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STUDIO: Warner Home Video
RUNNING TIME: 89 minutes
The delusional fantasies of Timothy Treadwell… without the tragically ironic finale.
Smarter than the Average Humans
Voices: Daws Butler, Don Messick, Mel Blanc
Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
A hungry Yogi schemes to fill his bruin belly. A horny Cindy schemes to trap herself a bruin beau. A hapless Ranger schemes to keep bothersome bears out of Jellystone Park. What follows is the first theatrical feature produced by Hanna-Barbera and a musical road movie somewhere on the map between Hope/Crosby and Sesame Street’s Follow That Bird. Harold Perrineau is eaten another day.
“… and that’s why for the longest time we called him ‘Statutory’ Grape Ape. Now let me tell you how Quickdraw McGraw and Snagglepuss REALLY got their names…”
During my luck-induced internship at Hanna-Barbera in the summer of ’93, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting both Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera … two Old-Hollywood cartoon moguls welcoming a fresh-face doodler into their world with grandfatherly wisdom, humor, and enthusiasm. Their legacy won’t be one of technical marvel or artistry like Disney, or of Oscar-worthy emotional storytelling like Pixar, but one of lightheartedness and beloved characters. It’s hard for me to review their product in an objective way, due to not only nostalgia, but the influence their properties have had on my career trajectory and personal art.
“Well THAT explains the ‘Hitler is My Co-Pilot’ bumper sticker!”
The studio’s move from theatrical short to television was an economic one (MGM shut down their animation division in 1957). There’s no denying that this shift in format (and increase in productivity) had affected the quality of their cartoons (animation frame-count in particular), but there’s also no denying how much of an impact their creations have had on children’s television and pop-culture in general. Through simple pleasing designs, terrific voice actors, and charming gags (and with a pinch of reliable formula), Scooby-Doo, Fred Flintstone, Johnny Quest, Tom & Jerry, Yogi Bear, and many others are still recognizable through decades of disposable kid entertainment.
The Manitou strikes again!
If you have no affection for Hanna-Barbera’s output or you’re not a fan of boob-tube fodder that distracted the Baby-Boom generation, this review probably won’t interest you. If you’re looking for a tear-down, you’ll be disappointed. But I’m always happy to revisit one of these light properties and share them with my less-discriminate daughter while we play and draw and chill. DVDs have been perfect for making old-school Saturday Morning fare available at any time. Let’s see how H-B’s 1st return to the big screen holds up…
“A conjugal visit with CinDEE is a bear necessiTEE! Hey hey HEEEEEY!”
Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear is essentially an extended version of the original TV segments (buy ‘em HERE). Same types of set ups and punchlines (Yogi stealin’ shit, while the supporting cast act as accessories or obstacles), with the added “benefit” (opinions may vary, here’s a taste) of songs and a wider scope. The mischievous ursine inspired by Art Carney is up to his old tricks while a mix up or 3 causes the characters to go on a cross-country adventure. Set pieces include (in addition to Jellystone) a circus, a farm, a bustling city, and every plane/train/automobile in between. Cartoon voice-over greats, Don Messick, Daws Butler, and Mel Blanc all bring their versatile vocal chords to the proceedings. Some ex-pats from the Warner Bros. studios (including Friz Freleng) lent their expertise in the animation department, further imbuing the characters with life.
At the end of his groin-grueling training in Thailand, Yogi knew he was ready to defeat Tong Po and avenge poor Boo Boo’s insulted bow-tie.
As someone who enjoys the vibrant world of Hanna-Barbera, the colors look a tad duller than what I’d expect in this format. The cover claims it’s been remastered, but doesn’t specify if that includes both audio and video. I’m going to have to assume that the original source materials are not in pristine shape. Considering the film’s over 40 years old. Armand Assante disguised as a Native American certainly wouldn’t shed a Katahdin-sized tear over this nitpick. Hey There’s never as catchy or honed as H-B’s Charlotte’s Web adaptation (released theatrically a decade later) or as exciting as the best DTV Scooby features seen in the past decade, but it’s fun, not too stressful for the younger kids, and possesses a time capsule 60s (spinning on the 50s) charm about it. .
A] “Dividing that little girl into small/medium/large portions and dunking her into our breakfast porridge WAS heavenly, but if the Ranger asks, we never saw a ‘Goldilocks’.”
B] Chasing Cindy was harmless enough, until the depraved “Animal Planet After Dark” ending made Kevin Smith’s more famous flick look like the Laff-A-Lympics.
C] “Boo Boo, buddy… Cindy and I were wondering something… Do you have a problem with scat sticking to your fur?”
The Pic-a-nic Basket
Yogi’s goofy (and great) shit-eating grin on the cover is iconic. That front image and the little Yogi and Boo Boo on the spine make me smile. No special features really. Just a few cartoon trailers on the disc and a brochure for Jellystone Park Campsites (I didn’t even know those were still around) in the amray. I really would have liked some extra H-B shorts on the disc as WB is the steward for the entire Hanna-Barbera catalog (since the Ted Turner buy out in ’96), but I was denied. Really makes me want to blast someone’s furry rump with a shotgun-lamp/lamp-shotgun. I guess I’ll finally have to pick myself up a collection of Magilla Gorilla or Hong Kong Phooey to get a bigger H-B fix.
Failing to connect with the amusement park crowd, “Mr. AssHat’s Wild Ride” was quickly turned into a frozen yogurt stand and gift shop.
Feature: 7.5 out of 10
Disc: 4.5 out of 10
Further proof of my Hanna-Barbera apologist tendencies: