I have so many favorite cartoon characters it isn’t funny. I love pretty much all of the classic Looney Tunes (especially Porky and Daffy) and a wide range of Warner Bros. more recent offerings (Minerva Mink, Wakko Warner, Brain, etc…). I also like Brandon Small’s Home Movies and Metalocalypse. However, I decided to go for a character that was my favorite long before any of the others.
The one and only Yogi Bear. While I’ll be the first to say that Hanna Barbera might have destroyed animation, it has also led a Renaissance of the art form. Many of the Yogi Bear cartoons are blatantly unfunny, but for some reason I always watched them. I think it was on the off chance that I’d catch one of the dozen or so that are actually good.
While the Yogi cartoons certainly don’t hold a candle to almost any of the Looney Tunes, that doesn’t mean they are garbage. True, the animation isn’t ground breaking, but Yogi does manage to be a likable jerk and Ranger Smith makes a perfect foil. Boo Boo is just sugar for the acceptable tea that is Yogi Bear.
However, given that the “adult me” has a borderline hate for the cartoons, nothing could stand in the way of the fact that I MET YOGI BEAR. That’s right, start crying in your milk now, because I went on a hay ride with Yogi Bear. Take that, Mouseketeers.
I never went to DisneyLand/World – it was expensive. Heck, we had to pay if we wanted the Disney Channel and my mom wouldn’t have it. In my youth, Mickey Mouse and company were some far off fat cats living large in some castle that I’d never get to see. Bugs Bunny and his pals were more accessible, but they didn’t have a theme park.
What Yogi had was a campground. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park was my favorite place to go camping as a kid. My parents had a trailer, so it wasn’t the rustic affair that most folks are used to. While camping, we’d play card games and Scrabble, I’d cajole my mom and sister into playing HeroQuest, and we’d have an overall pretty family-friendly good time. No campground was as fun as Yogi Bear’s.
On several occasions, we’d camp there and go for a hay ride with Yogi and Boo Boo. One time, Yogi even kicked a bale of hay off the wagon, mischievous bear that he is. Looking back, that was a pretty good day.
And that is why, despite terrible animation and usually unfunny stories, I still love Yogi Bear. Not only is he smarter than an average bear, he’s also not a stuck-up, high-voiced snob hiding in some ivory tower. He’s a bear of the people.
Also, Boo Boo Runs Wild does a good job of making up for any unfunny Yogi cartoon I might have seen as a child.