The other day I sent my son some quotes –some very funny ones- that I had just discovered were things said by Yogi Berra, the baseball player. My son wrote back: You mean Yogi Bear, don’t you? My son is in his 50s (and that sounds horrible because it puts me 20-some years ahead of him). I wrote back and explained that, no, I did not mean Yogi Bear. He had never heard of Yogi Berra.
Then today I was at my osteopath’s and I quoted Yogi Berra again. I got the same response: “Do you mean Yogi Bear”, and yes, my osteopath is in his 50s too. This of course dates me!
Now, I do not know if Yogi Bear said cute and memorable things (I’ll have to look him up on internet, and yes he is there because when I typed in “Yogi”, internet also suggested “Bear” as the follow-up. Guessing that the Internet was another youngster in its 50s, I looked it up: the Internet is 47 years old this year).
Yogi Bear made his television debut in 1958; Yogi Berra had made his baseball debut in 1946, and by the time the cartoon character hit the screens, the baseball player was a household name. That would explain why people in my generation (born in the United States) would have heard of Yogi Berra. According to Wikipedia, Berra sued Bear (Hanna-Barbera Cartoons) for defamation, but Bear cried coincidence and Berra ended up dropping the suit. As Berra quipped afterwards: “Half the lies they tell about me aren’t true”, to which Bear would have answered: “I’m smarter than the av-er-age bear!” just so people would know who had won that argument.
Another coincidence, as long as we are on that theme (that is where we are, isn’t it?): both Yogis, Berra and Bear, lived in Parks. Berra lived in baseball parks and Bear lived in ‘Jellystone Park’. So if one day in the 60s you happened to be in the USofA and you said offhand to someone: I’m going to the park to see Yogi, you’d have no idea what image ran through the other’s head!
Just how far the Generation Gap can go was proven in September of last year when the Associated Press reported the death of Hanna-Barbera’s animated character, Yogi Bear who, they went on to comment, ‘was also a Hall-Of-Fame catcher with the Yankees’. The headline reads
NEW YORK YANKEE’S HALL OF FAME CATCHER
YOGI BEAR HAS DIED. HE WAS 90
It turns out that the report was a case of mistaken identity; everyone’s favorite pic-a-nic basket-stealing bear is alive and well. But Yankee catcher Yogi Berra, whose name allegedly inspired Yogi Bear (though Hanna-Barbera denied it), has indeed died.
Yogi Berra once said: “If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else”, and I guess he knew what he was talking about because today everyone thinks he still lives in Jellystone Park and he didn’t even know he was playing there.
Berra won three American League Most Valuable Player awards and appeared in fourteen World Series as a player and another five as a manager or a coach. He won thirteen championship rings and holds several Series records. Berra met with numerous roadblocks on his journey to fame, but he overcame them with grit and dedication and went on to become one of the more beloved figures in American sports history. (Society for American Baseball Research) http://sabr.org/bioproj/person/a4d43fa1