Yogi Bear remains one of the most successful and enduring characters to have been created by Hanna-Barbera. He began as a backing segment on The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958. By 1961 he was headlining his own series, The Yogi Bear Show, with supporting segments Snagglepuss and Yakky Doodle.
Yogi lived in Jellystone National Park, and his antics made park rangers question their career choice. For his part, Yogi suffered mainly from boredom, hunger and hunters. He spent much of his time conning campers out of their “pic-a-nic” baskets or snatching unguarded goodies. He sometimes had to contend with hunters who were either after him or other woodland creatures, whom he tried to protect. When faced with opposition Yogi often proclaimed himself to be “smarter than the av-er-age bear”, although in general his boast turned out to be overly optimistic. On occasion Yogi even attempted to escape the confines of the park and the repetition of his daily routine, only to find that life inside the park was comparatively soft and easy to the unprotected habitat outside its boundaries.
Of the park rangers who were faced with a never-ending struggle to curb Yogi’s shenanigans and uphold park policy, Yogi’s chief nemesis Ranger Smith became the only ranger throughout the series to be developed as a character. Yogi’s ally and frequent companion was a small, bow tie wearing bear named Boo Boo. Where Yogi was rash, Boo Boo was the voice of reason, attempting to curb Yogi’s impulsive habits.
Yogi was too big a star to let fall into obscurity once his own series ran its course, so for several decades he served as the front man for numerous Hanna-Barbera cartoons that brought together large casts of characters who formerly had their own series. In addition to numerous specials, Yogi starred in Yogi’s Gang (1973), Yogi’s Space Race (1978) and its spin-off series Galaxy Goof-Ups (also 1978), Yogi’s Treasure Hunt (1985), The New Yogi Bear Show (1988) and Yo Yogi! (1991). He was also team leader of the Yogi Yahooeys in the 1977 series, Scooby’s All Star Laff-A-Lympics.