I wasn’t expecting Yogi Bear to offer some of the most astute holiday observations from an animated Christmas special outside of Charlie Brown. But that’s the case with Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper. Although the “comedy” is somewhat suspect, the heart this 20-minute special packs was pleasantly surprising.
It’s the holiday season and Yogi’s friends have come to pay him a visit at Jellystone Park. While the surprise gesture was nice, Yogi and Boo Boo had one of their own. They’ve foregone their winter hibernation and headed off to the city to visit their friends. The mix-up provides a backdrop for the bears to explore the city and get into some mischief. Yogi comes across a girl named Judy who has runaway from her workaholic father, who isn’t around to give her any attention. This is a surprisingly serious turn of events that is dealt with as such. This plot line is more dramatic than comedic, offering some astute observations brought to the level a child would understand and a parent could reflect upon.
Originally airing in 1982, Christmas Caper brings together several of Hanna-Barbera’s beloved characters. Although headlined by Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, there’s also appearances by the likes of Huckleberry Hound, Snagglepuss, Fred Flintstone and several others. Ultimately, they’re not very integral to the story, but I imagine it was a major selling point. Yogi Bear certainly is an iconic cartoon character, but he’s in the second tier, well below the likes of Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse and even the prehistoric guest star from this special. By bringing in a bunch of characters, it makes the special feel more special. Not to mention a further selling point. The problem is, outside of Yogi and Boo Boo, none of the other guest stars are needed for the story. They just clutter to an already short program.
Successful in being deeper than one would expect, Christmas Caper still has some uneven moments. It takes a long time to get to the heart of the story, leaving very little to explore the implications. Yes, it’s a children’s holiday Christmas special, but the issue of neglect is raised. Why not look into it a little more than having a quick light bulb revelation that brings on a resolution.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper. Despite a lot that’s more nostalgia-driven than quality writing, it’s the heart that makes this holiday special standout from the vast majority of the endless stream that’s out there.
Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper DVD Review
Hopefully, if you pick up Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper, you’re getting it for the show and not super technical specs. Although watchable, the show shows lots of signs of aging, with small blotches and scratches consistent throughout. They’re not too distracting but it’s no better than you’d expect to see on a television repeat. Audio is available in both English and Spanish mono. Other than a couple of trailers, the only bonus feature is an episode from The Yogi Bear Show: “Yogi’s Birthday Party.”
Yogi Bear’s All-Star Comedy Christmas Caper Gallery