Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yogi Bear — Scooter Looter

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Animation – Carlo Vinci, Layout – Ed Benedict, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Dialogue and Story Sketches – Charlie Shows and Dan Gordon, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson (no credits).
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Scooter Rental Guy, Elwood, Fisherman – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Touque Guy, Ranger Mack, Golfer, Customer – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Spence Moore, Geordie Hormel, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: Week of March 16, 1959.
Plot: Yogi borrows a park scooter but doesn’t know how to drive it.

The two highlights of this cartoon are Ed Benedict’s character designs and Art Lozzi’s colourful rendition of Jellystone Park. The story? There really isn’t one. What can you say about the animation when the starring character spends most of the cartoon sitting?

John Kricfalusi wrote about Lozzi’s technique on this cartoon on his blog. It’s hard to believe the post is over five years old. You can read it HERE. But allow me to post several of Lozzi’s backgrounds.







I like the blended colours, which makes the backgrounds seem more detailed, but without distracting from the characters.

The characters in this one are fun, too. Ed liked creating people who looked like their collars were too tight. Check out the guy who runs the scooter rental place.



I like the golfer who gets (wait for it, folks) teed-off at Yogi.



And we get a return appearance of Ranger Mack from ‘Robin Hood Yogi.’ Carlo loved head shakes to register all kinds of emotions in the Huck show’s first season. Ranger Mack shakes his head three times in this cartoon. Here’s one of them, four drawings ones, slowed down for you. Carlo seems to have preferred two-drawing shakes in other cartoons.



Carlo’s other highlight is Yogi’s bongo walk that he used in a few cartoons. It wasn’t the only walk he gave Yogi and it pretty well bit the dust in the second season. It’s hard to do dialogue when there are drums banging under the talking. Yogi walks flailing bent wrists on twos at the start of the cartoon, there are eight drawings on twos. Writer Charlie Shows fills for time by having read a sign. He fills for more time by having Yogi say “‘Scooters for rent.’ That’s what the sign says. The sign says that.” It’s a variation on the old Rochester line from the Jack Benny radio show: “That’s what the man said, he said that.”



Yogi meets up with the scooter rental guy. It sounds like Shows has him channelling Wimpy from the Popeye cartoons: “I will gladly pay, sir, out of a small inheritance I am expecting momentarily, sir.” The rental guy shoos him away. We get Carlo’s thick upper teeth here. The indignant (but “responsib-bable” bear) responsible concludes he is entitled to ride a scooter, despite Boo Boo’s warning, so he does. And most of the rest of the cartoon, other than dialogue, Yogi’s animation pretty well consists of cycle animation of him pressing the button for the toy horn on the scooter, with a blank look on his face. He runs down the scooter guy. And he runs down Boo Boo. I keep thinking if this happened in the ‘70s, goody-goody groups would complain about the violence. Fie on them.



He chases guys in sleeping bags. I love their little hop cycle, six drawings on twos. The rental guy and the sleeping bag guys call head-shaking Ranger Mack. Much like Ranger Smith in the later season, he’s sceptical of what the callers are saying about a bear on a scooter. He learns they’re right when Yogi drives through his cabin.



Yogi goes into, and up, a hollow tree, coming out on what, I guess are three dead trees suspended in the air horizontally by the weight of the forest. He drives along three of them, including one upside down. That high-larious Joe Barbera!

The next bit’s cute. Boo Boo attaches a lasso to the scooter rental shack to rope and stop Yogi. The rental guy looks morose. He knows what’s coming. It does. The shack collapses because Yogi keeps going and puts out the support beam with the rope.

Yogi screws up a golf shot because the scooter leaves tracks that deflect a ball away from the hole.

The golfer throws his club at the bear. It wraps around his neck. “Ouch, what a grouch,” says Ed Norton Yogi. The bear drives into a lake. A fisherman’s hook gets caught on the scooter. Yogi comes out of the lake and drags the scooter into a stump (why the scooter missed the stump but the rowboat following directly behind didn’t must be some Cartoon Law). The fisherman turns to the camera. What witty crack does he have for us? “A bear on a scooter?! The boys at the office will never believe this one.” Hmm. Maybe that passed for humour in 1959.

Finally, the end comes, in a manner of speaking. It’s another old cartoon ending familiar to Hanna-Barbera viewers. It’s a variation on the one where someone’s being chased by something with almost endless amounts of fuel and the gag line revolves around how he’s going to be chased for months and months. In the case, Yogi’s back up along those trees in the air (in reused animation). He tells us he’ll come down “When I run out of gas. When else?” Maybe that passed for humour in 1959, too.

There’s a musical gag, something rare at H-B because they were scoring to stock music. Part of Spencer Moore’s ‘L-81 Comedy Underscore’ is used to indicate the sleeping bag guys are just realising they’ve seen a bear on a scooter. The music takes the place of animation. In a way, it’s like in a TV or movie mystery when you hear a bar or two of dramatic trombones after the words “And someone’s been murdered!”

The soundtrack features the well-known ‘Pixie Pranks,’ which gets edited into itself to lengthen it. And, wisely, there’s no music while the bongos are accenting Yogi’s walk.


0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title theme (Curtin, Shows, Hanna, Barbera)
0:13 - L-1154 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi and Boo Boo talk.
0:20 - Bongo sound effect – Yogi walks.
0:26 - L-1154 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi looks at scooters.
0:31 - Bongo sound effect – Yogi walks, guy drives off on scooter.
0:40 - TC-300 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi talks to scooter rental guy.
1:10 - Bongo sound effect – Yogi walks.
1:17 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi looks at scooters, starts riding, rental guy calls ranger, “I was disconnected.”
2:17 - ZR-48 FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Yogi beeps horn, runs down Boo Boo, rides over campers in sleeping bags, skid sound.
2:51 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Campers on ground.
2:52 - no music – “It is a bear. On a scooter,” campers zip out of scene.
2:55 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Yogi chases campers, rental guy run over.
3:18 - LAF-4-6 PIXIE PRANKS (Shaindlin) – Ranger Mack in office, Yogi on tree branches, call to Ranger Mack, Mack on scooter, “I couldn’t care less, shorty.”
4:56 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Boo Boo swings lasso, rental shelter collapses, golfer, ball misses hole, Yogi drives past golfer
5:41 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Golfer throws club, Yogi under lake, drags fisherman, Yogi goes into tree.
6:31 - LAF-25-3 bassoon and zig-zag strings (Shaindlin) – Yogi on branches.
7:00 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

Yowp Note: With this post, all the first season Yogi Bear cartoons have been reviewed on the blog.



7 comments:

  1. There's a lot of marking time in this cartoon, but at the same time, there's a adult sensibility of cynical world-weariness that (to me) redeems the duller sections. It was also a cynicism H-B was never able to successfully get back into their cartoons after 1960 or so, even when they were trying to do prime-time cartoons for the adult viewing market in the 1970s.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I suppose I can see it too, though as a kid, it just seemed dull in those moments anyway. We'll all be stuck on that scooter sooner or later.

      Delete
  2. Gorgeous colors! HB sure knew how to get bang for their limited buck.

    ReplyDelete
  3. As per J Lee the fed-up scooter rental guy steals the cartoon, just as other fed-up humans (such as the director in "Show Biz Bear") and the fed-up Season 2 Ranger Smith do. I love his resigned admission that he "just should have let [Yogi] have the scooter in the first place."

    The running gag of Yogi helplessly beeping the chintzy horn on the scooter is actually pretty funny. If he can't stop or control it, at least he's trying to warn everyone to get out of the way.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Jesus, "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth!

    How this Yogi Bear episode is anthologic! Ed Benedict rocking at the designs and the layouts! Carlo Vinci rocking at the animation! Also including the Art Lozzi's gorgeous backgrounds, which have a strong predominancy of the green on the arborized scenics.

    "SOMEBODY MAKES STOPPING THIS INFERNAL MACHINE!" (Yogi desperately yelling at one of the scenes from this episode.)

    ReplyDelete
  5. 7/20/12
    RobGems.ca wrote:
    This Yogi episode to me is among the most classic of the Yogi Bear cartoons. The way Daws Butler (as Yogi) yells out "Somebody stop this fool machine!" is reminicent of George O'Hanalon's "Jane! Stop this crazy thing!" three years later. Too bad H-B decided to stop using Yogi's cool beatnick walk with the bongos-it was a very good accompanying sound effect.

    ReplyDelete
  6. In another cartoon from 1961, "Loco Locomotive", the cartoon ends with Yogi and Ranger Smith hanging on the edge of a cliff on the train Yogi was riding around Jellystone. It's too bad this cartoon and that cartoon both have the same endings to see what happens next to Yogi in this cartoon and to him and Ranger Smith in that one.

    ReplyDelete