Saturday, 19 January 2019

Rhymes of Bear Are Everywhere

Charlie Shows wrote the dialogue for the first season Yogi Bear was on the air (1958-59) and drove me nuts. He’d come up with rhyming couplets at the ends of Yogi’s sentences, things like “Looks like I’ve got you over a barrel, Darrell!” These struck me, even as a kid, as being really forced because in the aforementioned example, the character being referred to wasn’t named Darrell. Yogi was rhyming for the sake of rhyming.

(A side note: Paul Simon recorded a song in 1975 called “Fifty Ways to Leave Your Lover” which did the same thing. I’ve never liked the song, either).

However, I must have been in the minority. Teenagers at one high school in the U.S. seem to think the dialogue was great.

The high school section of the Asbury Park Press published a piece on April Fools Day 1959 interviewing students in one local town about the Huck show. They all made out with rhyming dialogue like you’d hear on the show, Moe.

The “word-type-word” (ie. “show type show”) lines aren’t something I’ve heard a lot of, but Yogi used the phrase “tourist type tourists” in one cartoon (Brainy Bear).

Huck and Yogi TV Favorites

TOMS RIVER - "It's too cool, Boo Boo!" exclaimed Dwight West, sophomore at Tom's River High School, when asked to comment on Huckleberry Hound. A large number of Toms River students faithfully watch this show every Thursday night. Without fail they are seated in front of their TV sets by 6:29 1/2 p.m.
This adult cartoon show is starting to plague Toms River High. The six characters of the show, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Boo-Boo (a confused little bear), Pixie and Dixie (the meeces, and Mr. Jinks (the cat who hates them meeces to pieces), are a part of almost everyone's conversation. When class is over one doesn't say "let's go" anymore one says "let's skidoo, Boo-Boo." or, instead of speaking of the gymnasium, everyone calls it a "gym type gym."
When asked to comment about the show, some of the replies received were as follows:
"Those meeces are way out!" said Pennie Hotaling, junior.
"I think so too, Boo-Boo," said Pat Trenery, junior.
"I love them meeces to pieces," said Dona Wheeler, junior.
"It's a show type show," said Al Lehrer, freshman.
"It's better than the average show!" said Susan Polsky, junior.
"I wouldn't miss a Yogi Bear cartoon for the moon. See you soon!" said Barbara Hall, sophomore.
"Huckleberry Hound is the coolest cartoon show yet. You bet," said Bill Norcross, junior.
"It's the best show in a long time. I'd bet you a dime," said Saul Whynman, junior.
When Warren Foster replaced Shows in 1959, he kept the idea of rhymes but there was bit of rhythm to them instead of the contrived twosomes, eg. “There’s someone new in cabin two” (heard in Bewitched Bear).

The one Shows rhyme I really like—at least I’ll give him the credit for it—is Mr. Jinks’ catchphrase “I hate meeces to pieces!” It’s a statement that makes perfect sense, and you wouldn’t expect someone like the egotistical Jinksie to know the correct term is “mice.” So, no, I’m not bashing Mr. Shows all the time. I’m not too snarly, Charlie.


  1. Daws loved Charlie Shows. He wrote for Time for Beanie oo. Bu Joe Barbera let him go, just like Ed Benedict after he designed he Flintstones. Maybe Joe did not like originality. Mike Maltese and Warren Foster were great but a lot of their HB writing is redos of earlier WB cartoons. Warren Foster turned Yogi ino formula. Shows made each cartoon unique

    1. I generally love Charlie's stuff, too..:)

  2. This article hit home for me because for the last 17 years I’ve been a teacher in Toms River. The original high school is now called High School South, since 1969 when High School North was built. One of the other students at TRHS at the time was Gia Maione, who eventually married Louis Prima. I wonder if she was caught up in the Yogi madness?

    1. Gia and Louis Prima appeared on a Hanna-Barbera record album together: The Golden Hits of Louis Prima.

    2. In 1966, they both sang on "The Golden Hits of Louis Prima," on Hanna-Barbera Records and he sang the song "Pensate Amore" in "The Man Called Flintstone" feature film.

  3. Those Larry Harmon "Bozo" cartoons Shows worked on are downright saturated with this stuff, even extending to the titles. No teens quoting them, I notice.

    1. Even the KFS Popeyes done by Harmon's studio, with Shows as writer, are infected by them (it's not that the rhymes are bad just because they're rhymes, but as noted when they're forced into the dialogue and are over-used for no logical reason).

  4. Wish I could rhyme, but mine aren't sublime.

    (I'll get my coat.)

  5. Paul Simon:
    He is still with us!

  6. What was one of Yogi's rhymes in one cartoon ? " It may look a fright...but, the price is right ". Yep, a lot of rhymes in the early days of O'l Yogi. I remember being on the radio back when " 50 ways to leave your lover " came out, Paul was referred to by air personalities across America as " Rhymin' Paul Simon ". got old on many fronts-Ha!!

  7. In some Christmas episode they did years later, I recall Yogi saying "I'm slippin' into a coma from that delicious aroma" when he wandered into the Ranger's lodge or something. I always thought that one was pretty ridiculous.