Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Tally Ho, Carlo

One disadvantage we kids had watching the Huckleberry Hound Show in the late 1950s and early 1960s is the cartoons were in black and white. Most TV programming was not in colour at the time, so Screen Gems sent 16 mm black-and-white prints to stations to broadcast, though the show had been wisely shot in colour.

This means youngsters way-back-when didn’t get the full effect of some of the great colour work in the background artwork of the cartoons. Here’s a lovely example from the third Yogi Bear cartoon put into production, “Tally Ho-Ho-Ho” (1958). I really like the shades of yellow and green and, especially, the stylised groves of autumnal trees. This is the work of Fernando Montealegre. He, Art Lozzi and Bob Gentle handled most of the background work in the show’s first season. You can see the large foreground rock on both sides; this was a repeating background.

The animators in the cartoon are Carlo Vinci and Mike Lah. I really like Lah’s animation in this one; he gives Yogi a crazy exit scene that you’d never find in later cartoons. Because this is an early Yogi, Carlo’s animation isn’t altogether fluid (the studio evidently was on a tighter budget in the first few cartoons), but he manages to fit in some interesting poses. Here’s Yogi surprised seeing a hunter with a gun. The head stretch is typical early-HB Vinci.

Check out the trees in the background. Monty varies the colours; the trunks and branches are either brown, grey or green.

Yogi gets shot at by the hunter, played by Professor Gizmo of the Ruff and Reddy series (he’s the same design with the same voice as Gizmo). Joe Barbera and Charlie Shows cough up the old water-leaks-through-body-holes gag that Tex Avery loved at MGM. We get some neat poses, backed up by Bill Hanna’s fine timing.

More reactions from Yogi. He thinks he’s fooled the hunter until bullets whiz past him. The second drawing is held for 20 frames while the bullets go by; the third drawing is on the screen for 10 frames.

We posted some of these drawings about nine years ago when we reviewed this cartoon, but we’ll put them up again anyway. These are Mike Lah’s poses as Yogi runs in place then zips out of the scene.

One other thing should be mentioned—Yogi’s entire face is tan coloured. He was drawn that way for the first six cartoons before someone decided to limit the colour to his muzzle alone.

One of the things I like about the first-season Yogis is there was no formula. Boo Boo wasn’t in a number of cartoons. Ranger Smith hadn’t been invented yet. Jellystone wasn’t specified as Yogi’s home. This cartoon has two characters (besides a silent elk that does little in its brief appearance) and they carry the plot nicely. The Yogi formula was, looking back, the right direction for the studio but the character was stronger and richer in the Barbera-Shows-Gordon period and it’s a shame the studio decided to go in another direction, helped by good poses and attractive background artwork.


  1. It's interesting to me that Yogi's earliest cartoons feature his facial design reminiscent of the Disney/Mickey Mouse hairline for his face (which itself is simply an imitation of a human's hairline on an animal) simply because it's seemingly the only overt Disney influence on the H-B cartoons. (And of course, Felix the Cat predates Mickey, and though his design has no white around his eyes, it surely was the reason Oswald, and Mickey afterward, looked the way they did then.) The M-G-M character design was certainly the basis for H-B's, so much so that they were able to simply transplant some of the characters from one series to the other. About the only adjustment was to markedly decrease the number of characters whose cheeks overlapped their muzzle areas (Ruff, Dixie, Blab and Yakky are the only ones I can think of, offhand, though there might be others among the supporting characters), from MGM's nearly 100%, if you include the bulldog design shared by Spike and Reddy.

  2. We didn't get our first color set till...oh..maybe 1968. So, all my formidable years as a child, were watching all cartoons in black and white. Had a lot of catching up to do after we bought the set. Always thought Yogi's early facial art was interesting. " Tally Ho Ho Ho " is in the top-10 of my favorite Yogi shorts.

  3. Bill and Joe used color from the get-go with Ruff and Reddy, but there were a few made-for-TV cartoon shows in the pre-Huck era that were savvy enough to eschew black & white tonalities (Colonel Bleep, the Shull Bonsall produced Crusader Rabbit, The Boing-Boing Show, etc.). Yet the extra time and expense were for naught, as they (including R and R) were eventually phased out of syndication for their juvenile tone and primitive visuals. (Don't believe The B-B Show was ever repeated, at least in its original form).

  4. Since I was born well after the color transition, I grew up watching these cartoons in color, by that point faded really well.

  5. Yogi Bear animated by Michael Lah is soooooooo funny!