Hanna, William, and Joseph Barbera
HANNA, William, and Joseph BARBERA
HANNA. Animator. Nationality: American. Born: Melrose, New Mexico, 14 July, 1910. Education: Studied journalism at Compton Junior College in California. Career: Engineering/surveying assistant in California, 1929–1930; 1930—head of ink and paint department at Harmon-Ising Studio; 1933–1937—story editor, lyricist and director at Harmon-Ising, first animated film as director, To Spring, 1937; 1937—joined MGM's new in-house cartoon unit as director and writer: first animated film as director at MGM: Blue Monday, 1938.
BARBERA. Animator. Nationality: American. Born: New York City, 1911. Education: Attended the American Institute of Banking and the Art Students League in New York City, and Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. Career: Tax accountant, Irving Trust Bank, 1928–34, and briefly cel painter and inker at Fleischer Studios; 1934—draftsman and animator at Van Beuren Studios; 1936—animator and storyboard editor at Paul Terry Studios; 1937—animator and story editor at MGM.
1938—Hanna and Barbera began collaborating as an animation team at MGM; 1940—Puss Gets the Boot, their first venture, marked the debut of Tom and Jerry; 1955—co-heads of MGM's cartoon unit, and producers of the Tom and Jerry series, until MGM closed the department in 1957; 1957—founded Hanna-Barbera Productions: first TV cartoon series, The Ruff and Reddy Show; first cinematic cartoon series from Hanna-Barbera Productions, Loopy de Wolf; 1959–65—television work includes primetime animated series The Flintstones, 1960–66, Top Cat, 1961–62; The Jetsons, 1962–63; The Adventures of Jonny Quest, 1964–65; 1965—daytime cartoon shows; and live-action and animated series and specials; produced film and home video features in full animation, live action or combined; 1967—named copresidents and codirectors of operations for the studio after its sale to Taft Broadcasting Company; 1978—The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour; 1989—studio sold to Great American Broadcasting Company; 1990—collaborated as a producer/director team for the last time on Jetsons: The Movie; 1991—named cochairmen and cofounders of Hanna-Barbera Productions after its sale to Turner Broadcasting Company; 1994—made their acting debuts in The Flintstones.Awards: Tom and Jerry cartoon short subjects which received the Academy Award: The Yankee Doodle Mouse, 1943, Mouse Trouble, 1944, Quiet Please!, 1945, The Cat Concerto, 1947, The Little Orphan, 1949, The Two Mouseketeers, 1952, and Johann Mouse, 1953; Emmy Awards: The Huckleberry Hound Show, 1959; Jack and the Beanstalk, 1966; The Last of the Curlews, 1973; The Runaways, 1974; The Gathering, 1978; The Smurfs, 1982, 1983; and The Last Halloween, 1992; 1988—National Academy of Televison Arts and Sciences' Governors Award.
MGM Cartoon Shorts as Animation Directors/Writers (all Tom and Jerry, except those noted by *; "comp" indicates footage from earlier Tom and Jerry shorts):
Gallopin' Gals*; Officer Pooch*; Puss Gets the Boot
The Goose Goes South*; The Midnight Snack; The Night before Christmas
The Bowling Alley-Cat; Dog Trouble; Fine Feathered Friend; Fraidy Cat; Puss 'n' Toots
Baby Puss; The Lonesome Mouse; Sufferin' Cats!; The Yankee Doodle Mouse
The Bodyguard; The Million Dollar Cat; Mouse Trouble; Puttin' on the Dog; The Zoot Cat
Flirty Birdy; The Mouse Comes to Dinner; Mouse in Manhattan; Quiet Please!; Tea for Two
The Milky Waif; Solid Serenade; Springtime for Thomas; Trap Happy
The Cat Concerto; Cat Fishin'; Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Mouse; The Invisible Mouse; A Mouse in the House; Part Time Pal; Salt Water Tabby
Kitty Foiled; Mouse Cleaning; Old Rockin' Chair Tom; Professor Tom; The Truce Hurts
The Cat and the Mermouse; Hatch up Your Troubles; Heavenly Puss; Jerry's Diary (comp); The Little Orphan; Love That Pup; Polka-Dot Puss; Tennis Chumps
Cueball Cat; The Framed Cat; Jerry and the Lion; Little Quacker; Safety Second; Saturday Evening Puss; Texas Tom; Tom and Jerry in the Hollywood Bowl
Casanova Cat; Cat Napping; His Mouse Friday; Jerry and the Goldfish; Jerry's Cousin; Nit-Witty Kitty; Sleepy-Time Tom; Slicked-Up Pup
Cruise Cat (comp); The Dog House; The Duck Doctor; Fit to Be Tied; The Flying Cat; Little Runaway; Push-Button Kitty; Smitten Kitten (comp); Triplet Trouble; The Two Mouseketeers
Jerry and Jumbo; Johann Mouse; Just Ducky; Life with Tom (comp); The Missing Mouse; That's My Pup; Two Little Indians
Baby Butch; Downhearted Duckling; Hic-Cup Pup; Little School Mouse; Mice Follies; Neapolitan Mouse; Pet Peeve; Posse Cat; Puppy Tale; Touché; Pussy Cat!
Designs On Jerry; Good Will o Men* (CinemaScope remake of Hugh Harmon's 1939 cartoon short, Peace on Earth); Mouse for Sale; Pecos Pest; Pup on a Picnic; Smarty Cat (comp); Southbound Duckling; That's My Mommy; Tom And Chérie
Barbeque Brawl; Blue Cat Blues; Busy Buddies; Downbeat Bear; The Egg And Jerry (CinemaScope remake of Hatch Up Your Troubles); The Flying Sorceress; Give And Take*; Muscle Beach Tom; Scat Cats*
Feedin' The Kiddie (CinemaScope remake of The Little Orphan); Mucho Mouse; One Droopy Knight*; Timid Tabby; Tom's Photo Finish; Tops With Pops (CinemaScope remake of Love That Pup)
Happy Go Ducky; Robin Hoodwinked; Royal Cat Nap; Tot Watchers; The Vanishing Duck
Other MGM Films:
Blue Monday (cartoon short; d—Hanna); What a Lion! (cartoon short; d—Hanna)
Anchors Aweigh (d—Sidney) (ds—animated sequences)
Holiday in Mexico (d—Sidney) (ds—animated sequences)
Neptune's Daughter (d—Buzzell) (ds—animated sequences)
Dangerous When Wet (d—Walters) (ds—animated sequences)
Invitation to the Dance (d—Kelly) (ds—animated sequences)
Cartoon Shorts as Producers and Directors of Animation for Hanna-Barbera Productions (all featuring Loopy de Wolf):
Little Bo Bopped; Wolf Hounded
Creepy Time Pal; The Do-Good Wolf; Here; Kiddie; Life With Loopy; No Biz Like Shoe Biz; Snoopy Loopy; A Tale of a Wolf
Catch Meow; Count Down Clown; Child Sock-Cology; Fee Fie Foes; Happy Go Loopy; Kooky Loopy; Loopy's Hare-Do; This Is My Ducky Day; Two-Faced Wolf; Zoo Is Company
Bearly Able; Beef for and After; Bungle Uncle; Bunnies Abundant; Chicken Fraca-See; Common Scents; Rancid Ransom; Slippery Slippers; Swash Buckled
Bear Up!; Chicken-Hearted Wolf; Crook Who Cried Wolf; Drum-Sticked; A Fallible Fable; Habit Rabbit; Just a Wolf at Heart; Not in Nottingham; Sheep Stealers Anonymous; Whatcha Watchin'; Wolf in Sheep Dog's Clothing
Bear Hug; Bear Knuckles; Elephantastic; Habit Troubles; Raggedy Rug; Trouble Bruin
Big Mouse-Take; Crow's Fete; Horse Shoo; Pork Chop Fooey
Feature-Length Theatrical Films:
Hey There, It's Yogi Bear
A Man Called Flintstone
Project X (Castle) (ds—animated sequences)
Charlotte's Web (Nichols and Takamoto) (prs)
C.H.O.M.P.S. (Chaffey) (pr—Barbera; story—Barbera)
Heidi's Song (Taylor) (prs; co-sc—Barbera)
GoBots: Battle of The Rock Lords (Patterson)
Jetsons: The Movie
Tom and Jerry: The Movie (co-scs and creative consultants)
I Yabba-Dabba Do!; Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby
The Flintstones (Levant) (exec prs; creative consultants and ros)
Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects (exec prs)
By BARBERA: book—
My Life In 'Toons, Atlanta, 1994.
By HANNA and BARBERA: articles—
"The Sultans of Saturday Morning," an interview with G. Catsos, in Filmfax (Evanston), November/December 1995.
On HANNA and BARBERA: books—
Sennett, Ted, The Art Of Hanna-Barbera, New York, 1989.
Brion, Patrick, Tom And Jerry: The Definitive Guide To Their Animated Adventures, New York, 1990.
Cox, Stephen, The Flintstones: A Modern Stone Age Phenomenon, Atlanta, 1994.
Duncan, Jody, The Flintstones: The Official Movie Book, New York, 1994.
Hanna, William, A Cast Of Friends, Dallas, 1996.
Mallory, Michael, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Southport, 1998.
On BARBERA: articles—
Anton, Glenn, "Joe Barbera Speaks His Mind," in Animator (Springfield), Spring 1996.* * *
The names of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera have become synonymous with television animation. From their earliest superstars, Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear, to the first prime-time cartoon series, The Flintstones, Hanna and Barbera are the biggest names in television animation, developing the largest cartoon mill in the world. The two men have come to represent the crank-'em-out-as-fast-as-you-can theory of television animation. Yet to their credit, Hanna and Barbera's creation of Tom and Jerry, the lovable cat and mouse, earned seven Academy Awards and 14 Oscar nominations. This was no small feat in the annals of theatrical animation.
Hanna and Barbera met at MGM, where both worked separately as animators before becoming involved on a project in 1938. Both men wanted to try their talents at directing, and were given the chance in 1940 on a cartoon about a cat and a mouse, Puss Gets the Boot. It was clear from this first cartoon that this was no ordinary cat and mouse, and the film was nominated for an Academy Award. Though the cat was named Jasper and the mouse's working, yet unmentioned, name was Jinx, this cartoon began the careers of Tom and Jerry. The Tom and Jerry series was consistently formulaic in content: Tom—frustrated, irate or arrogant—tried to exert his power and superiority over Jerry. Tom, with his blue body, yellow eyes and heavy black eyebrows, was clearly the instigator of the mayhem. Jerry, on the other hand, had a cherubic face, a happy-go-lucky personality, but also a devilish ingenuity that would retaliate against Tom's fury, giving the tabby his comeuppance in equal measure—and a dose more. While true adversaries by nature, Tom and Jerry also conveyed a sense that they needed and cared for one another, and this love-hate relationship endeared them to audiences.
As it worked out, the directing (Hanna) and writing (Barbera) became evenly divided between the two men. Because the series, unlike most cartoons, relied mainly on visual gags rather than witty dialog, it was much harder to keep up its consistency, and many of the early shorts were not always well timed; occasionally, too much effort was spent on ponderous pacing and setup of gags. By 1942, Tex Avery, with his surreal, frantic and irreverent style of humor, had joined MGM and, under his influence, the series achieved a refreshing and successfully artistic momentum, all within the same cat-and-mouse formula. Although Tom and Jerry never spoke a word of dialog (save for an utterance to punctuate a comic scene), their cartoons provided depth of character, valid story lines, brilliant gags, sprightly music, imaginative sound effects and exquisite animation. A great deal of time and thought went into developing personality traits and nuances for each animal. Their faces showed a wide range of expression and reaction to situations (it was Hanna who provided Tom's vocal shrieks of fright or pain), and their bodies appeared to be in a perpetual state of motion. They were completely animated characters.
Hanna and Barbera also contributed to the 1945 film, Anchors Aweigh. Its star, Gene Kelly, wanted to perform a dance number with a cartoon character. When Walt Disney declined the offer to provide the animation with Mickey Mouse, the job went to Hanna and Barbera, and would showcase MGM's mouse, Jerry (Tom appeared as a servant to Jerry.) To create the illusion of dancing with Jerry, Hanna and Barbera drew a detailed storyboard of the choreography Kelly devised. Kelly performed his part of the number alone, and his filmed dance was then rotoscoped, so Jerry's routine could be animated and synchronized, frame by frame, to Kelly's movements. Finally, the two images were matched within a single shot. The sequence remains a classic. Tom and Jerry were also featured in a 1952 musical, Dangerous When Wet, with its aquatic star, Esther Williams.
To keep Tom and Jerry fresh in the postwar era, new supporting characters were added. In The Milky Waif, Jerry's impulsive cousin Nibbles (later renamed Tuffy) was introduced. In Little Quacker, a raspy-voiced duckling made its debut, and later achieved fame as Yakky Doodle on the Yogi Bear television show. Hanna and Barbera also introduced a bulldog and his son, Butch and Pup (renamed Spike and Tyke afterwards), in Love That Pup. They later had their own short-lived series, and were finally metamorphosed into the more successful television characters of Augie Doggy and Doggie Daddy.
Like all the other cartoon studios, by the mid-1950s MGM began to find the cost of creating animation prohibitive, though the final Tom and Jerry cartoons created by Hanna and Barbera in 1955–1956—That's My Mommy and Muscle Beach Tom—were two of the very best. In 1957, after MGM shut down its cartoon unit, Hanna and Barbera joined the ranks of outstanding animators who went to television and founded Hanna-Barbera Productions. Their first series, The Ruff and Reddy Show, was only mildly successful, mainly because it was hindered by being integrated within a live show. In 1958, The Huckleberry Hound Show, their first totally animated series, was a huge hit with both adults and children, and it received the Emmy Award for Oustanding Children's Program in 1959. Huckleberry Hound's acclaim spawned other successes such as Yogi Bear, Quick Draw McGraw, and the first animated prime-time series, The Flinstones. No two men were better prepared to pioneer, revolutionize and set the standards for television cartoon shows than Hanna and Barbera. Their adroit use of limited animation required far fewer individual drawings as a theatrical cartoon, and provided a more economical, less laborious yet very satisfying product. Hanna and Barbera also hired many of their old MGM colleagues and other seasoned professionals who were available after most Hollywood studios ceased making cartoons. And with their own impeccable filmmaking skills and business savvy, Hanna and Barbera dominated TV animation by delivering qualitative programs with audience appeal that were sought by networks and sponsors.
Throughout the 1960s, Hanna-Barbera Productions grew into an entertainment empire, reaping bonus revenues from merchandise licensing and product tie-ins, its own record label—and even its own theme park, Jellystone Park, in Ashland, New Hampshire. This expansion allowed them to experiment further, starting with full-length, animated features such as 1964's Hey There, It's Yogi Bear, and more ambitious television projects such as 1966's Emmy-winning Jack and The Beanstalk, a dazzling display of animation and live action starring Gene Kelly. During the era of James Bond and the Space Age, Hanna-Barbera focused on animated action-adventure and science-fantasy series, starting with 1964's The Adventures Of Jonny Quest, and reaching its zenith with The Space Ghost in 1966 and The Herculoids the year after, all of which had a comic-book-brought-to-life feel, and were immensely popular. Hanna-Barbera Productions was sold to Taft Broadcasting in 1967; Hanna and Barbera were retained as copresidents and codirectors of operations.
But at the end of the 1960s, Hanna-Barbera had become a victim of its own success. Increased demand by networks for programming, more grueling schedules, escalating production costs, restrictive budgets, the departure of veteran artists and writers, and the rapidly changing tastes of its TV audience were taking their toll on the animation giant. Hanna-Barbera inevitably turned into a factory where quantity ruled, and creativity and quality suffered: formulas were repeated and, at times, unbearable to watch; characters began to lose individuality; cartoon pace slackened; and the artwork appeared shoddier. Through this phase, Hanna-Barbera prevailed with some hits such as Scooby Doo, Where Are You? in 1969, beginning the comedy-mystery-music TV cartoon genre.
In the 1970s, Hanna and Barbera reaffirmed their reputation as gifted storytellers, with highly successful ventures such as the animated feature, Charlotte's Web (1973), and Emmy-winning TV specials such as the Last Of The Curlews (1972) and the live-action yuletide tale, The Gathering (1977). Invariably, Hanna-Barbera was redefining itself as a producer of family entertainment. As for new cartoon shows, Hanna-Barbera not only created fresh characters, but also developed animated series adapted from live-action TV series, movies, comic strips and other sources, as well as reusing their tried- and-true stars in new vehicles. Capitalizing on current trends, and successfully reflecting them in its programs, was a key to Hanna-Barbera's mastery over increasingly fickle viewership.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Hanna-Barbera underwent an impressive global expansion in order to efficiently handle its new theatrical and television productions and their international distribution. Hanna and Barbera also uncovered the possibilities in the new medium of home video, and from 1986–90, they created a series of outstanding animated features for video, The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible. After 30 years of significant achievements and contributions to the television arts, the prolific pair were bestowed with the prestigious Governors Award at the 1988 Emmy Ceremonies. In 1989, the studio was acquired by Great American Broadcasting and, in turn, was sold to Turner Broadcasting Company in 1991; Hanna and Barbera stayed as cochairmen and cofounders. In 1990, they collaborated as an animation team for the last time on Jetsons: The Movie. In 1994, Hanna and Barbera made their screen debut as cavemen in the film, The Flinstones, and served as its co-executive producers. That same year, the industrious duo were named to the board of directors of the Cartoon Network, and also were inducted into the Television Academy Hall of Fame.
The impact Hanna and Barbera have made on the film and broadcasting industries is incalculable. They are visionaries who take their place alongside Walt Disney for daring innovation and reinvention of technique and style that elevates animation to an art form, and elicits the full spectrum of laughter and emotion from audiences universally. But it is television where Hanna and Barbera had their greatest exposure and influence. Though the entertainment value was at times uneven, their successes far outweighed the letdowns. Their triumphs in and over television established a familial connection that spans three generations, where parents and grandparents can relive the fun of old and new Hanna-Barbera cartoon friends—while watching along with their children, who are delighting in them for the first time on television or home video. And the tradition continues.
—Martin A. Gostanian