Thursday, 5 September 2013

High Fly Lah

In some of the earliest cartoons on the Huckleberry Hound Show, Mike Lah was called on to animate one or two sequences. Lah tended to give his characters google eyes (or teeny pupils in shock takes) and move the mouth on the face during dialogue (occasionally giving a character two upper teeth).

Lah animated all of the first Yogi cartoon put into production, “Pie Pirates.” I suspect “High Fly Guy” and “Tally Ho Ho Ho” were also early in the production run, as neither has “Yogi Bear in” on the title card (and there are some unique music cues). Lah worked on both.

In “High Fly Guy,” Lah handles the scene where Yogi uses a teeter board to launch himself airborne, only to be clobbered with a giant boulder, then the next routine where Yogi screws himself into the ground with a beanie-copter hat.

Lah always comes up with some simple but unique expressions. Here’s Yogi coming back down to earth after zooming up into the sky, only to bash his head against a tree branch. You’ll never find anything like this in a Yogi cartoon once he got his own series.

Lah liked to draw Yogi running away with his arms out (see “Pie Pirates”). Notice how Yogi’s mouth is just a squiggly line.

“Hey, little bird! Look out for that rock!” Yogi yells. Only the boulder crashes on him between the words “that” and “rock.” Here are the four drawings of the impact. Lah uses the second and third drawings on ones, then repeats them on twos before going to the last drawing for 11 frames.

Lah moved on to bigger things after H-B (his own company, eventually). A shame he didn’t stay longer. It would have been interesting to see how he handled the characters the following season when it seems budgets picked up a bit.


  1. Lah was one of the people who made the first season animation “Odd but Wonderful”!

    I absolutely LOVE "Pie Pirates"!

  2. Having to deal with the limitations of MGM's CinemaScope budgets seems to have helped Lah prepare a bit for the early H-B shorts. Some of the those feature Butch in sudden pose jumps (especially in "Grin and Share It") that are similar to the actions he gave Yogi in the early shorts.

  3. Looks more. Like a sycamore. To me.