Yogi Bear was a relatively unknown bit-character in an animated TV show when he got his first big break as the face (literally) of a classic skill game for children.
Released in 1960 from Transogram, the Yogi Bear Ball Toss challenged players to score points by tossing balls in the friendly grizzly bear’s mouth. Made of vacuum-formed plastic, the Yogi-ified target stood almost 20-inches tall and could be mounted on a wall or propped up on a chair.
Standing approximately six-feet away for the target, players unleashed their skills. A built-in scoring mechanism, the Score-A-Matic, kept a cumulative points tally as each plastic ball dropped in Yogi’s mouth. A hole in the base served as a rudimentary ball return. Once each player had a chance to throw all of the balls, the player with the highest score was declared the winner.
The popularity of Yogi Bear Ball Toss led to the Transogram’s release of several other versions of the game, including Meatball, the Hungry Lion Ball Toss, and Walt Disney’s Ludwig Von Drake Ball Toss. These later releases maintained the Score-A-Matic dial and automatic ball return while upping the ante by having part of each character move to reward each successful toss.
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