Saturday, 5 January 2013

Yogi Bear — A Bear Pair

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Game Show Host, E.G., Airport Announcer, Stewardess, French Airport Radio Man, 2nd French Government Man, 1st Man in Crowd, Chef, Return Airplane Pilot – Daws Butler; Ranger Smith, Boo Boo, Pilot, 1st French Government Man, 2nd Man in Crowd, French TV Announcer, Maître D. – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore, Jack Shaindlin, Phil Green, unknown.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-043.
First aired: 1960.
Plot: Yogi and Boo Boo are mistaken for ambassadors after Boo Boo wins a trip to Paris.

Through history, nations have been friends of other nations for purely convenience’s sake. Yesterday’s enemy is today’s political ally. Or, as Warren Foster puts it in this cartoon:

Official 1: Allez, allez! Roll out the red carpet! The ambassadors from Jellystone are arriving!
Official 2: Jellystone? Where’s that?
Official 1: Who knows? The way things are going, we have to be friendly with everybody.

In fact, diplomatic relations in this cartoon are based on something other than mutual political interest. They started because of ignorance by a stewardess and farcically built on that. For good measure, Foster comments about how diplomacy falls apart at the most inane perceived slight (someone doesn’t eat his meal as prepared, again due to ignorance). And the cartoon ends with the stand-in for the head of the slighted diplomatic power (ie. Ranger Smith of Jellystone) reacting the only way he knows how—with violence. War solves everything when diplomacy fails, you know.



The cartoon also points out how people do things from force of habit. People will go to a restaurant where meals are specially prepared with just the right amount of spices to give it the proper flavour, and then dump loads of salt or something else on it because that’s the way they eat everything. Special preparation be damned. It’s meat, so tons of salt must go on it, which destroys the whole reason for selecting the meal in the first place. So, to this day, when I go to (non-fast food) restaurants, I eat food only as prepared, all because of this cartoon. Warren Foster, the chefs of the world salute you.

This cartoon tested Daws Butler and Don Messick. They play 17 roles between them, including two that are shouts from the crowd noise (that they help make).

Layouts are by Tony Rivera, so certain things are recognisable. Thin-headed characters with the H-B 5 o’clock shadow. Isosceles triangle trees (Bob Gentle has given them a bit of foliage on the side so they’re not just a geometric shape).



The cars in the early Hanna-Barbera cartoons are fascinating and it’s something I haven’t had time to post about. They contain design elements of real models of cars around the time the cartoons were made but aren’t exact copies. The proportions on the car in the scene above are wrong—the back is way too large—but there was a car that had the same kind of light blue body indentation along the side extending to the tail light. I keep thinking of a Pontiac for some reason.

The cartoon starts with Yogi and Boo Boo rooting through garbage pins in the picnic area. Boo Boo finds a puzzle contest on a box (did Kellogg’s have something like that on a cereal box?) and all he has to do is send in a box top (presumably, he has to fill out the puzzle, too, but that’s never mentioned). “Boo Boo is always dreamin’ when he should be schemin’,” says Yogi, but it turns out Boo Boo’s box top is selected and the bear wins the grand prize—a trip to Paris, since there’s nothing that says a bear is prevented from entering. The contest company rep, E.G., calls the head office. The guy running things is, not uncoincidentally, “H.B.”



Boo Boo is allowed to take a friend on the trip, so he takes his best friend Yogi, who pokes his head through the door and gives us a variation on Jimmy Durante’s line “That’s my little bear-type buddy who said that.” Cut to a Bob Gentle background drawing of an airport tarmack. Now Ranger Smith plants the diplomatic disaster by telling the bears they’re “good will ambassadors from Jellystone Park.” That doesn’t really make sense because Boo Boo won the contest on his own, not as some kind of representative. But we’d have a lot different cartoon otherwise. Yogi shows his ignorance early on the flight.


Boo Boo: Yogi, where is Paris?
Yogi: Uh, some place in,uh, Rhode Island, Boo Boo.

Yogi tells the stewardess they’re “the ambassadors from Jellystone Park.” That sets off the stewardess who garbles a bunch of Gallic sounds to simulate French which sets of a chain reaction which results in the bears receiving a cheering welcome at the Paris airport (“They sure treat a puzzle contest winner right,” grins Yogi), a limo ride past a shouting throng lining the street (“These Paris-type people are friendlier than the av-er-age”) and a key to the city, which we never see presented because it’s cheaper just having characters stand there, while Yogi moves only his head and Boo Boo blinks his eyes.



Cut to a TV set showing the 10 o’clock (in black and white). It shows Yogi (in still pictures) on his head on the cracked sidewalk after falling from the top of the Eiffel Tower. No matter. Yogi and Boo Boo drop into a five-star Parisian restaurant where Yogi mispronounces “filet mignon” and tries to put ketchup on it. The enraged chef crashes the glass ketchup bottle (no plastic bottles back then, folks) and the TV shows Yogi being kicked out of the country “due to an international crisis” as he and Boo Boo “threaten war on France” (mild little Boo Boo? Really? Sounds like the media got it wrong). Cut to a plane where Yogi, with the only parachute, holds Boo Boo as he is literally kicked off the flight over Jellystone. You’ll notice the studio saving money again. The footage of the plane in the air is simply the earlier cel of the plane turned around and the background drawing of clouds moving in the opposite direction.

The bears land on the forest ground safely. Ranger Smith pops out of the bushes, then starts chasing Yogi and bashing him with a baseball bat. Tsk. Is such violence necessary? And so yet another Hanna-Barbera cartoon ends with a character chasing another one past the same scenery, stage left this time. They pass the same non-triangular tree 23 times to the strains of Jack Shaindlin’s “On the Run.”

The cutter found a copy of “La Marseillaise,” possibly in the Capitol Hi-Q ‘X’ series, and it makes a couple of appearances on the soundtrack. Phil Green’s “Period Fanfare” from the ‘S’ series shows up as well. The rest of the music is typical for a Yogi cartoon, though using a nautical theme for the scene of the contest announcement is a little odd.


0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:28 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Boo Boo and Yogi scene at garbage can.
0:56 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Ranger Smith scene.
1:10 - L-1121 ANIMATION NAUTICAL (Moore) – Game show scene.
1:26 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Car pulls up to ranger station, “Excuse me.”
1:28 - TC-301 ZANY WALTZ (Loose-Seely) – E.G. in Ranger Smith’s office.
2:17 - ZR-48 FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Airport scene, Stewardess babbles, pilot on radio.
3:09 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – French Airport Radio room, scene in French government office.
3:37 - LA MARSEILLAISE (Trad.) – Dignitaries at airpory, “Welcome to Gay Parree.”
3:47 - PG-171 PERIOD FANFARE (Green) – Cheers, Yogi and Boo Boo at plane entrance.
3:58 - LA MARSEILLAISE (Trad.) – Yogi and Boo Boo in limo, keys to city.
4:20 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – TV broadcast.
4:42 - L-1139 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi and Boo Boo lope down street.
4:58 - C-14 DOMESTIC LIGHT (Loose) – Restaurant scene, Yogi wants ketchup.
5:19 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – “Yipe!”, ketchup bottle on Yogi’s head.
5:56 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – TV broadcast.
6:13 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Airplane and parachute scenes.
6:36 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi and Boo Boo on ground, ranger enters, Yogi zips out of scene.
6:49 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Ranger Smith clubs Yogi during chase.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

10 comments:

  1. Yogi is being the ugly American Bear!Steve

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  2. Eating a different dish with ketchup! An American mania.

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  3. I'm assuming the plane tickets were on Air France. If Yogi and Boo Boo flew back on Pan Am or TWA I doubt the flight crew would have treated them the same way. ;)

    This cartoon to me comes from the "stretching, but not reaching" period of Foster's story lines. You certainly couldn't do a story like this without having the characters well established, but the story doesn't have the forced-plot feeling a lot of the Yogi efforts from 1961 began to suffer from, as the formula became set in stone.

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  4. This is one of my all-time favorite Yogi cartoons, and I’m glad it managed to make it to legitimate DVD release on the “Yogi Bear Show” set.

    Now this is only MY opinion, and not based on anything but my own thinking… But, this is one of a handful of Yogi cartoons that occurred around the 1960-1961 timeframe that I felt were possibly “auditions” for a possible half-hour Yogi series. There was certainly enough plot here to fill twenty-something minutes of air time.

    Some others were: “Gleesome Threesome”, “Slap-Happy Birthday”, and “Cub Scout Boo-Boo” (If The Flintstones could get a half hour out of this last idea, why not Yogi?), maybe even “Queen Bee for a Day”.

    In stories like these, it actually seemed workable that Yogi could sustain a 30 minute (with commercials) program of his own.

    …And, I can’t help but wonder, if the concept of Top Cat failed to fly initially with ABC, if Joe Barbera wouldn’t have come back with a similar format for his established and very popular star Yogi Bear.

    Again, it’s only my opinion, but what do you think?

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  5. Well, Top Cat DID fail to fly with ABC. Joe Barbera's excuse was no one wanted to watch a half-hour sitcom with funny animals in prime time. So he went back to the tried and true with the Jetsons. And even if he didn't, Yogi was sewn up with Leo Burnett in a deal for Kellogg's.
    It's remarkable in a way that Hanna-Barbera's first prime time show was their only successful show in prime time.

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  6. Yes, but Top Cat failed to fly AFTER it was aired. I actually meant “before” it was green-lighted by ABC.

    I may not have worded it clearly enough, but I meant that if the PITCH for Top Cat failed to fly, I wonder if JB didn’t have Yogi ready in the wings. The cartoons I mentioned (and others) were “expandable” to a 30 minute show length. They sure could have gotten more than 7 minutes out of “A Bear Pair”, if they tried.

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  7. Always had to chuckle at the line; : " Who knows? The way things are going, we have to be friends with everybody!

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  8. Boo Boo (to Yogi): "Yogi, where's Paris?"
    How naïve Yogi and Boo Boo were, at the moment in which they were following by plane to Paris.

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  9. I never liked Ranger Smith chasing after Yogi at the end. It felt like disproportionate retribution.

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