Saturday, June 21, 2014
Yogi Bear — Loco Locomotive
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.