Yogi Bear Show, The: The Complete Series (DVD)
He's smarter than the average bear! From his home in Jellystone Park, Yogi Bear dreams of nothing more in life than to outwit as many unsuspecting tourists as he can and grab their prized picnic baskets ... all while staying one step ahead of the ever-exasperated Ranger Smith. Yogi's little buddy, Boo Boo, tries to keep Yogi out of trouble, but rarely succeeds. But that's okay, because not even Ranger Smith can stay mad for long at the lovable, irresistible Yogi Bear.
Yogi Bear began as a secondary character on The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958), but he proved so popular, he was given his own series in 1961. A conniver and a schemer, Yogi frequently proclaimed he was "smarter than the average bear." His gentle pal Boo Boo always pointed out that Ranger Smith wasn't going to like his latest plot to steal "picanic" baskets from visitors to Jellystone Park, but that never stopped Yogi. The Yogi Bear Show also featured Snagglepuss, a bright pink lion whose, "Exit, stage left" became a catch phrase among kids, and Yakky Doodle, a self-consciously cute little duck. More than one critic noted that Yogi sounded a lot like Art Carney's Ed Norton character on The Honeymooners, just as Snagglepuss's voice bore more than a passing resemblance to Bert Lahr's Cowardly Lion. But the sound-alike formula proved popular, and Hanna-Barbera used it many times.
The Yogi Bear Show: The Complete Series includes all 32 cartoons featuring each of the starring characters. The show's finale was a birthday party special with appearances by Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, and other visitors from various Hanna-Barbera programs. Only a few extras are included in the set; the most fun is "Time Capsule Yogi," which offers the theme song, interstitial gags, and commercials. The Yogi Bear Show may not have been great animation, but it was an essential part of growing up in '60s America, and this set is sure to delight baby boomers who watched it as kids. (Unrated, suitable for ages 6 and older: cartoon violence, occasional ethnic stereotypes) --Charles Solomon