This half-forgotten 1982 made-for-television special has been dusted off for DVD release to take advantage of both the Christmas season and the release of the 3D feature based on the Yogi Bear characters. Yet “Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper” stands well on its own terms, providing enough Hanna-Barbera nihilism that turns the holidays upside down.

Christmas arrives at Jellystone Park, but Yogi and Boo Boo have no time for hibernating. They stow away on a tour bus to the big city, where they plan to spend the holidays with their fellow free-spirits (including Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss and Quick Draw McGraw). However, the bears’ city friends arrive at Jellystone to spend the holidays there – and when Ranger Smith figures out what’s happening, there’s hell to be paid.

Yogi and Boo Boo evade capture at the big city bus depot by grabbing a loudspeaker microphone and scaring the crowds with the news of two bears on the loose. They escape to Gacy’s Department Store and disguise themselves as Santa Claus and one of his elves. In this setting, they encounter seven-year-old Judy Jones, the poor lonely daughter of a filthy rich (but emotionally distant) father. The kid and the bears wreak havoc in the store by driving a snowmobile through the aisles, and they take refuge in a park with a purloined picnic basket. Yogi’s pals eventually catch up with them, but Judy doesn’t want to leave their company – obviously, it is more fun to hang out with talking anti-social animals than a rich father.

“Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper” has the vices of classic Hanna-Barbera – crummy animation, a little too much palaver – but it also has all of the virtues – especially a joyful disregard for the basic tenets of responsible behavior. Yogi and his pals engage in lies, deceptions, violence and reckless behavior, and they never show the slightest bit of remorse for their actions. Although the obligatory happy ending is tacked on in the spirit of Christmas, there is more than enough wackiness to satisfy the inner juvenile delinquent.

The production also has self-parody fun by bringing in a wealth of Hanna-Barbera characters for cameo appearances, including a time warp traveling Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. The funniest cameo, however, belongs to the naughty mice Pixie and Dixie, who give the spastic feline Mr. Jinx a Christmas present that he truly deserves – no spoilers, though, because that violent gag needs to be seen to be believed!

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  1. Chris Sobieniak says:

    Way to be so negative Thomas (though I should be the one to talk for having a ton of Don Coyote cels in my mitts).

    This though was the early 80’s and it wasn’t until the late 80’s when H-B was going through those problems anyway, but I assume much of the 80’s had been pretty hard on them.

  2. I don’t even remember this one, but then again, by this time, Hanna-Barbara was beginning to suffer badly. They were cranking out various shows for Saturday morning, but were having a lot of trouble getting anyone interested. If memory serves, at about this time they syndicated a terrible show called “The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbara,” an umbrella title featuring cartoons animated by various foreign animation firms – none of them American or even close to H-B characters. Shows like The Midnight Patrol and Don Coyote & Sancho Panda helped pus the company into the hands of Ted Turner, and then their takeover and destruction by AOL Time Warner.

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