Yogi Bear? Yogi Berra?

Did the name for the cartoon bear, Yogi Bear, come from the famous ball player, Yogi Berra? Any relation? What’s the SDope on this?

According to both Wikipedia pages, Hanna-Barbera denies naming their bear after Berra. Berra’s page says his nickname came from some friends who thought he looked like a Hindu yogi from a movie.

Hanna-Barbera may deny that the name “Yogi Bear” came from the baseball player Yogi Berra, but that sounds pretty implausible:

Anybody with a reasonable knowledge of American culture in 1958 would have recognized the name as being an obvious reference. Hanna-Barbera is just trying to avoid having to pay Yogi Berra anything.

Yeah, it’s pretty hard to swallow that they weren’t referring to Berra—Of course, I suppose if your NOT “Smarter than the average bear” then it may sound plausible…


I thought he was named after John Logie Baird. Though I don’t know why he would be.

Why would have H-B owed Berra anything? The only thing the HOF Yankee catcher and the cartoon bear share is a similar name. Yogi Bear doesn’t play baseball and, personality-wise, is more like Art Carney’s Ed Norton. Also, Yogi Bear doesn’t share Yogi Berra’s penchant for malaprops with Zen-like qualities (e.g., “Nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.”).

I don’t know the body of law that covers this, but arguably they are profiting from use of his likeness and might owe him something. And yes, the bear is named after the ballplayer. Anything else would be an absurd coincidence. Here’s a similar case: Todd MacFarlane named a character after hockey player Tony Twist (GREAT NAME, by the way), and Twist sued successfully.

I meant to link to this Wikipedia entry:

It doesn’t really make that much sense that they would try to deny that Yogi Bear was named after Yogi Berra. There’s no way that they could have won a law suit if Yogi Berra had sued. The reference is too obvious. Their claim that there was no reference is absurd. I can only conclude that Yogi Berra decided that he didn’t care if he was the source of the name.

Pardon me for this highjack, but what about the Baby Ruth candy bar and the ball player of the oh so similar name? There’s a directly calculable profit to be derived from the sale of candy bars, so why has the estate of George Herman “Babe” Ruth not pursued royalties?

Here’s the Wikipedia entry on Baby Ruth candy bars:

It appears that Babe Ruth (and later his estate) never tried to get anything out of the company that made the Baby Ruth candy bar (Curtiss, then Nabisco, then Nestlé) until 1995. It may be that the relevant laws weren’t used much back then. In 1995 the Ruth estate came to an agreement with Nestlé.

True, but their first step to prevent such a lawsuit would be to claim it was a coincidence (remember, they weren’t under oath when they denied it). If they actually claimed that they named the bear after Berra, it’s like saying “How much money do you want?”

Certainly true. Berra just didn’t care.

Actually, per http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/06/business/worldbusiness/06iht-web.0606ruth.1900800.html?_r=1, it sounds like Ruth got hosed out of a lot of money back in his own time.

I can’t really think of something similarly tangible that Yogi Berra would have claimed from Yogi Bear. If the bear, besides having a similar name, was mocking him, or acting like him, then Berra is being deprived of his likeness. But, given the lack of similarities between the two, besides the name, that doesn’t sound plausible.

Some info on the Baby Ruth name.