Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, February 1964

Ranger Smith’s kid appears as much as Ranger Smith—twice—in the weekend Yogi Bear comics 50 years ago this month. He never existed in the animated world—certainly not in the original series, anyway—and neither did Mrs. Smith. But comic strips tend to create their own little worlds. At least the Ranger didn’t have four kids who spoke in rhyme. Then again, Yogi rhymes enough for everyone.


Well, he doesn’t rhyme in the February 2nd comic. We get a corny old joke instead which, somehow, sounds less corny when a kid says it. The little bird in the opening panel sure shows that MGM-style design; compare his head to the canary’s in the Tom and Jerry cartoon “Kitty Foiled” (1949). A typical H-B floral-patterned arm chair shows up as well, much like you’d see in Augie Doggie cartoons.


Time for some good old American patriotism on February 9th. Considering this came less than three months after J.F.K.’s assassination, perhaps celebrating another murdered American leader wasn’t such a bad idea. The push broom brush beard in the middle right panel is a creative touch.


Ranger Smith looks like he has a combover in a couple of the middle row panels on February 16th. He’s named Frank in this comic and in several others. In the original series, Smith never had a first name (in one cartoon, identified himself as “Smith. Ranger Smith” as if “Ranger” was his first name). This may be the first time Yogi used footwear.


So what if it’s franken-food? Yogi’ll eat it. February 23rd has a passel of cute guinea pigs that don’t want any more food, franken or otherwise. Harvey Eisenberg (I presume) even has them in silhouette on the bottom row. There’s nice use of space in the opening panel with items in the foreground (bears and dead tree), middle ground (gas station on an angle) and background (delivery truck, trees). Same in the first panel of the middle row. Lots of things but the composition doesn’t look cluttered.

As usual, click on the cartoons to make them larger. We’ll see if we can do it again next month if I can find them.

3 comments:

  1. Is it me, or is Smith Jr. aging? The first screenshots of him are as a toddler; now he's in school. Will he be a teenager in the later strips, ala Max Goof?

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  2. He's taking after his old man, whose appearance changed from cartoon to cartoon.

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  3. Here we have four Yogi Bear Sunday pages drawn by different artists: the two ones in which appears Mr. Ranger with his wife and son, were drawn by Gene Hazelton; and the other two were drawn by the legendary Harvey Eisenberg.

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