Tuesday, 30 March 2021

THE WADE 'MYSTERY' - 1, 2, 3 OR 3, 2, 1...?



HB characters copyright relevant owner

Perhaps I have a tendency to over-analyse things, but the numerical order of characters on the boxes of Wade's Yogi Bear And Friends porcelain figure series raises an interesting question in my mind.  As most of you will know, Yogi started life as part of the Huckleberry Hound Show before becoming so popular that he was given his own programme.  Early merchandise usually reflects his origins by having him accompanied by Huck and Mr. Jinks (also part of Huck's show), whereas later merchandise has him accompanied by Boo Boo and Cindy Bear.

The three Wade porcelain figures in numerical order

The Marx walking toy has Yogi and Huck together, and the Combex night-light has Yogi and Huck standing on either side of a TV screen featuring Mr. Jinks' face.  The Wade porcelain figures are Huck, Mr. Jinks, and Yogi, but the series is called Yogi Bear And Friends, not Huckleberry Hound And Friends, as the numerical order would indicate it should be called.  Might this have been the original intention, before Yogi's soaring star status made him a surer bet?  Or was it simply because Yogi's name fitted the space on the box lid better than Huckleberry Hound's?  (Neither reason is mutually exclusive of course - maybe it was both.)

The Marx Toys 'walker'

However, it could be that the numbers simply reflect a 'saving the best for last' approach, which is maybe why Yogi is listed as No. 3 instead of No. 1.  The box art certainly gives the impression that Yogi is meant to be the 'main man', so, like I said, perhaps I'm attaching too much significance to the numerical sequence in which the characters are listed.  However, I'd have thought Yogi would've been automatically accorded the No. 1 spot to better reflect his star status.

The Combex night-light

Any thoughts, Crivvies - apart from me being bonkers and getting too immersed in trivialities?  Could there have been a last minute change to the name of Wade's series because Yogi had eclipsed Huck by this time, or was it simply a case that no one was even bothering about such inconsequential matters?  Incidentally, the three figures are fairly easy to obtain on ebay (and other places), but it's rare to see them boxed and with their original white card 'inlays'*.  (Yet another 'first' for Crivens!)

Similar to the Combex night-light above, eh?

*Any occasional boxed ones you'll be lucky to see are usually missing the inlays, with the figures being wrapped in tissue paper.  Sellers often neglect to mention the inlays are missing, but some may be unaware they even existed, while others likely just don't want you to know that the boxes are incomplete.

Update: I'm so used to seeing the Screen Gems illo (above) that accompanied most Huck, Yogi, and Mr. Jinks merchandise (annuals, comic albums, etc.) that I ignored it on the top-side of the box.  Does the 'Huckleberry Hound And Friends' trade mark indicate the Wade series original name?  Perhaps not, as this panel also appeared in Yogi Bear books, but it's interesting to consider, eh?

9 comments:

Colin Jones said...

The name Yogi Bear undeniably fits on the box much better than Huckleberry Hound.

Kid said...

It's only speculation on my part, CJ, but I'd imagine Huck was in the frame for the starring role when these figures were first planned (they were issued around 1962), but then Yogi's ascension over Huck resulted in a change of plan. Knowing at what stage in the process the box art was designed would help to narrow it down.

McSCOTTY said...

I think your right and the figures and packaging were originally created when Huckleberry Hound was top dog (so to speak) and the figures were repackaged and rebranded under the Yogi heading when Yogis show was popular to use up unsold figures and to sell new ones - things like numbering were probably just ignored back the and they were released at the same time. Didn't the Huckleberry Hound weekly comic also change its title Yogi Bear weekly ? . I had forgotten my Gran used to collect Wade animal figures (well she have about a half dozen of them) - I wasn't aware Wade did things like cartoon characters.

Kid said...

I'm not 100% sure, McS, but I think the '60s Yogi Bear comic was separate from Huck's, though I can't remember whether the two were contemporaneous or not. (I'll check.) Wade have done quite a few cartoon characters, like Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, Felix the Cat, etc., plus the HB figures in this post. I've got quite a few Wade pieces now, and there's one or two I'd like to add.

Kid said...

Just checked, McS, and Yogi Bear's Own Weekly (as it was called) came out around a year after Huck's comic, the two being merged a little while down the line, with Huck (on this occasion) receiving star billing over Yogi. Both comics were by the same publisher, City Magazines.

McSCOTTY said...

I read online (think it was on the Yowp! blog) that in the US Kellogg's were looking to sponsor another cartoon show in the early 1960s and as the Huckleberry Hound cartoon had Yogi who was proving exceptionally popular they decided gave him his own show for Kellogg's and it was produced quit quickly (replacing Yogi in Hucks cartoon show with Hokey Wolf) so that MAY explain the packaging - maybe it was originally intended to feature Huck but due to advertising and the popularity of Yogi Bear they may have rebranded old stock etc. Huckleberry Hound Weekly's covers always look amazing will need to check Yogis early 60s comics.

Kid said...

Yes, I remember reading that as well somewhere, McS. I don't think Wade rebranded old stock though, I think it would be more a case of them switching to Yogi's name (if it wasn't always the plan to use it anyway) at some stage before the figures were released. I've got a couple of old Huck comics somewhere, so I'll put them on the blog at some stage.

Rip Jagger said...

I've never seen these. They are mucho nifty. Thanks.

Kid said...

They were first issued around 1962/'63, RJ, and are highly collectable. Years ago, they were considered worth around £80 each, but ebay has made them much more accessible - hence they can often be acquired for much less than that, though usually without the boxes.



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