Saturday 2 June 2012

Yogi Bear — Oinks and Boinks

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Don Patterson; Layout – Walt Clinton; Backgrounds – Bob Gentle; Story – Warren Foster; Story Director – Alex Lovy; Titles – Art Goble; Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voices: Yogi, Wolf, Malcolm Pig – Daws Butler; Edgar Pig, Stanley Pig – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely; Spencer Moore, Geordie Hormel; Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: week of September 26, 1960.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-40.
Plot: Yogi and Boo Boo get conned by the Three Little Pigs into taking over their straw and stick houses.

Chuck Jones once remarked that when Warren Foster and Mike Maltese left Warner Bros. for Hanna-Barbera, the Warners shorts they wrote started showing up at H-B. Jones likely had “Oinks and Boinks” in mind.

The cartoon has its direct descendant in “The Windblown Hare,” written by Foster and released by Warners in 1949. Bugs Bunny is conned by the Three Pigs into moving into their straw, then their stick houses, knowing “the book” says the Wolf will blow them down. The Wolf refers to “the book” throughout the picture as he is obligated to follow its pre-determined outcome. Then there’s a twist at the end as Bugs gets even with the pigs. It’s one of director Bob McKimson’s best Bugs cartoons.

“Oinks and Boinks” has a watered-down version of the same story. But there are necessary differences and not just because of the limited animation. The starring characters don’t have the same temperament, so their reactions are different. Bugs is an aggressive character. Yogi Bear is not. Bugs inflicts violence to get laughs. Yogi does not. Unlike the Warners cartoon, the pigs here are not sleazy con-men looking for a quick buck from a patsy; they give their homes to Yogi. It plays into Joe Barbera’s comment over the years that the bad guys in Hanna-Barbera cartoons really weren’t all that bad.

This cartoon is similar to the previous season’s “Hoodwinked Bear,” right down to the Phil Silvers-inspired Wolf going along with “the book”. Both are enjoyable cartoons. “Hoodwinked Bear” has neat Art Lozzi backgrounds and better animation than this one, but I like the story structure better here.

The only thing that bothers me is some of the stock music. It’s probably because I’ve seen so many Fractured Fairy Tales on Rocky and Bullwinkle with Daws doing his Silvers takeoff. The Jay Ward cartoons have no music and that makes the voices stand out (and the dialogue barrels along in them because the cartoons are half the length of an HB cartoon). The music here is low-key, doesn’t quite match the mood and distracts a bit from Foster’s lines.

Don Patterson is the animator here and gets boxed in a bit by Alex Lovy’s low-key approach to directing. There’s an opportunity for some really good takes in here, but Lovy’s timing lets them rush by without letting them sink in; because they’re not really wild takes, they need more time to establish. Here are a couple of drawings by Patterson. A nice anticipation drawing but the wide-eyed take gets lost because it’s only on four frames and the mouth moves in the third one.

There’s a bit of animation that gets re-used. Patterson gives the Disney Practical Pig stand-in (he has an engineer’s hat) a wink in a couple of scenes. And you can tell Patterson’s at work here because he has the characters biting their lip on the letter “f.” Ed Love animates dialogue similarly and both use more than three head positions when a character is talking, but Patterson’s work is a little smoother. Both use teeth but Love has some distinctive tooth positions.

There’s other reused animation, too. The Wolf inspects the straw house, then the stick house, looking for pigs, walking past Yogi and then talking to him in close-up. I didn’t count the frames but there are whole chunks where Yogi’s reactions appear to be repeated in both; only the background is different. Here are some examples.

The Wolf blowing down the houses is reused as well. Considering the actions in the story are identical, identical animation would seem okay for television.

Yogi gets in his rhyming couplets (along with his catchphrase about “av-er-age bears”). When he’s offered the straw house for free, he responds “It may look a fright, but the price is right.” When he’s offered the stick house for free, it’s “Hey, hey, this is our lucky day.” When they arrive at their cave: “Just a hole in the wall, but it’s home after all.” And after getting their cave back, Yogi ends it with “And a happy ending in bed we’re spending.” Foster was more poetic with rhymes than Charlie Shows in the first season. Shows would rhyme pairs of words, like “Take it on the lam, Sam” (regardless of whether a character was named Sam). Foster, however, borrows a line from Shows when Yogi remarks of the pigs “There go two of the good ones.”

The best part of the cartoon is the malcontent Wolf, who gets more and more annoyed as the cartoon wears on and deviates from “the book.”

Boo Boo: Why do you want the pigs, Mr. Wolf?
Wolf: “Why do I want the pigs, Mr. Wolf” the kid says. Oooh, boy. How sheltered a life can you live? Okay, okay. Nothing to do but go on. I will do my part.

And at the end, when he chases the pigs out of Yogi’s cave, after letting out distinctly Bilko-like “Hey, hee, hi, hut, ho” orders:

Wolf: What do you think you’re doing? Get back there and build that house so I can huff and puff and try to blow it down. I want to frustrate myself, like it says in the book.

As mentioned, Yogi and Boo Boo move into the two houses, which the Wolf blows down with the bears in them. Finally, the pair spot their cave—and discover the pigs living in it.

Stanley: Yeah, we’re going to live here.
Malcolm: My practical brother got the idea.
Edgar: I’m so practical I couldn’t see the sense of building a brick house, what with, uh, building permits and all that red tape.
Stanley: After all, we gave you two houses.
Malcolm: So we knew you wouldn’t mind giving us this one.

Edgar’s design may be borrowed a bit from Disney’s Practical Pig, but the voice is borrowed from Pixie.

Cut to the Wolf reading the book. He’s so bugged, he doesn’t know what comes next. He reads about the brick house. Off he goes, walking away like Charles M. Wolf in the Foster-written “Hare-less Wolf” (1958) at Warners, muttering to himself to twig his memory about what he’s looking for (“Bathhouse, no, no, no. Birdhouse, no...”). He comes across the unbuilt brick house. The wavy-line closed mouth on the Wolf is something Patterson would use on Fred Flintstone.

The Wolf knocks on the stone of the cave (the muffled sound effect isn’t correct but works) then we get another wasted take when Yogi bears out of the cave. Not only does Lovy only hold the take to four frames, Yogi is talking while it’s happening, completely moving the attention away from the Wolf and his take.

“Pigs? We’re up to here with pigs. You want pigs? Be my guest,” says Yogi. Again, the bear’s not being revengeful like Bugs Bunny in “The Windblown Hare.” There’s no nastiness. He’s courteously answering a question, though he full-well knows he and Boo Boo will get their cave back. And that’s what happens at the end.

Ranger Smith is not in this cartoon, the only one in the third season where he doesn’t appear. He wouldn’t have fit anyway. There was only one other cartoon after this where he was absent as Foster and his successors stuck with an established formula.

Evidently, Hanna and Barbera liked the idea of a Phil Silvers-sounding wolf as that’s what they got in Hokey Wolf when they needed to replace Yogi Bear on the Huck Hound show.

I mentioned the music earlier. The last cue seems a little inspired by “London Bridge is Falling Down” so it works in a fairy tale format. I’m guessing, because of the muted trumpets and sound quality, it’s a Jack Shaindlin cue. And the medium-up tempo “Shining Day” by Bill Loose always works in establishing a scene.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main title theme (Curtin, Hanna, Barbera)
0:25 - ZR-50 UNDERWATER SCENIC (Hormel) – Yogi and Boo Boo walking.
0:51 - TC-436 SHINING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Pigs talk, give house to Yogi
1:36 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Wolf outside, searches house, blows down house.
3:19 - GROTESQUE No 2 (Shaindlin) – Pigs talk, give house to Yogi.
3:57 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Wolf outside, searches house.
4:59 - LAF-5-20 TOBOGGAN RUN (Shaindlin) – Wolf blows down house.
5:11 - LAF-27-6 UNTITLED TUNE (Shaindlin) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk to cave, pigs inside.
5:49 - C-14 DOMESTIC LITE (Loose) – Wolf reads book, talks to Yogi, goes into cave.
6:49 - happy muted trumpets (Shaindlin) – Pigs run out of cave, Yogi and Boo Boo in bed.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. That comment ABOVE, don’t fit like no GLOVE! Hey-Hey-Hey! …Maybe we should tell the Ranger!

    The Boo-Boo and Wolf exchange beginning with “Why do you want the pigs, Mr. Wolf?” is one of my favorites in all of Hanna-Barbera! Despite his generally good judgment, Boo-Boo is an innocent alter all.

    If Ranger Smith WAS in this cartoon, he’d probably be quoting the Park Building Codes to the Pigs, and putting up some “No Blowing-Down Houses” signs to further frustrate the Wolf.

  2. This cartoon, Yogi's Season 3 premiere, not only doesn't have Ranger Smith in it but it doesn't even seem to take place in Jellystone Park! That harkens back to several early Season 1 shorts in which Yogi- with or without Boo-Boo- seemed to live in a generic wilderness.

  3. What was the name of that cartoon where Yogi says "Beer".
    There was an episode, in which, Yogi and Boo Boo dress up as father and son, in order to take part in a father-son picnic.
    And just as they had put on the clothes, Yogi said: And now, what have we here? A father and son "Beer"...I mean "Bear".

  4. Alcohol being mentioned ina 1950s show, in a Hanna-Barbera show, no less.

  5. Yowp, the Fractured Fairy Tales DID have some Capitol Hi-Q music, especially the "Ugly Uckling". I have a "Cinderella" ones with the :Philip Green "Custard Pie Capers" on it *but isa otherwise silent..) On Yogi not being agressive or a trickster, he's still smarter than the average bear (and how phyiscally violent were Bugxs and his gang now--Chuck Jones's especially. It's astill timeless cartoon in its own rightr..and evolving from Bilko wilf would be a certain l;ater supporting Yogi like wolf..Hokey Wolf.)

    The Jack SHiandlin (?) like nursery rhyme horn cue at the end and the wolf's "masochistic" line "I need to frustrate myself, like it says in the book" always have my vote as one of the best this bed "we're spending"!