Saturday, June 21, 2014

Yogi Bear — Loco Locomotive

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Ken Muse, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Narrator, Engineer Casey, Knock-it-off Kid, Motorcycle Cop, Kids – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Kids – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Yogi defies the Ranger and rides on the Jellystone Park kid train.

Yogi had joyrides in a park helicopter (“The Buzzin’ Bruin”) and on a motor scooter (“Scooter Looter”). So why not a park train?

As far as I’m concerned, the star of this cartoon isn’t Yogi, Ranger Smith or even a choo-choo. It’s Art Lozzi. He’s into his Blue Period here. There were a few cartoons where he used blues in his trees, mountains and clouds. The logs in Mr. Ranger’s cabin are made of green wood. And the clouds hug the mountains with their cool shapes. Check out these. By the way, the door in the ranger’s office is on a cel and the bush in the third drawing is on an overlay.



Here are two backgrounds that were panned. Due to colour changes, I can’t snip together the full drawings from DVD frames but you can see most of them.


This is another one of those cartoons with a desperate Ranger Smith plea “You can do/have anything you want, Yogi, just (fill in the blank).” In this one, the ranger jumps aboard the miniature train that Yogi’s taken for a ride. It stops at the edge of a cliff and starts teetering. That’s when Smith makes his plea. It seems these kinds of cartoons usually end with Yogi eating his reward and rhyming something like “I’m enjoying this feast to say the least. Nyey, hey, hey, hey!”

I’m not going to bother going through this cartoon in detail. You can probably figure it out from the plot summary above. Whether that’s a commentary on the rut the Yogi series fell into, I’ll let you decide. A few of random things.

● Kenny Muse uses silhouette drawings of a car and the runaway train on a freeway overpass. The idea could very well have come from Foster’s story sketches but it’s a welcome change.
● Daws Butler is the narrator. Normally, Don Messick got that chore.
● A boy and girl in one of the open cars are fighting during the long-shot scene of the train during the happy opening narration.
● Ranger Smith tries to be cute by calling out cities like a train conductor. One of the kids on the train has enough of that stupidity. “Aw, knock it off. It’s only a ride around the park,” he interrupts. Good for you, kid.
● Yogi and Boo Boo are sleeping in the same bed. It’s more than Rob and Laura Petrie could do.
● Is that a drum kit making the noise of the train on the tracks?
● It sounds like Daws and Don M. are ad-libbing the kids cheers when Engineer Casey promises to take them around the park again.
● After pulling him off the train, the ranger says: “The rule applies to all the animals. The long-horn sheep. The deer. The antelopes. None of them are allowed on the train, either.” Responds Yogi, still with his feelings hurt: “That’s very democratic and fair, sir.” A talking long-horn sheep character actually might have livened up the series. One with Daws’ Groucho voice preferably.
● Casey sounds like a younger Henry Orbit.
● The obligatory rhyme: “Let’s clickety-clack right down the track.”

The sound cutter realised it’d be pretty stupid to have Hoyt Curtin’s cues play when the train is chugging along at the outset, so there isn’t any music for a good minute and three seconds. The music you will hear is from Loopy De Loop and other short cartoons of the period.

8 comments:

  1. Beautifull BG's. THanks for this!

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  2. That whole “Yogi runs wild on a (fill-in-the-blank-conveyance)” thing would be reprised by Magilla Gorilla with a motorcycle, hyper-changed kiddie-ride plane, tiny sports car, etc. reinforcing the basic similarity between the two series -- that being “Lovable wise-guy animal confounds human authority figure”. Yogi just had the advantage of “doing it earlier”, in the studio’s best days.

    In that same vein, I seem to recall that Wally Gator even ran amok on a power mower… um, not that I can check my DVD collection to verify! More’s the pity!

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  3. This has long been one of my favorite Yogi Bear cartoons, mainly because I find the idea of a kiddie train around Jellystone to be absolutely an enchanting notion. I could never fault Yogi for wanting to ride the train...who wouldn't?

    I may be mistaken, but I seem to recall a train ride at one of the Jellystone Park campgrounds where my family used to stay on summer vacations. Maybe it was inspired by this cartoon. (I may be mis-remembering--the train might have been at another park altogether, but I think I recall it as being at one of the Yogi Bear parks. Our family used to have catalogs for all of the various types of campgrounds around the country, and if there was a Yogi Bear park in the vicinity, that was usually our first choice.)

    Joe makes a good point that H-B overused the gimmick of the "running wild on a conveyance" plot in subsequent years. However, this early use of it is cleverly done and very much in character for Yogi, Boo Boo, and the Ranger.

    I now have a greater appreciation for the background work that was done on this cartoon. This is another excellent post in a long series of excellent posts. Thanks again, Yowp.

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  4. Yogi and Boo-Boo shared a bed in many episodes previous to this one. I don't know if they did in the 1988 revival shorts but somehow doubt it.

    Foster makes a welcome reprisal of the cyncism exhibited previously by tourist husbands and park employees, this time via the kid. It's also refreshing to see and hear the mild jostling between the two kids, though it's strange to see one of the boys wearing a bow tie!

    Funny how there'd be a suburban-looking freeway just outside a national park.

    Today the idea of a kiddie train running through a national park would be met with horrible opposition from the outset. The whistle and clickety-clack would disturb the wildlife; the kids should appreciate nature for what it is without having to be distracted, etc.

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  5. One of the more enjoyable fourth and final season ones, thanks to the story, and that Curtin frantic dangerous music at the end (so familiar from "The Flintstones") only played at the end of (as I recall) only one OTHER cartoon-The season 5 (1964-1965) episode of"The Flintstones", an early episode in the season, episode 8, "Dr.Sinister", when Fred and Barney are barricading themselves in Fred and Wilma's house to get away from Madame Yes..."I'm MUCH too important to capture". No uipbeat music at the end in either of these! :)Steve C.

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  6. And surprised to see a Yogi Bear cartoon reviewiewed rather than Huck, pretty early as the last cartoon reivewiewed on this blog ["Strong Mouse"] had Pixie and Dixie and Jinks.:)

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  7. I wonder if anybody realizes that the title of this cartoon is just a switch-around of the Quick Draw McGraw short "Locomotive Loco"? Seems like Hanna-Barbera was getting very cheap by this time.

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  8. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and HB-fans from the whole world!

    The references shown on this Yogi Bear episode, are from the Art Lozzi's background artwork seen on this same episode.
    Here are some scenes from this same episode, which I found in the John Kricfalusi's blog (http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com).
    The scenes are the following:

    http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger/4525/2278/300/456228/YBlocoLocomotive_trees7.jpg

    http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger/4525/2278/300/607107/YBlocoLocomotive_trees4.jpg

    http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger/4525/2278/300/398257/YBlocoLocomotive_trees3.jpg

    I'll include more scenes 4 U in another occasion, OK? Don't miss them!

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