Saturday, 1 November 2014

Yogi Bear — Yogi in the City

Produced and Directed by Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna.
Credits: Animation – Ed Love, Layout – Tony Rivera, Backgrounds – Art Lozzi, Written by Warren Foster, Story Director – Paul Sommer, Titles – Art Goble, Production Supervision – Howard Hanson.
Voice Cast: Yogi Bear, Cop, TV Newscaster, Crowd – Daws Butler; Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Narrator, Fireman, Toy Seller, Crowd – Don Messick.
Music: Hoyt Curtin.
Production R-44, filmed April 27, 1961. First Aired: 1961-62 season.
Plot: Yogi finds himself in the city after falling asleep in a tourist’s trailer that leaves Jellystone Park.

Someone could be killed? Who cares! There’s money to be made!!

Warren Foster aims his cynical eye at crass commercialism in this cartoon. Yogi Bear is precariously perched on the ledge of an upper storey of an apartment building. He’s worried he could drop to his death, even though firemen have put out a safety net for him. Concerned bystanders on the pavement below point upward and chatter. Cut to a shot of a smiling guy hawking Yogi Bear dolls. “Here they are, folks!” he cries. “Get your souvenir bears here! Get ‘em before he jumps!”

Is it my imagination, or did Foster start adding a satirical edge to some of his gags in the Yogi cartoons after he started working on the adult “Flintstones” series?

Foster’s other great line in this cartoon shows the self-awareness the characters had on occasion. Yogi complains to Ranger Smith that the noise from a drip in the roof of his cave is keeping him from hibernating. Smith resorts to insult humour. “You go back into your cave and then,” Smith chuckles, “there’ll be two big drips in there.” Smith grabs Yogi’s shoulder and starts laughing. The bear gives him a dirty look. “You want to have a show of your own, sir?” he asks sarcastically.

Tony Rivera laid out this cartoon and designed the props. He came up with some neat, stylised vehicles. The characters are stylised, too.

The incidental characters elsewhere in the cartoon look like your regular Hanna-Barbera humans of the early ‘60s. Rivera sure loved those parallel jaw lines.

The background assignment went to Art Lozzi in this cartoon. The downward-pointing tree fronds you can see when Yogi’s sleeping in the trailer is a dead giveaway. And Lozzi is still into his Blue Period. Hills are blue, some trees are a shade of blue and so on. Here’s part of the drawing that is panned to open the cartoon. As in other cartoons with backgrounds by Lozzi, the clouds hug the humps of the hills. A very attractive scene.

Some other miscellaneous backgrounds.

The animation in this cartoon is courtesy of Ed Love. We’ve talked about his head and body movements where he seems to have some part of a character moving in each frame, while other parts remain stationary until the next frame, or the frame after that. Here are a couple of neat drawings. The first one is part of a cycle when Yogi is caught in a revolving door and keeps revolving into a building (and up the elevator and then onto a ledge outside the building). The next is when Yogi is stops revolving in mid-air, realises he’s umpteen storeys up and zips back onto the ledge.

Yogi would jump from the ledge into the safety net below but he has cold feet. Foster and Love follow with a punny sight gag.

The basic story—it’s hibernation season at Jellystone Park (What? Again?!) and Yogi and Boo Boo retreat to their cave. A drip from the roof prevents Yogi from sleeping and he’s shooed out of a tourist cabin by Ranger Smith when he tries to get some shut-eye there. He sleeps in a tourist’s trailer, but the trailer is hauled back into city. He wakes up, walks out of the trailer, is chased by cars and, in a panic, ends up on an upper-floor ledge outside a skyscraper. Back at Jellystone, Ranger Smith is watching TV when a news bulletin interrupts programming (What? Again?!) and shows Yogi’s predicament. Smith rescues Yogi from the ledge by flying over the building in a helicopter with a picnic basket (What? Again?!) lowered down (Yogi is in silhouette in long shot sitting in the suspended basket as the helicopter flies back to Jellystone). A Yogi rhyme ends the cartoon: “On a first-class flight, they feed you right.”

A nice little piano cue with tinkling, cascading notes opens the cartoon. You’ll hear some Flintstones music here, too, including the xylophone chase cue at the end.


  1. As a youth, I had a flashback to this cartoon while watching "Hey There, Yogi Bear" in the theater because of the movie's urban setting climax.

  2. Thanks for the smile and trip down memory lane.

  3. Great review and great cartoon. You really encourage people to imagine, not only what it was like making this show, but what they were like as kids.

    BTW, YOWP, you never got to writing that post about Cindy Bear's creation. Look forward to debating that one.

    1. Hi, Anon. I addressed my issues, at age 6 or so, with Cindy a number of months ago.

  4. "You wanna have a show of your own, sir?" Cracked me up.

  5. 11/2/14 Wrote:
    "You wanna Have a show of your own, sir?" It is funny H-B sarcasm, right up there with Fred Flintstone growling "Listen, if I want laughs, I'll call Yogi Bear!" in a terrific shout out from one H-B legend to another to an annoying passer-by when Fred & Barney were stuck together with glue to a bowling ball. H-B was never afraid of poking fun of itself.

  6. J.Lee, "Hey There It's Yogi Bear"(1964,which I also saw in theatres....) had at least three origins--"The Biggest Show-Off on Earth"(season 3,on Huckleberry Hound), "Acrobatty Bear"(Yogi, season 1), which for better or worse gave us Cindy, and this one from Yogi, season 2 (which would be the fourth year counting 1958-61 on Huck.).All with Yogi..:) Steve

  7. This cartoon contained one H-B's few self-referential gags of the characters knowing they're in a TV show (a conceit used frequently by Tex Avery and Jay Ward), which is not to be confused with the fourth-wall breaking in which Huck and Quick Draw interact with the narrator. At the moment of Yogi's retort, Curtin sticks in one of his 'laughing cues' (a brief clarinet solo of downward scale) which was often used in response to wisecracks and pratfalls suffered by H-B characters.

    It's amazing how many people seem to remember this one brief exchange, which shows how rare it is in the studio's repertoire.