Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Tally Lah Lah Lah

Mike Lah animated the first Yogi Bear cartoon put into production (“Pie Pirates”) and picked up scenes in a number of others without any screen credit. His style was pretty distinctive, as he tended to draw Yogi’s mouth movements in profile the same way. His poses could be simple but you knew what Yogi was thinking.

Lah hooked up with Carlo Vinci in “Tally Ho Ho Ho,” which I presume was very early in the production as Yogi’s name isn’t on the title card and it opens with the Donna Reed Show theme, which was never used again by Hanna-Barbera. He takes over the animation about a third of the way into the cartoon where the Professor Gizmo-like hunter is outsmarted in a game of hide-and-seek by our wily hero.

Mike generally held a character in position during dialogue and moved the mouth around on the side of the face (with no tongue visible). He liked two or three upper teeth (and no lowers), long mouth lines and curves.

Here are some of Yogi’s poses.

I’ve posted the drawings from Yogi’s little dance and run before. The fourth drawing sure reminds me of a pose from an MGM cartoon.

The early Yogis are enjoyable. No locked-in Yogi-vs-Ranger format. In fact, there was no Ranger Smith at all and Boo Boo appeared only on occasion. Yogi could be a funny character on his own—with the help of a fun story and poses by top ex-MGM animators like Mike Lah.


  1. Jejejejeje, al ver este capítulo en donde aparece el Profesor Gizmo tratando de cazar al Oso Yogui, me estaba de a poquito imaginando también que Gizmo le pedía ayuda a Ruff y Reddy para lograr su cacería, me explico, que al ver al Profesor Gizmo en este episodio del Oso Yogui también me estaba imaginando a Ruff y Reddy apareciendo en algunas escenas de este capítulo, jijijijiji

  2. Yogi was more enjoyable then because he was more of a “wise guy”, than he was “loveable”.

    Ranger Smith (prototype) and Boo-Boo were present for “Yogi Bear’s Big Break”, but that was the frustrated wise guy of “Pie Pirates” and “Big Bad Bully”, and thus he was funnier than he would be in most (if not all) 1960 and later cartoons.

    I guess there’s some sort of unwritten rule that you must “soften-up” (to one degree or another) once you become the star of a series.

    It happened to Scrooge McDuck once he got his own series, as opposed to being a guest character in the late ‘40s – early ‘50s Donald Duck comics. And, by extension, so did “The Terrible Beagle Boys”, who devolved into buffoonish crooks when Gold Key gave them their own title.

    Same for the early, sinister Dr. Zachary Smith, once he “stole” LOST IN SPACE, becoming its de-facto star.

    Even DC Comics Lobo lost some edge upon graduating from specials to his own monthly series – not to mention animated guest appearances.

    And, so it happened to Yogi. Ironic that you often sacrifice that which “got you noticed” on the path to breakout-stardom.

  3. I would guess that it was a combination of being easier to churn out the cartoons as fast as they had to that led to more formalistic stories by Warren Foster, combined with the fact that Yogi could be downright crotchety in some of the Season 1 cartoons, and that didn't make as good a Kellogg's pitchbear as happy-go-lucky Yogi. He basically was the TV cartoon equivalent of what Mickey Mouse was to sound cartoons, and as with Mickey, what rough edges there were ended up smoothed out within a couple of years.

    (Also, I do notice some Lah/MGM CinemaScope-like poses in 1964's "Hey There, Yogi Bear". Any idea if Lah did some uncredited animation on that movie?)

  4. Here comes the mischievous Yogi Bear, animated by Michael Lah in the episode Tally-Ho-Ho-Ho!

  5. I've also heard the Donna Reed Show theme on Gumby; so like the Twilight Zone theme it must have been library-music. Like the HB cartoons, the first Gumbys were the best, but with Gumby, it was the first five, after that they lost a certain "je ne sais quoi".

  6. Anon, yes, it was on reel L-39 of the Hi-Q library along with three other pieces heard on Yogi cartoons.

  7. Anon, how and where have you heard the Donna Reed theme on Gumby? I've seen the whole original several series what the library and none of those four L-39 pieces have been used..(a variatiant of Dennis Mitchell's, also used in the 1958 Roadrunner "Hook Line & Stinker" WAS.SC