Pretty much all of the later series from Hanna Barbera included a group of snot nosed teens solving crime along with some odd sidekick. After “Scooby Doo” the company repeated the successful formula thirty times with varied results. Often times it was incredibly awful like “Jabberjaw” and sometimes it was fun like “Space Ghost.” One of the last Hanna Barbera shows to feature that awkward laugh track addition, “Captain Caveman” mixes the studios odd fixation on the stone age, with crime solving teens, and the whole “Scooby Doo” formula to create a pretty decent animated adventure show.
“Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch!” is best left for nostalgia fans and animation collectors. While it’s by no means the worst of the Hanna Barbera animated shows, it’s yet another of their derivative titles. If you think you’ve seen “Help! It’s the Hair Bear Bunch!” before then you have. It was called “Yogi Bear.”
Though the argument will be that this film is not marketed to someone like me, I think you can be of age and still think “Yogi Bear” is an assault on the senses. In fact I think it tends to border on noise pollution with a slew of stars whom are much more talented than the film would dictate. Particularly Tom Cavanaugh who looks like he has the life beaten out of him playing the toned down more Duder version of Ranger Smith.
Orbitty is a lot like the green kangaroo Hoppy from “The Flintstones.” He was around, he was on the show, but people often pretend they never existed. When people think of The Jetsons they never think of Orbitty, and when they think of Bam Bam, Hoppy is the last thing that comes to mind. If ever. Around the time the show jumped the shark by adding Orbitty, “The Jetsons” was pretty much on its way to losing its relevance and momentum that it had.
And Orbitty became the Cousin Oliver of the series. Though he wasn’t as annoying as Scrappy Doo, he was still fairly unnecessary to the show. In fact the writers only chose to acknowledge him when he had to deliver a cutesy line of dialogue, or had a rare episode revolving around him.
For unabashed fans of Hanna Barbera, “Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper” is a fun reunion of their heavyweights who band together to help a little girl find her father, and her father regain his love for his daughter. Whether it makes sense or not, this animated special is a short but sweet adventure where Yogi and Boo boo happen in to an accidental journey for good.
As an animated movie, Hanna Barbera could have done much better. “Yogi’s First Christmas” isn’t the worst animated movie I’ve ever seen but in terms of quality, it all feels like such a rushed product that was pushed in to production in time for Christmas. The line work is shaky, the coloring is bland, the character models are fuzzy and there are even a few errors that will give the keen observer a hard time.
If you go into “A Nutcracker Tale” expecting full blown Tom and Jerry mayhem involving burning hands, cut tails, and knives to the butt, then you’re going to be disappointed. We’re now at a time of sheer confusion where a cat cutting a mouse’s tail is crossing the line yet we’ll willingly allow our children to watch MTV. Censors and the FCC can never seem to make up their damn minds, anymore.
Out of all the Hanna Barbera series to stem from the sixties and seventies, I’d have to say that “Josie and the Pussycats.” Sure, it was in essence a pure “Scooby Doo” rip off, with a Shaggy character voiced by Casey Kasem, a Freddy character with an ascot, goofy animal sidekicks, and even re-using its chase music on many occasions, but it’s just so much better than “Scooby-Doo” which I’ve always considered an overrated franchise to begin with.