Since it’s Sunday and the Christmas season is winding down, let’s take a look at Hanna-Barbera’s Sunday newspaper comics of Christmases past.
While Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw were featured in comic books, only Yogi Bear and The Flintstones received newspaper treatment. Yogi’s comic started not many days after his show debuted on television; the first Sunday Yogi panels appeared on February 5, 1961.
The two strips were under the eye of Gene Hazelton, who had been a layout artist at the best west coast studios in the Golden Age of theatrical animation. He didn’t draw all of the strips. Mark Evanier points out Ed Nofzinger worked on some (Yowp note: See Mark’s additions in the comments section). They were syndicated by McNaught and ran through 1988.
For reasons I have never understood, characters from the world of animated cartoons inhabit a separate world than when they’re in comic books and strips. In the Bugs Bunny strip, appearances by Petunia and Cicero Pig were not uncommon long after they vanished from the screen. Sylvester spoke with a modified Cockney accent. And the H-B strips were no different. In the Flintstones panels, Pebbles, Dino and even Baby Puss (he’s the cat that stayed up for the night, as the theme song told us) communicated via thought balloons. In the Yogi strip, Ranger Smith had a wife and a kid. The Smiths had first names, too, Bill and Vi—the same name as a certain Mr. and Mrs. Hanna, incredible as it may seem. It’s unfortunate Huck, Mr. Jinks and the rest didn’t make appearances (at least, they haven’t in the strips I’ve looked at), especially considering the delightful interplay they had in the ‘between-cartoons’ on the original Huck show.
I’ve picked the years between the mid-60s and mid-70s. There weren’t Christmas themes in the comics each year, so that’s why some years are missing.
It’s unfortunate not only that these are scans of black and white photocopies of newspapers but they’re all missing the top row of panels. I went through at least six different newspapers to try to get the best quality and all of them had only two rows of panels, a space-saving move by newspapers. If they only had a ‘click to enlarge’ function in newspapers like this blog does to save space but allow you to see everything. You’ll note the first Yogi cartoon bases its end gag around an organisation that Hanna was involved in through his lifetime.
YOGI BEAR, December 20, 1964
YOGI BEAR, December 25, 1966
YOGI BEAR, December 24, 1967
YOGI BEAR, December 22, 1968
YOGI BEAR, December 21, 1969
Yogi Bear, December 19, 1971
YOGI BEAR, December 24, 1972
YOGI BEAR, December 23, 1973
YOGI BEAR, December 21, 1975
THE FLINTSTONES, December 25, 1965
THE FLINTSTONES, December 25, 1966
THE FLINTSTONES, December 24, 1967
THE FLINTSTONES, December 29, 1968
THE FLINTSTONES, December 21, 1969
THE FLINTSTONES, December 20, 1970
THE FLINTSTONES, December 19, 1971
THE FLINTSTONES, December 24, 1972
THE FLINTSTONES, December 23, 1973
THE FLINTSTONES, December 22, 1974
THE FLINTSTONES, December 21, 1975
If you think the perception of the Flintstones has changed over the years, imagine a drunken Fred storyline today. Or a cigarette-smoking one, for that matter.
While the TV cartoons used animation short cuts, you can see that Hazelton and his artists didn’t, with some very elaborate drawing and fine layouts. I hope you’ve enjoyed them.