Saturday, February 21, 2015
Yogi Bear — Threadbare Bear
Credits: Animation – Bob Bentley, Layout – Ernie Nordli, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Government Official, Radio announcer, Mayor – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Housewife – Don Messick.
Music – Hoyt Curtin.
First Aired: week of February 5, 1962.
Plot: Yogi and Boo Boo escape after being shipped to the Cincinnati Zoo.
Did you know the U.S. government orders a count of bears in national parks, and then sends any excess number of bears to a zoo? It probably doesn’t, but it does in this cartoon because that sets up the plot.
I’m more than a little confused by the title and the title card. The story goes like this: a government official selects Yogi and Boo Boo to be sent to a zoo. After a misunderstanding, the bears are forced into a truck. They escape. They eat stuff. They’re shot at. Ranger Smith hears what’s happening on the radio. He rushes to a cave where Yogi and Boo Boo are hiding. He pretends to shoot and kill them and offers to take the “bear skins” back to the ranger station. So where does the “Threadbare” part come in? Is this a case, like “Ring a Ding Picnic Basket,” which started out with a different name? And why does the title card have the bears in a circus cage? They’re going to a zoo.
Bob Bentley is the animator. There’s nothing really distinctive in his work here other than this diagonal exit. These are consecutive drawings. Ernie Nordli designed the radio with the old-fashioned grid aerial.
We all know about Hanna-Barbera’s repeating backgrounds. There’s one in this cartoon. You can see where the spongework on the hills directly behind Ranger Smith is different from one frame to the network.
Art Lozzi gets the background credit. Note the blue tree trunks and downward-pointing pine fronds. Lozzi drew those no matter who the layout artist was. The bushes in the foreground of the first drawing are on an overlay and the back door of the truck is animated on cels.
Cartoon Miscellany: Yogi is Bear 14 and Boo Boo is Bear 37 . . . Jellystone has 52 bears . . . “Your bears have odd names,” observes the government guy . . . Ranger Smith isn’t happy to see Yogi to leave for a change . . . a jaunty version of (Meet) The Flintstones plays when Yogi and Boo Boo burst out of the truck. It’s not the theme for “The Flintstones” as yet . . . Yogi easily steals a huckleberry pie. He spent an entire cartoon three years earlier (“Pie Pirates”) failing to do the same thing . . . The studio had Don Messick do a housewife’s voice in falsetto. Why pay for Jean Vander Pyl when you don’t have to? . . . Yogi and Boo Boo escaped somewhere near Freeport.