Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The Lost Ranger Smith Cartoon

We did a storyboard for another half hour Ranger Smith cartoon called "Ranger's Retreat" which was about just that.
Ranger Smith's nerves are shot and the Jellystone Park Doctor tells him he needs to get away from the bears for awhile: "Go on a retreat, get back to nature with all the other Rangers who have also lost their minds."
Smith goes to the retreat - which is like a real-life TV executive retreat - where everyone gets back to nature. They bury themselves up to their necks in compost, beat Indian drums, have sensitivity classes and learn to get in touch with their inner women.

It's a beautiful allegory of the relationship between creatives and authority. The Rangers take lessons in how to deal with the beasts (who represent the cartoonists). They learn the art of patronizing, attempt to speak in the vulgar language of the beasts and find ways to trick them into doing what they want. - None of this has anything to do with what the animals would do if they followed their own God-given natural instincts. Man is the rightful meddler.

I think the story works well for these HB characters, because that's what the whole Yogi Bear series was about. Ranger Smith was always Man butting his nose into the wilderness and making its legitimate occupants obey unnatural laws. This basic conflict made the whole concept of the Yogi Bear show funny to me and your average Joes because we can all identify with the situation.

These drawings were my first scribbles of Ranger Smith and the other rangers in their back to nature outfits. They're real crappy 'cause that's how I draw when I'm thinking up stupid ideas. Fast and ugly.

Vincent Waller did the storyboard. Here is a sneak peek...