Saturday, February 16, 2013

Yogi Bear — Gleesome Threesome

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Carlo Vinci, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi, Southern Desk Clerk, Bellboy, Park Superintendent – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Short Desk Clerk, Thin Ranger, TV announcer – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose-John Seely, Spencer Moore, Geordie Hormel, Jack Shaindlin.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-042.
First Aired: 1960.
Plot: Yogi and Boo Boo think they’re invited on Ranger Smith’s Florida vacation.

So do you walk around with your eyes closed, throwing open doors, and complementing people on their appearance? Yes, with your eyes closed. Ranger Smith does it in “Gleesome Threesome.”

It really shouldn’t bother me. After all, I’m willing to accept that a bear not only talks but he drives a dump truck filled with sand (lord knows where he got it) onto a beach, which also happens in the very same cartoon. But I accept that because it’s in character for Yogi. I can’t picture any character walking around with their eyes shut and telling someone how great they look.

Well, something else bothers me about the plot in the cartoon. But we’ll get to that a little later.

“Gleesome Threesome” is a third season Yogi Bear cartoon. By then, animators seem to be hewing closer to Dick Bickenbach’s model sheets. Yogi looks more consistent from cartoon to cartoon, but I’m still fond of the variations in look that each animator brought to the character in the first two seasons. And the animation was much more uniform and more bland, at least to me, in the third season. So we get Carlo Vinci Light in this cartoon. You can still tell it’s Carlo. There’s one brief moment where Yogi develops a thick bar of teeth.



And Yogi has that three-drawing head tilt in dialogue that Carlo liked using.



It’s a cute little sequence. I like how Boo Boo looks completely embarrassed. There’s virtually no animation, but it gets the feeling across. And that’s all you need. (Note how the TV show is appropriately in black-and-white).

Carlo also likes walk cycles where Yogi moves his shoulders and his butt up and down. He’s animated this one on twos, eight drawings. Again, it’s not as distinctive as walks in earlier seasons and the studio had long eliminated the distracting bongo sound effect during Yogi walk cycles.

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The background artist is Dick Thomas. Here’s about half of his first background painting that panned across at the start of the cartoon.



And here’s his drawing of the modern Miami hotel where some of the action takes place.



The cartoon starts with Don Messick’s narration informing us it’s winter at Jellystone Park. Yogi decides before he and Boo Boo hibernate (“Nothin’ left to do but hit the sack-aroo”), they should wish the Ranger a happy vacation. The bears overhear him on the phone to a hotel in Miami making sure his room his room is next to Charlie Behr’s. “The ranger is talkin’ about us,” says Yogi as neither he or Boo Boo seem to be able to spell.

The next scene finds Yogi and Boo Boo checking into the hotel in Miami. How did they get there? I can picture asking that of Warren Foster and getting the answer “Does it really matter?” I guess it doesn’t. Anyway, the main desk clerk is a Southern colonel and he has a line I like. “Weren’t those last guests a little odd?” asks a slightly-drawling little desk clerk. “They’re Yankees, son,” observes the colonel. “And all Yankees are odd. Cold drives them down from the North every year.” I suspect some Southerners still feel that way.

Ranger Smith arrives and cracks a corny “lonesome ranger” pun before heading up to the Behrs’ room (in the meantime, we get the old “give you a tip” gag between Yogi and the bellboy). This is where Smith walks in with his eyes closed and tells “Carolyn” (Boo Boo) how lovely she looks. Boo Boo even tells him he’s not Carolyn but the ranger’s developed some kind of hearing loss. Finally after telling “Charlie” he’s a little heavier around the middle, he opens his eyes. He doesn’t believe what he sees and lopes out of the room. “It must be the long trip down here. Driving day and night. And those bright headlights. No sleep. A rough season at Jellystone.” Smith decides Yogi’s a figment of his imagination until he goes back to the room and is greeted by the bear. Don Messick as Ranger Smith lets out a little “eek.” Just perfect. The ranger passes out.



Yogi and Boo Boo are “government property” so Smith’s stuck with them for the rest of his vacation. But what about Charlie and Marilyn? Where are they going to stay? I can picture asking that of Warren Foster and getting the answer “Does it really matter?” I guess it doesn’t. So the cartoon carries on. Cut to a pool. Yogi attempts “a double Dutchman with a flyin’ twist.” He lands on Ranger Smith (great high leg kick by Carlo). Yogi stuns the ranger by ordering everything on the hotel restaurant menu twice. And he uses a dump truck to bury the ranger (still wearing his uniform) with sand on the beach (“It would take hours the old way,” Yogi observes).



The scene moves ahead in time two weeks and back to the Park Superintendent’s office at Jellystone. For some reason, there’s a flap over Yogi and Boo Boo missing. The Superintendent turns on the TV. The news announcer has the thick glasses that Tony Rivera put on some incidental characters. He talks about the “hilarious antics” of Yogi and Boo Boo in Miami Beach. The Superintendent is clearly angry. “Get me a plane to Miami Beach right away!” he growls. But wait a minute. In the next scene in Miami, he’s not angry at all. He’s happy. This bugs me again. Suddenly there’s a mood change. Yeah, I can see why he’s happy, good publicity for Jellystone and all that, but it comes out of nowhere. Much like the closed-eyed ranger, it’s solely a convenient plot device. It’s a contrived way of inserting a plot twist.



The Superintendent arbitrarily announces Smith will spend a two-month tour with Yogi and Boo Boo. The ranger cant handle it and runs away. The ranger can’t handle the idea and runs off down the street (Carlo gives him a four-drawing run cycle on ones where the ranger’s butt turns toward the camera). Yogi and Boo Boo run after him, so we have yet another Hanna-Barbera cartoon that ends with a chase.

Incidentally, in the last scene, Yogi mentions the title of the cartoon, which conjures images of anything but a Yogi Bear cartoon.

The sound cutter has decided to be neat and tidy. Each music cue fits into a scene.


0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:30 - ZR-51 LIGHT ANIMATION (Hormel) – Jellystone scene.
1:52 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Shot of hotel, desk clerk scene.
2:58 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Hotel room scenes.
4:29 - LAF-2-12 ON THE RUN (Shaindlin) – Diving board scene.
4:42 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Restaurant scene, sand scene, rangers watching TV scene.
6:02 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Superintendent talks to Smith on street.
6:29 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Ranger turns and runs, chase.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

17 comments:

  1. Even though I would later figure out the dump truck sand gag wasn't original (though at least it was Warren Foster stealing from Warren Foster, in his first credited WB cartoon) there's still enough good bits in this one that I enjoyed it despite the travel inconsistencies and the mystery of what the heck happened to Charlie and Carolyn (I can even kind of accept the eyes closed thing during the hugs, since people tend to do that ... though normally you'd like to have those things open before the hug, just to see if you've got the right person. A 2,000-mile winter drive on the pre-Interstate highway system can do strange things to you, I guess).

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  2. JL, too recognized that dump truck gag. Also, I know he was done by Don Messick, who hated doing impressions, but that TV announcer sounds a bit like Frank Nelson, with that ultra-gushym haooy voice..:)Stev[it's reused in the series in "Geniual Genie" aas the title characer, and Te Flintstones second season, "Masquerade Party",as the caterer, "Stoneface"\.

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  3. The thing that always amused me about this short, was the fact that Ranger Smith DID sun by the pool in full uniform. Always on the job..even during vacation. I guess Charlie and Marilyn arrived after Ranger Smith, Yogi, and Boo Boo started their " tour ". And yes Yowp, there are a few Southerners who still feel that way-Ha!!

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  4. Still one of my favourite Yogi cartoons despite the issues raised. 'It'd take hours to old way!' makes the borrowed gag funnier. As an ignorant Brit I've never really got the whole Southern/Yankee gags that run through many cartoons, but that's why these cartoons are an education.

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  5. Carlo Vinci, who animated this Yogi Bear episode, was more involved, at this same year (1960), with The Flintstones.



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    1. Personally, I don't like the episodes where Ranger Smith sees Yogi as the antichrist and wants freedom from THAT bear. This episode puts that on overdrive (the title picture is rather misleading, suggesting Smith is enjoying the Bears' company).
      I tend to see Smith frustrated, annoyed, but deep down liking Yogi in some way, as a friend, as a worthy adversary, as the light of meaning in a cynical existence, etc. Even the earlier 'Cynical Smith' episodes ("Wound-Up Bear") suggest the Ranger brightening up via Yogi, even if it's akin to Sherlock Holmes viewing a mystery as escape from his depressed funk.

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  7. This is one my favorite Yogi cartoons, too. Carlo Vinci handles the ranger's greeting scene extremely well, which somehow validates its absurdity. The ranger's brief "Eep!" before he passes out is hilarious. For some reason it cracks me up how, after Yogi orders everything on the menu "twice't", he quietly adds "Drink your milk, Boo-Boo." as if he's his big brother.

    Huge goof in the title card: that is NOT Ranger Smith, but rather resembles one of the rangers from Season 1 before there was a consistent ranger character or design thereof.

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  8. I've always loved this cartoon, one of my favorites. It (along with YOGI IN THE CITY) foreshadows the climax of HEY THERE IT'S YOGI BEAR with it's misplaced-Yogi-in-the-big-city scenes. I love how Yogi slams the door in the face of the bellboy after he gives him his "tip."

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  10. This, along with the last Yogi cartoon reviewed, "A Bear Pair", sends the bears on vacaiton, only here with the ranger due to the misunderstanding.

    That story definitely is against the title card, which as mentioned is not showing the defintive ranger established by then. Rather, it truly is the original early ranger.

    And to the British guest:
    Check out the Huckleberry Hound short "Pickadilly Dilly" with a British/Southern mutual understanding gaffe, as well as its "Gleesome Threesome" title reference.

    Eek!

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  11. This is also one of MY favorites, as well.

    Like “A Bear Pair” (Trip to Paris) It’s one where there seemed to be far more plot than could be adequately handled in 6-7 minutes – and I’ve always wondered if someone wasn’t thinking about a “potential half-hour Yogi series”, that may have been pitched if Top Cat was never picked up by ABC.

    There were a small number of Yogi shorts like this in later seasons, that could have been thusly expanded. “Slap-Happy Birthday”, “Yogi in the City”, “Droop-a-Long Yogi”, “Bearfoot Soldiers”, “Threadbare Bear” (if that’s the one where Smith pretends to kill runaway Yogi and Boo-Boo in a hunt, to bring them back to the park), to name a few.

    I’m certain most, if not all, of the plot inconsistencies would have been better handled in a 30-minute (less commercials) version.

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    1. “Threadbare Bear” (if that’s the one where Smith pretends to kill runaway Yogi and Boo-Boo in a hunt, to bring them back to the park), to name a few. "

      Yes, Joe, it is.

      One of the better Hoyt Curtin-era Yogi's..

      Steve

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  12. One of the funniest Yogi Bear cartoons (closed eyes, misleding title card, travel inconsistincies and all). Warren Foster's dialogue and story are incredibly well written. The voice acting of Daws Butler and Don Messick is superb and great.

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  13. Excellent cartoon! But this aired as part of the Huckleberry Hound Show? I thought it was the Yogi Bear Show, because it's on my Yogi Bear Show DVD set. Did this originally air on Huckleberry Hound and was reran on the Yogi Bear Show?

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  14. Yes, Jerry, it originally aired on the Huck Show's 3rd season that started in fall 1960. Yogi remained on the Huck show until the following March. He got his own show in January 1961 so he was on two shows for about seven weeks.

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  15. The "EEK" sound that Don Messick provides is Wee Willie The Gorilla's trademark catchphrase.

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