Wednesday, 17 December 2014

How Yogi Bear Made Christmas Merry

Want to know what would have made a great half-hour Hanna-Barbera Christmas special? The story in this Yogi Bear Jellystone Jollies Gold Key comic with a cover date of January 1963.

It’s a simple tale, one not overloaded with characters, and with a nice little message toward the end. Add a little bit more comic dialogue to fill it out to 23 minutes and you’re all set. You don’t need a friendly ghost from another cartoon studio that you bought the rights to use, a guy in a Davey Crockett skunk-skin cap, everyone in the Hanna-Barbera funny animal universe clogging the proceedings or cheesy holiday/winter songs that bring the cartoon to an abrupt stop (okay, maybe one to close out the first act if it advances the plot, with a reprise near the end).

As you read along, I’ll bet you can hear Daws Butler, Don Messick and Hal Smith (as Santa and Goodello). Perhaps you’ll notice as well the dynamic of the characters changes without Ranger Smith being present. Frankly, I welcome it.

No, I don’t know why Yogi is calling himself “Budgewick Bear.”

My thanks to Prof. Grewbeard, as I stole these pictures from a five-year-old blog post of his. There were 80 pages in the comic but he didn’t post the two other stories involving Snagglepuss or Yakky Doodle, Chopper and Fibber Fox (why do I picture a mistletoe/fist-in-the-face/thud gag in that one?). In the comment section, Mark Kausler identifies the artist; a couple of others have sent me notes in agreement.


  1. 12/17/14 Wrote:
    Another missed opportunity for Screen Gems Productions to distribute with H-B; This would have been a swell TV holiday special, and would have beaten "Yogi's First Christmas" special from 1981 beat by a mile! I bet Daws ,Don, Hal, and maybe John Stephenson and Howard Morris would have loved to voice the characters if they had the chance. I can picture Jean Vander Pyl, Janet Waldo, and Mel Blanc in this imaginary TV special too. Oh, the missed opportunities.

  2. Yes!, I can just hear Don Messick doing the voice of " Whitey ". Same voice he did when Ranger Smith dressed up as a Polar Bear trying to sneak some info out of Yogi in an earlier H-B short.This would have made a great Yogi Christmas special.

  3. This looks like Harvey Eisenberg's art work to me. Different style, a little more simplified than the Yogi Sunday pages.

  4. I am so glad to see you covering comic BOOKS, which were once a significant part of Hanna-Barbera’s marketing juggernaut. And, in YOGI BEAR # 11, you certainly picked a fine one to highlight! As an 80 Page Giant Comic, there were 7 stories of Yogi, 2 of Yakky Doodle, 1 of Snagglepuss, and one Yogi and Snagglepuss team-up. Great reading and gems all!

    As for the art, it was indeed Harvey Eisenberg. Other artists in the issue appear to be Kay Wright and Fred Abranz. However, this was the second issue of YOGI BEAR to be released after the transition from Dell to Gold Key and, at that time, the interior art of the comics underwent a transition of its own. Here’s an excerpt from my “50 th Anniversary of Gold Key Comics” blog post of a few years back that may explain things:

    “The “new look” Gold Key Comics adopted a peculiar, almost UPA-influenced graphic style! This is characterized by reduced background detail, panel backgrounds (and often the incidental objects within) covered over in ONE FLAT COLOR, square dialogue balloons, and wider gutters. Panels were often “borderless”, or alternatively surrounded by thick borders of PASTEL COLORS!

    “The work of better artists like Carl Barks, Harvey Eisenberg, and Paul Murry particularly suffered under this system. The lone example of Carl Barks straining against his publisher’s imposition can be seen in UNCLE SCROOGE # 40. After that, Barks’ visuals would return to normal, though the coloring quirks, outside of Barks’ control, would remain for a short time longer.”

    This style would be imposed on every book to one extent or another. During 1963 it would slowly “evolve back”, and by 1964 more resemble it’s old self again – in time for Harvey Eisenberg to do his artistic masterpiece with Yogi: “Yogi Bear Joins the Mounties” (YOGI BEAR # 22, October, 1965). He was doing such wonderful work on the YOGI and FLINTSTONES comic books at that time – and, tragically, he passed away and we would never know what wonders would follow.

  5. I'm also recognizing the Harvey Eisenberg's artwork on this Yogi Bear Christmas special edition, published by Gold Key in late 1962 (besides appearing as being edited in January 1963).

  6. Christmas comics are my collecting genre. I have about 800 of them with more than half of them being Archies. But my favorite are the Hanna Barberas.

  7. "Budgewick Bear" might have been explained thusly:

    "My namesake will be a fake, so the contract we're signing won't be binding!"

  8. I thought it was a nice tribute that two names Boo-Boo tries out are "Bill" and "Joe".