Saturday, January 18, 2014

Yogi Bear — Disguise and Gals

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Don Patterson; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Written by Warren Foster; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Horse McGonigle; Newscaster, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith – Don Messick. Mugger – Doug Young.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961.
Plot: A pair of bank robbers disguised as grannies hide their loot in a picnic basket that Yogi wants.

Do these look like typical Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters to you?



These guys in “Disguise and Gals” look like they could appear on “The Flintstones.” Or “Secret Squirrel.” Or “Precious Pupp.” Meh, as the kids say. It seems to me the artwork was a lot more interesting in the earlier Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Take, for example, the bank robbers in “Big Brave Bear” made only three years before.



I don’t know whether it was Ed Benedict’s influence waning but it seems there was a conscious decision to modify the designs at the studio. Even the backgrounds are a little more abstract and fun in “Big Brave Bear.” I really like the sponge-work and the tree outlines in that cartoon. There’s nothing really wrong with the backgrounds in this cartoon; I just enjoy the work on the first year of Yogi cartoons a lot more. Here’s part of a background by Bob Gentle. The rolling hills remind me more of Art Lozzi.



Here’s part of another background drawing which gets a lot of use in the cartoon. Various overlays are used on it, like a couple to create an entrance to Jellystone Park.



Don Patterson’s at work here. In “Space Bear,” he draws Ranger Smith with really wide pants. He does it again in this cartoon.



He draws closed eyes like the eye-lids are little triangles.



And this is another cartoon where he draws a little crook for a closed mouth.



Unfortunately, Patterson doesn’t have any outrageous takes in this cartoon. The story doesn’t really call for any. But he has Yogi wagging his head from side to side and up and down, so he’s at least trying to make it look better than the rigid-character-blinks-eye that you see in other animator’s work.

Patterson does cheat a bit in the scene where Yogi and the bandits crash through the roof of the Ranger Station. We don’t actually see them go through the roof, but it happens so fast, you don’t really notice. What Patterson did was have the trio disappear, and add some small boards in the next number of drawings that he moved around. Combined with the camera shake, it looks like the characters crashed through. These are consecutive drawings.



There’s not much to say about Warren Foster’s story. He’s got some clever bits of dialogue. After seeing the “old ladies” drive by, Ranger Smith talks to himself about their carefree lifestyle and adds “They really know how to count their blessings.” Cut to the next scene where they’re counting, all right. The money they’ve stashed in the picnic basket. Then there’s the irony when Yogi is running away with the robbers’ picnic basket and one yells “Come back here, you crook!” And there’s the inevitable Yogi rhyme when he runs onto a ski slide to escape. “Without snow, I don’t wanna go.” But go he does after the disguised crooks run into him and down the snow-less slide they go. The characters start in silhouette at the top of the slide but as they reach the middle, the silhouette disappears and you can see the three of them. The slide scene isn’t done horizontally across the screen; it’s done at an angle with the characters coming towards the audience. It’s more interesting visually.



While all this is going on, Ranger Smith is looking at a “Wanted’ poster of the crooks in his office, saying “it’ll be a feather in the cap of whoever captures them.” That turns out to be Yogi when the three crash into the ranger station. A couple of Smith expressions. The contemplative one is a nice extra; Patterson’s trying to get a bit more personality out of Smith than letting him stand there.



Now the last scene, where Boo Boo remarks to Yogi: “It sure was a feather in your cap capturing those robbers. Cut to Yogi with a feather in his cap.” Yogi: “Maybe so, Boo Boo. But I don’t think it does a thing for me.” Whoa. That’s the ending?

Foster named one of the robbers in this “Mugger.” The studio ended up recycling the name in the feature film “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” for one of innumerable snickering dogs. I’ve listened over and over to Mugger’s voice in this, and I’ve come to the tentative conclusion it’s Doug Young. Daws Butler did a character that sounded similar (especially in “Fractured Fairy Tales” at the Jay Ward studio) but it doesn’t have the same qualities. Young’s cadence as Ding-a-ling Wolf was similar to Mugger, hence my very-much-hedged identification. The same voice was used in later H-B cartoons.

12 comments:

  1. I had trouble identifying Mugger’s voice too. To my ears it could be either Doug or Daws, but since Daws is clearly doing Horse, I’d assume it was Doug. Doug wasn’t very common in this series, but he did show up - most notably as ‘Iron Hand Jones’ and in Yogi’s birthday special.

    I agree about the ski slope bit, make a fun break-up from the left-to-right stuff and Don Patterson’s drawings are fun stuff too, especially on the jodhpur-ed Ranger.

    Overall, one of my favourite episodes of the series.

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  2. I enjoyed the ski slope comment from Yogi, but yopu have conflicting story credit-MIke Maltese then a little later you refer to Warren Foster writing it. Granitoons, I'm sure that it was Hal Smith as Iron Hand Jones (one of the last great Yogi shorts).I also had trouble with Mugger's voice in identifying it..SC

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    1. No I'm still sticking with Doug Young there. Trace elements of his voice are similar to Doggie Daddy's.

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    2. Iron Hand is definitely Doug Young. No question.
      The careless credit error has been fixed.

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  3. Pretty boring episode, with excessive footage of the picnic basket going back and forth between Yogi and the crooks, and the Ranger in most scenes but not doing very much. And the 'feather in his cap' punchline made NO sense to me at age five. Was that supposed to be Yogi's reward? Patterson's animation and the ski jump chase did enliven things slightly.

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  4. The assembly line polish was very much on this one, as was the case with most of the final season Yogi shorts.

    We mind it less because the characterizations and voice work for the series had already been well established and was strong enough to plow through weak moments, but once the studio plunked the same designs and formulas down onto less appealing characters like Wally Gator, Breezly Bruin or Squiddly Didley, the sameness of the cartoons meant nothing was really memorable in any of them (I suppose Hokey Wolf was really Bill and Joe's first Yogi clone, but Daws' Phil Silvers voice there had been well-established in earlier cartoons and served to brighten up even the least-inspired efforts).

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  5. Love those backgrounds!!
    Thanks for posting this! :)

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  6. In case no one else remembers to mention it, this cartoon was one that was issued as part of Kenner's "Easy-Show Movie Projector" accessories... probably so kids could run the film backward and watch the characters going UP the ski slope.

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  7. Tim, you beat me to it! I must have run this cartoon about a hundred times. Almost fifty years later, I STILL have my Easy Show. BTW, the same cartridge had an Atom Ant cartoon on it.

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  8. Tim and Rob..I also had the " Easy Show ", and I DID watch it backwards!!Guilty as charged. I also had a Dual 8 projector for all my 200 ft "Castle Films" digests. Boy, this brings back some memories.

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  9. I have a feeling you folks are going to enjoy my book TOONS IN TOYLAND, the story of cartoon merchandising during the baby boomer era, when it is issued by the University Press of Mississippi this fall/winter. Watch for more info, but you heard about it here first!

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  10. Sounds good to me, Tim! I live for this kind of thing...

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