“Time marches on!” shouted Westbrook Van Voorhis, and with it, marches popular culture. Van Voorhis himself is a good example. There was a day when the average person would have recognised who he was in an instant, having heard his baritone bellow over top of Jack Shaindlin’s insistent music on radio or in newsreels. Today, only radio nostalgia buffs (and, presumably, his descendants) know who he is. New pop figures replace the old as generations age.
However, media stars of one era are re-discovered in another by a different generation. Mozart’s been dead for generations, but his music lives on. Jack Benny’s character traits are still well-known and referred to in newspaper stories by people who may have, at best, been children when he finally jumped into his Maxwell and departed from regular television sight in the mid-1960s. And so it appears with the likes of Yogi Bear as well.
At least in Europe, plans are afoot by a publisher called Egmont to expose Yogi to a new generation through a series of computer books. An on-line article quotes the company’s marketing director, Rob McMenemy:
Proudly admitting that his favourite childhood character was Yogi Bear, he will shortly announce Egmont has signed a three-year deal with Warner Brothers to publish Hanna-Barbera books with characters Yogi Bear, Dick Dastardly, The Jetsons and Top Cat. How to Be Dastardly and A Guide to Life from Top Cat are some of the titles set for release.
You can read more here.
This follows in the tradition of Little Golden Books and Gold Key comics that put Yogi’s adventures in print in the 1960s but takes advantage of today’s technology to reach the latest generation which uses it. And it also shows that 50-plus years after his creation, Yogi continues to be a strong enough character to be financially viable to his owners, as he was to Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera when the first generation watched him.
Westbrook Von Voorhis should be as lucky.