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.
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.