Yogi debuted in 1958 as a supporting character on the Huckleberry Hound show. He became very popular, and in 1961 was given his own show. Over the years he would appear in many other spin-off series as well, including Yogi's Gang (1973), Yogi's Space Race (1978), Yogi's Treasure Hunt (1985), and Yo Yogi (1991).
Like many Hanna-Barbera characters, Yogi's personality and mannerisms were based on a popular celebrity of the time. Art Carney's character on The Honeymooners was said to be Yogi's inspiration. Yogi's name is an obvious nod to the famed baseball star Yogi Berra.
The plot of most of Yogi's cartoons centered around his antics in the fictional Jellystone Park (named after the famous Yellowstone National Park). Yogi, acompanied by his reluctant best friend Boo Boo would often try to steal picnic baskets from campers in the park, much to the chagrin of Park Ranger Smith.
Yogi Bear is well-known for a variety of different catchphrases, including his pet name for picnic baskets ("pic-a-nic baskets") and his favorite self-promotion ("I'm smarter than the average bear!").
Yogi has a named after him. Yogi Rock was discovered following the landing of the Mars Pathfinder on the planet in 1997. In the initial photos the rock had the appearance of a little bear facing away.