Saturday, 12 July 2014

Yogi Bear — Booby Trapped Bear

Produced and Directed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera.
Credits: Animation – Lew Marshall, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Bob Gentle, Story – Warren Foster, Story Direction – Alex Lovy, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voices: Narrator, Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, John’s Wife – Don Messick; Yogi Bear, John, Superintendent – Daws Butler.
Music: Geordie Hormel, Spencer Moore, Bill Loose-John Seely, Jack Shaindlin.
First aired: week of October 24, 1960.
Episode: Huckleberry Hound Show K-041.
Plot: Ranger Smith rigs picnic baskets to beat up Yogi so he’ll stop stealing them.

This is the quintessential Yogi Bear cartoon. It contains everything anyone associates with Yogi Bear. To wit:

● Pic-a-nic baskets with goodies.
● Yogi versus Ranger Smith.
● Jellystone Park.
● Boo Boo saying “The ranger won’t like it, Yogi” (or words to that effect).
● Rhyming dialogue.

The interesting thing is that, other than the rhymes, these elements weren’t present in many of the cartoons during Yogi’s first season written by Charlie Shows and Joe Barbera—Ranger Smith didn’t exist at all then—but once story man Warren Foster replaced Shows in the second season, he started putting a formula in place. And the formula was a winning one because it’s how people think of Yogi today. I suspect fans today would screech louder than the smarter-the-average-bear being fed nuts and berries if a Yogi cartoon minus all these things were made today (a cartoon, say, like “Foxy Hound Dog,” starring Yowp).

This cartoon has a few others things that are atypical of a Foster-written Yogi comic adventure.

● Don Messick’s opening narration.
● Camera pans over backgrounds of the park.
● Yogi telling us he’s “Smarter than the av-er-age bear.”
● Bill Loose and John Seely’s cue “Zany Comedy” (second and third seasons only).

Even Yogi’s con at the beginning of the cartoon has a ring of familiarity. Or maybe we’ve just seen this cartoon over and over too many times. Yogi pretends to be a park health inspector who confiscates the tourists’ food because of too many calories. Lew Marshall is the animator in this one and simply didn’t believe in exaggerated takes. Witness Boo Boo’s less than outrageous expression when he tastes a “sand-a-wich.”

Angry tourists complain on the phone to Ranger Smith, so he puts bars on the entrance to Yogi’s cave and locks our hero in. “I am government property, sir. I shall report this to the park superintendent,” vows the bear. The ranger then decides to end the thievery by booby trapping some picnic baskets and letting Yogi out. The idea works. We even get a cartoon anvil. And we get a great example of how H-B saved money. There’s a drawing of a tree falling on Yogi. The next drawing is the tree on the ground. We don’t see it hit the bear, let alone get a really funny held drawing of him being crushed. Save the cash, lessen the humour.

Yogi decides to swear off pic-a-nic baskets. But then the superintendent shows up. We’re left to infer, as promised, Yogi has contacted the superintendent in a counter-move against the ranger, hoping Smith gets hoisted on his own petard. And that’s what happens. The superintendent seems to feel he can steal from a picnic basket, too. And the basket is booby-trapped.

The cartoon ends with Ranger Smith, jailed in Yogi’s cave for 60 days, eating a sand-a-wich from a pic-a-nic basket. Score a win for Yogi in this cartoon.

Tony Rivera was the layout artist on this cartoon. Note the parallel jaw lines on Smith (what’s depicted in that painting in the background, anyway?).

Here’s the line-up of the new model Riveras (not to be mistaken with the Buick Riviera). They’re what every sharp-nosed, hat-wearing father of 1960 should drive!

We mentioned the Bob Gentle backgrounds panned by the camera at the start of the cartoon as the narrator sets up the scene. Have a look.

And since we’ve been talking quintessence, this drawing may be as close to the quintessential Yogi as you’ll find.

We mentioned “Zany Comedy” earlier in the post. A lot of the music comes from Geordie Hormel’s Zephyr Records library (Spencer Moore worked for Hormel until a “restructuring”), including the first cue which you can hear in its entirety. Moore’s bassoon work-part cue L-1158 makes an appearance.

0:00 - Yogi Bear Sub Main Title Theme (Curtin-Shows-Hanna-Barbera).
0:28 - ZR-50 UNDERWATER SCENIC (Hormel) – Opening narration, Yogi and Boo Boo walk, health inspector scene.
2:15 - L-75 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Boo Boo eats sandwich, Yogi beckons to cars.
2:44 - TC-303 ZANY COMEDY (Loose/Seely) – Ranger in cabin scene.
3:14 - LAF-10-7 GROTESQUE No. 2 (Shaindlin) – Yogi stops ranger, in barred cave, “I don’t like it, Yogi.”
4:32 - L-78 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Punch-in-the-face scene, anvil scene, fall-in-the-hole scene.
5:35-5:37 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Musical effect as Yogi creeps toward basket.
5:42 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Shot of picnic basket in tree.
5:47 - ZR-47 LIGHT MOVEMENT (Hormel) – Yogi runs, clobbered by tree, Boo Boo talks.
5:52 - L-1158 ANIMATION COMEDY (Moore) – Yogi under tree.
5:58 - L-81 COMEDY UNDERSCORE (Moore) – Yogi with ranger, superintendent scene.
6:50 - LAF-7-12 FUN ON ICE (Shaindlin) - Final scene of ranger in cave.
7:11 - Yogi Bear Sub End Title theme (Curtin).


  1. Note at the end how the Ranger's morale leaves him as he capitulates to the sight of a stolen sandwich. I suppose Ranger Smith must have been a POW at a Japanese Internment Camp, with nothing but the flies to eat. Shame on Yogi for forcing his frenemy to relive bad memories!
    Then again, maybe Smith, ashamed of this action, decided to fight it out for the remainder of his cave internment, losing his stout figure and achieving the slender look of latter times.

  2. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and HB-fanatics from the whole world!

    Here's a selection of several scenes from this Yogi Bear episode:

    - (Yogi stealing a "pic-a-nic" basket.)

    - (Yogi, acting as a park health inspector, confiscates one of the "pic-a-nic" baskets from the tourists.)

    - (Yogi, still acting as park health inspector, stops one of the tourists [or else, one of the hat-wearing dads] to confiscate their food.)


    - (Welcome to Jellystone Park!)

    - (Mr. Ranger ends locking Yogi inside his cave, due to the trick in which Yogi was acting as a health inspector).