Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc.
Former type Private company (1957–67)
Subsidiary (1967-2001)
Industry Animation
Fate Folded into Warner Bros. Animation
Successor Warner Bros. Animation
Cartoon Network Studios
Founded 1957 (1957)
Founder(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Defunct 2001 (2001)
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, USA
Products Television series
Television specials
Theatrical movies
Television commercials
Theatrical shorts
Direct-to-video movies
Television movies
Parent Screen Gems/Columbia Pictures (1957–67)
Taft Broadcasting (1967–87)
Great American Broadcasting (1987–91)
Turner Broadcasting System (1991–96)
Time Warner (1996–2001)

Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. (play /ˌhænə bɑrˈbɛrə/) was an American animation studio that dominated North American television animation during the second half of the 20th century. The company was originally formed in 1957 by former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in partnership with Columbia Pictures' Screen Gems television division as H-B Enterprises, Inc.[1] Established after MGM shut down its animation studio and ended production of its animated short films (such as the popular Tom and Jerry series), H-B Enterprises, Inc. was renamed Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. in 1959.

Over the next three decades, the studio produced many successful animated shows, including The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, The Flintstones, The Yogi Bear Show, Top Cat, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo and The Smurfs among others. The studio also produced several feature films and cartoon shorts for theaters along with a number of specials and movies for television.

While Hanna and Barbera's theatrical work awarded them seven Oscars, their television productions have earned the company eight Emmys[2] and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In the mid-1980s, the company's fortunes declined somewhat after the profitability of Saturday morning cartoons was eclipsed by weekday afternoon syndication.

In 1991, the company was purchased by Turner Broadcasting System, who began using much of the H-B back catalog to program the Cartoon Network the following year.[3][4] Both Hanna and Barbera went into semi-retirement after Turner purchased the company, continuing to serve as ceremonial figureheads for and sporadic artistic contributors to the studio. In 1994, the company was renamed Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc., and in 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner.

By the time of the merger, Turner had turned Hanna-Barbera towards primarily producing new material for Cartoon Network, including the successful Cartoon Cartoons shows such as Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, I Am Weasel and The Powerpuff Girls. With William Hanna's death in 2001, the studio was folded into Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network Studios continued the projects for Cartoon Network output.

Joseph Barbera remained with Warner until his death in 2006. Hanna-Barbera currently exists as a production subsidiary of Warner Bros. Animation and its name is today used only to market properties and productions associated with the company's "classic" works such as The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and Yogi Bear.



The beginnings of Hanna-Barbera

Hanna-Barbera founders William Hanna (left) and Joseph Barbera pose with several of the Emmy awards the Hanna-Barbera studio has won.

Melrose, New Mexico native William Hanna and New York City-born Joseph Barbera first teamed together while working at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in 1939. Their first directorial project was a cartoon entitled Puss Gets the Boot (1940), which served as the genesis of the popular Tom and Jerry series of cartoon theatricals. Hanna and Barbera served as the directors and story men for the shorts for seventeen years, winning seven Academy Awards for Best Short Subject (Cartoons) between 1943 and 1953 for their work. By 1956, they had become the producers in charge of the MGM animation studio's output.[5]

Outside of their work on the MGM shorts, Hanna and Barbera moonlighted on outside projects, including the original title sequences and commercials for the hit television sitcom I Love Lucy.[6] MGM decided in early 1957 to close its cartoon studio, as it felt it had acquired a reasonable backlog of shorts for re-release.[5]

Hanna and Barbera, contemplating their future while completing the final Tom and Jerry and Droopy cartoons, began producing animated television commercials.[7] During their last year at MGM, they developed a concept for an animated television program entitled The Ruff & Reddy Show, about a dog and cat pair who found themselves in various misadventures.[7] After Hanna and Barbera failed to convince MGM to back their venture, live-action director George Sidney, who'd worked with Hanna and Barbera on several of his features (most notably Anchors Aweigh in 1945), offered to serve as their business partner and convinced Screen Gems, the television subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, to establish a deal with the animation producers.[1]

Screen Gems took a twenty percent ownership in Hanna and Barbera's new company, H-B Enterprises,[1] and provided working capital to produce Ruff and Reddy. H-B Enterprises opened for business in rented offices on the lot of Kling Studios (formerly Charlie Chaplin Studios)[6] on July 7, 1957, two months after the MGM animation studio closed down.[7] Sidney and several Screen Gems alumnae became members of H-B's original board of directors, and much of the former MGM animation staff – including animators Carlo Vinci, Kenneth Muse, Lewis Marshall, Michael Lah, and Ed Barge and layout artists Ed Benedict and Richard Bickenbach – as H-B's production staff.[7]

Their first cartoon series for television, The Ruff & Reddy Show, featuring live-action host Jimmy Blaine and several older Columbia-owned cartoons as filler, premiered on NBC in December 1957. In 1958, H-B had their first big success with The Huckleberry Hound Show, a syndicated series aired in most markets just before primetime. The program was a ratings success, and introduced a new crop of cartoon stars to audiences, in particular Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. The show won the 1960 Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Children's Programming. The studio began to expand rapidly following the success of Huckleberry Hound, and several animation industry alumnae – in particular former Warner Bros. Cartoons storymen Michael Maltese and Warren Foster, who became H-B's new head writers – joined the staff at this time.[7]

By 1959, H-B Enterprises was reincorporated as Hanna-Barbera Productions, and was slowly becoming a leader in television animation production. After introducing a second syndicated series, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, in 1959, Hanna-Barbera migrated into network primetime production with the animated ABC sitcom The Flintstones in 1960. Loosely based upon the popular live-action sitcom The Honeymooners yet set in a fictionalized stone age of cavemen and dinosaurs, The Flintstones ran for six seasons in prime time on ABC, becoming a ratings and merchandising success.

It was the longest-running animated show in American prime time television history until being beaten out by The Simpsons in 1996. Hanna-Barbera moved off of the Kling lot in 1963 (by then renamed the Red Skelton Studios), when the Hanna-Barbera Studio, located at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. in Studio City, California, was opened. This California contemporary office building was designed by architect Arthur Froehlich, its ultra-modern design included a sculpted latticework exterior, moat, fountains, and after later additions, a Jetsons-like tower. The Columbia/Hanna-Barbera partnership lasted until 1967, when Hanna and Barbera sold the studio to Taft Broadcasting while retaining their positions there

Television cartoons

The former Hanna-Barbera building at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. in Studio City, California, seen in a 2007 photograph.

Hanna-Barbera was one of the first animation studios to successfully produce cartoons especially for television.[8] Previously, animated programming on television had consisted primarily of rebroadcasts of theatrical cartoons. During the early and mid-1960s, the studio debuted several new successful programs, among them prime time ABC series such as Top Cat, The Jetsons and Jonny Quest. New shows produced for syndication and Saturday mornings included The Yogi Bear Show (a syndicated spinoff from The Huckleberry Hound Show), The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series featuring Wally Gator, The Magilla Gorilla Show and The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show. Hanna-Barbera also produced several television commercials, often starring their own characters, and animated the opening credits for the ABC sitcom Bewitched (the Bewitched characters would appear as guest stars in an episode of The Flintstones).

The studio also produced a few theatrical projects for Columbia Pictures, including Loopy De Loop, a series of theatrical cartoons shorts, and two feature film projects based on its television properties, Hey There, It's Yogi Bear! (1964) and The Man Called Flintstone (1966) and two TV specials, Alice in Wonderland (or What's a Nice Kid Like You Doing in a Place Like This?) (1966) and Jack and the Beanstalk (1967), the first ever Hanna-Barbera television production to be done in live-action/animation. Starting in 1965, Hanna-Barbera tried its hand at being a record label for a short time. Danny Hutton was hired by Hanna-Barbera to become the head of Hanna Barbera Records or HBR from 1965 to 1966.[9]

HBR Records was distributed by Columbia Records, with artists such as Louis Prima, Five Americans, Scatman Crothers (who later lent his voice to a few Hanna-Barbera cartoons, such as Hong Kong Phooey), and The 13th Floor Elevators. Previously, children's records with Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters were released by Colpix Records.

The Hanna-Barbera studio especially captured the market for Saturday morning cartoons. After the success of The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show in 1965, H-B debuted two new Saturday morning series the following year: Space Ghost, which featured action-adventure, and Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles, which blended action-adventure with the earlier Hanna-Barbera humor style. A slew of H-B action cartoons followed in 1967, among them Shazzan, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor, Young Samson and Goliath, The Herculoids and an adaptation of Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four along with new shows based on famous celebrities such as, The Abbott and Costello Cartoon Show and Laurel and Hardy. Between these programs and others remaining on the air (reruns of The Flintstones, Jonny Quest and The Jetsons).

Hanna-Barbera cartoons aired on all three networks' Saturday morning lineups, and dominated the CBS and NBC schedules in particular. While the action programs were notably popular and successful, pressure from parent-run organizations such as Action for Children's Television forced the cancellation of all of them by 1969.[10]

In 1968, Hanna-Barbera mixed live-action and animated comedy-action for its NBC anthology series, The Banana Splits Adventure Hour, while the successful Wacky Races (and its spinoffs The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines), aired on CBS, returned H-B to straight animated slapstick humor. Hanna-Barbera's next runaway hit came in 1969 with Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, a CBS program which blended elements of the H-B comedy series, the action series, and rival Filmation's then-current hit program The Archie Show. Scooby-Doo centered on four teenagers and a dog solving supernatural mysteries, and was popular enough to remain on the air and in production until 1986.

A cavalcade of H-B Saturday morning cartoons featuring mystery-solving/crime-fighting teenagers with comic pets soon followed, among them Josie and the Pussycats, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, The Funky Phantom, The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, Clue Club and Jabberjaw. Cattanooga Cats came next and aired on ABC in 1969. By 1977, Scooby-Doo was the centerpiece of a two-hour ABC program block titled Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics, which also included Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, and Laff-a-Lympics. During the 1970s in particular, most American television animation was produced by Hanna-Barbera. The only competition came from Filmation, DePatie-Freleng Enterprises, Ruby-Spears, and a few other companies that specialized primarily in prime time specials (e.g. Rankin-Bass, Chuck Jones and Lee Mendelson-Bill Meléndez).

Filmation, in particular, lost ground to Hanna-Barbera when the failure of Filmation's Uncle Croc's Block led ABC president Fred Silverman to drop Filmation and give Hanna-Barbera the majority of the network's Saturday morning cartoon time. Besides Scooby-Doo and the programs derived from it, Hanna-Barbera also found success with new programs such as Harlem Globetrotters, The Addams Family and Hong Kong Phooey along with the hit 1973 feature film Charlotte's Web. The syndicated Wait Till Your Father Gets Home returned Hanna-Barbera to adult-oriented comedy, although the show was more provocative than The Flintstones or The Jetsons had been.

The studio revisited its 1960s stars with Flintstones spin-offs such as The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show and The Flintstone Comedy Hour, both aired on CBS. In 1980, all four Flintstones specials (New Neighbors, Fred's Final Fling, Wind-Up Wilma and Jogging Fever) aired in prime time on NBC as a limited-run revival of the original 1960s series. "All-star" shows featuring Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw and other H-B animal stars included Yogi's Gang and Yogi's Space Race and the Scooby-Doo spin-offs, The New Scooby-Doo Movies and Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo.

Hanna-Barbera also produced new shows starring older cartoon characters from the theatrical era of cartoons such as Popeye (The All-New Popeye Hour), Casper the Friendly Ghost (Casper and the Angels) and its founders' own Tom and Jerry (The New Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape Show). Super Friends, a Hanna-Barbera produced adaptation of DC Comics' Justice League of America comic book, remained on ABC Saturday mornings from 1973 to 1986.

The 60-minute shows CB Bears and The Skatebirds aired on NBC and CBS respectively in 1977. H-B introduced new shows and specials like, The Kwicky Koala Show, Yogi's First Christmas, Jokebook, A Flintstone Christmas, Amigo and Friends (a remake of the Mexican animated series Cantinflas Show, it was a joint venture between Hanna-Barbera and Televisa), Yogi Bear's All Star Comedy Christmas Caper, The New Fred and Barney Show, the 1982 feature film Heidi's Song, The Flintstone Comedy Show, The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone, Casper's First Christmas, Scooby Goes Hollywood and A Christmas Story. A slew of live shows and rides based on classic Hanna-Barbera series and characters were made for various theme parks including Kings Dominion. The studio also made a string of live-action television and film projects, including The Gathering, C.H.O.M.P.S. and Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park.

Annual specials on both The Flintstones and Hanna-Barbera aired, including Hanna-Barbera's All-Star Comedy Ice Revue, centering on Fred Flintstone's birthday, The Flintstones' 25th Anniversary Celebration, focusing on the show's 25 years on air, The Flintstone Kids' "Just Say No" Special, focusing on Fred and the gang refusing to do drugs and Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration, centering on the 50-year partnership of Hanna and Barbera in animation.

Quality controversy

One of the first logos used by Hanna-Barbera

Over three decades, Hanna-Barbera produced prime-time, weekday afternoon, and Saturday morning cartoons for all three major networks in the United States, and for syndication. The small budgets television animation producers had to work within prevented Hanna-Barbera, and most other producers of American television animation, from working with the full theatrical-quality animation the duo had been known for at MGM. While the budget for a seven-minute Tom and Jerry entry of the 1950s was about $35,000, Hanna-Barbera was required to produce five-minute Ruff and Reddy episodes for no more than $3,000 a piece.[1]

To keep within these tighter budgets, Hanna-Barbera modified the concept of limited animation (also called semi-animation) practiced and popularized by the United Productions of America (UPA) studio, which also once had a partnership with Columbia Pictures. Character designs were simplified, and backgrounds and animation cycles (walks, runs, etc.) were regularly re-purposed. Characters were often broken up into a handful of levels, so that only the parts of the body that needed to be moved at a given time (i.e. a mouth, an arm, a head) would be animated.

The rest of the figure would remain on a held animation cel. This allowed a typical 10-minute short to be done with only 1,200 drawings instead of the usual 26,000. Dialogue, music, and sound effects were emphasized over action, leading Chuck Jones, a contemporary who worked for Hanna and Barbera's rivals at Warner Bros. Cartoons when the duo was at MGM (and one who, with his short The Dover Boys practically invented many of the concepts in limited animation), to disparagingly refer to the limited TV cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera and others as "illustrated radio".[11] In a story published by The Saturday Evening Post in 1961, critics stated that Hanna-Barbera was taking on more work than it could handle and was resorting to shortcuts only a television audience would tolerate.[12]

An executive who worked for Walt Disney Productions said, "We don't even consider [them] competition."[12] Ironically, during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Hanna-Barbera was the only animation studio in Hollywood that was actively hiring, and it picked up a number of Disney artists who were laid off during this period. The studio's solution to the criticism over its quality was to go into features. The studio produced six theatrical features, among them higher-quality versions of its hit television cartoons and adaptations of other material. They were also known to have some of their animated cartoons done in Japan and the far east.[13]

The slow rise and fall

In the 1980s, competing studios such as Filmation and Rankin/Bass began to introduce successful syndicated cartoon series based upon characters from popular toy lines and action figures. These included Filmation's He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and She-Ra: Princess of Power and Rankin/Bass's Thundercats. The Hanna-Barbera studio fell behind; for the most part they continued to produce for Saturday mornings, although they no longer dominated the market as before. Hanna-Barbera also aligned themselves with Ruby-Spears Productions, which was founded in 1977 by former H-B employees Joe Ruby and Ken Spears.

Hanna-Barbera's then-parent Taft Broadcasting purchased Ruby-Spears from Filmways (to which Taft had sold syndicator Rhodes Productions several years before) in 1981, and Ruby-Spears often paired their productions with Hanna-Barbera shows (For example, NBC aired The Smurfs, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Snorks in their 80s Saturday morning cartoon lineup).

Taft also bought Worldvision Enterprises in 1979. This company became the syndication distributor for most of Hanna-Barbera's shows throughout the 1980s. It was also during this time that the studio switched from cel animation to digital ink and paint for some of their shows. In addition, both Worldvision and Hanna-Barbera had their own home video label (Worldvision Home Video, Hanna-Barbera Home Video). Many of the studio's shows, films and specials were released by other VHS distributors. Hanna-Barbera followed the lead of its competitors by introducing shows based on familiar licensed properties like The Smurfs, Pac-Man, Mork and Mindy, Snorks, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, Pound Puppies, Richie Rich, Challenge of the GoBots, Laverne & Shirley in the Army, Shirt Tales, The Dukes, Monchhichis, The Little Rascals, The Gary Coleman Show, and Foofur, and also produced several ABC Weekend Specials.

The popularity of The Smurfs inspired new Smurf-type shows The Biskitts and Trollkins, along with a string of 7 new specials (The Smurfs' Springtime Special, The Smurfs' Christmas Special, My Smurfy Valentine, Smurfily Ever After, The Smurfic Games, Tis the Season to be Smurfy) and a TV movie, Smurfquest. Some of their shows were produced at their Australian-based studio, a partnership with Australian media company Southern Star Entertainment, including Drak Pack, The Berenstain Bears, Teen Wolf and almost all of the CBS Storybreak specials. The studio also worked on other special cartoon projects with less fanfare during the late 1980s and early 1990s, such as Rock Odyssey, The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible, The Little Troll Prince: A Christmas Parable, GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords and Star Fairies.

After the success of CBS's hit 1984 Saturday morning cartoon series Muppet Babies, which featured toddler versions of the popular Muppets characters, H-B began producing shows featuring "kid" versions of popular characters, based upon both their own properties (The Flintstone Kids, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo) and properties from other companies (Pink Panther and Sons, Popeye and Son).

In 1985, Hanna-Barbera launched The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, a weekend-only syndication package which introduced new versions of old favorites like Yogi Bear (Yogi's Treasure Hunt) and Jonny Quest (The New Adventures of Jonny Quest) alongside reruns of Saturday morning shows and brand-new originals such as Galtar and the Golden Lance, Young Robin Hood, Paw Paws, Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone, Paddington Bear, Fantastic Max and Sky Commanders along with the block's filler segment HBTV. Joseph Barbera, along with Los Angeles county supervisor Michael Antonovich, did a special project starring Yogi Bear about earthquakes for Yogi Bear's Quakey Shakey Schoolhouse. Also in 1985, DC Comics named Hanna-Barbera as one of the honorees in the company's 50th anniversary publication Fifty Who Made DC Great for its work on the Super Friends series.[14]

H-B also made new shows featuring Scooby-Doo (The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo) and Yogi Bear (The New Yogi Bear Show) along with The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, Wildfire and a revival of The Jetsons, with 51 new episodes featuring a new character named Orbitty. In 1987, Hanna-Barbera started Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10, an anthology series of ten original televised movies based on their popular stable of classic characters (Yogi's Great Escape, The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers, Yogi Bear and the Magical Flight of the Spruce Goose, Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, Rockin' with Judy Jetson, Yogi and the Invasion of the Space Bears, The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound, Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf).

Throughout all of this, both Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears were subject to the financial troubles of parent company Taft Broadcasting, which had just been acquired by the American Financial Corporation in 1987 and had its name changed to Great American Broadcasting the following year. Many of the business deals were overseen by CEO of Taft Broadcasting, Charles Mechem. Along with much of the rest of the American animation industry, Hanna-Barbera had gradually begun to move away from producing everything in-house in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Much of the Hanna-Barbera product was outsourced to studios in Australia and Asia, including Wang Film Productions, Cuckoo's Nest Studios, Fil-Cartoons, Mook Co., Ltd., and Toei Animation.

In 1989, much of Hanna-Barbera's staff responded to a call from Warner Bros. to resurrect their animation department. Producer Tom Ruegger and a number of his colleagues left the studio at this time, moving to Warners to develop hit cartoon programs such as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs.

In the late-1980s and 1990s, the Hanna-Barbera characters were licensed to Universal Studios, who produced the live-action film adaptations (The Flintstones, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas) of The Flintstones, the pre-show and ride film for The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera attraction for Universal Studios Florida and a feature-length version of The Jetsons. Hanna-Barbera teamed with Hallmark Cards to launch Timeless Tales from Hallmark, a series of adaptations based on classic fairy tales (done in live-action/animation) hosted by Olivia Newton-John.

The Turner rebound

David Kirschner was appointed as the head of the Hanna-Barbera studio in 1989, with Hanna and Barbera remaining as co-chairmen[15] In 1990, burdened with debt, Great American put both Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears up for sale. In November 1991, the Hanna-Barbera studio and library, as well as much of the original Ruby-Spears library, were acquired by Turner Broadcasting (which, coincidentally, by that point had also bought the pre-May 1986 MGM library) for $320 million.[16] Turner's president of entertainment Scott Sassa hired Fred Seibert, a former executive for MTV Networks, to head the Hanna-Barbera studio.

He immediately filled the gap left by the departure of most of their creative crew during the Great American years with a new crop of animators, writers, and producers, including Pat Ventura, Craig McCracken, Donovan Cook, Genndy Tartakovsky, David Feiss, Seth MacFarlane, Van Partible, Stewart St. John, and Butch Hartman and new production head Buzz Potamkin.[17] In 1992, the studio was renamed H-B Productions Company, changing its name once again to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. a year later.[18]

In the early 1990s, the studio introduced new versions of classic properties such as Yo Yogi!, Tom & Jerry Kids and its spin-off Droopy: Master Detective. It also assumed production of TBS's Captain Planet and the Planeteers in 1993, renaming it The New Adventures of Captain Planet. Joseph Barbera served as creative consultant for the feature-length film Tom and Jerry: The Movie, released to theaters in 1992. Hanna-Barbera made 13 episodes for the first season of Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventures. The studio also introduced shows that were quite different from their trademark signature cartoons, including Wake, Rattle, and Roll (a.k.a. Jump, Rattle and Roll), SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron, Dumb and Dumber, 2 Stupid Dogs, Fish Police, The Pirates of Dark Water, Gravedale High, Capitol Critters and a new version of The Addams Family.

From 1993 to 1995, Hanna-Barbera produced a slew of new specials and films for television such as I Yabba-Dabba Do!, Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby, A Flintstone Family Christmas, A Flintstones Christmas Carol, Jonny's Golden Quest, Jonny Quest vs. The Cyber Insects, Yogi the Easter Bear, Arabian Nights, Daisy-Head Mayzie, The Halloween Tree and The Town Santa Forgot. A new feature animation division led by David Kirschner produced Once Upon a Forest, which underperformed at the box office when released by 20th Century Fox in 1993. The feature division was spun off into Turner Feature Animation, which produced the two films, The Pagemaster and Cats Don't Dance. Near the end of production on Cats Don't Dance, the studio was folded into Warner Bros. Animation. Also in 1992, Turner launched Cartoon Network, to showcase its huge library of animated programs, of which Hanna-Barbera was the core contributor. As a result, many classic cartoons – especially those by H-B – were introduced to a new audience.

In 1994, The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera finally ended, so that Turner could refocus the studio to produce new shows exclusively for the Turner-owned networks, especially Cartoon Network. In February 1995, Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network launched World Premiere Toons (a.k.a. What A Cartoon!), a format designed by Seibert. The weekly program featured 48 new creator-driven cartoon shorts developed by its in-house staff. Several original Cartoon Network series emerged from the project, giving the studio their first bona-fide mass appeal hits since The Smurfs. The first series based on a World Premiere Toons short was Genndy Tartakovsky's Dexter's Laboratory in 1996.

Others programs followed, including Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, its spinoff I Am Weasel, The Powerpuff Girls, and Courage the Cowardly Dog (though Hanna-Barbera financed the short and was going to convert it into a full series, actual production occurred entirely at creator John R. Dilworth's studio, Stretch Films in New York City). H-B also co-produced several new direct-to-video movies featuring Scooby-Doo with Warner Bros. Animation, as well as other new projects for television such as, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Tom and Jerry: The Mansion Cat and Cave Kids.

After the merger between Turner Broadcasting and Time Warner in 1996, the conglomerate had two separate animation studios in its possession. Though under a common ownership, Hanna-Barbera and Warner Bros. Animation operated separately until 1998. That year, the Hanna-Barbera lot was closed and studio operations were moved into the same office tower (adjacent to the Sherman Oaks Galleria) as the Warner Bros. Television Animation division in Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California.

The Cartoon Network Studios era

Around 1999, the Hanna-Barbera name began to disappear from newer shows from the studio in favor of the Cartoon Network Studios label. This came in handy with shows that were produced outside H-B, but Cartoon Network had a hand in producing, such as A.k.a. Cartoon's Ed, Edd, and Eddy, Kino Films' Mike, Lu and Og, Curious Pictures' Sheep in the Big City and Codename: Kids Next Door, Renegade Animation's Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi and Porchlight Entertainment's The Secret Saturdays, as well as shows the studio continued to produce, like The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy, Samurai Jack, Camp Lazlo, Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Ben 10, Chowder, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Regular Show and Adventure Time (co-produced with Frederator Studios).

When William Hanna died of throat cancer, on March 22, 2001, an era was over. Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase and The Flintstones: On the Rocks featured a dedication to Hanna, but the actual production of Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase was done by Warner Bros. Animation. After 2001, Hanna-Barbera's animation studio was completely folded into Warner Bros. Animation but remained in-name-only, and further Cartoon Network projects were handled by Cartoon Network Studios. Joseph Barbera continued to work for Warner Bros. Animation on projects relating to the Hanna-Barbera and Tom and Jerry properties until his death on December 18, 2006.[19] The films Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! and Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale were dedicated to Barbera.

Although the Hanna-Barbera name remains on the copyright notices of new productions based on "classic" properties like the Flintstones, the Jetsons and others, the studio that produces these works is Warner Bros. Animation. Most Cartoon Network shows previously produced by Hanna-Barbera are copyrighted by the channel itself. Today, Hanna-Barbera is currently an in-name-only unit of Warner's animation division.

List of notable Hanna-Barbera productions

For a complete list of Hanna-Barbera productions, see List of works produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. For a list of Hanna-Barbera TV shows released in DVD season sets, see List of Hanna–Barbera TV shows on DVD.






Programs marked with an asterisk (*) continued production under Cartoon Network Studios following the absorption of Hanna-Barbera into Warner Bros. Animation.

The Hanna-Barbera incidental soundtracks

The HB Productions had different segments and times for incidental tracks production. Between 1957 and 1960, the incidental track was basically by symphonic arrangements, being Ruff and Reddy's series had its own symphonic themes. These themes used in the 1958 and 1959 to 1960's seasons to the first HB shorts with Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks, Snooper and Blabber and Augie Doggie.

From 1959-60 series Loopy De Loop and The Flintstones, softly orchestrated themes, some of them almost sounding concrete music and some played only by accordion, were used in other HB cartons between 1961 and 1963 - like Top Cat, Snagglepuss, Touché Turtle, Wally Gator and the Yogi Bears and Huckleberry Hounds 1961's seasons and all of its segments - and eventually between 1964 and 1967, and rarely then until the eighties. Other incidental tracks, organ music played as The Jetsons score themes and arrangements mostly based on polka music, were used between 1962 and 1967, in cartoons like The Magilla Gorilla Show and its segments.

Due to HB action-adventure series as Johnny Quest, Space Ghost and Herculoids, the action style incidental tracks were created and adopted between 1964 and 1968, also eventually used in cartoons like The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show and Space Kidettes or also some Peter Potamus episodes. In 1967, another incidental tracks, between new polka arrangements and some rock/soul influences, were adopted in several cartoons as Wacky Races, Cattanooga Cats and Josie and The Pussycats. With these themes, other orchestral themes were created for Scooby Doo's incidental tracks. These themes were largely used until 1973.

In the seventies, other orchestral themes, with less creative arrangements in relation to the other described above, were used in 1973 to the eighties, including 1973's Tom and Jerry seasons, new series as Hong Kong Phooey, Jabberjaw, Scooby Doo and Flintstones ~~ 70's and 80's production. In the eighties, the incidental tracks in HB cartoons were made by keyboard arrangements, and it's used until the end of the production company.

The Hanna-Barbera sound effects

Besides their cartoons and characters, Hanna-Barbera was also noted for their large library of sound effects. Besides cartoon-style sound effects (such as ricochets, slide whistles and more), they also had familiar sounds used for transportation, household items, the elements, and more. When Hanna and Barbera started their own cartoon studio in 1957, they created a handful of sound effects, and had limited choices. They also took some sounds from the then-defunct MGM animation studios. By 1958, they began to expand and began adding more sound effects to their library.

Besides creating a lot of their own effects, they also collected sound effects from other movie and cartoon studios, such as Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation, and even Walt Disney Productions. Some of their famous sound effects included a rapid bongo drum take used for when a character's feet were scrambling before taking off, a "KaBONG" sound produced on a guitar for when Quick Draw McGraw, in his Zorro-style "El Kabong" crime fighting guise, would smash a guitar over a villain's head, the sound of a car's brake drum combined with a bulb horn for when Fred Flintstone would drop his bowling ball onto his foot, an automobile's tires squealing with a "skipping" effect added for when someone would slide to a sudden stop, a bass-drum-and-cymbal combination called the "Boom Crash" for when someone would fall down or smack into an object, a xylophone being struck rapidly on the same note for a tip-toeing effect, and a violin being plucked with the tuning pegs being raised to simulate something like pulling out a cat's whisker.

The cartoons also used Castle Thunder, a thunderclap sound effect that was commonly used in movies and TV shows from the 1940s to the 1970s. Other common sounds such as Peeong (a frying pan hitting sound with a doppler effect) and Bilp were used regularly in all of its cartoons.

Starting in the 1960s, other cartoon studios began using the sound effects, including Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Universal Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation, Film Roman, MGM Animation, Cartoon Network Studios, Felix the Cat Productions, Hasbro Studios, Warner Bros. Animation and many others. By the 21st century, almost every animation studio was using the sound effects. Today, like Hanna-Barbera, they are used sparingly, while some cartoons and non-animated series like Warner Bros. Animation's Krypto the Superdog, A&E's Parking Wars, Disney's Bonkers and Spümcø's Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" make heavy use of the classic sound effects, mostly for a retro feel.

Some Hanna-Barbera sounds show up in various sound libraries such as Valentino and Audio Network. Hanna-Barbera Records (the studio's short-lived record division) released a set of LP records in the late 1960s entitled Hanna-Barbera's Drop-Ins, which contained quite a few of the classic sound effects. This LP set was only available for radio and TV stations and other production studios. In 1973, and again in 1986, H-B released a second sound effect record set; a seven-LP set entitled The Hanna-Barbera Library of Sounds, which, like the previous set, contained most of the classic sound effects. Like the previous set, this was only available to production companies and radio/TV stations.

In 1993, the last president of the studio, Fred Seibert recalled his early production experiences with early LP releases of the studio's effects, and commissioned Sound Ideas to release a four-CD set entitled The Hanna-Barbera Sound FX Library, featuring nearly all of the original H-B sound effects used from 1957 to 1990 (including the sounds H-B had borrowed from other studios). The sound effects were digitally remastered, so they would fit easily on new digital soundtracks. A fifth CD was added in 1996, entitled Hanna-Barbera Lost Treasures, and featured more sound effects, including sounds from Space Ghost and The Impossibles.

Also in 1994, Rhino Records released a CD containing some of Hanna-Barbera's famous sound effects, titled simply as Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Sound FX, and also included some answering-machine messages and birthday greetings and short stories starring classic Hanna-Barbera characters, and was hosted by Fred Flintstone. In 1996, it was reissued with the Hanna-Barbera's Pic-A-Nic Basket of Cartoon Classics CD set, which also contained three other CDs of H-B TV theme songs and background music and songs from The Flintstones. Here, the CD was relabeled as The Greatest Cartoon Sound Effects Ever. In the 1980s, Hanna-Barbera slowly began to cease using their trademark sound effects.

This was especially true with the action cartoons of the time such as Sky Commanders. By the 1990s, with cartoons shows such as Fish Police, SWAT Kats and the animated specials The Halloween Tree and Arabian Nights, the sound effects were virtually nonexistent, being replaced with newer, digitally-recorded sounds, as well as other cartoon sound effects such as the Looney Tunes sound library. A few early 1990s cartoons continued to use the sound effects, such as Tom & Jerry Kids and Gravedale High.

By 1996, each cartoon from the company had its own set of sound effects, including some selected from the classic Hanna-Barbera sound library, as well as some new ones and various sounds from Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons. Several of the classic H-B sound effects still pop up from time to time in Cartoon Network Studios' productions. However, on the recent Warner-produced Scooby-Doo shows (What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) and direct-to-video movies, the Hanna-Barbera sound effects are very rarely used.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Hanna, William and Ito, Tom (1999). A Cast of Friends. New York: Da Capo Press. 0306-80917-6. Pg. 81–83
  2. ^ "William Hanna — Awards". allmovie. http://www.allmovie.com/cg/avg.dll?p=avg&sql=2:93352~T3. Retrieved August 12, 2008. 
  3. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Hanna-Barbera Sale Is Weighed". The New York Times. July 20, 1991. http://www.nytimes.com/1991/07/20/business/company-news-hanna-barbera-sale-is-weighed.html?scp=9&sq=Hanna-Barbera&st=cse. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  4. ^ Carter, Bill (February 19, 1992). "COMPANY NEWS; A New Life For Cartoons". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/19/business/the-media-business-turner-broadcasting-plans-to-start-a-cartoon-channel.html?scp=24&sq=Hanna-Barbera&st=cse. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  5. ^ a b Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons. New York: Oxford University Press. Pg. 547–548. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
  6. ^ a b Leonard Maltin (1997). Interview with Joseph Barbera (Digital). Archive of American Television. http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/joseph-barbera. 
  7. ^ a b c d e Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons. New York: Oxford University Press. Pg. 560–562. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
  8. ^ Benzel, Jan (February 23, 1992). "Caveman to Carp: The Prime-Time Cartoon Devolves". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/23/movies/caveman-to-carp-the-prime-time-cartoon-devolves.html?scp=27&sq=Hanna-Barbera&st=cse. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  9. ^ artists | Bubblegum University
  10. ^ William Richter "Action for Children's Television". Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved from The Museum of Broadcast Communications[dead link] on June 9, 2006.
  11. ^ The Golden Era
  12. ^ a b (Dec. 2, 1961) "TV'S Most Unexpected Hit – The Flintstones" The Saturday Evening Post
  13. ^ Basler, Barbara (December 2, 1990). "TELEVISION; Peter Pan, Garfield and Bart – All Have Asian Roots". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1990/12/02/movies/television-peter-pan-garfield-and-bart-all-have-asian-roots.html?scp=45&sq=Hanna-Barbera&st=cse. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  14. ^ Marx, Barry, Cavalieri, Joey and Hill, Thomas (w), Petruccio, Steven (a), Marx, Barry (ed). "Hanna-Barbera Productions DC Rules Saturday Morning" Fifty Who Made DC Great: 41 (1985), DC Comics
  15. ^ David Kirschner named new head of Hanna-Barbera Productions; founders Hanna and Barbera to assume roles as studio co-chairmen. (William Hanna, Joseph Barbera)
  16. ^ Turner lands Hanna-Barbera. (Turner Broadcasting Systems Inc. buys Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. from Great American Communications Co.)
  17. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; TURNER BUYS REMAINING 50% STAKE IN HANNA-BARBERA". The New York Times. December 30, 1993. http://www.nytimes.com/1993/12/30/business/company-news-turner-buys-remaining-50-stake-in-hanna-barbera.html?scp=5&sq=Hanna-Barbera&st=cse. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  18. ^ Carter, Bill (February 19, 1992). "THE MEDIA BUSINESS; Turner Broadcasting Plans To Start a Cartoon Channel". The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/1992/02/19/business/the-media-business-turner-broadcasting-plans-to-start-a-cartoon-channel.html?scp=24&sq=Hanna-Barbera&st=cse. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Cartoon creator Joe Barbera dies". Dallas Morning News / AP. December 18, 2006. http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/ent/stories/121906dnentbarberaobit.1e1b331.html. Retrieved August 16, 2008. 


  • Barbera. Joseph (1994). My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta: Turner Publishing. 157-036042-1
  • Burke, Timothy and Burke, Kevin (1998). Saturday Morning Fever : Growing up with Cartoon Culture. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-16996-5
  • Hanna, William (1999). A Cast of Friends. New York: Da Capo Press. 0306-80917-6
  • Lawrence, Guy (2006). Yogi Bear's Nuggets: A Hanna-Barbera 45 Guide. Spectropop.com


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