Saturday, 2 July 2011

Yogi Bear — Bear For Punishment

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Gerard Baldwin; Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds - Joe Montell; Story – Warren Foster; Titles – Lawrence Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi, Man in 3rd Cabin, Presto, Sam, Dad – Daws Butler; Narrator, Boo Boo, Woman in 1st Cabin, Woman in 2nd Cabin, Sam’s Wife, Man Opening Trunk, Little Girl, Ranger Smith – Don Messick.
Music: Spencer Moore; Geordie Hormel; Jack Shaindlin; Bill Loose/John Seely.
First Aired: week of November 30, 1959 (rerun, week of June 20, 1960)
Production: Huckleberry Hound Show K-033.
Plot: Yogi makes a magician turn him invisible so he can steal picnic baskets.

Gerard Baldwin is the only animator hired by Hanna-Barbera in the 1950s who is still with us. He may be best known for his time at the Jay Ward studio—he left to direct for Ward in 1959 after what seems to have been a disappointing stint at H-B—but he drew two Yogi Bear cartoons in the second season, and at least one in almost all of the other series in the 1959-60 TV season.

His Yogi is certainly distinctive. The bear develops a huge, rubbery muzzle and a stretched neck during dialogue in three-quarters view. There are spots where Yogi seems a little dumpier than usual. And the humans in this cartoon talk with their mouth and jaw lines moving to the side of the face.

Tony Rivera laid out this cartoon. There seem to be more head shots than usual during dialogue scenes. His magician’s rabbit has a nice, simple design (and appropriate confused look) and the littering tourist we see at the beginning of the cartoon has thick glasses similar to the ones Rivera gave the director in Show Biz Bear. Joe Montell’s backgrounds are similar to what he built for Papa Yogi, with outlines of firs and dots to represent blooms at the top of bushes.

Some of Warren Foster’s cartoons take a while to get into the basic plot or change directions a bit along the way, and this is one of them. Almost the first half is taken up with Yogi’s attempts to con food from tourists in cabins and the rest of the cartoon involves stumbling upon a magician and the end result—invisibility, outright thievery, being too smart for one’s own good, and finally becoming a... well, you read the title of the cartoon for yourself.

Five of the thirteen Yogi cartoons on the second season of The Huckleberry Hound Show open with narration and animation-saving camera pans, and this is one of them. It quick sets the scene that it’s spring, so bear hibernation time is over and it’s time for some food. As in Rah Rah Bear, Foster fits in his opinion of tourists—they’re inconsiderate slobs. One in a car tosses a can that rolls into Yogi’s cave and wakes up the bear.

Yogi: Tourist season is officially open. They just threw out the first tin can! On your feet. We’re gonna eat.

Yogi and Boo Boo hit up a couple of cabins, pulling the “working my way through college,” “hungry bear” and “health inspector” bits to no success, reminiscent of the Woody Woodpecker cartoon Fodder and Son (1957). Even though Boo Boo voices his concern about violating park rules, he’s the one who suggests the last con to Yogi. Foster’s script is undermined by the choice of music. Daws Butler’s pity delivery just doesn’t mesh with the happy Jack Shaindlin tune in the background. The Vic Lamont arrangement of Winter Tales used in other H-B cartoons would have fit here nicely.

We’re almost three minutes into the cartoon and now Yogi spots Presto the magician’s trailer. Preston gives a demonstration of his abilities by making a rabbit appear and disappear with the words “Nom de plume,” though Presto’s accent isn’t quite French. The best part of this little sequence is Boo Boo is more clued in than Yogi. “It’s just a trick,” he keeps saying as Yogi insists the appearance and disappearance is magic (“Hey, hey! The rabbit went away” and “That funny trick is pretty slick”). Yogi gets a brilliant idea (“I was afraid of that,” the annoyed Boo Boo remarks). He gets Presto to make them “invisible bears among the visible pic-a-nic baskets. What a fate to cogitate” (Foster seems to have gone overboard on the rhymes). Presto warns them if they don’t return he’ll be forced to make them visible.

Now we get eating gags. The hungry Yogi is only shown by little sunbeam-like lines that indicate mouth noises (the same sort of thing was used for sound coming out a car radios on H-B cartoons) as he chomps down the tourists’ food before the tourists can get to it. “The ranger isn’t going to like this, Yogi,” warns Boo Boo in his immortal words. The first tourists are surprised with the disappearing food. The second one is afraid and drives away. The third ones are the funniest. Foster maintains the ‘bored father’ idea that Charlie Shows and Joe Barbera used in the first season. Dad is resting against a tree. His daughter is reading. “Daddy...our picnic basket just got up and floated away singin’,” says the girl. The sarcastic dad just lays there. “Oh, sure. These kids nowadays.”

The calls start pouring in to the ranger station. “How do you know it’s a bear if you didn’t see him?” Ranger Smith asks one caller. That’s actually a good question. Nevertheless, the callers get interrupted when the ranger looks out the window and sees a basket float by. Baldwin has him do a squint/turn-head/open-eyes take in four drawings on twos. The best line of the cartoon from Foster as the suddenly-woozy ranger rocks his head back and forth:

Smith: I’m sick. Too much fresh air. Babbling brooks. Pines. That’ll do it every time.

Foster once explained how Yogi has to get a comeuppance in every film where he’s doing something wrong and it happens here. He has a cave full of picnic baskets but gets greedy and wants one more. Unfortunately, after his last theft, the bears are made visible again. Yogi refuses to listen to the warnings of Boo Boo that the ranger can see him. And clobber him (off camera; we see Boo Boo wince) as Yogi makes faces at him.

“How lucky can you get? One swing and he hits an invisible bear,” the surprised Yogi remarks as he and Boo Boo are behind bars. The ranger feeds them nuts and berries. Baldwin reuses a squashed face expression to end the cartoon.

A lot of the familiar Bill Loose and John Seely music isn’t in this cartoon. We do get the weird tick-tock/Pop Goes the Weasel cue from Spencer Moore.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Hanna-Barbera)
0:13 - ZR-50 LIGHT UNDERSCORE (Hormel) – Trailers enter Jellystone, can tossed in cave.
0:36 - LAF-27-6 UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Yogi wakes up, begs at two cabins, Yogi walks into third cabin.
2:15 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Health inspector bit doesn’t work, knocks on Presto’s trailer door, “A friendly bear.”
3:04 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Presto makes rabbit disappear, makes Boo Boo disappear.
3:46 - L-1121 ANIMATION NAUTICAL (Moore) – Yogi gets Presto to make Boo Boo reappear, Yogi gets idea.
3:55 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – “I was afraid of that”, Preston makes bears invisible, Sam says “Oh, boy!”
4:42 - ZR-48 FAST MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Watermelon eaten, Yogi grabs thermos and picnic basket, steals girl’s picnic basket, Ranger answers phones.
5:45 - harp sound – Picnic basket floats by Ranger’s window.
5:49 - ZR-49 LIGHT EERIE (Hormel) – Ranger in cabin.
5:58 - L-1139 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Cave scene, bears reappear, “But Yogi!”
6:28 - L-992 ANIMATION CHILDREN (Moore) – Yogi tells Boo Boo to be quiet, makes faces at ranger, clobber sound.
6:41 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Yogi and Boo in jail.
6:58 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title Theme (Curtin-Hanna-Barbera).


  1. I wonder where the harp music originated, probaly "TC-25 Fantasy Harp" heard in "Good, Good, Fairy" with Pixie and Dixie [reviewed in November 2009; the first second season short reviewed] and "Gopher Broke" with The Goofy Gophers" from Seely and Loose.. That scene ["babbling brooks...that'll do it every time..I blamed it on Yogi''..] alays cracks me up...looks out and the Ranger sees the "floating" picnic baskets..

  2. From his late-fifties stay at Hanna-Barbera, Gerard Baldwin seems to have animated two Yogis, two Quick Draws, two Augie Doggies, and two Snooper and Blabbers, from the ones I've looked at anyways. Gerard once told me that he didn't like the H&B "head-bob" system because he felt it used up drawings that could've been used to put in more poses.

    His Yogi at times starts to look a little like Filmore Bear from the future Hoppity Hooper show. Indeed, Gerard directed the pilot film, and did most of the animation, although Ben Washam also animated a sequence.

  3. As a kid (and adult too) I disliked this cartoon.

    Everything about it seemed to be 'off'---Yogi looking really strange (nothing like the one on the title card), taking his hat off and looking even stranger, his curious 'pointing up in the air' gesture that accentuates every comment, poor Boo Boo getting punished alongside him as a 'prisoner', poorly designed humans, an extra-vicious Mr. Ranger..... ugh.

  4. Very good situational use of "Light Eerie" when the ranger thinks he's sick. The line about the picnic basket floating away singing always cracks me up, despite the fact that Yogi should know to keep silent while invisibly stealing said picnic baskets.

  5. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth,

    The animator Gérard Baldwin has a official site on the Internet. The address is the following:
    Enjoy to visit it!

  6. Personally, I would argue that THIS cartoon has the ugliest Ranger Smith design of all the classic Yogi's. Not "Wound Up Bear."