape in the river and that doesn’t work either. But evidently Yogi has watched some Bugs Bunny cartoons, as the old log-over-the-cliff bit works, with Yowp even realising what’s happened, looking toward the camera akin to Wile E. Coyote and then giving a plaintiff “yowp” before dropping with a lens-shaking crash.
Yowp chases Yogi and the fox up a tree (that turns out to be hollow) and cleverly pops up in the hole at the top. Yogi does a stretch-dive out of the scene, an effect generally used by Carlo Vinci. Marshall takes over again. It’s back to more disguises, as Yogi (emulating Bugs again) does drag with the fox disguised as a stole. This is a great little limited animated take here. See the contented look Yowp has as Yogi (Daws uses a falsetto) says “Nice doggie!” then realises he’s been had. The cocked head is a great touch.
The stole becomes a sleeping baby. Yowp, being ever-polite, “yowp”s quietly as he leaves until the dog gets wise, and looks through the window to discover the true identity of the “stole”.
The fox is finally captured by Yowp in a TV set but all is for naught as Hunting Season has come to an end and the fox must be released. Yowp takes the news well.
The incidental music used in the earliest Yogis (the first-season ones that were part of The Huckleberry Hound Show) were the products of only four uncredited composers: Bill Loose (working at times with John Seely), Spencer Moore, Geordie Hormel and Jack Shaindlin. The first three were part of the Capitol Hi-Q library, though Hormel had his own label, Zephyr Records, and it’s likely his cues were leased from that. Shaindlin was one of the composers for the New York-based Langlois Filmusic library, a later off-shoot of the Lang-Worth Transcription Service that supplied musical programmes for radio stations and incidental music.
0:00 - Yogi Main Title instrumental (Hanna-Barbera-Shows-Hoyt Curtin).
0:26 - TC 219A CHASE-MEDIUM (Loose-Seely) - Dog chases tired fox into Yogi's cave.
1:32 - TC 300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) - Yowp pulled out of cave twice by hunter.
2:38 - TC 201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) - Fox disguised as coonskin cap; Yogi and fox jump in river.
3:59 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) - Yogi and fox run into log.
4:16 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) - Log-over-the-cliff bit.
4:41 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) - Yogi and fox chased up tree.
5:20 - L-1154 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) - Yogi wears fox as stole; rocks fox in crib like baby.
6:12 - TC 303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) - Yowp captures fox, cries that he has to let fox go.
7:10 - Yogi End Title closing theme (Curtin).