Thursday, 11 December 2014

Boo Boo Surprise

Boo Boo didn’t do a lot of acting in the Yogi Bear cartoons. About all he’s known for is being the voice of caution, warning “The Ranger won’t like it, Yogi,” or words to that effect.

Ah, but don’t tell that to Carlo Vinci.

The Yogi cartoons eventually settled into a routine, but the first season (1958-59) was a bit of a free-for-all as the characters were still new. Carlo decided to give Boo Boo a bit of body emotion in “The Buzzin’ Bear” (first aired the week of December 21, 1958). All but the first and last drawings you see below are on twos (each drawing was shot by the camera twice). Boo Boo’s reacting to Yogi accidentally getting a Jellystone Park helicopter airborne.

This isn’t the kind of animation Hanna-Barbera became known for. The body isn’t on one cel for endless frames while the head drawings are slightly changed. Carlo has made 11 separate drawings. Look at the hands and see the sense of balance. This may be my favourite Boo Boo scene.

As Hanna-Barbera pumped out more and more cartoons, more and more animation short-cuts were made, and the cartoons leaned more and more on the writers’ snappy dialogue. But for the first little while after the Huck show went on the air in September of 1958, there were lots of neat bits of animation by Carlo and Mike Lah and the rest. This is one of them.


  1. The Season 1 animation manages to be more expressive and more limited at the same time, in that characters would move less, but at the same time drastically 'pop' from one position to the other (many of the takes were done in far fewer drawings that what Vinci does here) .

    It didn't look as smooth as what was to follow in Season 2, but doing that allowed the characters to do 'takes' just they way characters had in full animation. It's also a workaround that actually may have existed on the East Coast first, about the time Carlo was moving to California, but from Famous Studios instead of Terrytoons, where Al Eugster had taken to 'popping' his characters from the more standard designs into UPA-like 'takes' in order to get some sort of reaction shot through the evenly paced animation the studio was demanding by the mid-1950s. It worked for a few years, until all the characters were redesigned to more of a UPA style.

  2. In Boo Boo's case, he generally walked or remained stationary (sitting, laying down or standing). That's why this piece stood out for me when I watched it; that and the overhead angle that followed.

  3. Yes Yowp, I love Boo Boo's moves in this short. Also the overhead shot.The wild moves he makes when Yogi doesn't know he's airborne and is about to step out of the chopper are priceless.

  4. Of course, this wouldn't have been possible without Messick's stellar voice acting. And the emotion of his vocal cords wouldn't have been possible without Shows and Barbera caring about the character. Boo Boo had more emotion and energy in the first season. The way he said "He's flipped his lid!" and scaring Yogi by popping a bag were things that made him special. When Foster shoehorned him away, he just floated among the story.

    Anyway, out of the times he actually appeared in the first season, when would it be best for a Yogi cartoon to have Boo Boo?