Aside from its environmental message, the film marked a milestone in Hanna-Barbera's history: a wide range of the studio’s characters were united in one story for the first time. This set the tone for future series and specials, such as Laff-A-Lympics and Yogi's First Christmas.
Concerned about the terrible state of the environment, dozens of animals gather for a meeting in Jellystone Park, chaired by Yogi Bear. They decide to leave their homes and search for "the perfect place" — a place free of pollution, deforestation, and other forms of mankind's despoilment. Jellystone maintenance man Noah Smitty helps them build a flying ship (which looks like Noah's Ark with a propeller on top) for their journey, and they decide to name it after him. Because "Smitty's Houseboat" is too long to paint on the bow, they name it "Noah's Ark." With Yogi at the helm, they travel to places around the world, searching for "the perfect place."
They start by driving down the highway into the ocean, where they soon end up on the back of a sleeping Moby Dick. Huckleberry Hound is sent down to wake him. They then end up stranded in the Sahara Desert which they originally mistake for a beach. The desert sun causes Yogi to hallucinate and believe he is pharaoh King Tut and his friends are his slaves, until Boo Boo and Noah Smitty arrive. Some moments later, So-So the monkey spots an oasis, which is "the perfect place." As Yogi and crew settle down to make themselves at home, Lambsy spots a "dragon" which turns out to be a construction vehicle developing a new city. Yogi and the crew then take their leave of the area. They arrive in Antarctic territory, which is a new and improved "perfect place." They begin settling there, until a similar situation happens like at the oasis. Next, Yogi and the crew wind up in outer space upon going up too far, which is a brand new "perfect place." It isn’t long before Earth ejects its "junk" (missiles, satellites, etc.) into space.
With the Ark back on earth and sailing the sea, tensions arise between the animals: Huck throws water down a pipe which causes Dum Dum to emerge and throw water at him, Quick Draw McGraw insults Snagglepuss’ slicing of salami, Peter Potamus insults Magilla Gorilla by telling him he looks like a gorilla, and Lippy the Lion grows tired of Hardy Har Har's complaining. Yogi Bear becomes aware of this just as So-So spots a typhoon coming. The animals struggle to survive the typhoon. The typhoon lands them on top of a mountain, and the animals almost believe that they’ve found what they’ve been looking for... only to be disappointed again when Yakky Doodle returns with an empty tin can and the animals notice a deforestation occurring.
At this point, the younger animals (consisting of Augie Doggie, Boo Boo, Baba Looey, Benny the Ball, Lambsy, Shag Rugg, and Yakky Doodle) decide that they should all simply go back home and clean up the messes that they were trying to escape. This decision is met with unanimous approval, and the animals all head for home so that they can start turning it into "the perfect place".
During the credits, Wally Gator and Squiddly Diddly are cleaning the rivers, Paw and Shag Rugg are picking up garbage around their house, and Yogi Bear picks up a recently discarded hamburger wrapper.
List of characters
The following Hanna-Barbera characters appeared in this movie (not all of whom appeared on Yogi’s Gang) in alphabetical order:
Although this was the pilot for Yogi's Gang, some changes were made for the series:
Noah Smitty was written out, and only the animals were on the ark.
The vessel’s name was changed from "Noah's Ark" to "Yogi's Ark".
Some of the animals, such as Top Cat, were also written out, thus giving the ark a smaller crew.
This one-hour feature was later turned into two half-hour episodes of Yogi's Gang with new intro and concluding sequences for each episode. To fit the feature into these new time frames, some of its sequences were shortened or edited out.
The song "The Perfect Place" is sung six times throughout the film, and would later be remade as the theme song for Yogi's Gang, with different lyrics.
Daws Butler – Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Snagglepuss, Wally Gator, Peter Potamus, Augie Doggie, Lippy the Lion, Dixie, Baba Looey, Lambsy, Top Cat
Note #1: Choo Choo, Spook, Fancy Fancy, The Brain, Secret Squirrel, Hokey Wolf, Ding-A-Ling Wolf, Chopper, Ruff and Reddy, Dum Dum, Shag Rugg and Sawtooth the Beaver appear, but have no dialogue.
Note #2: Hardy Har Har, Atom Ant, Squiddly Diddly, Top Cat, Benny the Ball, and Yakky Doodle are voiced by John Stephenson, Don Messick, Daws Butler, and Walker Edmiston here. It was presumed that Mel Blanc, Paul Frees, Howard Morris, Arnold Stang and Jimmy Weldon weren't available to voice them for this TV movie, while Benny's voice actor Maurice Gosfield had died in 1964. In fact with his Daws Butler voice, Top Cat sounded just like Hokey Wolf. This may be why Hokey and Ding-A-Ling didn't have dialogue in this movie, although Hokey did have dialogue in one episode of Yogi's Gang. Though Arnold Stang continued to voice Top Cat after this, John Stephenson and Don Messick voiced Hardy Har Har and Squiddly Diddly in Yogi's Gang and other appearances.
Note #3: Don Messick began voicing Touché Turtle here after the death of Bill Thompson. John Stephenson began voicing Doggie Daddy here because Doug Young was caring for his ailing wife at the time.
Note #4: Cindy Bear, Snooper and Blabber, Mr. Jinks, Loopy De Loop, Scooby-Doo, Blubber Bear, Morocco Mole, Precious Pupp, Ricochet Rabbit and Droop-a-Long Coyote, Punkin' Puss and Mushmouse, Breezly and Sneezly, Yippee, Yappee and Yahooey, Bristle Hound, Mildew Wolf, Motormouse, Autocat, the Cattanooga Cats, and the Hair Bear Bunch are absent from the movie, although Morocco and Cindy did appear occasionally in Yogi's Gang.