Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Carlo Vinci; Layout – Ed Benedict; Backgrounds – Fernando Montealegre; Dialogue and Story Sketches – Charlie Shows and Dan Gordon; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Cast: Yogi, Father – Daws Butler; Junior, Ranger – Don Messick; Mother – Ginny Tyler?.
Released: March 12, 1959.
Plot: Yogi decides to be the playmate to a cowboy-clad kid ignored by his parents. Junior rides him like a rented pony. Literally.
Charlie Shows must not have liked kids. Which would seem odd for someone whose audience was kids—he wrote for a TV puppet show, moved on to Disney and then concocted stories for Hanna-Barbera (and, later, Hanna Barbera kids records). But what other possible explanation can there be for his string of cartoon featuring absent or inattentive parents, and kids running amok inflicting violence on perfect strangers?
No wonder audiences and TV critics alike viewed Huck, Yogi, et al as biting satire, considering they were subjected to an endless diet of oh-so-happy-together family shows like Father Knows Best or Ozzie and Harriet. Even the laugh track on those sitcoms sounds like it would rather be watching something else.
Ah, but then came Charlie Shows to write a cartoon like this one, with a kid doing whatever he feels like as his parents would rather have him go away somewhere. Sure, Junior is not an outright jerk as those rich twins were to Huck in Hookey Daze, but he still enjoys being sadistic to innocent Yogi.
Well, then again, there’s another possible explanation about the story premise. It could have come from Joe Barbera, in which case he simply borrowed the premise of two of his MGM cartoons, “Busy Buddies” (released 1956) and “Tot Watchers” (released in 1958), which both featured a kid who toddles off from an inattentive and irresponsible babysitter.
We have no Boo Boo and no pic-a-nic baskets in this tale, which opens with Yogi’s “bongo-walk” through the wooded Jellystone Park. That’s a clue Carlo Vinci animated this, as well as the way Yogi’s top teeth are drawn; a little wider than Ken Muse. Vinci seems to have been given cartoons that required violent action, but the takes in this one are unfortunately tamer than usual. The walk cycle lasts ten seconds, stops for some dialogue, and continues for another ten seconds. Some pretty easy footage for Carlo.
“Old Nosey-to-Nose Yogi” hears a noise and decides to see what’s responsible. It’s a “typical type tourist family” (expressing more cynicism, it appears). Junior wants to play “western” with his mom and dad but she’s too busy reading; he’s too busy lazing around. The father tells him to “go shoot something else, like maybe a bear or something.” And that describes the remainder of the plot.
Yogi does a mock death scene with extremes that don’t exactly put Bugs Bunny to shame, though we get a Bugs-like aside about his great acting ability (in this case, he’s “better than the av-er-age TV cowboy star”) and one of Shows’ little rhyming bits of dialogue (“Just bury me on boot hill, Buffalo Bill”). Having accomplished his goal, the kid goes to bug his parents again, but upon seeing Yogi is still alive, goes back to shoot him dead again. And again and again.
Then Junior drags “the big game” to show his mother. She doesn’t want some “dusty old bear” around and throws buckets of water on him. Carlo pulls off a nice little bit here. He backs up Yogi who then does a stretch take-off out of the frame. The wretched mother then gives the kid hell for “bringing home pets.”
Ah, the little pest isn’t finished with Yogi. He lassoes the bear who stupidly offers to give the boy a horseback ride. The kid ends up whipping and choking him and tiring him out. But Junior wants more. So he goes to get a pair of spurs to make sure he gets his horsie ride. Below you’ll see some of the frames of how Carlo handled it.
The cynicism returns when the uninterested snoozy father thinks Yogi’s yelp in pain is “maybe a woodchuck” and when wifey asks if it’s Junior playing with the bear, the indifferent response is “Search me.” Finally, Yogi begs the ranger for help with the troubling tyke. The ranger thinks Yogi’s problem is he doesn’t know how to handle kids. The ranger learns to find out otherwise and demands the parents do something.
Naturally, apathetic mom and dad take their kid and drive home in a huff, not realising in the wind-up gag, the brat has ensured he is bringing home a keepsake from the park.
Don Messick uses his Ranger Smith voice, but the throughout the first season, there were a variety of names, designs and voices before Ranger Smith was finally invented at the start of the second season of Huck. This is one of two H-B cartoons in the first season to use a woman doing woman’s voices; Messick would generally do them in falsetto. It sounds a lot like Ginny Tyler, who was doing children’s records for Disney at the time and later worked for Hanna-Barbera on Jonny Quest, Space Ghost and The Fantastic Four.
There are spots where the sound-cutter wisely hasn’t used any music; we just get Yogi’s bongo-walk sound effect or some galloping hoofbeats. The music’s atypical, other than a rare appearance by a galop that’s among a bunch of Sam Fox library cues than Capitol put on reels L-13 and L-14 of the Hi-Q series, which re-named them all as ‘Light Movement.’ I think 2 ½ of them were used in H-B cartoons on rare occasion, and SF10 was the most common.
The music times are taken from a dub of the cartoon without credits at the start.
0:00 - Yogi sub main title (Hoyt Curtin).
0:14 - no music – Yogi walks through woods, hears Junior going “bang-bang.”
0:43 - TC 432 HOLLY DAY (Bill Loose-John Seely) – Parents ignore Junior.
1:48 - TC 301 ZANY WALTZ (Loose-Seely) – Junior shoots hammy Yogi.
2:36 - no music – Yogi walks away.
2:47 - TC 201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Junior shoots Yogi some more; mother throws water on bear and nags Junior.
4:03 - TC 202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Junior rides Yogi; feeds bear hay.
(4:18 – 4:20, 4:41-4:48 – no music)
5:36 - L 81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Spencer Moore) – Junior uses spurs on Yogi.
5:51 - SF10 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Lou De Francesco) – Junior keeps spurring Yogi.
6:14 - L 81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Yogi pleads with ranger to get kid off back; Ranger tells parents to get kid off his back.
6:38 - bassoon and zig zag strings (Jack Shaindlin) – Family drives home with Yogi tied up in back seat.
6:59 - Yogi sub end title (Curtin).