Yogi Bear. The name brings back images of a goofy bear stealing picnic baskets from visitors to Jellystone Park with his pal Boo Boo. “Smarter than the average bear,” Yogi and Boo Boo would work to outsmart Ranger Smith while filling their bellies. And though I enjoyed many of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons from the era of Yogi, it wasn’t one of those that left a lasting impression.
Yogi was never alone in the Hanna-Barbera universe. He shared adventures with Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Quick Draw McGraw, and many other characters starting in 1958 and has appeared in multiple television shows in the years that followed. The latest Yogi Bear live-action/animated film from Warner Brothers is just the latest in an attempt to revive his career.
With Yogi Bear making his way onto modern 3D movie screens a week before Christmas 2010, I had to wonder if we might see some of the older Yogi titles being re-released on DVD or Blu-ray to help spread the word. As if the folks at Warner Brothers were listening to my thoughts, they released Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Caper on DVD in early December.
In the All-Star Comedy Caper, Yogi and Boo Boo have escaped from Jellystone Park to visit their friends in the “Big City” at the same time that his friends from the “Big City” (Huckleberry Hound and so on) made a special trip to Jellystone to see them! Oops. As you might imagine, Yogi quickly finds himself in trouble. He tries hiding while posing as Santa Claus in a department store. It’s there he and Boo Boo meet Judy Jones, a little girl more than a little upset with her father who doesn’t have time for her. Of course, Yogi and Boo Boo want to help restore her faith in Christmas if they can and the trio run off together.
Judy’s dad – the millionaire businessman J. Wellington Jones – isn’t amused and starts to look for his daughter, who has obviously been kidnapped! Soon Yogi, Boo Boo, and Judy are on the run from the police as well as Ranger Smith, who has come to the city to find Yogi. When the bears offer to return Judy to her home, she doesn’t want to go home…
About this time Huckleberry Hound and the gang find Yogi and Boo Boo and offer to help find Judy’s way home. They search everywhere and run into other animated characters such as Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, Pixie and Dixie, Magilla Gorilla, Wally Gator, and Yakky Doodle. But nobody can seem to find the little girl’s house.
When the police and the Ranger finally catch up with Yogi, Boo Boo, and Judy, they are none too pleased. But Judy announces that she hadn’t been kidnapped and that she’d run away, which makes her father understand why he needs to spend time with her. Daddy springs Yogi and Boo Boo from the back of the paddy wagon and drops all charges against our heroes. And Yogi, Judy, and the gang celebrate a Christmas in the park and brighten everyone’s holiday spirit.
Really it’s a cute story that drives home that spending time with your kids during the holidays (and the rest of the year too) is important and should not be forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Also included on the DVD is the short “Yogi’s Birthday Party” in which Ranger Smith, Boo Boo, and Cindy Bear help throw Yogi a surprise birthday party. To keep him in the dark, poor Yogi thinks he’s going to have to perform some kind of act in front of a television audience and he goes out of his way to figure out what he’s good at!
Though it was fun to see Yogi and the gang, I have to admit I really enjoyed seeing Snagglepuss after all these years. His catchphrases “Exit, stage left!” and “Heavens to Murgatroyd!” have stuck with me and seemed to resonate with my daughters as well. So maybe I’ll have to see about finding some other Hanna-Barbera cartoons on DVD to fill a small void in my cartoon collection!
If you’re looking for a fun Christmas-themed special with characters that haven’t been seen on TV for a while, I’d definitely look for Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Caper on DVD. It’s short and fun and should keep younger viewers entranced for a little while!