Thursday, 1 April 2010

An April Fool’s Day Joke on Yogi’s Fans


The new Yogi Bear movie will be about a live-action documentary filmmaker who meets a CGI Yogi and Boo Boo in Jellystone Park that is going to be sold by the evil mayor who owns it.


And Justin Timberlake will be Boo Boo Bear.


And ... what? You mean it’s not an April Fool Day joke? It really is a movie?

And the characters are going to look like this?

(See footnote below)

What can I say?

Probably the same thing that you’ve already told friends, or read on the internet or in newspapers:
Hollywood has been out of new ideas for years.
Hollywood takes old ideas and remakes/updates them so badly they don’t attract fans that made the original idea popular in the first place.
Hollywood has a woody (and we don’t mean “Woodpecker”) for animation completely unlike the kind used to make classic characters popular because they think it’s old-fashioned.
Hollywood insists on using generic-sounding “stars” instead of real voice actors in cartoons because that’s how it thinks it can broaden its profits audience.
Hollywood sucks.

You know, realistically, I’m not going to like this Yogi movie. Ever. No matter what they do. And there are two reasons.

First, which one of these is really Boo Boo Bear?

We all know it’s the guy on the right, even though the one on the left may be cuter to some and sing and dance a little better. But Don Messick is Boo Boo Bear. And Don Messick is dead. Boo Boo just won’t sound right any more.

After all these years, I still have problems with Henry Corden as Fred Flintstone, despite the fact he voiced the character for years after Alan Reed died. But I grew up with Alan Reed. Corden doesn’t sound quite like him and therefore, to my ear, doesn’t sound like Fred Flintstone (Reed had more range as a voice actor in my opinion anyway). If I’m not going to accept a well-established and respected actor as Fred Flintstone, who did the character’s voice longer than its creator, I’m certainly not going to accept some singer with a scraggly beard as someone he doesn’t even remotely sound like. Even if he did bring sexy back, though I didn’t realise it had gone anywhere.

But it’s not just Don Messick. Daws Butler has passed away. Warren Foster is dead. So are Ed Benedict and Monte Montealegre and Carlo Vinci and Hoyt Curtin and Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera and .. well, just about everyone who created the originals that people loved. And even they had missteps along the way. Not all the seven-minute cartoons made 60 years ago were hits. And, for a bunch of reasons, I admit I didn’t really like the Yogi feature they came up with in 1964. Even if the original crew were still alive and in their prime, there would be no guarantee of success.

The same holds true if a group could be assembled that cherishes the old cartoons and wants to write and animate one the same way. Hanna-Barbera was left in peace to make the original cartoons. Other than a tight budget and maybe some suggestions from the sponsor’s ad agency, the studio was free to be as creative as it could in putting together the syndicated, seven-minute adventures of Yogi and Boo Boo in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. And that isn’t how movies are made today. The “conditions dat prevail,” as Doggie Daddy might say, have changed and any loving attempts at carefully emulating the originals would likely be stymied by clueless executives getting involved, pointing to “research” and making idiotic decisions.

So, considering that, where does it put a studio that merely wants to take a few characters, a setting and then go somewhere in its own direction to cash in on the Chipmunks-as-CGI craze?

Doing something the creators didn’t, even during the occasional misfire—insult the old fans.

About all I can hope for is if the movie is a success, it’ll finally spawn the release of the last group of original Yogi cartoons and the rest of fun shorts that first appeared on the second season of the Huckleberry Hound Show. But I’ll take a pass on this one with the theme-park-costumed Yogi. You don’t have to be smarter than the average bear to figure out why.

Yowp Note: The pictures of Yogi and Boo Boo came from the BCDB forum. The poster has now written: Warner Bros. requested that The Movie Insider remove the early rendering of Yogi Bear because the art is not final.

Another Yowp note: Yogi was part of an April Fool’s Day joke in a newspaper. Read here.


  1. Didn't Cartoon Network do one of their two-minute shorts with Yogi called "When Bears Attack" that featured a documentary film-maker trying to get bear attack video images from Yogi and Boo Boo, who were just trying to get some sleep? Hollywood not only can't come up with original characters and screw up the ones from the past they use, they can't even figure out an original jumping-off point to start the feature film, and borrow the plot of a 9-year-old between-shows time filler (and throwing in the old "evil corporation tries to take over blah, blah, blah," schtick is equally hackneyed boilerplate, unless they decide to make the evil corporation some real estate subsidiary owned by evil corporation Time-Warner -- now that would be a unique and daring approach).

  2. I heard about this " Yogi " travisty about a year ago. At that time, it was too early to mention which show business "personalities" would be doing the voice work. I refuse to say voice actors. A-listers, movie stars, television personalities, comedians, singers-Yes..Voice Actors- No. To everything else you said in this blog...AMEN, BRO!. Like you, the only awareness I would like to see raised by these remakes,is for a younger audience to go back and re-discover the originals. Justin Timberlake as Boo Boo? Does that mean Jessica Biel will be Cindy Bear??-Ha!!

  3. And as Yowp said, he wasn't too happy about NON-bi... And as Yowp said, he wasn't too happy about NON-big names like Henry Corden, a voice actor as Fred Flintstone. I mean, who would you rather see as Judy Jetson? E.G.Daily or Janet Waldo, who's still alive? I still have no repsect for Billy West for trying to take over John Kricfalusi as Ren Hoek the Chihuahua [despite my admiraiton for his voicing Stimpy when working with John K.] and not any for Jim Cummings as he took away the [then-still available [1996]] Paul Winchell for the "Tigger Movie", which came out four years later in 2000. I'd rather hear Julie Bennett or Janet Waldo [provided they improve Cindy as a character] and Stan Freberg, Daws's good freidn, stil alive at 84 years young than ANY modern star, regular voice, star, producer [Ted Turner as Capt.Planet in 1990?:)] anytime.

    Frankly, in short, regardless of who does the voices, I don't care for much modern cartoons [meaning as far back as 35 years or so.]

    Gimme the 1950s Yogi.Yowp, you can now plan an anti-Cindy Bear post..


  4. You didn't like 'Hey There Yogi Bear'?!? Sure, the finiky can complain about Iwao Takamoto's minor adjustments, and it presents a few old ideas, and some people don't like Cindy bear, but on the most general basis, its really good!

    Much better, and true to it's origins, than this "new" travesty will be, for sure. Be glad we have at least ONE good Yogi bear MOVIE.

  5. Don Messick was & is the Real Boo Boo. Forget about Justin Timberlake (seriously to me he looks like a high school student), Forget about Generic next door neighbour sounding Voices (e.g Adam Sandler & Jerry Seinfeld even look like your average next door neighbors). WE NEED REAL VOICE ACTING in CARTOONS FOR PETE'S SAKE!, Sheezh! Hollywood stinks like crap, Forget about big shot Dreamworks, Let Cartoons be Cartoony Again. I Feel sorry for Bill and Joe, If they saw these pictures they'll go on a rampage. Asim.

  6. The problem is everyone in the medium are brainless for creating something fresh and new of our time. So, they take any popular products they want to sure it was a success, but usually, it didn't works.

    It's odd to say but the only popular characters who survived to the blandness of today's executives are Herman and Catnip and Little Audrey as Famous and the Walter Lantz characters. I just hope they don't turned out as a bland CGI movie. It gives me a lot of shock. And they haven't lots of today's kids who knows Yogi Bear.

  7. At the very least this new movie will make Yogi & the gang somewhat relevant in pop culture again. There's no way they can "get it right" when it comes to this movie but at least people are talking about Yogi Bear again. I think it will be cool to, at least, pick up a few new pieces of Yogi merchandise. If those are the actual pictures of how Yogi and Boo-Boo are going to look...well, that's a whole lot better than I imagined them looking!

    There have been a few cartoon-to-feature film translations that have been surprisingly good...Rocky and Bullwinkle, George of the Jungle, Looney Tunes...I'm keeping my fingers crossed! (and my expectations low!)