Yogi Bear is one of my top 5 favorite cartoon characters. Which makes sense since the “Honeymooners” Ed Norton is one of my favorite television characters. Yogi’s roots in animated antics are simple in story and execution. He was never a complicated character, yet still became a household name throughout the 50’s and 60s. He’s made it solo, had his own movies, a comedy album with the Three Stooges, a comic book series, been rebooted a few times, he’s been in space, had his own video games, and made tons of cameos. He even has a line of successful camping resorts all around the country.
He currently has his own cartoon show, yet again, this time on HBO Max. That’s what inspired me to make these concepts. While Jellystone is entertaining, it falls into the hyperactive meme route that so many modern cartoons strive for. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing either, I’m simply presenting something different yet familiar.
With “We Bare Bears” as a major influence on the style, I decided to take Yogi (and Boo Boo) back to Jellystone Park. Both bears have an undying obsession with food. Ranger Smith (and his team of dedicated Forest Rangers) wage a slapstick war on Yogi and Boo Boo as the bear’s appetites grow. Taking the classic route of the original Yogi cartoons along with the addition of modern technology, views, and humor…The Yogi Showgi would consist of several 7 minute shorts involving Yogi and Boo Boo’s Pik-a-Nik antics as addition to solo shorts featuring Boo Boo, Ranger Smith, Cindy Bear, and several new woodland critter characters.
Visually I tried to do the opposite of what one would expect: from axing Yogi’s collar and classic hat to Boo’s bowtie. Ranger Smith is a completely different looking character, going more of a Yosemite Sam route. He would be unapologetically hardcore in this iteration as well, determined to end Yogi and Boo Boo’s mass consumption at nearly any cost…except killing (he’s a nature lover afterall). Yogi still would retain his rhyming lovable oaf persona, but Boo Boo would be a silent partner with an appetite seemingly bigger than Yogi’s. Overall, I’m proud of how these turned out. Yogi Bear has been around for over 60 years which is an enormous accomplishment for a non-Disney character. And I hope Yogi is around for another 60 more! He’s smarter than your av-er-uge bear afterall.