|A younger Yogi not as thrilled by Cindy's advances.|
Hanna-Barbera’s final attempt at the babyfication craze was also their final attempt at a Yogi Bear series. Yo Yogi! Was Yogi Bear’s (Greg Burson) third ensemble series with him as the title character, following Yogi’s Gang and Yogi’s Space Race. It reunited him with Boo Boo (Don Messick) and Cindy (Kath Soucie) as well as frequent co-stars Huckleberry Hound (Greg Berg) and Snagglepuss (Burson). Dick Dastardly (Rob Paulsen) and Muttley (Messick) also returned as frequent series villains to plague them once again. The big difference? All the characters were younger than when audiences came to know them.
|The characters of Yo Yogi! from the show's press kit.|
Portrayed as 14-year-olds (Dastardly and Muttley a bit younger than that), the characters were all given a very 90s clothing make-over (in that most of them started wearing clothing). Yogi’s hat and tie were turned purple, and he was given matching sneakers, a green vest, and a green and yellow jacket with the sleeves rolled up. Boo Boo’s bowtie was joined by a blue and yellow ball cap, white shorts and a red and yellow long t-shirt. Cindy wore a white dress and matching boots with pink leggings and a pink jacket. Huck had a backwards orange ball cap and a blue shirt over another orange shirt with an up-turned collar. Snagglepuss had a yellow shirt, baseball jacket and jeans with rolled up cuffs with a pair of sunglasses with flip-up lenses. Dastdardly’s wardrobe closely resembled what he wore in Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines, however he was sans his trademarked mustache due to the character’s age. He did ride a bicycle that bore a resemblance to the Mean Machine he drove in Wacky Races.
|Promotional art of Jellystone Mall from the Yo Yogi! press kit.|
The action was moved from Jellystone Park to the new Jellystone Mall in Jellystone Town in the country of Jellystone (okay, that last one was a fake to keep the theme rolling). The mall was owned by other Hanna-Barbera stalwart “Diamond” Doggie Daddy (John Stephenson) and featured a lot of natural elements amongst all its stores, such as a large tree in the center of it all where Huck liked to relax. Yogi’s gang all worked there as members of the Lost and Found Detective Agency under the supervision of Officer Smith (Burson). Yogi and his gang would be involved with solving mysteries and stopping crimes in and around the mall, while also dealing with mischief caused by Dastardly and Muttley and new character Roxey Bear (Gail Matthius); a green bear who wore punk rocker attire and served as Cindy’s primary rival.
|Behind the scenes from Yogi Bear Magazine.|
Many stores were featured in the mall, and all of them either employing or owned by other Hanna-Barbera characters; many of which were still in adult form, unlike the series stars. Yogi’s favorite hangout was the Picnic Basket Food Court run by Loopy De Loop, which looked like a giant picnic basket on a blanket; Peter Potamus’ Plant palace run by Peter Potamus (Frank Welker) and So So (Messick); Crooks ‘N’ Books bookstore run by Blabber Mouse; and The Invention Dimension, a computer store run by Secret Squirrel’s (Soucie) uncle, Uncle Undercover (Burson). Other stories included Boot Borough, a shoe store, Aunt Annie’s Antique Aquarium, an antique store, Imovieplex, a movie theater, and The Broccoli Republic, a supermarket and a play on the name of The Banana Republic. A cheese cottage was also owned by Mr. Jinks (Stephenson) and was inhabited by cheese-stealing Pixie (Messick) and Dixie (Patric Zimmerman).
|Yogi, at any age, still answers to a Smith.|
Other Hanna-Barbera characters would come by the mall for guest appearances, including younger versions of Top Cat (Arte Johnson), Squiddly Diddly, Hardy Har Har (Paulsen), Wally Gator (Burson), and the still-adult Magilla Gorilla (Allan Melvin), Quick Draw McGraw (Burson) and Baba Looey (Henry Polic II). Hokey Wolf (Matt Hurwitz) served as the mayor of Jellystone Town. The unique feature of the show was that Hanna-Barbera partnered with Kellogg’s Rice Krispies to present parts of episodes in 3D. Special 3D glasses would come included with the cereal, and Yogi would spin his hat around to signal the audience when to don them.
|The back of a box of Rice Krispies.|
Yo Yogi! premiered on September 14, 1991 on NBC. It was written by Gordon Bressack, David Ehrman, Charles M. Howell IV, Earl Kress, Bob Kushell, Sindy McKay, Sean Roche and Steve Smith, with music by Jonathan Wolff. It performed as abysmally in the ratings as the last NBC Yogi series, Yogi’s Space Race. It, along with the rest of NBC’s Saturday morning cartoon offerings, were cancelled by 1992 in order for NBC to channel the success of their Saved by the Bell series into a dedicated block of teenage sitcoms called Teen NBC, as well as launch the Saturday edition of The Today Show. The series was rerun in syndication as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.
|Yo Yogi! Happy Meal bag.|
NBC released a promotional comic through Toys R Us to promote their line-up for that season. Published by Harvey Comics, NBC Saturday Morning Comics featured several short strips with their all-new shows, which included an adaptation of Yo Yogi! episode “Super Duper Snag.” Promotional tie-ins for the show featured stamps available inside boxes of Kellogg’s Honey Smacks and fruit snacks in the shape of the show’s characters. Plastic wind-up toys featuring Yogi, Huck, Cindy and Snagglepuss were available, as well as bendable figures from JusToys. Capri Sun included the characters on their packaging. In 1992, Tiger Electronics produced a handheld game while McDonald’s featured four toys in their Happy Meals: Yogi, Huck, Cindy and Boo Boo each riding a different vehicle. A VHS collection of several episodes was released, featuring a pair of 3D glasses.
|Yogi is harder than the average video game!|
Yogi’s career would be relegated to direct-to-video movies and TV specials, as well as video games, for the next decade. In 1994, there was Yogi the Easter Bear and Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights. He starred in the games Yogi’s Big Clean-Up on the Amiga, Adventures of Yogi Bear on the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Yogi Bear’s Gold Rush on Nintendo Game Boy, and Yogi Bear: Great Balloon Blast on Game Boy Color. In 1999, John Kricfalusi and his company, Spümcø, produced two specials that aired on Cartoon Network in 1999. Throughout the 90s, Yogi also appeared in various commercials and bumpers for Cartoon Network voiced by Jeff Bergman. In 2010, Warner Bros. released Yogi’s first live-action/CGI theatrical movie, Yogi Bear, starring Dan Aykroyd in the title role.