The Retro Bin: Yogi’s Gang (1973)
-Now, I know what you younger folks are thinking: about Boo-Boo’s line in the 3rd verse:
…Yeah, Boo-Boo sang “The world be so bright and gay”; keep in mind this was 1973, back when ‘gay’ still meant ‘happy’. It was meant to have shiny, happy connotations, but of course hearing that line now, and then seeing that shot of the little side-stepping dance all those male cartoon characters are shown doing afterwards, it’s unintentionally hilarious. Moving on…
The show typically ran along the same basic lines. The ship, curiously now dubbed ‘Yogi’s Ark’ and now with Yogi at the helm (it’s never stated exactly what happened to Noah Smitty, or at what point Yogi assumed command, but I’m guessing you just might find something interesting at the bottom of the Hudson River chained to a block of cement) traverses the skies and lands somewhere where they run afoul of some loony would-be supervillain who is the embodiment of some human vice, bad habit or negative trait: Captain Swashbuckle Swipe, Smokestack Smog, Lotta Litter, the Envy Brothers, Mr. Hothead, Dr. Bigot (and his henchmen Professor Haggling and Professor Bickering), the Gossipy Witch of the West, J. Wantum Vandal, the Sheik of Selfishness, Commadore Phineas P. Fibber, I.M. Sloppy, Peter D. Cheater, Mr. Waste, Hilarious P. Prankster, and the Greedy Genie (think a dime store Legion of Doom, only not nearly as awesome). Typically these goons would masquerade as allies to the gang, only for our heroes to discover their true intentions by Act 3 (Gee, who would have thought a guy called DR. BIGOT would be bad news), and we the audience would get the basic Moral of the Week pounded into our heads with a sledgehammer: Don’t litter. Don’t play pranks on people. Don’t be envious. Don’t cheat. Don’t fib. Don’t be selfish. Don’t gossip. Don’t steal. Don’t be a hothead. Don’t vandalize. Don’t be wasteful. Don’t pollute. Don’t be sloppy. And above all, don’t expect your Saturday morning cartoons to be in any way fun or entertaining. The preachy moralizing this show did made Smokey the Bear and Woodsy Owl facepalm.