Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Hallowe'en Bear

Did you ever dress up as your favourite cartoon character and go out on that Great October 31st Candy Grab known as Hallowe’en? It seems a lot of kids did. Some of them as Hanna-Barbera characters; the studio licensed Huck, Yogi, and others in costume form by 1960. That year, the AP’s Sid Moody reported maufacturer Ben Cooper Co. had Huck, while another company offered Alvin Chipmunk, who wasn’t even on TV yet (Charley Weaver was big in 1960, too). You can get a gander of an ad for a store in Buffalo, N.Y. that year to the right.

One could get more than a candy-triggered toothache out of the deal. For example, seventh grader JoAnn Segbers won a grand prize for dressing as Yogi Bear in the 1961 Shortsville, New York Halloween Parade. Since you want to know this, JoAnn was later president and salutatorian of Red Jacket Central School and went on to Albany State University College and pledged Chi Sigma Theta. She later became a teacher and married Sgt. David M. Lane who was stationed in Weisbaden, West Germany. See how dressing like Yogi Bear can help you along life’s road?

Artist Dave DeCaro has a blog. He’s a Disneyphile, but I won’t hold that against him because he posted an amazingly bright colour photo from 1962 of his brother wearing a brand-new Huckleberry Hound Hallowe’en costume, the one you see in the ad above. Poor Dave got his brother’s hand-me-downs. I suspect his parents, like mine, grew up in the Depression. Dig the ‘60s table lamp.

Some parents liked the home-made look. Ghost heads out of dying pillow cases were popular. But one mom or dad made Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw heads for their kids in 1963. The children are unidentified.

To switch gears, Hanna-Barbera had costumed characters all year around. Screen Gems’ promotional arm through Honest Ed Justin sent people dressed in H-B costumes to fairs, supermarket openings and so on. There was even a special stage show featuring emcee Eddie Alberian, a former Clarabelle the Clown on TV. But there were unauthorised and decidedly cheap-looking versions of the characters, too. I think I’ve posted this before but, in case I haven’t, try to appreciate that whoever came up with these eyesores had the best of intentions. The year is 1961.

There were theme park costumes, too. Kerry Cisneroz passed on these from his large collection. The first picture below is from 1965. Freddie’s looking like he tried climbing through the window of his home and was mauled by Baby Puss (which would explain why he never tried doing it in his series’ closing animation).

Next is an Associated Press photo dated May 30, 1990. It reminds me of a combination of the Yogi cartoon Space Bear, where an alien dresses as him, thinking he’s human, and Ten Little Flintstones, where aliens manufacture ten Fred robots and send them to Earth. Nobody cheaped out on these costumes. Yogi looks great.

Incidentally, if you’ve wondered what it’s like to spend your working day in a Yogi Bear costume at a theme park, reader Larry Ellis Reed would like to direct you to this post. For someone who supposedly “studied” the character, he sure needs a few lessons. Yogi Bear is not a kleptomaniac. He likes food and, though certainly not in every cartoon, filches picnic baskets. The only other time he deliberately stole anything else was in that cartoon where he and Bruno fought for the affections of Cindy Bear by giving her what she wanted—material goods. And I don’t know how he can describe the Yogi series as having “often racially insensitive episodes.” Other than Yogi’s Pest Guest with the Japanese stereotype Yo-Yo Bear, that leaves 60-plus other Yogi cartoons that don’t touch on anything to do with ethnicity.

Yogi is still More Popular Than the Average Bear, popular enough to warrant a Hallowe’en outfit for the youngsters. Here’s one I found on a costume site that takes orders on-line. Interestingly, it’s the only H-B costume it sells for kids. No Scooby, no Flintstones. And it sure is a few steps up from what costumers under Hanna-Barbera license came up with in 1960, isn’t it?

Yes, I’m sure there will be adults going to Hallowe’en parties as “sexy Wilma” or “gangsta Top Cat” or some such thing, but it’s nice to see the old characters, in their original state, still have an appeal for kids some 65-plus years after they were created by a few old hands in the animation business. Now if we could just get all the Huck and Yogi and Quick Draw and Jinks cartoons restored and on home video. Insert your own trick-or-treat line here.


  1. The cardboard Quick Draw & Huckleberry masks were Kellogg's mail-in offers. A boxtop or two and $ .25 or $ .50 were all you needed. They arrived flat and had to be constructed following the supplied instructions. There was a Yogi mask also.

  2. Hey, slap a football jersey on that Flintstone costume, and you'd have the spitting image of Rhino's quarterback Ed Huddles (Where's Huddles?). Get a buddy to sport an ascot, carry a stuffed cat, and adopt a prissy demeanor for Claude Pertwee. Confound and exasperate your fellow partygoers while you explain the genesis of these uber-obscure Hanna-Barbera characters over and over, until who? who? who? is echoing in your ears.

    Yowp and everyone, have a happy, safe and apostrophe-free Halloween.

    1. Interesting way of pointing out that Where's Huddles? (which aired on CBS as summer replacement for The Glen Campbell Good Time Hour in 1970) actually reused plots and stories from The Flintstones.

    2. Yeah, someone at the studio really liked "The Swimming Pool", didn't they? It was also worked into Wait Till Your Father Gets Home. I'm sure the only reason The Jetsons and The Roman Holidays were spared was because those families resided in apartments.

  3. wrote:
    Those heads look a lot like something my brother sent away for back then. I think it was a Kellogs cereal promotion. He got a yogi bear mask. It came as flat die cut printed heavy paper sheets you would assemble with tabs and slots into a full head mask like the ones in the photo.(probably the homemade look is due to the limitations of this construction design). My brother even created a duplicate mask by tracing and cutting out the die cut sheets on plain white heavy paper, so we had an all white yogi mask too. I was about five years old then and am surprised how much detail of those masks stay with me.