Saturday, 18 April 2015

Yogi Time

When did Yogi Bear eclipse Huckleberry Hound as Hanna-Barbera’s number one star? 1960, I suspect. Huck may have been running for president that year (with Yogi as a campaign manager), but that was also the year it was announced Yogi was getting his own show on 150 stations, comics in 80 newspapers (as of February 5, 1961) and a feature-length film built around him and his newly-created girl-friend, Cindy.

Huck was relaxed and casual. Yogi was loud and brash. Noise attracts attention. But Yogi was a fairly well-rounded character as well. By the time he got his own show, his cartoons had a fairly set format, so writer Warren Foster allowed himself to explore Yogi’s personality around within those confines.

Here’s a story from the St. Petersburg Times of August 12, 1961. How many cartoon shows today would get this much newspaper space just by changing channels? Whether the paper used an Arnie Carr publicity handout as the basis of the story, I don’t know, but it sums up Yogi’s appeal. Sorry, Danny Thomas fans, we’re only re-printing the portion dealing with cartoons. Feel free to do a spit-take to make up for it.

Yogi Bear, Danny Thomas Featured In New Lineup On Local Stations
“Howdy and hot doggie!” These very familiar greetings are from three favorite cartoon characters, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw. They’re moving to WTVT, Channel 13, Tampa-St. Petersburg.
Monday has been proclaimed Yogi Bear Day, Yogi, first and foremost citizen of Jellystone Park, will introduce all the locally originated shows on WTVT as well as do all the station breaks. Yogi’s friends, Jellystone Park Ranger Smith, Boo Bear [sic], Cindy Bear, Yakky Duck [sic], Augie Doggie, Snooper, Blabber and Hokey Wolf will also help celebrate “his” day.
In the three short years Yogi has been in the public eye, he has become one of the world’s best known bears. He is always good-humored and somewhat patronizing toward the authorities’ wish that he give up his independent attitude and become a good, timid bear. Yogi’s comment to this is simply, “Never!” He refuses to sacrifice any of his dignity and refuses to conform, although he recognizes that a certain amount of tolerance is necessary.
Yogi’s dearest friend is his little bear buddy, Boo Boo, although he decries Boo Boo’s tendency to abide by all the rules. If Yogi has a conscience, it’s Boo Boo, and at times Yogi has been known to succumb to that small voice of the righteous.
All in all, Yogi is a unique creature of the wildwood—as loveable as they come. Perhaps his greatest pride is in his own canny intelligence. “Smarter than the av-er-age bear!” You’ll be able to see the “Yogi Bear” cartoons every Monday from 5:30 to 6 p.m.
Quick Draw McGraw will be featured every Tuesday from 5:30 to 6 p.m. And “Huckleberry Hound” has chosen Wednesday from 5:30 to 6 p.m. to perform. All three cartoons will be featured as the last half of “The Mary Ellen Show.” She’ll now be seen every weekday at 5 p.m., with cartoons, “Rescue 8” and “Highway Patrol” rounding out the last half hour portion of her show.

“Rescue 8,” incidentally, was distributed by Screen Gems. “Highway Patrol,” I would guess, inspired the title of the Huckleberry Hound cartoon “Freeway Patrol,” except Broderick Crawford was never as inept in the former as Huck was in the latter.

Since we’re posting about Yogi....

Isn’t this a great rendering of Yogi? It may remind you of those old ViewMaster slides of the H-B bear. Sure looks better than the Rodney Dangerfield-sounding, “3-D” Yogi in that feature film a few years back. I’d love to see some stop-motion animation with Yogi using this design.

Another full-page ad. I didn’t make a note of the year.

A drawing of Yogi from a publicity photo announcing his coming series in January 1961. (I thought I had posted this before but can’t find it). If I recall, this is based on one of those cartoons-between-the-cartoons where Yogi’s shadow punches him.

Hmmm. We’ve never really talked much about those short cartoons, have we? They’re really lots of fun and it’s a shame that when the half-hour shows ended, they disappeared from TV screens. I’ve never been big on those “H-B universe” shows where characters from umpteen Hanna-Barbera shows co-star in the same series. But I like how they were handled on the half hour shows. Each had their own cartoons, and then appeared together in what, basically, was a promo for another part of their show. Nice and orderly. (You needn’t ask me what I think of Tom and Jerry being in a cartoon feature with Jonny Quest. You can guess the answer).

The mini-cartoons on the first season of the Huck show are terrific. Cornelius the Kellogg’s rooster drops from the sky (roosters can’t fly, can they?), knocks on a door, Huck comes out and meets each set of characters from the other cartoons on his show in some short gags. The animation is fuller on some and Mike Kazaleh tells me they were done by Phil Duncan, evidently on a freelance basis.

Here’s one gag from one of the little cartoons that ran during Yogi’s own show. It’s an old gag and pretty self-explanatory. Look at the expressions on Boo Boo. There’s weight to him. You can see he feels the pressure of turning on the water.

I want to say Ed Love drew this because Yogi’s head changes position constantly but I don’t recall him drawing Yogi with such a huge open mouth. (Note: Mark Kausler knows who it it. It’s another animation veteran. See his ID in the comment section).

The “HB” on the helmet is a nice touch. I think kids enjoyed spotting those inside jokes.

Here’s an example of the power of Yogi and Huck as salesmen. It’s from Sponsor magazine of August 14, 1961. Their half-hour shows were self-contained with Kellogg’s spots embedded in them, but stations could sell adjacencies. This one did. And the ad is selling potential clients on the idea of selling adjacencies. You can click on it to read the text better.

Finally, these are these two items I spotted on eBay that are said to have come from Bill Hanna’s personal collection and are purported to be pre-1970s. It’s Yogi and his sugary-sweet-looking kids. Gene Hazelton’s work? If anyone knows something about these, please leave a comment.


  1. I think what made the Huck episodes a little fresher -- the fact that he had no sidekick or designated opponent -- also served to make Yogi more popular. Myron Waldman, when talking about the success of his Casper cartoons, said "Kids crave repetition", and that's what Foster was able to give them with the Yogi-vs.-Ranger story lines.

    There was still enough variation in the stories to keep the series from falling into the complete formula rut by the time the series ceased production in 1962, and the personalizes here were stronger than what Hanna-Barbera would do in their late efforts. But by the end of the run (and with the very similar Hokey Wolf/Ding-A-Ling/Farmer story lines replacing Yogi on Huck's show) you could see what the plan was -- create new series where the parts of Yogi, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith would simply be replaced by slightly different characters in slightly different settings, but with far less comic impact from the by-then paint-by-numbers stories, less appealing designs and stiffened up animation.

  2. That's not two paintings of Yogi and his kids -- it's the front and back of the same cel...

  3. Hi Yowp,
    That's Don Williams' animation of Yogi with the H-B fire hat.

  4. Pigs can't fly, but roosters certainly can.

  5. 4/29/15 Wrote:
    That WLAC/CBS TV station advertisement was really groovy for 1963-styled designing. By any chance was Screen Gems TV influenced by WLAC's " twirling yo-yo strings" to create their "dancing sticks" logo that August-September of that year? With the circles moving and pacing about attached to yo-yo strings (and children's hands at the very top, it seems),it does look very familiar.

  6. There's another Kellogg's ad which involves the adorable Yogi Bear.
    It's a Kellogg's institutional ad from the early 60s, which I found in the Daws Butler's official site (, which's located in the following link:
    Enjoy to see this material.