Saturday, 4 May 2019

Hey There

Yogi Bear provides a great example of the power of press kits.

Movie studios sent (at least they did at one time) news releases, publicity photos and other paraphernalia to help get free newspaper ink for their latest feature. 1964’s Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear was no exception. A peek through number of archives shows an unbylined “story” about the cartoon film soon to arrive on screens. Paragraphs are identical, showing some papers simply took the Columbia handout and put it in type, while others did a bit of a re-write, perhaps to fit space.

This version was found in the Messenger-Inquirer of Owensboro, Kentucky on July 19, 1964.

'Hey There, It's Yogi Bear'
Is Cartoon Character's 1st Movie

Yogi Bear, that brashly unconventional cartoon character who is the delight of vistors to Jellystone National Park—when, that is, he isn't stealing baskets—makes his motion picture debut on Thursday at the Malco Theatre in the Hanna-Barbera production, "Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!" A Columbia Pictures release in color, the full-length cartoon feature also stars Yogi's Jellystone Park friends— Cindy, the demure little lady bear; Boo Boo and Ranger Smith.
Supplementing the comic romantic antics of television's favorite cartoon hero in his first full-length picture are six sparkling new songs written by Ray Gilbert and Doug Goodwin. They are the title song, "Ven-e, Ven-o Ven-a," "Like I Like You," "Wet Your Whistle," "St. Louie" and "Ash Can Parade." The music score is by Marty Paich.
Yogi's troubles begin with the advent of spring, when he decides to challenge Ranger Smith's "No Feeding the Bears" signs. Either the signs must go, or Yogi will go. Ranger Smith arranges to send him to the San Diego Zoo.
At the final hour, Yogi changes places with another bear and determines to remain incognito in Jellystone National Park. He will be "The Brown Phantom," raiding picnic areas forever, to the continuing consternation of Ranger Smith. Unfortunately, Cindy Bear doesn't know about Yogi's plans; she arranges to follow him out of the park. Lovesick, Yogi must now find Cindy; his sidekick Boo Boo helps. Ultimately, they do catch up to the lady bear, now with the Chizzling Brothers circus. Yogi's efforts to rescue her lead to his own capture.
"Hey There, It's Yogi Bear" reportedly gives Yogi the kind of role he likes. As he puts it, "It's a great part, with lots of heart. I play myself—brave, darling and smart!"
Joseph Barbera, Warren Foster and William Hanna penned screenplay for "Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!" Hanna and Barbera directed and produced the cartoon comedy. Daws Butler is the voice of Yogi Bear and Don Messick co-stars as the voices of Boo Boo and Ranger Smith.
Naturally, there were all kinds of tie-ins. Perhaps the nicest one was a 45 that Kellogg’s sent fans. Want to hear it? You can thank our friend Mark Christiansen, a fine artist and a fan of the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

In case you havent read it, Greg Ehrbar went into great detail about the Hey There soundtrack in this post on Cartoon Research some time ago.

Now you just knew that we’d have other old Yogi merchandise to show you. None of this is related to the movie, but comes from around the time Yogi got his own series.

Whitman made a punch-out book of the Huckleberry Hound show characters (Yowp included, I hasten to add). They did one for the Yogi Bear show, too. Hokey Wolf got included because, well, they had to put him somewhere. You can see the pre-“Hey There” design of Cindy was used.

During the ‘60s Transogram had a number of Yogi Bear toys and games it licensed from Hanna-Barbera. There was a ball toss, a ring toss, a Go Fly a Kite board game, and this Pencil-by-Number set.

There was a Yogi bubble pipe from Transogram in 1963.

Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear wasn’t a huge success when it came out in 1964 or in its re-release in 1986. But it seems to have attracted more than kids, according to this story in Variety, September 2, 1964:
Color Them Adult
Californians are different.
This became apparent to members of Columbia's home-office publicity people when they recently reviewed the entries submitted in a nation-wide cartoon coloring contest held in connection with "Hey There, It's Yogi Bear."
Approximately 5,000 entries were received and most, understandably, were from tots. However, among those sent in from California were more than a handful from people who, one might assume, should have other things on their minds. The winning entry was submitted by a gent of 77. Other contestants included a housewife, age 44; a man of 29, and another guy, age 19.
Latter included a statement on the back of his entry attesting to the fact that "I drew this picture myself."
This shows you that Hanna-Barbera cartoons (at least the early ones) are for everyone.


  1. Do you know how it did at the box-office compared to The Man Called Flintstone movie? Which was more successful?

    1. I haven't any idea. Variety only issued takes for individual cities and, even then, not for a full run.

  2. Would have been nice if they had done the movie with the more grouchy Season 1 Yogi, as opposed to the happy-go-lucky one that had evolved by the time he got his own show.

    1. Hans Christian Brando5 May 2019 at 08:29

      The animation and artwork would have been better too.

  3. Cindy's voice on the record doesn't sound like Julie Bennett. It sounds like Gerry Johnson or possibly Janet Waldo.

    Leave us not forget that on this very blog a few years back were posted a series of comic strips telling the story of Yogi Bear's trip to Hollywood to film "Hey There It's Yogi Bear." When separated out and read together, though each one builds up to its own gag, they form one long narrative. It was quite a promotion.

    Personally, I like the happy-go-lucky bear that Yogi became. I also like the character re-designs of Ranger Smith and Cindy Bear--though I am also at the same time a devoted fan of their original appearance, which was perfectly suitable for the short cartoons. Any time characters are developed for more than a brief run, they generally have to get mellowed out a bit to sustain audience appeal. Not only Yogi was made less curmudgeonly, but the same thing has happened over the years to Mr. Magoo, Scrooge McDuck, Fred Flintstone, Fred Mertz, Lou Grant, and Mama, to name just a few. It's the double-edged sword of maintain it, a character generally cannot remain a perpetual grouch, not to keep people tuning in week after week. There are exceptions, of course, but it's not at all unusual for a leading character to get more mainstreamed as the years go by.

    1. I like both versions..but Cindy's portrayal in the shorts wssd terrible..I agree with Yowp these, but I also agree with Yowp that Cindy was fine in the movie.

  4. The comic strip with Yogi and Boo Boo presented on this record cover was drawn by the legendary Harvey Eisenberg (the "Carl Barks from Hanna-Barbera").