Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Yogi Bear, Sunday, June 1961

One of the fun things about the original Hanna-Barbera half-hour shows was watching the interaction between the characters in the little cartoons between the cartoons. There wasn’t a lot of that going on the Yogi Bear newspaper comic. Gene Hazelton, and whoever else came up with the premises for the Sunday colour strip, treated it more like a Yogi cartoon, which encompasses a world of Jellystone Park, Ranger Smith and Boo Boo. But in the June 4 cartoon, Huckleberry Hound makes a cameo appearance.

This one borrows the idea of a love bug from Love Bugged Bear (1961) which, oddly, doesn’t contain any love bugs. Nor does it contain Cindy Bear; it features a generic female bear voiced in falsetto by Don Messick. Cindy’s first cartoon was Acrobatty Yogi in the 1961-62 season and would have aired after this comic strip was published, though I suspect both were in development at the same time. Cindy is nameless in this strip, but the original 1961-64 Cindy design is used here.

“The Love Bug Will Bite You (If You Don’t Watch Out)” was a song written in 1937 by Pinky Tomlin for the movie Thanks For Listening. It was heard a couple of times on the Jack Benny radio show and was recorded by people like Jimmy Dorsey and Fats Waller. And it was the centrepiece in a copyright suit against Walt Disney Productions after the studio released The Love Bug in 1968.

The St. Louis Zoo must have been known across the U.S., at one time, for its collection of animals. There are references to it in several Yogi cartoons as a destination where Ranger Smith threatens to ship his troublesome bear. Here’s another one in the June 11 comic. That lion looks like the Flintstones’ cat with a blown up head.

The comic of June 18 draws a bit of inspiration from Show Biz Bear (1959) where Yogi gets bashed around doing stunts on a film shoot. You can see how the incidental characters have the Walt Clinton “low ear.” And there’s a reference to another favourite H-B character.

The plot of Bear For Punishment (1960) is heavily borrowed for the June 25 comic. A magician makes Yogi invisible temporarily, Yogi steals picnic baskets but then unexpectedly and suddenly appears when the ranger arrives (and doesn’t know it).

It’s a shame the top row of panels is missing from all these comics, but the bottom 2/3rds are always written so you can still follow the plot. You can click on all of them to enlarge them.


  1. Great stuff as always!

    I'm pretty sure those are all drawn by Harvey Eisenberg.

  2. Post facto from the strips, but the St. Louis Zoo was constantly mentioned in the 1960s on Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, since show host Marlin Perkins served as it's director.

    Perkins' bio shows he didn't move to the zoo and the show didn't start on NBC until 1962, but the zoo had to have been fairly prestigious going in to attract Marlin away from the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago and MofA to sponsor the series, which is probably why it became sort of a running gag in the Yogi universe that if he didn't shape up, he was going to be shipped to St. Louie.

  3. Hey (hey)—Yogi may have been invisible when he swiped that basket, but the basket itself remained visible.
    Ergo... even if the magic spell had stayed in effect when he ran past Ranger Smith, Smith would still have had something to notice and follow.

  4. I have many of the comic books but, where can these comic STRIPS or any other old HB strips be found? Are any new one's still produced?

  5. MB, the strip ended years ago, from what I know. You have to go rooting through old newspapers to find them; there's never been a compilation book of them.