Saturday, 24 November 2012

Yogi Bear — Bears and Bees

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Hicks Lokey, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Dick Thomas, Story – Warren Foster, Story Director – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi, John, Sam, Bee, Henry, Health Inspector – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Red Kerchief Woman, White Hat Woman, Kid in Back Seat, Dark Haired Woman – Don Messick.
Music: Bill Loose/John Seely, Spencer Moore, Raoul Kraushaar?, Jack Shaindlin.
First Aired: week of January 16, 1961.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-046.
Plot: Yogi finds some honey and sets up a stand to barter it for pic-a-nic type goodies.

Hanna-Barbera characters were known for their 5 o’clock shadow, especially on The Flintstones. It apparently made it easier to draw mouth movements on a separate cel from the rest of the character. It makes sense for Fred and Barney to have 5 o’clock shadow. But for a child? Believe it or not, there’s a kid with 5 o’clock shadow in Bears and Bees.

Wait. I think I figured out the reason. The scene cuts to signs along the highway. They’re just like Burma Shave signs. 5 o’clock shadow! Shave! Get it?

Okay, maybe that’s not it.

Tony Rivera is the layout artist on this cartoon, and he loved those heavy parallel face lines on his characters. He also seems to have liked no necks in profile, with body and head one, long tube shape, and little stem legs. To the left you see an example of this with Ranger Smith, who also has his jacket wider than his pants. Other layouts of the ranger have his jacket and pants as kind of a one-piece jump suit; it seems the ranger was treated like an incidental character so each layout artist/character designer came up with a model sheet for him in every cartoon.

Characters in Rivera’s Jellystone who wore glasses had really thick frames. Let’s look at his other incidental characters for this cartoon.

Here are some backgrounds that Rivera would have laid out from Warren Foster’s storyboard. The cars around Yogi’s honey stand have those oval, gridded grilles like early ‘50s Nashes, the ugliest cars on the face of the Earth. The silhouettes are a welcome change. In the ranger station background, the isosceles triangle trees are a Rivera specialty. The backgrounds were painted by Dick Thomas, who utilises a variety of greens. The grass is sponged. I like how the ranger’s jeep or some other vehicle has dug tire tracks in the grass.

The cartoon was animated by Hicks Lokey. I’m trying to find something visually distinctive about him. Reader Howard Fein says Hicks tended to draw facial features too big, and the only place I’ve seen that is in the scene where Yogi’s doing his beg-for-food act.

Otherwise, his Yogi and Boo Boo look fairly attractive (the characters had consistent model sheets by Dick Bickenbach). I like the close-up expressions as the ranger is shaming Yogi for trying to beg for pic-a-nic food. You’ll notice the eye dips below the top of the lighter brown face/muzzle.

Warren Foster’s story is the basic Yogi-Boo Boo-Ranger-Jellystone-Food battle of wits with only a few interesting bits of dialogue and a cop-out ending. Ranger Smith gets a call. Yogi and Boo Boo are on their way to the picnic area. Cut to the bears. Yogi, like the slob bear in the Walter Lantz cartoon Fodder and Son (1957) tries a couple of guises to get food. He puts on a sash and pretends to be the Jellystone Ambassador of Good Will, exempt from “Do Not Feed” rules (“The Ranger won’t like it, Yogi.” “You better not do it, Yogi,” says Boo Boo, Yogi’s conscience stand-in) but leaves after a threat to call the ranger. Then he tries his begging act (“Gosh, this is embarrassing,” Boo Boo tells us). Yogi’s monologue includes: “They spend billions on missiles, but not a penny on us. Bears don’t need missiles. They need morsels.” Yogi’s histrionics end quickly when he notices a pair of khaki pants and looks up to see Ranger Smith.

With calm disgust, the Ranger spouts off with his bears/noble creatures/don’t-need-man’s-food speech. You’ve heard it in other cartoons. Evidently Yogi has, too, though he lets the ranger think he’s swallowed it by commenting, in a paraphrase of Sir Winston Churchill: “If bears live for a thousand years, they shall say that this was their finest hour.”

Suddenly, out of nowhere, Yogi feels a need to explain sex to Boo Boo. What?! Why? Oh, it’s Foster’s ham-handed way of getting into the second part of the cartoon. He’s explaining the birds and the bees. Boo Boo sees a bee. Yogi flicks it away. The angry bee zooms into the air and then back down to sting him in the you-know-where.. At that point, Yogi discovers the bee has made honey in the hollow log he and Boo Boo are sitting on and that gives him an idea.

The scene cuts to the car with the kid who needs the shave. And the Burma Shave-type signs read by dad in a Daws Butler voice that sounds like a relaxed Cap’n Crunch:

When you eat
Beneath the trees
Eat Yogi’s Honey
From contented bees.

Yogi’s exchanging his honey, which Boo Boo is pouring with a gooping sound effect into glass jars from the log, for tourist food. Cut to the health inspector talking to Ranger Smith. “This honey that bear is selling in these second-hand bottles isn’t healthy. They’re full of ants, twigs, bits of leaves and bark. You’d better stop this pinch-penny racket of yours or else.” Cut back to Yogi with the ranger standing behind him. Of course, Yogi doesn’t realise it as he atypically brags to Boo Boo that he’s “smarter than the average ranger.” And then he turns around. You’ve seen this bit before.

The ranger follows behind as Yogi and Boo Boo carry the log back to where they found it. “Let that be a lesson to you, Yogi,” says the ranger. “And remember one thing. He who laughs last, laughs best.” Then the ranger starts laughing. The yucks are ended by the annoyed bee who stings the ranger in the you-know-where. What?! What did the ranger do to the bee to deserve it? He even brought back the bee’s honey. I guess a turn-around gag is all Foster could come up with. Yogi laughs last to end the cartoon.

The music of Spencer Moore and the team of Bill Loose and John Seely dominate the cartoon. The cues generally fill a scene, though “Pixie Comedy” starts up in mid-cue in mid-sentence when John’s wife is annoyed at Yogi’s ambassador act. The cue ends when the scene ends and then starts all over at the beginning when the next scene starts. The reverbed muted trumpet cue that may be by Raoul Kraushaar also makes an appearance and Jack Shaindlin’s “Lickety Split” is back-timed to end the cartoon.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:30 - TC-432 HOLLY DAY (Loose-Seely) – Shot of ranger station, Yogi talks to Boo Boo, puts on sash, “Get rid of that dusty animal.”
1:31 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – “He’s shedding”, Yogi walks away.
1:59 - TC-201 PIXIE COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi talks to Boo Boo, Yogi begs, “Khaki pants!?”
2:55 - creepy muted reverb trumpet music (Kraushaar?) – Yogi stares at audience, up shot of Ranger Smith.
3:05 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Ranger Smith shaming scene.
3:30 - TC-202 ECCENTRIC COMEDY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi and Boo Boo walk away, talk near tree.
4:14 - TC-437 SHOPPING DAY (Loose-Seely) – Yogi and Boo Boo on log, Yogi flicks bee away, bee shakes head.
4:37 - TC-221A HEAVY AGITATO (Loose-Seely) – Bee growls, stings Yogi.
4:53 - L-80 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Yogi runs from log, spots honey, Yogi and Boo Boo carry log.
5:30 - C-3 DOMESTIC CHILDREN (Loose) – Car on highway, signs, Yogi in booth, Boo Boo fills jars.
6:02 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Health inspector scene, Ranger in booth with Yogi.
6:37 - L-1139 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi and Boo Boo carry log, Ranger laughs, Bee looks down.
6:53 - LICKETY SPLIT (Shaindlin) – Bee zooms down, Ranger stung, Yogi laughs.
7:10 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. I guess for talented writers like Foster, even they have their off-days when scripting as many episodes for a company like HB.

    Kind of a shame; the story felt disjointed in places and, TBH, Warren could have easily pulled off a similar storyline to "Pie Pirates" or "The Stout Trout" - ie; Yogi and Boo Boo, following Ranger's orders to forage in the woods, attempt to snatch honey from a tree while avoiding bees - or something to that extent.

  2. This actually was one may favorite Yogis as a yute, in part because I had a Giant Hanna-Barbera Story Book which included this short along with others from the first three seasons of the Huck show, and in part because of the Burma Shave gag (which I didn't know from the signs, but actually from other cartoons from Warners and elsewhere).

    They could have given the end gag a little more justification if they had allowed the Ranger to unthinkingly flick away the bee like Yogi did before making his end comment. But I suppose by this point in the series we were pretty much conditioned to the Mr. Ranger always getting it in the end (literally, here) when he defies the cartoon gods and lords it over Yogi.

  3. Hey, maybe the bee thought Mr. Ranger was the “ringleader” of the gang that stole his honey-log (due to his uniform and bossing Yogi around) and gave him what-for!

    And, I have always liked this one a lot! Never mind where Yogi got all the mason jars and stuff…

  4. Chris, this is certainly far from the worst cartoon Foster did that season. There's one review coming where I point out the tremendous workload he and Maltese were under which gave little time to sit there and work on the nuances of their stories. It's no wonder Tony Benedict and Sandy Sandifer were hired, and it's no wonder Joe Ruby and Ken Spears were allowed to work on the side and come up with stories for the bumper cartoons for the half-hour shows. Still, I'll take this story over some of the theatricals which were foisted on people in the middle to late '60s.
    J.L., yeah, that would work for me just fine. But, of course, it would involve costly drawing. The ranger could have even stood there and insulted the bee's honey beforehand and that would have worked.

  5. The "contented bees" line is a poke at the old Carnation slogan-"The Milk From Contented Cows".

  6. Seeing this episode recently, a major highlight is Don Messick's subtle "Get up, Yogi...and follow me," followed by his soliloquy about Bears. Messick gets a lot of praise for his voicework, but his Ranger Smith is rather underrated.

  7. I always enjoyed this cartoon. It's obvious " Burma Shave/Carnation " reference, and also remembering how the tourist DID sound a bit like " Cap N' Crunch " Usually a Yogi short with tourists means Daws will do what I call his dry,uninterested,I would rather be anywhere but here- deadpan male tourist voice; " Beat-It" !!" Or the other cartoon with " Search me, sounds like a woodchuck " Love it!

  8. Do you remember at the beginning of this episode, where Yogi acts as a "goodwill ambassador" for a couple of tourists, ready to beg for food?

  9. Erroll, I, too got the two references to Burma-Shave and to Carnation..and yeah, the bee stinging the ranger in the butt seemed like a deux ex mahcinza (translation: dragged in bit) to end the cartoon. The cartoon has some good music cues throughout EXCEPT shouldn't a SAD cue be used when Yogi begs for food....Also, it's funny when the Ranger walks up behind Yogi in the health inspector scene, if only because of his pretending to be a customer ("I'll take one").Steve C.(almost smarter than the average Internet user)>