|One of the most popular and enduring cartoon characters of all time, Yogi Bear began as a supporting segment on the Huckleberry Hound Show in the late 50’s. Yogi soon emerged as a star in his own right, quickly spinning off to his own syndicated series, which began in 1961 and continued, in different incarnations, into the 90’s.
Yogi’s daily life consisted of searching for food in his government-protected habitat, Jellystone Park. But unlike most bears (or perhaps a little earlier than most bears), Yogi preferred sandwiches and chocolate cake over fish and berries. Yogi, being what he called “smarter than the average bear,” eschewed normal bear-type hunting techniques, such as swatting at fish, in favor of hunting for pre-made food that was found in a "pic-a-nic” basket.
Always at his side was the diminutive Boo Boo, who constantly pointed out the evil of Yogi's basket-stealing ways.
Also in disapproval was Jellystone's Ranger Smith, who already had his hands full watching out for forest fires, but still had to keep close tabs on Yogi.
Yogi had a girlfriend, Cindy Bear (no relation to Yogi), whom he started "seeing" in the second season, though they never ended up getting serious.
The show also featured segments of Snagglepuss, a pink lion who was a frustrated actor (signature line: "Exit...stage left..."), and Yakky Doodle, a small, excitable duck, who was only slightly easier to understand than his more famous relative in the sailor suit.
Over a decade later, ABC revived Yogi and made him the captain of a flying ark in Yogi’s Gang, the pilot of which premiered on The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie. 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.
A few short years later, NBC launched Yogi and pals into space with Yogi’s Space Race, a variation on Scooby Doo’s Laff-A-Lympics. The 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 80’s, 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 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 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 a shopping mall. The only thing missing was Ranger Smith as mall security. This version lasted less than a year.