… but no shirt? The answer to this will surprise you. And, the collar has actually had a profound effect not only on Yogi Bear, but on modern animation production, especially for television. I stumbled across this video made by Bob Chipman of “The Big Picture” on escapistmagazine.com that explains the whole thing, and it’s a fascinating explanation. It has to do with the technical process of making animation for television fast and cheaply enough so that it was actually possible to do it for television and make any money at it.
The Rationale Behind the Collar
That collar allowed Hanna Barberra, the animation company that made the cartoons, to produce the cartoons of Yogi and Booboo (who also sported a collar and tie) by animating just the heads as separate from the body. This saved tens of thousands of drawings for each show they did, and probably saved the studio. Now, of course, that dopey collar and tie are such an integral part of the character design that we can’t imagine Yogi without them.
Is the name of the animated bear and the name of the sports Yogi Berra figure a mere coincidence?
Yogi Berra once threatened to sue Hanna Barbera over the name of the character, claiming it defamed him. The studio responded that it was just a coincidence, and Berra backed off. Once Berra had passed on, though, the studio admitted that yes, indeed, they had named the animated bear after the animated baseball player and coach, and that the reason was that they just really loved the guy and thought of it as a tribute.
Following in the Footsteps
The new animated web series Mighty Aphrodite! uses some of the same production ideas. Using a push-button animation tool normally meant for talking-heads style corporate information or instructional videos, SCIFI.radio created a fantasy series about the Goddess Aphrodite, resorting to fully hand-animated characters only when the industrial video animation tool couldn’t handle specific shots. This allowed the episodes to be produced for pennies on the dollar compared to what they might have cost, while still resulting in fully 3d animated five minute episodes.
We think Messrs. Hanna and Barbera would have been proud.
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