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STUDIO: Warner Bros.
RUNNING TIME: 792 Minutes
• Time Capsule Yogi – Restored pilot with original breaks and bumpers
• Cartoon Tracks: The Art of Hanna Barbera Sound
• Stills Gallery Tour with Yogi
• Yogi Gets Global – A Yogi episode in multiple languages
Chances are good that you have seen a cartoon produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in your lifetime. The chances are better still, if you grew up on Saturday morning or afternoon syndicated cartoons, that a Hanna-Barbera cartoon is among your very favorite TV shows. Beginning in 1957 with The Ruff and Reddy Show, Hanna-Barbera Productions started a new trend by producing animated programs specifically for a television audience. Through the next three decades, the studio had a string of hit shows, including The Flintstones, The Jetsons and Scooby Doo, Where Are You? in the 60’s; Josie and the Pussycats and Superfriends in the 70’s; Smurfs and The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie-Rich Show in the 80’s; and Dexter’s Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls (under the new Cartoon Network Studios name) in the 90’s.
"I’m sorry, I don’t know anyone named Sol. I’m a filthy WHAT?"
Their first highly-successful show, The Huckleberry Hound Show, premiered on prime-time TV in 1958. The show’s format presented a trio of unconnected cartoon shorts starring Huckleberry Hound, Pixie and
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The Yogi Bear Show followed the format of its parent program by offering three short cartoons. Yogi’s segments are by far the best of the bunch, followed by shorts starring Snagglepuss (a hammy mountain lion) and Yakky Doodle (a duckling with chronic laryngitis). Yogi lives in scenic
Translation: "Press skip button now."
For the most part the cartoon maintains that formula in every episode, but somehow it never gets old. The excellent voice work of Daws Butler (who also performed as Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Elroy Jetson and Cap’n Crunch, among other well-known animated characters) as Yogi has a lot to do with that. His unique inflections give Yogi an endearing quality that has rarely been matched by any cartoon character. Yogi’s boisterous nature is infectious, and we choose to go along with his petty thievery because he appears to have so much fun pulling off his capers. Plus, we all know that Yogi is no dummy (in fact he’s “smarter than the average bear!”). If you had a choice between leaves and berries for your daily meals or a basket full of delicious picnic foods, which would you choose?
The second part of The Yogi Bear Show stars a pink mountain lion named Snagglepuss. Snagglepuss wants more than anything to accomplish something more fulfilling than living like a common beast in the jungle. He’s a verbose amateur thespian (and possibly TV’s first gay cartoon character, for those who find relevance in such labels) who likes to riff on his self-perceived greatness and a few lines of Shakespeare. In each episode, Snagglepuss finds himself wrapped up in one tricky debacle or another that he must inevitably wriggle his way out of. His chief nemesis in many of the episodes is Major Minor, a big game hunter who wants desperately to add Snagglepuss to his collection. The Major is not a very good shot, however, and Snagglepuss usually escapes. Other episodes find Snagglepuss trying to join King Arthur’s round table, caught between a couple of feuding hillbillies and having his home invaded by some gangsters. Snagglepuss’ uses his trademark expression “Exit, stage left!” just before fleeing a threatening situation.
"See Boo Boo, other species shit in the woods too."
Snagglepuss’ voice (also the work of Daws Butler) is akin to that of the Cowardly Lion from The Wizard of Oz, but any association with that famous fraidy cat ends there. Snagglepuss does run away from danger most of the time, but his flights are more about the instinct for self-preservation than shear cowardice. While not as entertaining as Yogi and way more talkative than the average cartoon lion should be, Snagglepuss is a decent addition to Yogi’s show.
I wish I could say the same about the third featured character of the show, Yakky Doodle. In fact, I wish I could say something good about the poor little quacker, but I’m having trouble coming up with a compliment. Yakky Doodle is a homeless baby duck wandering the big, bad world all by his lonesome. When he’s left behind by the older ducks during the annual migration season (you have to wonder if this abandonment is intentional), Yakky meets up with a no-nonsense brute of a dog named Chopper. The two become fast friends, which means that Chopper will forever be tethered to the needy little pond paddler and must protect him from various predators and hunters. One such predator is Fibber Fox, a sneaky opportunist that would like nothing better than to make a meal out of little Yakky. Every time he gets close, Chopper puts the beat-down on him.
"When I talked about wanting to choke the lion, I was speaking literally."
This routine was played out in several of the Tom and Jerry cartoons, so we aren’t exactly dealing with a fresh concept here. All logic goes out the window when hunters try to shoot little Yakky for sport. What self-respecting hunter would want a duck of Yakky’s small size as a trophy? I’m sorry, but the Yakky Doodle character is tragically lame. He’s friends with a dog because none of the wild animals of the forest want anything to do with him. His voice is grating, his stories are not engaging, and his position as a featured character on an otherwise fun and entertaining show alongside two genuinely interesting cartoon stars is a bit of a shame.
That said, you still get hours and hours of great classic cartoons with the Yogi and Snagglepuss shorts. If you have already purchased The Huckleberry Hound Show Vol. 1 set (if not, buy it from Amazon here) and you enjoy Yogi Bear’s adventures in that collection, you might as well get this one as well so you can own all of the classic Yogi cartoons.
7.5 out of 10
"Try harder guys. I want to see that Aflac duck blown apart by noon."
The restoration job this collection received is quite good, despite the presence of some residual nicks and scratches. I imagine this is as good as these cartoons have looked since their original air dates. Colors are lively but not over-saturated. Most of the vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoons had that slightly faded look to them anyway. It’s important to maintain sharp, focused edges in the 2-D animation world, and this collection pulls that off nicely as well.
7.0 out of 10
Yogi invented yoga.
Because Hanna-Barbera produced cartoons with a limited budget, they often employed creative sound editing techniques to give the illusion of more robust animation sequences. You may not have noticed that a lot of the complicated action, such as crashes and falls, take place off screen. That’s because they added plenty of audio cues to let you imagine the action you don’t actually see. Part of the fun of the show is its unique array of sound effects. We only get a Dolby Digital Mono soundtrack, but the sound quality is surprisingly rich for a television show that’s over 40 years old.
7.5 out of 10
"It was a struggle, but I bested that filthy Pig Pen. Put my foot in his
Each of the four discs (two single-sided and two double-sided) contains a single special feature. Time Capsule Yogi presents the original pilot with all of the musical intros and Kellogg’s Cereal (the sponsor of the show) commercials added back in to let viewers relive exactly how the show aired in its initial run. Cartoon Tracks: The Art of Hanna-Barbera Sound is a look at how sound editors at Hanna-Barbera Productions created all of those wacky sound effects that made the shows so exciting. This feature includes interviews with some of the original editors as well as quick demonstrations of their hands-on audio techniques. Stills Gallery Tour With Yogi presents rare storyboards and sketches from the show with a voiceover from television writer Mark Evanier. This extra provides a bit of historical background of Hanna-Barbera Productions as well as that of Yogi Bear’s rise as a cartoon star. Finally, Yogi Gets Global discusses how the show was translated for foreign audiences due to its worldwide success. Bits of a single episode are presented in several languages to illustrate this. It’s hard to believe that more features couldn’t have been compiled to enhance this classic series, but the extras we get aren’t bad at all.
7.0 out of 10
"Now choke yourself. Not with a picnic basket, you grabastic piece of
As with the other recent Hanna-Barbera DVD Collections, this set includes an attractive black plastic sleeve over a tri-fold digipak. The digipak has some beautiful full-color artwork on the outer panels as well as monochrome snapshots of the show behind the clear disc holders. I’m always a little disappointed with dual-sided DVDs (discs 3 and 4 of this set) because I worry about handling the doubly delicate discs, but their inclusion is understandable with a collection of this size. I do appreciate how compact DVD packaging has become over the years. After all, the average obsessive collector deals constantly with storage limitations.