ANIMATION SPIN
June 7, 2016 posted by

Yogi Bear vs. Magilla Gorilla – For President!

The 1964 cartoon campaign between one of Hanna-Barbera’s biggest TV stars and one of their newest characters inspired merchandise—and a 45 RPM Golden Record.

MagillaYogiPresident45rpm600

The Campaign Songs of Bill Hanna & Joe Barbera’s
MAGILLA GORILLA & YOGI BEAR

Golden Records FF-768 (7” 45 RPM / Mono)

Released in 1964. Executive Producer: Arthur Shimkin. Musical Direction: Jim Timmens. Running Time: 3 minutes.
Songs: “Magilla for President,” “Yogi for President” by Paul Parnes, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera.

MagillaYogiPresidentCover-600In the 1960 Presidential campaign–the same year that Alvin the Chipmunk, JFK and Richard Nixon were in the running (though not necessarily in that order)–Hanna-Barbera arranged a rather extensive Presidential campaign for Emmy-winner Huckleberry Hound (Yowp covers that campaign here.

1964 found the country in a less hopeful mood for many reasons, so perhaps for some, Magilla and Yogi’s race for the White House—as well as any whimsical Presidential race–was a lighthearted breath of fresh air. Hanna-Barbera were gathering steam as a studio in ’64 with a new “ultra modern” studio on 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. in Hollywood (the building is now an LA Fitness, but at least it still exists for those of us starry-eyed boomers who used to think of it as second only to Sleeping Beauty Castle as a Southern California photo spot.

Both characters had public approval ratings well above 70%. Yogi had become a bonafide star, headlining his own—and H-B’s first—animated theatrical feature the same year, Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear!, The new Magilla Gorilla Show–as well as The Peter Potamus Show–was part of a lucrative partnership between the studio and Ideal Toys. The future looked big and bright for Bill, Joe and their still fledgling entertainment company.

Clearly Magilla was being marketed most aggressively as a new character in need of a following, so he’s always featured first in the various Presidential merchandise items created for the promotion. The Gold Key comic book could serve as the blueprint for the entire premise: Magilla is watching a political debate on TV in Mr. Peebles store window, Peebles suggests Magilla run for President simply to get rid of him. Yogi’s also watching the TV debate in Ranger Smith’s office. Smith comes to the same conclusion as Peebles.

MagillaPresidentGroup-600

Top Cat becomes Magilla’s campaign manager. Magilla, again as the new character needing more exposure, is given a half-page illustration leading a parade of Quick Draw McGraw, Baba Looey and T.C.’s gang out of his campaign headquarters. Yogi does not get an equivalent parade scene and gets a much smaller campaign following.

Wacky hijinks follow as T.C and Magilla engage in campaign events to drum up votes. Of course, it all goes comically wrong. Yogi, off to a slower start than Magilla, is assisted by Huck as campaign manager. Yogi and Magilla pratfall their way through the rest of the comic book, culminating in a very ‘60s finale: they both race to the moon. Through it all, the candidates remain amicable towards each other and show a mutual respect despite their rivalry.

Hanna-Barbera was still a year away from having their own record company. Golden Records was their Magilla licensee, having released the Magilla Gorilla and His Pals album — with the TV voice cast and Hoyt Curtin’s music — that year. But the 45 single–presumably due to budget and time–was done with a small orchestra and Golden’s New York house singers at the time (I’m guessing Frank Milano and Abbot Lutz). The front cover art displayed the same buttons used on the other H-B presidential merchandise.

YogiBooBooPresident-600

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Magilla for President” / “Yogi for President”
Jim Timmens’ usual mellow vibraphone Golden sound is slightly different here, since this is a campaign march of a sort. There is more brass than on other Golden Records of the day. Hanna and Barbera seem to have had a hand in the lyrics, as they are both credited along with New York composer Paul Parnes (who we discussed here.


So who is your choice? Cast your vote in the comments below… and in the meantime you can don a campaign button for your favorite, courtesy of our friends at Gold Key Comics:

MagillaYogiPresidentComicBack600

15 Comments

  • I go ape for Magilla Gorilla! (No pun intended!;))

  • I remember when I bought this comic book. I had a quarter and my mom said I could spend the whole 25 cents (which didn’t happen often). It was the first time I ever bought two comic books at the same time…and I got a penny back because this was before we had a state sales tax. Don’t remember what the other comic book was though. If I had known about the record, I might have used the quarter to buy it instead.

  • I used to own this 45 rpm record and enjoyed many hours listening to these campaign songs. I still own the comic book as well as both copies of HUCKLEBERRY HOUND FOR PRESIDENT. There was also a long playing record called HUCKLEBERRY HOUND FOR PRESIDENT with campaign songs.

    I really enjoy all the nostalgia of seeing these record reports every week, Greg. You cover a wide range of material and keep everyone satisfied, myself included.

    • Thank you, Greg!

  • I was very intrigued by this campaign as a four-year-old, but my parents never bought me any of the promotional items. I think their reasoning was that I was too young to understand politics, even in cartoon form, or they may have felt that a presidential campaign was nothing to joke about–especially after the death of JFK the previous year. Whatever the reason, I didn’t get to track down these items until I was much older.

    There is one more thing you haven’t listed here–a Magilla vs. Yogi coloring book. I distinctly remember seeing the coloring book in stores. While I have yet to find an old copy at an affordable price, the front and back covers can be found online if you do a search. The coloring book cover does a reversal of the comic book cover’s scenario, with Magilla getting a one-up on Yogi, pasting his name over a poster featuring a smiling Yogi. The picture is more detailed than the comic book cover, with a full background and shadows. Like the comic book, the coloring book has campaign buttons on the back–but these are much more elaborate, closer in style to the buttons on the cover of the record.

    The comic book is the only issue of Magilla Gorilla that features crossover appearances of other Hanna-Barbera characters. Yogi and Magilla would not appear together in animated form until the early 70’s with the telefilm “Yogi’s Ark Lark” and its spinoff series “Yogi’s Gang.” Magilla on a treadmill provided the energy to keep Yogi’s Ark airborne, provided there was an adequate supply of bananas on board.

    I would be interested to know if the record was a best-seller that year. Of the two campaign songs, Yogi’s seems more coherent and straightforward. I love the way they worked Yogi’s campaign slogan into the lyrics, while of course dating the record at the same time: “Yay all the way with Yogi, Yogi Bear for ’64, and whatever our opponents may promise, we promise you more.” Not a bad campaign promise, when you think about it–but it could be extremely difficult to keep!

    Thanks for another highly entertaining post!

  • I don’t know how I missed the comic book around their campaigns; I did buy the official PETER POTIMUS comic book; I dimly remember the cover, and I remember the thicker issue, THE FLINTSTONES AT THE WORLD’S FAIR, but I somehow missed the YOGI BEAR FOR PRESIDENT/MAGILLA GORILLA FOR PRESIDENT issue. Comic book fans in Valley Stream didn’t always get all the publications around our classic cartoons, but I acquired as much as I could back then, even though I don’t have any of ’em now. I don’t know which one of ’em I’d choose now, but it is certainly refreshing that they could both work together when they had to–beats the heck out of what we have running here in 2016! And then, there’s always GUMBY, since Clokey did create a kind of mock campaign for *HIS* character one year. Hmmm, think of how many classic toon stars ran for public office. There was Popeye, Gumby, Betty Boop…but, after that, I can’t recall any other campaigns.

    • I love the Flinstones at The World’s Fair comic book!

  • ahhhhh. Just I-MAG-ine a time when those of intelligence ran for president!!

  • What kind of a choice is this? All the candidates come from the same HB bloodline! I’m writing in Minnie Mouse, because it’s her little cartoon mouse genitals that matter, not her accomplishments.

    • Fraud! The real ÖH would have trolled unions as well!

  • With a campaign promise that includes the words: “And it will all be free”, he’s clearly Yogi Sanders!!

  • I remember the comic book. The story opened with the candidates of the “Elephant Party” and the “Donkey Party” — generic HB humans — yelling at each other. Later we see them together, bemoaning the fact that somebody outside their two parties might claim the White House. To regain the kids — and their parents’ votes — they stage a parade featuring a live donkey and elephant. Yogi and Magilla literally hijack it.

    A prescient satire of the conventional parties being rendered irrelevant by showy outsiders?

  • POGO FOR PRESIDENT! I Go Pogo!

    I’m pretty sure I have my mother’s 1952 “I Go Pogo” button around the house somewhere… but I can’t find it. So I bought another one on eBay a few years ago.

    Pogo has already told us what he thinks of a “Draft Pogo for President” campaign, in one of his comic strips:

    “If nominated I will not run. If elected I will not serve. If I serve I promise I won’t enjoy it.”

    Come to think of it, what about Betty Boop? Or Grampy?

  • I’m so glad I’ve found this! I’ve been looking for years and gave up! Thanks for putting it up! My best friend and I listened to this forever. We were both 9 years old. I gave it to him for his birthday. Gerald, my friend, passed away a couple of years ago in a motorcycle accident. A year previous, I called his number I’d remembered as a kid. We hadn’t seen each other since the late 60’s. we had a great reunion. Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *