Saturday, July 23, 2016

They Threw Yogi a Party

There’s one Yogi Bear cartoon we haven’t reviewed on the blog, and that’s the half-hour birthday party episode that capped the first season of Yogi’s show on TV. It aired during the week of October 1, 1961 (internet sources that say January 1962 are flat-out wrong), the time slot depending on when Leo Burnett was able to buy time on a particular station.

The birthday party was part of a huge Yogi publicity campaign. TV stations were encouraged to have kids come down and have a real birthday party, with the cartoon being only part of the proceedings. There was a free Dell Comic book, tied in boxes of Kellogg’s Corn Flakes. You can read about the promotional blitz and the party in this post and this post.

One of the disappointments of the Yogi Bear show DVD which came out a few years ago is the lack of credits at the end of the cartoon. I don’t like to rely on web sites where anonymous people can fill in their own educated or uneducated guesses about movies or TV shows as if it were indisputable, well-sourced fact. So I’ve never really been sure who worked on the birthday show—other than Jerry Eisenberg told me his dad drew the storyboard for it. But reader Mike Rossi has come up with the credits from a VHS tape of the episode. The credits fade in and out over top of each other as a Dixieland version of the Yogi Bear theme plays in the background.



A few things stand out. One is the copyright date is 1960. This half-hour must have been in the planning stages for an awful lot time. Another is the mention of Duke Mitchell. He does the swingin’ singing instructor in the show. Duke’s the crazy cat who sang for Fred in the first season of The Flintstones. Actually, Duke was supposed to be a crazy cat. The trades announced he was going to be a voice on Top Cat (as Spook maybe?). But it never happened. Read a bit more about Duke in this post.

Dick Lundy gets an “animation supervision” credit, but no animators are credited. The reason is simple. I’ve been told that Hanna-Barbera farmed out the work on the half-hour to one of the local commercial houses. It might have been Quartet; it might have been Playhouse. I don’t recall and I have no notes about where I got the information. So you’ll have to treat this as hearsay unless Mike Kazaleh or someone who’s an expert on this sort of thing posts a comment.

Since we’re talking Yogi and birthdays, here’s a real kid having a real birthday party with real Hanna-Barbera stuff. The picture was purloined off the internet a few years ago so I have no idea who the youngster is or when this took place.

You can click on the picture to get a better look. You’ll notice Li’l Tom Tom and Iddy Biddy Buddy (Yakky Doodle in his pre-Yakky days) as well as Huck, Yogi, Boo Boo and Mr. Jinks. I believe the kangaroo is Ka-pow who was in the Pixie and Dixie cartoon “Boxing Buddy.” Where’s Yowp, you ask? After all, a party isn’t a party without Yowp. We can only hope mom picked up the matching paper plates you see below to ensure everyone’s favourite cartoon dog that says “Yowp!” was invited.

18 comments:

  1. That tablecloth is just wonderful. And to think it was tossed in the trash afterward without a second thought.

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  2. So, Yowp, how did you like the special if you ever saw it...was CIndy bear and Yakky too much this time..(:)) (I saw it and liked all of the characters this time..btw glad to see Duke Mitchell's voice credit, otherwise, he's not credited like in his Flintstones specials.)SC

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  3. I was so excited to finally see the special back in the 1990s when it aired on TV as a Spanish dub while I was in Madrid. There was an awful lot of old H-B shows still airing there back then, actually.

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  4. Hi - great article - wondering who the character on the bottom left of the birthday plates is? How about the magpies and the bird with the balloons? Thanks

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    1. The magpies are crows named Iggy and Ziggy from Season 1 Huckleberry cartoons, tney did two cartoons, Daws Butler and Don messick did them..

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    2. Great new 'nuggets' for me - Thanks!

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    3. Mike TiefenbacherJuly 23, 2016 at 6:57 PM

      The cowboy mouse is Pixie & Dixie's Cousin Tex from the cartoon of the same name.

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    4. Sorry, Anon. We've talked about them before here, and reviewed the cartoons they appeared in, so I keep presuming everyone knows who they are.
      Yes, Iggy and Ziggy antagonised Huck in two cartoons. Daws used his Snooper voice for one of the crows.

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    5. Hey Guys - new to the site, so not caught up on everything. Thanks a bunch for the great updates
      on the niche characters. Jim

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  5. This was the best episode in the series, in my opinion.

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  6. Mike TiefenbacherJuly 23, 2016 at 7:54 PM

    The length of the episode (a bit under 23 minutes in the days when shows ran 25-plus; even with the added 45 seconds of end credits Don has uncovered for us, it would still run shorter than usual) has always made me wonder: was there a short cameo appearance, subsequently excised, featuring the Kellogg's characters congratulating Yogi--Cornelius, Snap, Crackle & Pop, Tony the Tiger, Little Tony, Sugar Pops Pete and Smaxie--either as a proper segment of the show or as a tie-in commercial? As a kid, I would watch the opening and closing credits of HUCK, the opening for which Huck doesn't even appear in person (it's all Corny), and the closing in which, after Yogi and Huck walk out with a Kellogg's banner, Yogi disappears and Huck doesn't even get a seat in the car Corny drives around the circus tent, with Huck riding on the front and then barely hanging onto the back while Corny picks up his Kellogg's colleagues (luckily, as Huck is thus in a position to catch Little Tony when the latter doesn't quite make it through the doorway), and recognize them, of course--wondering, "where are THEIR cartoons?" I haven't watched it in a decade or two, but I recall that when USA showed it, there were all kinds of obvious fades which could have hidden a small scene with them, which would have been created by H-B when they syndicated their series with all Kellogg's references excised from the opening and closing credits (HUCK had to be completely redone, naturally--a couple times, in fact, when they switched characters around with YOGI's show). This was made back in the days when there was nothing unusual about any show throwing to their sponsors within the show itself, either seamlessly, or in freestanding commercials with the actors in character. I never saw this episode when it originally aired (our TV's picture tube blew out in early '61 and we didn't get a replacement till 1964), so I have no memory of it, but it seems like such an obvious thing that Kellogg's would "officially" endorse the birthday of their biggest success story, that a sequence with the Kellogg's mascots, if it ever existed or not, seems terribly conspicuous by its absence. Anyone know for sure?

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    1. Mike, I've been told there was animation of Huck dressed as Mitch Miller (with a Van Dyke beard) asking the home audience to sing along. Apparently, the version of the show containing this and the credits was released on home video on something other than the Yogi series DVD.

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    2. Even though they issued it on home video, wouldn't the Kellogg's active trademarks (Tony, Snap, Crackle & Pop) preclude their inclusion even if they were part of the original special? (They do appear in the HH SHOW DVD set, but so buried in the special features that it wouldn't have been as obvious as them appearing within a 25+ minute VHS tape.) What I'm wondering is whether there might not have been a unique Kellogg's commercial with their characters with Yogi--not necessarily part of the actual special, but still linked to the birthday party theme, perhaps to promote the show AND appear within it? Just a theory, and probably unprovable. It's a whole lot to ask if anybody remembers a commercial within a show from 65 years ago, I realize. And if H-B doesn't even have intact prints of their own half-hour shows, it's obvious that the non-H-B material within it wouldn't be in the vaults either. But if some collector had a 16mm print obtained from a local station...it probably would have turned up by now, right?

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  7. 7/24/16
    RobGems.ca Wrote:
    Those were wonderful screencaps of the closing credits of this amazing special. I haven't seen this on Cartoon Network or Boomerang since at least 1998. One thing missing from your list of credits of course: the mention of Screen Gems Television Presentation, A Division of Columbia Pictures. Followed by the Screen Gems Torch Lady (???-does anybody recall from the original 1961 airing?) when I saw it in the 1980's and again in the 1990's, not only was the Screen Gems imprint mentioned, but the 1980's "Swirling Star" H-B logo was aired (for the 1980's airing) and the 1990's H-B "All Stars" faces logo with a Turner Enterprises logo (for the 1990's airing.) It's been over 13 years, but I would love to see this one again.

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  8. The Yogi Bear Show was still going strong by the mid 60's, so while I did not see this birthday special in its original run, I definitely remember it. Unlike shows that are in reruns today, when any old episode can be aired at any old time with no fanfare or hoopla, this special received special notice when it aired. The local TV stations promoted it--we had several live-action kids show hosts in Seattle and as I recall, they all mentioned it for several days ahead of the airing, and there was a local kids' TV publication that informed us when it was to be aired, and had special Yogi puzzles, games, party favors, etc. Not only that, but OTHER stations besides the station airing it mentioned that it was coming on--that NEVER happens these days!

    So it was truly an EVENT even by '64, '65 or '66. And of course it was a delight for a kid to see so many beloved cartoon characters showing up to celebrate Yogi's birthday. And the show didn't really end, either--because when Yogi says "keep the party going in your home town" we still had the Yogi party stuff to play with. While in our home we didn't have an actual party with guests, still I remember that all of us in the family watched the show and then carried on with a mini-celebration after the show finished.

    I can remember at least two of these special showings, spaced maybe a year apart. During that period, Yogi shared an afternoon time slot with Huckleberry Hound and Woody Woodpecker (If memory serves, Woody aired on Tuesdays and Thursdays while Huck and Yogi alternated on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Since there were fewer Yogi shows, I think if I recall correctly that he ran on Wednesdays while Huck ran on Mondays and Fridays. What I recall for sure is that the three shows alternated in the same time slot.)

    TV was still a very big deal in the 60's, and even though he was in reruns by then Yogi was still "smarter than the average bear."

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  9. Hey Yowp, sorry if this sounds random, but would these links help in identifying the arrangement of "La Cucaracha" used in the Hanna-Barbera cartoons?:

    1) https://www.sabam.be/pls/apex/f?p=1050:2:0::NO:RP,2:P2_WRK_ID,P2_WRK_ID_AV:6482046,NULL&cs=35FD17F702AEED411BA42159FAE8686E6

    2) https://www.sabam.be/pls/apex/f?p=1050:2:0::NO:RP,2:P2_WRK_ID,P2_WRK_ID_AV:6482105,NULL&cs=357F67FAF3D021E29D037E3A13C22DEBC

    3) https://www.sabam.be/pls/apex/f?p=1050:2:0::NO:RP,2:P2_WRK_ID,P2_WRK_ID_AV:6482071,NULL&cs=341B0F34C72A8306D98BEFE9F705E27B8

    If so, do you think there's a way you could possibly track down a recording of it?

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    1. None of these links work and they have nothing to do with this post.

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  10. This cartoon was omitted from the early H-B syndication package from at least the late sixties until 1988 when the classic Yogi cartoons were re-released into syndication with the new episodes replacing the late Daws with Greg Burson. So that was my first known exposure to it.

    Local stations aired it in two parts, at the top and bottom of the half hour. The middle section was replaced by a Yogi short, or that of another pre-1966 H-B character. It wasn't until the 2005 DVD release that I got to see the entire special. (Parts of the THIS IS YOUR LIFE segment were also cut out, including the introductions of Snooper, Blabber, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy.)

    It seems strange that H-B would 'outsource' animation as far back as the early 60s. The THIS IS YOUR LIFE segment appears to be animated by Lundy. A scene in the middle with Yogi running on a moving helicopter's propeller is clearly Ken Muse. The other scenes' animators are hard to place, which make the 'outsourcing' a logical explanation.

    A 1960 copyright seems strange, as this seems like a grand finale to the entire Yogi series. A lot of the Curtin underscore used was composed for TOP CAT, which premiered in the fall of 1961.

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