March of Comics #253 (Lassie)
First Published in 1963
Published by K.K. Publications, Inc.
Last week I wrote about March of Comics #254, which featured a Lassie story, and today I’m discussing March of Comics #253, which is a Yogi Bear story. To recap, March of Comics was a long-running promotional comic published by K.K. Publications, Inc. (an imprint of Western Printing & Lithographing Co., the company that put out Gold Key Comics) that began in 1946. The issues were given away by various companies that purchased the right to place their logo on the cover and information about their company on the back. For this issue, a shoe store called Lazy Bones (“Good Shoes for Boys and Girls”) was the company giving away the comic.
March of Comics #254, like other issues is about 5″ by 7″ with blank inner front and inner back covers. There’s a 14-page story with two pages of puzzles (Yogi’s Wildlife Quiz and Yogi’s Pic-a-Nick Parachute).
The story is titled “The Good Old Daze” and opens with Yogi and Boo Boo playing baseball. Yogi hits a pop fly and when it lands in the bushes they hear a load BONK! followed by OWWW! They find a cave and inside is Rip Van Bear. It turns out ole Rip is more than 100 years old. He thinks its 1863 but Boo Boo tells him the real date: 1963. Laughs all around.
Boo Boo explains to Rip that when bears hibernate they’re basically in suspended animation which explains why he doesn’t feel 100 years old. He does have a long white beard. Poor Rip doesn’t know how to deal with tourists. He tries to scare them into giving him their food but they just tell him to go away. So he tries to just take it. Ranger Smith shows up, thinking Yogi is up to one of his old tricks. But once he hears the whole story, Ranger Smith realizes that Rip is who he says he is.
Rip just can’t come to grips with the new rules at Jellystone so he decides to leave. After almost being hit by a car he comes rushing back. Rip calls a meeting of the park’s wildlife and they decide to stop following the rules. No more tourists. Ranger Smith doesn’t mind, rightly realizing that things will fall apart quickly given that Yogi is involved. Soon enough, residents come crawling back to Ranger Smith complaining about the lack of mail, electricity and even tourists.
Everyone votes to reinstate the rules and Rip decides to take off. Before he leaves, he mentions that he has $10 in the bank, deposited way back when the Jellystone City National Bank opened. When he goes to withdraw the $10, with 100 years worth of interest, he has to take it out in a wheelbarrow. He buys himself a new house, trims his beard, wears a beret and buys all the latest and greatest in technology.
The artwork is quite good. I don’t know why Yogi is depicted walking in space on the cover, given that the story takes place in Jellystone. The two games aren’t quite as fun as those found in March of Comics #254. The first, Yogi’s Wildlife Quiz, has four questions about animals. An example: What has two pairs of crossed legs and a flat top? A picnic table! The second game is a set of instructions to build a “pick-a-nick” parachute by tying piece of string to a handkerchief and then tying the other end of the strings around a rock. Fold everything together, toss it in the air and enjoy.