Yes, Yogi Bear can talk. And, yes, he eats sandwiches, pizzas and roast chickens (and puts ketchup on his “fillet mignonnies”). And, yes, he can drive a jeep and pilot a helicopter. I can accept all that. But, for some reason, I find it hard to accept that centaurs and centaurettes are living in Jellystone Park. Or even visiting.
But that’s what we see in the Yogi colour comic for the first weekend of May 50 years ago.
I’d love to know what inspired Gene Hazelton or one of his freelance writers to come up with such an odd, one-off idea. It’s a strange comic. The opening panel reads “By Hanna-Barbera” instead of “Hanna-Barbera’s”, then poppies suddenly appear by going “Ping.” (Poppies? Hmmm). The May 1, 1966 comic ends with both Yogi and a centaur being being hauled off to what they euphemistically called a “rest home” back then.
Yogi’s back to his old self in the May 8th comic, and so is the Hanna-Barbera world. Bill Hanna’s beloved Cub Scouts make another über-cute appearance, as does one of those native stereotypes that seems to inhabit the park. Yogi is rhyming again and a bad pun ends the story. Nary a centaur to be spotted.
A nice Yogi tip-toe drawing ends the May 15th comic with a parrot that you just know would sound like Mel Blanc if this were animated. No need for Ranger Smith when you have “Ranger General” (the military rank given rangers is something idiosyncratic to the newspaper comics).
Here’s where the poor scans by whoever put these on-line really hurt. I’d love to get a better view of the drag racer in the May 22nd comic. Excellent work. Mel Blanc would probably drag out his Frito Bandito voice if this story had been animated. Observe Boo Boo with the hand-to-side-of-head laugh in the final panel. This may be the first Hanna-Barbera comic where diarrhoea is a punch-line.
The May 29th comic includes the Cub Scouts again and some Yogi ingenuity. It seems odd for Boo Boo to make fun of Ranger Smith’s pain; the ranger certainly doesn’t appreciate it. This striped scan is the best version I can find.
Click on any of the comics to see them better.