Saturday, March 1, 2014
Yogi Bear—Touch and Go-Go-Go
Credits: Animation – Bob Carr; Layout – Tony Rivera; Backgrounds – Neenah Maxwell; Written by Warren Foster; Story Director – Paul Sommer; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi, George – Daws Butler; Ranger Smith, Boo Boo – Don Messick; Fairy Godmother, George’s Wife – Jean Vander Pyl.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961.
Plot: Yogi is given the power to turn anything he touches into a picnic basket.
The story of King Midas is a cautionary tale against greed. Yogi Bear is given “the King Midas touch” in this cartoon but he doesn’t learn a valuable lesson about greed. Why? Because he wasn’t greedy in the first place. All he wanted was one picnic basket. Instead, a fairy godmother arbitrarily decides on her own to give Yogi the uncontrollable ability to turn everything into a picnic basket. Then she has the gall to say “I never should have trusted him with that power.” Maybe you should have told him how to turn it off, eh, F.G.?
I suppose we wouldn’t have had a cartoon if that was the case.
Boo Boo turns into a picnic basket. But why? Yogi didn’t touch him, Boo Boo grabbed him by the wrist. And how come when Yogi took a sandwich out of a picnic basket, the sandwich didn’t turn into another picnic basket? He’s touching it, isn’t he?
Hmm. We’re getting a little technical, aren’t we?
Ranger: It proves you’ve stripped your gears. You’re in orbit, Yogi.
It’d have been funny if the ranger was using either of these as similes or metaphors. But he doesn’t. He just says them without any real point behind using those particular words. If Boo Boo were flying somewhere, the “you’re in orbit” line would at least make sense.
And what is with Ranger Smith in this cartoon, anyway? He goes on to say:
What?! The Ranger wishes death on Yogi? Shipping to a zoo, I can see. But a lifeless, tortured rug? That’s a little much for Mr. Ranger, don’t you think? Oh, well. Everything’s all right at the end, as the fairy godmother (who doesn’t notice Boo Boo is now a picnic basket) returns to un-do her un-wanted Midas spell, except Ranger Smith puts Yogi in a cave/jail for lipping off Smith. Yogi doesn’t mind. He’s sick of picnic baskets and there are none there.
Still there are a couple of cute bits. When Yogi sees Boo Boo reading a book of fairy tales...
Yogi: Don’t tell me you go for that kid stuff.
Boo Boo: Giving Snow White a poison apple? Killin’ a mean old witch? That’s kid stuff?
Walt Disney would have probably answered in the affirmative.
And there’s the trusty old gag of the guy seeing something he doesn’t believe (in this case, a picnic basket with legs), and he sniffs his thermos container, as if it’s got strong booze making him hallucinate. Foster must have used that type of gag at Warner Bros.
The artwork is pretty lacklustre. Yogi’s head cocked to the side, wagging back and forth in dialogue. In another scene, Yogi’s head is jerking backward when he speaks (the body, of course, is rigid on another cel). The fairy godmother looks like Yogi in drag.
And there are zig-zag trees in the background, but Neenah Maxwell’s art isn’t as stylised as even a few years earlier, when Art Lozzi and Monty were drawing some neat settings. We get a coloured card in most of the medium shots when characters aren’t moving. But there s still a nice, though muted, use of colour elsewhere.
Hoyt Curtin’s cues make me wonder when Fred and Barney are going to show up in the cartoon (particularly when the over-fed Yogi is laying against a tree). Sorry, H-B. I’ll take the Capitol Hi-Q library instead.