Monday, January 13, 2014

Character Collectible Spotlight: Yogi Bear!

Yes, my friends and readers (I hope you think of yourself as both), it's the triumphant return of "Character Collectible Spotlight," where I present photos of collectible items all pertaining to a specific character! The photos you'll see here include some you may have seen before in an installment of "Cool Stuff," as well as some that have yet to appear there. This is not intended to be an all-inclusive parade of collectibles for each character, naturally. I should also note that, unless noted, none of these photos are of items that I have in my collection, so please don't ask if they're for sale! If you're looking to buy any of these, I recommend eBay, or try looking at toy and collectible shows in your area.

One more thing before the parade: I often get asked (hoo-boy do I often get asked!) how much a particular item is worth, probably all from people who have the same item. You can look at price guides and closed eBay auctions, or ask someone who's considered an expert in that particular collectible, but the fact of the matter is, no matter what you have, it's only worth what someone else is willing to pay for it. It doesn't matter if someone wrote a price guide saying your Captain Gravy action figure near-mint on the card is worth $60, if you can't find someone willing to pay more than $20 for it, that's all it's really worth.

So, without further ado, let's look at some Yogi Bear items!

Boo Boo & the V.I.V.001
First up is this Yogi Bear book, Boo Boo and the V.I.V. It's one I've presented in "Children's Book Theater" before, and it's got very nice art in it. It's just one of many Yogi books out there.

This Yogi Bear "cartoon kit" is what we commonly refer to as Colorforms these days, as the name of the company pretty much became identified with this specific product. It's bizarre to me that they went for a photo cover showing what could almost be the View-Master Yogi puppet (from Yogi's own reels), instead of a regular cartoon picture, or even of kids playing with the toy. I think it is kind of misleading, don't you?

Corgi has made some great collectible cars with characters in them, but this is one of the odder affairs, if you ask me. I don't recall Yogi driving such a souped-up vehicle in any of his cartoons, do you?

Here's Dell Giant #41, which featured Yogi as well as his cartoon co-stars. Here's a tip for you when shopping for any Hanna-Barbera comic book: The best ones were produced by Dell, in my opinion, followed extremely closely by the short-lived Marvel line and the Gold Key comics. I don't recall seeing any DC H-B books (other than the ones featuring the superheroes) so I can't comment on those. The Charlton books, on the other hand, range in quality from pretty fun to downright ridiculous. They did a comic based on the H-B Abbott and Costello cartoon that's pretty good, but on the other hand, I have a Scooby-Doo comic in my collection that makes it clear that whoever wrote it had no idea what that show was about! The art quality can vary quite a bit, too. I'm not saying don't buy them, just be prepared for what you'll find.

This Yogi Score-a-Matic Ball Game is definitely an odd toy... Now, I could understand it more if you were throwing plastic food into Yogi's mouth, as he's always looking for food... but a ball? It's strange... and yet, I recall seeing this as a kid and wanting it (it may have belonged to friends).

Here's just one of the many Give-A-Show Projector strips featuring Yogi Bear. The art on these also varies greatly, and the earliest slides have some really bad Yogi (and other H-B character) art on them! Yogi was a regular feature in the projectors.

If you're a hardcore Yogi collector, when searching on eBay, try including "Argentina" with your search terms, and you'll be amazed at what you find. You can try other South American countries as well. The entire continent seems to be much more interested in American characters than we are, at least based on the merchandising I've seen. The pogs seen above were from Argentina.

Original art for a 1961 Boo-Boo coloring book. As you'll see below, there were multiple Boo-Boo coloring books produced:
This one was also published in 1961! I haven't come across any kind of guide to collectible coloring books, so I would recommend if you wanted to start collecting these, you'll need to start doing some research... and make sure you don't buy any without being able to see the cover as well as the copyright date. Many coloring books were reprinted, sometimes years later, with pages removed from them.

Here's a general Hanna-Barbera coloring book. The art on the Whitman books was usually done by the Dell -- and later, Gold Key -- artists, from what I've been able to tell.

Yogi was so popular on TV that Hanna-Barbera came out with this theatrical movie, which I personally haven't seen in probably 40 years!

Some Yogi toys are pretty unique... others are part of a series of similar toys. This "Magic Tracer" has been manufactured in one form or another at least since the 1940s. Some of them are marketed with a specific character, some as a generic product, but they all use the same principles.

This has to be the single most oddball Yogi product made... a smoking Yogi? Well, it seems odd in this time and day, but back in the 1960s, we must remember that on The Flintstones there were commercials with Fred and Barney smoking cigarettes, too! There were several Hanna-Barbera characters produced like this.

Here's a Yogi record from 1960. One of the bizarre things about records with the Hanna-Barbera characters is that you never knew until you played them if the original cartoon actors were being recorded, or  if it was someone doing a sometimes barely-passable impression. I've never heard this one, so I can't say which was the case here.

Here's a pair of Big Golden Books from 1961. I should mention here that collecting children's books with licensed characters can be a very interesting hobby, as well as sometimes very frustrating. Sometimes you can find these at yard sales and garage sales for a quarter, although often they aren't in great shape when you find them there. I've had the most luck finding them at antique stores and flea markets, oddly enough! It's weird, because when you find comics in these places, they tend to be overpriced, and often books that are quite common... yet, children's books can often be found cheap, in my experience. Oh, I'm sure there are exceptions to the rule (there always are). Where I've found the highest markup on these books as been at swap meet sales. There was a Huckleberry Hound book I saw at one vendor that I would've loved to have purchased, but they were asking $30 for it! I haven't paid $30 for any comic book in my collection... I don't think I've even paid that much (even including shipping) for my Give-A-Show collection items. So I had to pass on that.

Here's an early 1960s Yogi Bear camera. I never quite understood the logic behind this product... I mean, it's just a cheap plastic camera with pictures on it! Now, if it had been cunningly designed so that you could take a picture and insert the characters in it, via some changeable picture disc, that would've been fun!

This Yogi canteen had to have been produced when Charlton had the comics license, and their artists provided the art and logo.

Yogi card game!

Another 1961 coloring book, and the cover art for a different book, although I don't know when that one was published.

This 1970s Dakin figure is kind of a let-down... the body's fine, but the head looks like a cross between Yogi and Magilla Gorilla!

This felt picture kit was likely produced in the late 1960s or early 1970s, when the market for kids creative toys with characters was starting to really develop.

Puzzles are one of those collectible areas I have yet to really dive into... there's a lot of them out there, and it's difficult to find one with all the pieces that isn't cost-prohibitive to my budget!

Here's a Yogi book produced in Japan!

This Yogi license plate must've been produced around the same time Marvel had the comic license, given the "Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera" logo on it.

I've never seen one of these "Magic Movies" sets, but I'm guessing it uses the same principle as the modern books with animated pictures that move as you turn the page.

This Yogi Bear Jellystone Park playset had to have been highly desirable by kids back in the day. This was good repackaging by Marx, who produced the same Hanna-Barbera figures in their "Tinykins" line of toys, and I'm guessing all the other pieces were repurposed from other toy sets, too!

Yogi Nose Lite! Note the really bad Yogi drawing on the card.

Original art from a "Panorama" book, which I'm assuming means that pages would fold out to make a bigger scene.

Yogi Giant Playbook!

Yogi Play Fun set! These kinds of toys were made for a variety of characters, and I wish they still made them these days, because they're fun!

Yogi Punch Out book from 1959! Another item they don't make in any form these days.

Yogi puzzle, again, the art was by the Charlton people, in this case, Ray Dirgo, who drew a lot of H-B comics for Charlton, among others!

Same goes for the Yogi Soft Soap!

Yogi Slurpee cups! I wish 7-Eleven did these more.

Japanese book and record set!

Here's a bunch more Yogi books!

I'd love to find this coloring book to use one of these Decembers for Children's Book Theater!

A Yogi Yo-Yo, again with art provided from Charlton.

Yogi Bear Tinykins set from Italy!

Yogi hassock!

This Yogi lamp looks like someone made it from a Soaky!

Yogi mask!

Scribble pad!

Join me here again for the next installment, when we look at stuff featuring a different Hanna-Barbera character!

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