Monday, February 6, 2012
4314. Yogi Bear
Yogi Bear is a fictional bear who appears in animated cartoons created by Hanna-Barbera Productions. He made his debut in 1958 as a supporting character in The Huckleberry Hound Show. Yogi Bear was the first breakout character created by Hanna-Barbera, and was eventually more popular than Huckleberry Hound. In January 1961, he was given his own show, The Yogi Bear Show, sponsored by Kellogg's, which included the segments Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle. Hokey Wolf replaced his segment on The Huckleberry Hound Show. A musical animated feature film, Hey There, It's Yogi Bear!, was produced in 1964. Yogi was one of several Hanna-Barbera characters to have a collar. This allowed animators to keep his body static, redrawing only his head in each frame when he spoke. This reduced the number of drawings needed for a seven-minute cartoon from around 14,000 to around 2,000.
Like many Hanna-Barbera characters, Yogi's personality and mannerisms were based on a popular celebrity of the time. Art Carney's Ed Norton character on The Honeymooners was said to be Yogi's inspiration; his voice mannerisms broadly mimic Carney as Norton. Norton, in turn, received influence from Borscht Belt and comedians of vaudeville.
Yogi's name is commonly seen as a nod to the famed baseball star Yogi Berra. The plot of most of Yogi's cartoons centered on his antics in the fictional Jellystone Park, a takeoff on the famous Yellowstone National Park. Yogi, accompanied by his constant companion Boo-Boo Bear, would often try to steal picnic baskets from campers in the park, much to the displeasure of Park Ranger Smith. Yogi's girlfriend, Cindy Bear, sometimes appeared and usually disapproved of Yogi's antics.
The name "Jellystone Park" and the concept of a hungry bear who steals campers' food was a theme of an MGM animated short titled Barney's Hungry Cousin which had debuted in 1953.
Besides often speaking in rhyme, Yogi Bear had a number of catchphrases, including his pet name for picnic baskets ("pic-a-nic baskets") and his favorite self-promotion ("I'm smarter than the average bear!"), although he often overestimates his own cleverness. Another characteristic of Yogi was his deep and silly voice. He often greets the ranger with a cordial, "Hello, Mr. Ranger, sir!" and "Hey there, Boo Boo!" as his preferred greeting to his sidekick, Boo Boo. Yogi would also often use puns in his speech, and have a habit of pronouncing large words with a long vocal flourish.