Yet always there are still those lost souls who need to experience the call through others. They have wandered too far seeking the dew from faraway flowers in shadowed glens.
Yogi Bear is a generally decent being. Smarter than the average bear, he hunts the elusive picnic basket while dodging the romantic inclinations of Cindy Bear. The Ranger does his best to keep Yogi (a yogi? A teacher?) within the confines of general bear existence without havoc ensuing to either the tourists (voyeurs?) or the picnic baskets (containers of food—life—bliss?).
Kind of a standard cartoon tension you find from Hanna Barbara outfits. Well sometimes things get turned upside down and all havoc breaks loose. That’s kind of what happens in the old early-eighties movie Yogi’s First Christmas.
After those killer bees woke me up to the vuvuzella phenomenon and dialed me in before I missed the train completely, I started getting the shakes one day. You know, patrolling the perimeters of the neutral zone for invaders from butt-town who don’t like to get down.
Hey! That’s right, wasn’t there this movie with Yogi Bear in it I actually liked? Sensor sweep is ON, Babykins. Oh yeah there it is coordinates ready to beam aboard for ducats transfer. Hey, cheap considering the civilization one is poring over.
So in a nutshell, what is that dang show about?
It’s winter at the Jellystone Ski Lodge. Yogi Bear and his compatriot Boo-Boo are fast asleep in hibernation land, so the Ranger is looking for some well-deserved (he thinks) rest. When the bears are down and out for the winter, he gets his summer vacation so to speak.
Special guest stars include various characters from other cartoons. Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Snagglepuss, and Huckleberry Hound. Besides offering a number of views on events in the movie, they also double as generic extras in every scene requiring “people”.
Their presence is to ensure that this is a memorable and fun holiday at the lodge. Who wouldn’t want to hang out with such a festive and interesting bunch? Who wouldn’t sympathize with them and their friendly outlook?
Only, the manager of the ski lodge says there’s trouble! The owner of the ski lodge, a Mrs. Throckmorton, is coming to inspect the premises and make a decision as to whether or not to close the lodge permanently. See, there have been all these strange happenings driving visitors away…
Chances are, unless the staff puts on a grand show of all grand shows the lodge is finished! Because while the Ranger is good at dealing with Yogi Bear, he is generally poor at just about everything else. The manager is really just a satellite extension of the Ranger, representing “the suits” behind administration.
But wait, there’s more!
There’s a mean old hermit who hates Christmas and all them “do-gooder city folk” ruining his solitude with their crummy good cheer. Well, this time, he’s decided he’s had enough and is going to go Nuclear Grinch on all their big behinds.
Although, he doesn’t have any elaborate plan other than ruin or destroy stuff. Which is actually kind of funny even though if he’d pulled any of it off people would have gotten hurt or killed.
Mrs. Throckmorton’s nephew is a spoiled rotten little brat who hates everyone and especially hates Christmas. He decides to make everyone pay by makin’ mischief. Oh! Who could it be pulling these pranks on us nice cartoon characters?
The little brat eventually hooks up with the hermit and they join forces to make this the worst Christmas ever. After a song where they sing about their mutual hate of Christmas and the horrible things they will do, of course.
Looks like the lodge is toast. Not only that, but the good guys are going to work their little rumps off trying to make a good impression, and when they fail will probably think it was all their fault for not trying hard enough!
Unfortunately for the bad guys, Yogi Bear hears Christmas singing and wakes up. He decides to find out what the noise—noise—noise is all about and leaves his cave. Boo-Boo has to keep an eye on him of course, and follows Yogi through the secret cave tunnel that leads RIGHT TO THE DAMN LODGE!
Okay, we are in weirdo land here folks. The Ranger finds all his powers useless during the winter. Yogi declares his intention to see what this Christmas thing is all about, and there’s not a thing Ranger can do but gnash his teeth while the manager panics. A bear on the loose is clearly much worse for the lodge’s prospects than all the vandalism and near-fatal accidents going on.
The guest stars are, of course, delighted to see their friend in a holiday special and support him fully. Yogi then proceeds to use his magic powers of effortless compassion and easy going slack to foil every damn plot by the bad guys by sheer dumb luck.
Every. Dang. Time.
Mrs. Throckmorton is immediately impressed by Yogi Bear and makes sure he is promoted each time he does something amazing. I mean, with a ski lodge with Yogi Bear protecting it from all danger and making everyone smile, who wouldn’t be impressed?
Somewhere off screen the owner must be seeing dollar signs, but from what I can tell she is just really excited that there is this awesome bear who fixes everything and is super polite and friendly while he does it.
Oh yeah and Cindy Bear gets wind of Yogi being up and decides to pursue him despite the need for her beauty sleep! Mistletoe and a music number showing Cindy at her most alluring, hoo boy.
Will Yogi manage to stay awake long enough to see Santa Claus? How will our two villains make out on Christmas Day? Will the lodge be saved instead of sold down the river for an oil refinery or strip mall? I’m pretty sure you can guess the answer to these important questions.
Watching this old show, I’m struck by how wholesome the story is. Ever since dark realism infected the popular entertainment feed trough, it’s been difficult to find any shows that dare to tell a story where things work out like gangbusters and pull it off. It all comes down to stance and technique, folks.
Yogi Bear rides the luck plane on nothing but good-hearted excitement and optimistic curiosity. This is the true spirit of adventure folks; watch a master at work. We’re all in need of this kind of energy awakening in ourselves to see and do things that have never been done.
All the other characters are driven by immediate, real world needs–responsibility of one form or another and the fear of rules not being maintained or of not doing one’s duty. The villains operate from a more selfish and dissociated form of behavior; sabotage of a system in which they feel cut off from.
Along comes Yogi Bear with his evergreen heart chakra glowing with warmth in the heart of winter. He hears the noise—noise—noise and is affected. Do we hear and are we affected?
The vuvuzellas are calling, even in the darkest night of Xmas Not.