Saturday, January 18, 2014
Yogi Bear — Disguise and Gals
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.
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.