Saturday, March 30, 2013

Yogi Bear — Genial Genie

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Dick Lundy, Layout – Paul Sommer, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Senator – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Genie, Ranger Smith, NORAD officer, Jet Pilot – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore, Jack Shaindlin.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-048.
First Aired: likely 1961.
Plot: Boo Boo finds a magic lamp and Yogi wishes for a magic carpet.

At the end of “Genial Genie,” Yogi regrets to Boo Boo “That Mr. Genie, he talked me into wishin’ for a flyin’ carpet when I coulda wished for a five-year supply of pizza pie.” Quite true. But we wouldn’t have had much of a cartoon then.

Actually, we don’t have much of a cartoon anyway. It’s pleasant enough and Warren Foster’s story structure is good. But there’s no real bite to it—and Foster had a chance to bite during the NORAD scene. We mainly get some puns and a few of Yogi’s rhyming phrases; no great lines like “Oh, sweet spirits of Camphor! Can’t a man get any nourishment around here?” like Foster wrote for another genie in the fine Bugs Bunny cartoon “A-Lad-in His Lamp” (released 1948). And Don Messick comes up with a voice for the genie that evokes Frank Nelson’s floorwalker character on the Jack Benny radio show; Messick used it for a floorwalker in a Snooper and Blabber cartoon about a year earlier.

Oh, there’s another connection between this cartoon and “A-Lad-in His Lamp.” Both featured backgrounds by Dick Thomas. Here he provides a nice, pleasant one at the opening of the cartoon. Like many H-B efforts, there’s a slow pan over opening narration to start things off.



The animator is Dick Lundy. I’ve mentioned his three-drawing head roll before. Here it is, Genie-style.

Genie head roll

Well, maybe Lundy didn’t animate all of it. Yogi looks ugly in a few scenes. Look at his hand below. Does that look like something from a Disney animator and a top Walter Lantz director?



It looks like the legs are animated but you can’t see them because of the tight shot. That could have been on Foster’s storyboard or a decision made in layout. Paul Sommer is the layout artist here. He seems to have loved those little round eyes that Ed Benedict used on occasion. Take a look at the Senator and the NORAD commander.



In one scene, there’s a stupid-looking version of Ranger Smith, complete with overbite.



Sommer does try to make things a bit different in the opening. The narrator explains Jellystone has rustic tourist cabins that are thoroughly examined by that self-appointed inspector, Yogi Bear. Yogi and Boo Boo pop up in silhouette out of the bushes. Yogi’s rhymes: he calls Boo Boo “my fuddy-duddy buddy,” and “Old Mother Hubbard must have lived here. When Yogi got there, the cupboard was bare.” Ranger Smith catches Yogi sneaking out the back window, sticking his foot in a pail in the process. “Mr. Ranger, sir. Did you see the close call I almost had. I almost kicked the bucket.” Yogi repeats the joke twice in case we didn’t get it. Smith checkmates the year’s BS about checking for fire hazards by asking “And were there any matches left burning in the ice box.” A ship-to-the-St. Louis-zoo threat follows.

Boo Boo find “a metal teapot or something” in the next scene and misreads the inscription as “A lad’s lamp.” Yogi: “It’ll never replace the flashlight.” Boo Boo rubs the lamp and you know what happens next. “I am the genie of the lamp,” says Almost Frank Nelson, “And, please, no cracks about ‘Jeannie with the light brown hair.’ I’ve heard it a thousand times.” Yogi’s granted a wish by the genie. Yogi thinks. “Oh, come now. Don’t make me sorry I promised you,” says the annoyed genie. “How about a magic carpet? Get you around wherever you want to go. We’re featuring a new compact model this year.” Yogi’s sold. He asks for a red one. “You’ll take what I give you. You’re beginning to bug me already.” Yogi agrees to the genie’s request to throw the lamp away so someone else can make a wish.

Yogi decides to use his (blue) carpet to stage an air-raid on the pic-a-nic baskets. But the rug accidentally takes off. Foster reuses a sight gag from “A-Lad-in His Lamp.” Both Yogi and Bugs Bunny have their faces covered by their carpet after takeoff.



Ranger Smith laughs off Boo Boo’s plea for help as a “fable.” Meanwhile, NORAD picks up Yogi as a radar blip and launches missiles at him. Here was a chance for Foster to do some U.S military satire; he did it in other cartoons. If it’s there, it’s extremely weak. A Senator is being shown the latest NORAD equipment by a base commander, but all he does is repeat the commander’s words or say “Uh, huh.” He’s wearing a white suit and a cowboy hat for Daws doesn’t give him an accent of any kind; he sounds just like the Jellystone Park superintendent from cartoons earlier in the season. Anyway, the missiles rip through the carpet and Yogi finds himself riding one until the genie rescues him. Boo Boo had seen where Yogi threw the lamp, retrieved it and wished for Yogi’s safe return. The cartoon ends with Yogi crying that he wished for a carpet instead of pizzas. Yogi has a pretty thick outline when riding the missile. I wonder whether another animator did that bit.



The music is timed to fit a particular scene, for the most part, in this cartoon, though the cutter changes Jack Shaindlin cues in mid-sentence at the end “Rodeo Day” finishes with a bit more punch than “Recess.” The twinkling harp musical effect is heard twice; it was used for a few more years at Hanna-Barbera on The Flintstones.


0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:30 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Opening narration, Yogi and Boo Boo talk.
1:09 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi goes into cabin, Ranger shows up.
1:43 - LAF-25-3 zig-zag string and bassoon (Shaindlin) – Yogi at back window, talks to Ranger.
2:27 - ZR-52 LIGHT QUIET (Hormel) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk, Boo Boo rubs lamp.
3:07 - harp music – smoke comes out of lamp.
3:14 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Yogi talks about trimming the wick.
3:17 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Hormel) – Genie appears, floats over to Yogi.
3:22 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) – Yogi talks to Genie.
4:26 - L-1121 ANIMATION NAUTICAL (Moore) – Carpet appears, Yogi tosses lamp.
4:46 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – “Nice throw, Yogi,” carpet takes off.
5:02 - ZR-47 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Yogi on carpet, Ranger and Boo Boo scene.
5:39 - C-19 LIGHT ACTIVITY (Loose) – NORAD scene.
6:06 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – Yogi carpet/rescue scene.
6:46 - LAF-21-3 RECESS (Shaindlin) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk and talk, “When I coulda wished….”
7:04 - LAF-72-2 RODEO DAY (Shaindlin) – “For a five year supply…,” iris out.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).

5 comments:

  1. I think the joke with the senator is that he's obviously on some official visit, but hasn't a clue what the air defence guy is talking about. That's what I got from it.

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  2. I'm kind of surprised that Yogi never did get a chance to filch some pic-a-nic baskets while he had the magic carpet; maybe it would have been too similar to the episode where Yogi "borrowed" the witch's broom (which also ended with a missile attack).

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  3. Don Messick used that Frank Nelson voice for the briefly appearing news reporter in "Gleesome Threesome" that year with Yogi, Boo-Boo and the Ranger and also in "The Masquerade Party",1961, with The Flintstones as "the only costumer" in town.:)

    Doug Young also did that voice for the Augie Doggie-Doggie Daddy short from 1960-61 not yet reviewed, "It's a Worm Day", as the floorwalker, and in the 1964 Flinstone episode "Pebbles's Birthday Party", as a caterer similar to the costumer mentioned with similar catchphrase "only caterer in town".

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  4. Oh well - it's still a better cartoon than Shows' entry for Pixie and Dixie, "Jinks’ Flying Carpet". At least this had a lot more goin' on here.

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  5. The Dick Lundy's tilting head animation style is also employed on this Yogi Bear episode, on the part where Mr. Ranger makes "tsk-tsk", when he says to Boo Boo: "You should be spending many time with Yogi!"

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