Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Yogi Bear Weekend Comics, December 1964

Transportation seems to have been the recurring in the Yogi Bear comics in Sunday newspapers of 50 years ago this month. Two of the modes are stolen (being winter, there are no picnic baskets to purloin). What you see below aren’t the best scans to view some of the reaction drawings, so I urge you to check out Mark Kausler’s site HERE, as he has the bottom two rows of each of these cartoons (at least that’s the anticipation at the time this post was written). Mark has saved clippings of these comics all these years.

Ranger and Mrs. Smith makes a short appearance in the top row of the December 6, 1964 comic, the row that newspapers could delete without the plot of the comic being affected. Ranger Smith is “Bill” this month. Next month, he’s “Joe.” Sense a pattern, folks? The final panel has one of the embarrassed Yogi grin poses that the animators never really used. Sorry I can’t find a better version.

The best drawing in the December 13th comic is Yogi being whacked on the head with a mallet held by a little Yogi. Ranger Smith’s winter jacket has chequers which stay in place, regardless of movement. You’d see this in animated cartoons (especially in the late ’50); I presume the character was drawn with the clothing pattern on a cel underneath.

Bill Hanna receives a Christmas present from Gene Hazelton or whoever wrote the story for the December 20th comic in the form of a plug for his beloved Boy Scouts (Hanna was extremely proud of his membership in the Scouts and received honours from the group in adulthood). The helicopter theft/tree-top cutting is a steal from the 1958 cartoon “The Buzzin’ Bear.” Note the rhyme in the opening panel. I’d like to think it’s a little tribute to Lew Marshall, one of the original H-B animators who rose through the ranks. He would have worked with Hazelton at the MGM cartoon studio in the ‘40s.
Man, even Ranger Smith is rhyming in this one.

Alas, Santa doesn’t visit Yogi and Boo Boo this year. Instead, Boo Boo gets a present via the Jellystone Mail Truck in the December 27th comic. Another great little-pupilled Yogi expression in the last panel of the middle row. Yogi goes rhyming nuts in the last row. The artist (Harvey Eisenberg?) throws in some cute chipmunks in the last panel. I like how they’re in the foreground while Yogi and Boo Boo are further back. You can always feel the perspective in these comics; there’s a foreground, background and various medium grounds, not like they’re on a stage with a scrim backdrop.

Click on any of the comics to enlarge them.

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