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Hey There It’s Yogi Bear (1964) [Warner Archive Blu-ray review]

Long before CGI animation dominated family films, Hanna-Barbera’s “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” arrived in 1964 as the first feature-length theatrical entry starring one of cartoons’ most iconic duos – Yogi and Boo Boo. Bringing the mischief-making ursine pair from Jellystone Park to the big screen proved a tall order, but the results became a seminal animated movie of its era.

Now with its Blu-ray debut from Warner Archive, this charming adventure can be reappraised for its significance in pioneering full-length cartoon features, its vibrant visuals, and enduring inter-generational appeal.

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Yogi Makes the Leap to Feature Films

Based on the hugely popular “Yogi Bear” sitcom dominating kids’ TV in the early 1960s, the prospect of a Yogi movie clearly held appeal. But replicating the show’s short-form slapstick and verbal humor at greater length posed difficulties.

Directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera rose to the challenge, expanding the small screen Yogi and Boo Boo’s misadventures to include a sprawling musical travelogue across America. While searching for a vacation replacement for low-funds Jellystone, Yogi stows away on cars, trains, planes, and more tourist spots.

The epic journey structure gave the film scope beyond garden-variety TV storylines. Animated cinema was still finding its footing, especially with small screen properties, but Yogi served as an admirable pioneer.

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Big Laughs and Even Bigger Spectacle

What “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” might lack in narrative complexity, it compensates through sheer visual invention and exuberant comedy. Yogi’s scenic misadventures burst with color and imagination, keeping his pursuit of picnic baskets lively against expansive backdrops.

Highlights include Yogi disrupting a Western ghost town, sampling big city street life, and causing a ruckus aboard a cruise ship. The character animation squeezes laughs from every scene with comic pantomime and hilarious personality quirks.

While clearly aimed at kids, the film maintains clever wit through its dialogue and Yogi’s battles of brawn against authority figures. As a seminal entry in theatrical animation, it pointed toward bigger stories beyond 6-minute shorts.

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Key Inspirations for Modern Animated Features

Indeed, “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” helped pave the way for the animation boom that followed in the 1990s and beyond. Features starring the Rugrats, Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and more small-screen favorites likely took cues from Yogi’s big screen blueprint.

The movie demonstrated how familiar characters could anchor feature length stories through travel-based quest narratives. It balanced slapstick antics with scenic spectacle across diverse setpieces. And despite a lean 75 minute runtime, Yogi’s journey felt suitably epic.

As a formative animated feature, “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” expanded perceptions of what cartoon storytelling could achieve. Though rudimentary by today’s standards, its comedic spirit endures.

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Yogi and Boo Boo Shine in Vibrant HD

Thanks to a stellar HD restoration, Warner Archive’s new Blu-ray finally gives this animated gem the slick, colorful presentation it deserves. Free of any aging damage, the image pops with forests and cities buzzing in vivid retro hues.

The crisp definition allows one to appreciate minute details like fur textures on Yogi and Boo Boo. The restoration provides a newfound appreciation for Hanna-Barbera’s dynamic layouts and background art. For a studio that phoned it in on later productions, this movie still impresses visually.

Along with sparkling picture quality, the Blu-ray adds an insightful documentary with insights from the Hanna-Barbera team on crafting Yogi’s big screen moment.

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A Nostalgic Charmer That Still Entertains

Though noticeably crude compared to modern computer animation, the hand-drawn antics of “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” retain a nostalgic charm. Yogi’s mannerisms and rapport with exasperated straight man Ranger Smith endure as comedic gold.

With endearing personalities, vibrant visuals, and globe-trotting hijinks, Yogi’s first cinematic picnic continues to satisfy family audiences. The film represents a seminal step in animation history that both entertains through its comedy and inspires via technical daring.

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Hey There It’s Yogi Bear gets a stunning Warner Archive Blu-ray

Hey There It’s Yogi Bear comes to Blu-ray for the first time with a stunning Warner Archive release. The 1080p transfer showcases in the included screenshots, highlights that stunning 1.85:1 transfer. I tried to look up to see if the film was exhibited differently in 1964. But, it appears it has always been displayed at a proper flat ratio.

The special features are the Yogi’s Birthday Party episode from The Yogi Bear Show and a trailer. The audio track is probably the best I ever heard with a clean DTS-HD 2.0 stereo track. I wasn’t sure if it was a duplicated mono mix in two channels, but it appears to be a genuine stereo mix. That’s super interesting for an animated film from the 1960s. It’s got me excited to see what they do with Gay Purr-ee.

Hey There It’s Yogi Bear is now available from the Warner Archive Collection. Purchase your own copy at MovieZyng!

Our Summary

Hey There It’s Yogi Bear (1964) [Warner Archive Blu-ray review]

Troy watches Hey There It's Yogi Bear for the first time in 20 years. Wasn't it a Columbia release at one point? Check out the Warner Archive Blu-ray review of Hey There It's Yogi Bear at AndersonVisi
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About The Author

Troy Anderson is the Owner/Editor-in-Chief of AndersonVision. He uses a crack team of unknown heroes to bring you the latest and greatest in Entertainment News.

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