Tuesday, 12 April 2011

I Spent My Holidays With Cindy Bear

So, you all thought Mickey Mouse was the first famous cartoon character to give birth to a park/entertainment complex in Orlando, Florida. Well, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera knew better. And so does long-time animator Mark Kausler.

Some time in 1969—before Disney World—the sod was turned on construction of a Jellystone Park resort, complete with likenesses of your favourite Jellystone cartoon characters (all three of them). The resort apparently carried on until 1996. The Orlando Sentinel of July 10 reported the property was too valuable for a campground so it had been sold, 25 employees were being let go and 100 families who lived on the grounds were being told to pack their pic-a-nic baskets and go.

It seems parts of the park had been going to seed for some time. Mark paid a visit, as he relates in this note he sent along with his What-I-Did-on-My-Vacation photo album.


Back in 1989, my wife and I spent about 8 months at Disney World working on a Roger Rabbit short, "Roller Coaster Rabbit". Every once in awhile we would make field trips around the state and one day ran into Jellystone on Turkey Lake Road in Orlando. Evidently built in 1974 [sic] by the postcards herewith enclosed, the park was in semi-ruins by the time we visited. I love the shot of the ruined Yogi teeter-totter, and beat-up miniature golf course. That postcard shows some really moth-eaten Yogi and Cindy costumes! Anyway, I thought you might get a kick out of some of these old postcards and snapshots. That's me attempting to grab Yogi's picnic basket, a day I shall never forget!


JELLYSTONE PARK POSTCARD


KIDS HAPPY BEARS NOT CGI.


NO RESIDUALS TO WARREN FOSTER FOR PUN


“I’LL BEAT THE KELLOGG’S OUT OF YOU!”


TEETER TOTTER HAS SEEN BETTER DAYS


BOO BOO POINTS AT PAINT CAN


DO PIXIE AND DIXIE LIVE HERE?


MARK KAUSLER, PIC-A-NIC BASKET THIEF


CUE HOYT CURTIN’S RUNNING MUSIC


CATCH A STOUT TROUT LIKE YOGI


RANGER SMITH DIRECTS TRAFFIC


CINDY BEAR IS A GOLF HAZARD

By the way, there are still plenty of Jellystone Parks around. You can read about how they started at the company’s web site.Sure, the owner may have met John Wayne. But he never got vacation pictures from a guy who animated Tony the Tiger.

Yowp note: Tim Hollis has sent me a note about the post:


Great photo feature on the Jellystone in Orlando! One of these days I'm going to get around to a book on cartoon-related roadside businesses and attractions. Meanwhile, in a related topic, you might not be aware that Florida also had the only known location in the Jellystone company's attempt to start a chain of Yogi Bear Family Motor Inns.

See the attached, which appears in my upcoming book from the University Press of Florida, WISH YOU WERE HERE: CLASSIC FLORIDA MOTEL & RESTAURANT ADVERTISING. Publication date is October 2011. Below is the caption that accompanies this illustration in the book:

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The chain of Jellystone Park campgrounds was a familiar sight along the highways in the 1970s, but in 1975 the company decided to expand into the motel business with Yogi Bear’s Family Motor Inns. The only location known for sure to have opened, though, was at Bunnell, across the street from a failing attraction known as Marco Polo Park. Notice that the architect got clever and depicted Yogi running across the lawn with a stolen “pic-a-nic basket,” with Ranger Smith in pursuit. Another motel was planned for Danville, Virginia, but it soon became obvious that the whole idea was a big boo-boo.
===============

It also seems that over the years there has been some confusion about the fiberglass figures from the campgrounds as they relate to a set that appeared at each of the locations in the short-lived Yogi Bear's Honey Fried Chicken restaurant chain (a subsidiary of Hardee's in the late 1960s/early 1970s). You might have seen this before, but this thread gives the sad story of the place in North Carolina where many of the statues ended up in an eyesore of a dump:

6 comments:

  1. Anyone know who currently owns the land the Orlando Jellystone was located on? I went there on my first date on New Year's Eve 1995.

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  2. Don't know about the ownership, but the land is still mostly unused. After randomly scanning Google Maps and seeing a Jelly Stone Ave. pop up on Turkey Lake Rd, I had to investigate (I've only lived in Orlando since 2007). I had no idea this existed. What a crock of shit that this owner closed the place down, kicked everyone out, and immediately fired his employees by saying this land was too valuable and that something would be built, only to have it sit dormant for the next 15+ years. As far as I can tell, the only thing built on the property was a Comfort Suites and a medical office, and it only takes up a fraction of the land on the south side.

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  3. I used to live at that campground and had a blast there. Peterson out door advetising, I belived owed it at the time of sale. They had talked about selling it for a long time around the time sand lake hospital was being constructed. It was sad to see it go. Had a ton of memories from there. FYI there is a facebook page for that campground now. Well in memory of it I guess. Yoko@cfl.rr.com

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  4. This is completely amazing.. some of my very best childhood memories were made while visiting my RVing grandparents here in the early 80s. I burst into tears from the rush of emotions while scrolling through these pictures (granted I'm 15 weeks pregnant so that might have something to do with it). I've been looking online for years to find pictures of the old park before it was torn down.. thank you. :')

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  5. I currently live in an apartment complex right next door to this now vacant lot. In the top image on the right side where are the trees are.. that is now an apartment complex that was built in 94. I just read in the local paper today that this was zoned for time share and zoning just changed to high density residential. They will put apartments and commercial. Yesterday driving by I saw a sign for a storage facility that says "coming soon" which I was really disappointed to see (will be part of the commercial side). The newspaper add mentioned that it used to be "yogi bear campground" so I had to google ...and came across this site. I've lived next door to this huge beautiful vacant lot for over 3 years now. I can actually see it out my window as I type. We have $700,000 Pulte Homes being built just a little farther ways down Turkey Lake Road and a few high end apartments were recently built very near too. The anticipation of wondering what will inevitably be built there has been on my mind. At the same time it's so beautiful, I wish it were still a campground! I have thought it'd make a great park.. but I don't think we could be that lucky unfortunately. Prices are high in this area and I'm sure whatever they build is going to be a big deal. Hope this helps fill in the gaps of what's going on with the property. You can read the article at www.SouthwestOrlandoBulletin.com article "Growing Gains and Pains" Apartments Planned for Turkey Lake Road , More Development in Dr. Phillips by Debra Wood. Sept 15-Oct 5 2016

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  6. Does anyone know if there was a four or five foot high plastic or fiberglass rock that kids played on, maybe had an opening in it. I recall when I was 4 or 5 years old camping on our way to disneyworld, I vaguely remember a jellystone sign near the rock that we played on and had a great time during that vacation.

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