1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 4 (USA)
Holidaying families were never safe when Yogi was around – The crafty bear with the healthy appetite was always likely to talk (or trick) them out of their lunch.
For reasons that were never satisfactorily explained, Yogi (a bear, remember!) dressed in a tie and a porkpie hat while prowling around Jellystone National Park with his bear cub sidekick, Boo Boo, and trying to avoid the attention of Ranger John Smith.
Fortunately (as Yogi himself often declared) he was “smarter than the average bear”. Also seen at times was Yogi’s Southern sweetheart, Cindy Bear, who was prone to cries of “Ah do declare”.
Yogi Bear (named after New York Yankee’s catcher Yogi Berra) first appeared as a supporting segment on The Huckleberry Hound Show, although he quickly outgrew second-fiddle status.
Awarded his own series, Yogi was himself then supported by other cartoons. These featured the theatrical lion Snagglepuss (fond of thespian exclamations like “Heavens to Murgatroyd”) and a garrulous duck, Yakky Doodle, who was closely guarded by his pal Chopper (a bulldog).
The rest of the crew consisted of other Hanna-Barbera mainstays, such as Peter Potamus, Magilla Gorilla, Squiddly Diddly, Augie Doggie and Doggy Daddy. The gang encountered a rash of ill-mannered villains, such as Mr Pollution, Lotta Litter, and The Sheik of Selfishness. By the end of each episode, the gang would learn an important lesson about working together.
Space Race pitted Yogi against his old pals, Huckleberry Hound and Jabberjaw, and new friends, Nugget Nose and Buford the Bloodhound. Sadly, Boo Boo was replaced as Yogi’s sidekick by a new character named Scare Bear (voiced by ex-stooge Joe Besser), who complained just as much as his sidekick predecessor.
In the 80s, Yogi returned once again to syndication and found himself back at the helm of a fine vessel, the S.S. Jelly Roger, in Yogi’s Treasure Hunt.
However, this crew (which oddly included Ranger Smith) was pared down considerably and had a different mission, looking to find and return lost loot. Dick Dastardly and Muttley were the villains on this series, hoping to find the treasure before Yogi and company.
The last syndicated version of Yogi Bear debuted in 1988, and like the original, featured only Yogi, Boo Boo and Ranger Smith, living again in Jellystone Park. The only major change was that Greg Burson replaced Daws Butler, who had died a few years earlier, as the voice of Yogi.
In 1991, NBC debuted a new Yogi Bear in Yo Yogi!. This Yogi fancied himself a hipster in the rap tradition and hung out with Boo Boo in Jellystone Mall. The only thing missing was Ranger Smith as mall security.
This version lasted less than a year – Thank God!
Ranger John Smith