Thursday, August 20, 2009

H and B

The Paley Center will be honoring the Dynamic Duo.

Hanna-Barbera, says [Mike] Henry, [co-creator of The Cleveland Show] "laid the foundation for people being fans of animation. . . . All the people, I am sure, who have created all the current animated shows grew up watching these shows. Our shows wouldn't be there without them kind of pioneering the medium."

The closest I got to Hanna-Barbera in the company's glory days was picketing outside its walls during the '82 TAG strike. But I visited the studio a lot during the Seibert era, when it was still humming along on Cahuenga Boulevard. The linoleum halls resonated with history, even as the production pace slowed a bit.

Although BIll and Joe weren't the first cartoonists to create television-style animation, they were the team that made it viable and profitable. H & B were the guys who built an empire on original teevee animation, and molded the brains of several generations of American youngsters, some of whom now make cartoons themselves.

The studio and its founders are gone, but their creations continue to resonate across various 21st century distribution platforms. In our present Corporatist age, we won't see their like again, but Hanna and Barbera hammered together most of the animation signposts which others now follow.

All in all, a pretty decent legacy.


Anonymous said...

CARTOONISTS. Hear that, Hollywood?

Not producers. Not writers. Not actors. Not directors. Not artists.

All Of The Above.


Anonymous said...

I was a total HB addict and while my favorites are their MGM shorts they were all terrific shows. They also gave incredible employment to the transitioning industry when shorts were through. That talent transfer was evident in those first shows too. What a wonderful childhood they made for us.

Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree more, Steve. Hanna and Barbera deserve far more credit than they typically get for the positive things they did for the animation industry. Plus, their Tom & Jerry shorts are among the finest example of the artform ever created.

Anonymous said...

I watched H-B TV stuff as a kid, and I knew it was crap even then. Poor animation, cruddy writing, laugh tracks...the best you could say about it was that it was reliably mediocre. So why did I watch it? Who else was making TV toons back then? Filmation, maybe (with its miserable adaptation of Archie) and that's about it. Kids are luckier today; they have all kinds of animated stuff every day of the week. More competition means a lot of bad stuff dies quickly. There's no monopoly on TV toons as there was when Hanna-Barbera ruled the tube.

Anonymous said...

I guess your impression of their post-MGM work depends on when you grew up. It's easier to remember early shows fondly (Huck, Yogi) than their later shows (Foofur).

Site Meter