Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Why? Why, why, why, why?

Dear Suited Movie Studio Executives,

I am just a humble cartoon fan who, about 1960, first saw Yogi Bear on my parents’ black and white television, just like hundreds of thousands of children across the expanse of our globe. I thought Yogi Bear was funny. So I kept watching.

Even after they stopped making Yogi Bear cartoons, I watched the old ones over and over. Year after year. Decade after decade. I enjoyed the look of the cartoons. I enjoyed the voices and the humour. Yogi Bear is vividly etched in my memory and will be until my memory cells work no longer.

Evidently Yogi Bear is not etched in yours.

I have seen a poster for a theatrical film you claim features Yogi Bear. It features nothing of the kind. It features a creepy-looking twosome that “bears” no resemblance to anything that I loved in my childhood and still enjoy to this very day. Pardon the “bear” pun. Warren Foster and Charlie Shows would have appreciated it, though I have the suspicion no one connected with your studio knows who they were.

As a fan of Yogi Bear, I would be absolutely delighted beyond belief if your company would spend the money (called a “pittance” in corporate accounting circles) to allow you to release the remaining dozen-plus Yogi cartoons that originally aired during the Huckleberry Hound Show. They were funny and charming. The characters in those cartoons didn’t look like something left on the ground after a poorly-paid teenager got out of a Yogi costume he wore at a mall opening.

I am asking for old Yogi Bear cartoons. I would pay to see them. Or for something new resembling them. I am not asking for what is in your poster. As best as I can tell, no one is.

Your cartoon friend,


  1. Wow!
    I had no idea that it would look this bad.
    Who could make such a choice? Considering the sleek design of the original character, this is truly sad. One needs only to look through the posts of Yogi pictured on YOWP to know that Yogi is a better than average looking cartoon bear. This new version is anything but good looking. It's just freaky.

  2. Yogi looks really creepy at this poster and don't look as Yogi. Why they bother to make a live-action film with this character today? No kids will see that. Almost no today's kids knows who is thanks to the cultural fast-food we have. Sincerly, the executives will never listen our demands.

  3. Jim, I guess in the back of my mind, it has always been not IF this would happen...but WHEN.. I'm not just talking about the look. I'm talking about the whole " We have to use "A-list" personalities of every entertainment genre to pull an audience into a CGI or animated feature these days" ploy. This is saying that without a "star" doing the voice, no one will give a rip. Hey, if they don't, then there was no need doing this in the first place. I know the execs want star power to fill the theater seats.That actually started back in 1967 with " The Jungle Book ", but we at least had great animation. As a young child watching those long gone, wonderful afternoon local kid's shows, I had NO idea who the voice of Yogi, Boo Boo, Huck, Bugs and Daffy were....or cared. I found all that out about the time I was 10 or 11. I just loved the stories, the voices, the look and the music. Those elements were a great foursome..almost a relationship..they all worked together like a good glue. Now, they put the "star's" name above the title of a Yogi Bear feature like it's " Ben Hur " or something. I agree, how about it guys, why not restore and release the rest of the original Yogi and Huck shows? I'll pay for it, and because I lived in that era..I'll appreciate it.

  4. The other difference with 'The Jungle Book' is the casting was done, as far as I can tell, with character in mind. Phil Harris wasn't cast to get Phil Harris fans to watch the movie. Phil's voice was perfect for the role, or certainly Disney's envisioning of it.

  5. Oh C'mon Dave. I have been campaigning for Justin Timberlake to take on the role of Boo-Boo, a dead ringer for Daws Butler. Okay, Okay, I will admit that is an exagerration since Ashton Kutcher could be a close secound.

  6. Even if the character design and "animation" were acceptible, Dan Aykroyd has already defamed one of the heroes of my youth: Jack Webb. I'll be d@mned if I'll pay money to even Netflix to watch him mutilate another.

  7. Hollywood executives never learn, do they? Why do they seriously think adults and their children would wanna see deformed, ugly versions of beloved cartoon characters (yeesh, the new Yogi and Boo Boo look like they could rape a child! Yuck!). It's like how about a fourth or even a third of the movies that are being made now are rip-offs or remakes of ideas done better 70 years ago! The only thing uglier and more unappealing than this is what those idiots did to Alvin and the Chipmunks. This seriously made me angry, so I apologize for the rant.

  8. And they stole the title of my book for their tagline! That's after the movie people gutted the contents, throwing out more than half of the manuscript because it was "too sophisticated". You're barking up a deaf tree, Jim.

  9. Given his age, it's possible that Dan Aykryod actually did watch and care about Yogi Bear growing up (depending on how quickly Yogi made it across the border into Canada). Justin Timberlake? If he remembers anything, it's probably that "Yo! Yogi" show NBC ran.

    But the main point is, while I can see Dan at least getting the role and trying to mimic Daws' vocal mannerisms, Warners did not hire Justin to voice a shy bear prone to respect National Park authority figures. So even if the GCI designs were halfway decent, my fear is this is going to bear even less resemblance to the original character(s) than John K's Yogi parody shorts did a decade ago.

  10. I agree that animations shouldn't rely on live-action stars when they make movies. People like Phil Hartman or Gilbert Gottfried make sense, but people don't go around thinking what Tom Cruise sounds like. I also prefer flat animation to CGI. Not to defend studio executives, but I doubt any of them even know the history of animation. I have friends that worked on the new W-B cartoons and they said their bosses didn't know the original cartoons were 50+ years old and originally shown in theatres.

  11. Good points , both of you. Rankin/Bass did well with my favorite TV special Frosty, when they got Jimmy Durante and Billy DeWolfe.

  12. Roberto, I suspect the huge cash cow the CGI Chipmunks became is part of the reason this is being made (that, and Hollywood doesn't take many risks today).
    JL, I suspect if John K saw Yogi in Ontario in his boyhood, Aykroyd would have as well. Kids on the West Coast watched Yogi on KVOS Bellingham. At least I did.
    Steve, the difference with Rankin/Bass is they hired people (eg. Danny Kaye) then put animated versions of them on the screen. And no one can deny Durante and De Wolfe had distinctive voices as well. Justin Timberlake can be funny but his voice isn't distinct. Remember, too, these animated specials were made by people not far removed from the days of network radio and the sound of actors was deemed important. Even in film, the sound of an actor's voice became extremely important starting about 1929. Those stars hung around for over a generation, before Method Mumbling by guys like Brando became desireable.
    Sam, that's an incredible story. It makes you wonder how old the bosses are. Or maybe they're just not into animation history.

  13. Yowp, exactly my point. R/B wee excellent at what they did. Same with Disney. [At least in those days..]. Justin Timberlake IMO sucks as a voice. Howard MacNear had a few terrific appearances on the Flintstones, as did Frank Nelson [both IMP underused, though MacNear had health problems later.] De Wolfe and Durante were tremendous in those roles as you said. [I enjoy trying to imitate to quote those voices....not to mention one E.E.Horton of Jay Ward fame.."Oh Dear'..!)


  14. Perfectly put, Yowp!

    So perfectly, in fact, that I linked to your post in my Blog – and, for good measure, put up a great image of Yogi and Boo Boo from Gold Key Comics, just for the sake of balance.


  15. Media's not run by people familiar with it. It's people with MBAs deciding what will make a company most profitable, even at the expense of alienating the audience it already has. My W-B anecdote's nothing compared to a story about how a studio flipped its images in all driving scenes because the film was made in Europe and therefore they were driving on the wrong side of the road.

  16. Pokey-Steve C.30 July 2010 at 07:38

    Sam, GIlbert Gottfired is to me an accuqired taste. As for flat animation, he was in a handrawn Disney cartoon, Alladin, and that was like the Warner Bros.cartoons for some reason. rather annoying, not princessy like Disney at all.:) Gilbert Gottried and classic in the same sentence?Yowp said the same thing in someone else's Facebook page.]

  17. I'm not talking about the talent of Gilbert Gottfried, I second he's no Daws Butler (or Paul Frees or Stan Freberg or June Foray or Thurl Ravenscroft etc.), and it doesn't matter if it's 2d or 3d animation anyone does voices for. I mentioned him as an example of someone known for their voice as well as their appearance. Orson Welles and Vincent Price are probably better examples of what I meant. Or even Mel Blanc, who did a lot of live-action work as well.

    Re: the Yogi Bear feature. The original cartoons have endured for 50 years and they probably will 50 years from now. Even if the feature film is a big hit, nobody's going to remember it a year later.

  18. It's too bad they couldn't have made Yogi and Boo Boo look more like the old View-Master reels. That would have been at least somewhat tolerable. These new designs look so cheesy, it's as if they were done in one day.

  19. If I might disagree with one part of your letter: I grew up around Kings Island in Ohio in the 1970's, where poorly paid teenagers dressed as Yogi, Boo Boo, and other HB characters. They looked MUCH better than this.
    In fact, I'd rather see a low budget movie with actors in costumes than the travesty this will surely be.

  20. The Yogi Bear which will premiere in the USA on next Christmas, will be premiered here in Brazil on next January (enjoying the Brazilian Summer vacations).

  21. Money! MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONEY!!!!

    "We made a killing at the box office- TWICE- with Scooby-Doo. Why NOT Yogi? Then...MAGILLA GORILLA!!!!"
    -fictional, unnamed Warner Bros.
    executive who obviously never grew
    up watching "Saturday morning" or
    H-B cartoons