December 19, 2006


Cartoon legend Barbera dies at 95 (BBC, 12/19/06)

Joseph Barbera, one half of the team behind such cartoon classics as The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and Huckleberry Hound, has died, aged 95. [...]

With William Hanna, Barbera founded Hanna-Barbera in the 1950s, after the pair had earlier worked on the Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM studios. [...]

He met Hanna at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio, where they collaborated on a 1937 cartoon called Puss Gets the Boot, which led to the creation of cat-and-mouse duo Tom and Jerry.

Their 17-year partnership on the Tom and Jerry series resulted in seven Academy Awards and 14 nominations in total.

The pair left MGM and formed Hanna-Barbera Studios in 1957, where they created numerous classic characters, including The Jetsons and The Flintstones.

Hanna-Barbera extended cartoons beyond the traditional six-minute slots.

The Flintstones, featuring two modern-minded couples living in the stone age, was the first animated series to be broadcast on prime-time television.

Joseph Barbera, Half of Duo Behind Beloved Cartoon Characters, Dies at 95 (DAVE ITZKOFF, 12/19/06, NY Times)

Mr. Barbera and the studio he founded with Mr. Hanna, Hanna-Barbera Productions, became synonymous with television animation, yielding more than 100 cartoon series over four decades, including “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?,” “Jonny Quest” and “The Smurfs.”

On signature televisions shows like “The Flintstones” and “The Jetsons,” the two men developed a cartoon style that combined colorful, simply drawn characters (often based on other recognizable pop-culture personalities) with the narrative structures and joke-telling techniques of traditional live-action sitcoms. They were television’s first animated comedy programs.

Before that, Mr. Barbera and Mr. Hanna had worked together on more than 120 hand-drawn cartoon shorts for MGM, dozens of which starred the archetypal cat-and-mouse team Tom and Jerry. The Hanna-Barbera collaboration lasted more than 60 years. The critic Leonard Maltin, in his book “Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons,” wrote that Mr. Barbera’s strength was more in his drawing and gag writing while Mr. Hanna had a good sense of comic timing and giving characters warmth.

“I was never a good artist,” said Mr. Hanna, who died in 2001. But Mr. Barbera, he said, “has the ability to capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I’ve ever known.”

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 19, 2006 8:09 AM

And don't forget the wonderful Bible story series. The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible. The brothers and I would spend hours watching those.

Posted by: Jay at December 19, 2006 10:37 AM

I liked the comment I saw somewhere this morning that his funeral procession will run past the same buildings in an endless three second loop.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 19, 2006 12:24 PM