Hanna-Barbera

Mo Frackle

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Apologies if there is already a thread for this topic (believe me, I searched and searched, but found nothing).

Anyone care to share their thoughts on the works of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera?

Lately, I've been getting pretty geeky over the cartoons these two produced.

For me, the best H-B era was the late 50's-mid 60's. I'm ignoring the fantastic Tom and Jerry theatrical toons, as I feel they deserve to be in a category all their own. The early TV HB cartoons were among their best work:

Huckleberry Hound/Pixie & Dixie & Mr. Jinks/Hokey Wolf & Ding-a-Ling
Quick Draw McGraw & Baba Looey/Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy/Snooper & Blabber
Yogi Bear & Boo Boo/Snagglpuss/Yakky Doodle
The Flintstones
Top Cat
The Jetsons


And even though it was a theatrical series, Loopy De Loop.

Sure, the animation was minimal, and maybe the writing was hit and miss. But these early shows had something to offer that made them stand out: likable characters. It's difficult for me to hate Huckleberry Hound, Yogi and Boo Boo, Snagglepuss, etc. This was partially due to the writing of the characters, and partially due to the characters' amazing voice actors. Daws Butler, Don Messick, Mel Blanc, etc. truly were among the most talented actors in the business. The simplistic, yet memorable designs of the characters also made them stand out.

The Wally Gator/Magilla Gorilla/Peter Potamus/Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel period, while decent, seemed to rely a little too heavily on copying HB's earlier work (though to be fair, the Pixie/Dixie/Jinks cartoons were more or less Tom & Jerry with dialogue). Still, there were a few gems to be found.

I can't comment on the action/adventure series of the 60's, as I have yet to watch them.

The 70's was easily HB's worst decade. Suddenly, the studio changed from being about making creative, entertaining shows to making profits. Hanna-Barbera were no longer trend setters. Rather, they tried to cash in on whatever was popular at the time (there were tons of space themed shows once Star Wars came out). And once Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? HB produced an awful lot of copycats (Goober and the Ghost Chasers, The Funky Phantom, Jabberjaw, etc.) Not to mention those awful attempts at bringing back the early HB characters (Yogi's Gang, Galaxy Goof-Ups, The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show/Flintstones Comedy Hour, The New Tom and Jerry Show). And then there were the concepts that were just all around bad. Grape Ape, those animated spin-offs of live action sitcoms, Grape Ape, that Popeye reboot, Grape Ape, Casper and the Angels, Grape Ape, The Roman Holidays, Grape Ape, Grape Ape!

Still, there were a few bright spots. Hong Kong Phooey may have been one of the best series HB had to offer (even if it was the studio's attempt at jumping on the kung fu bandwagon. Wait Till Your Father Gets Home and the lesser-known Were's Huddles sent the studio back to prime time. Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch! expanded on the Yogi Bear concept with decent results. And we can't forget Super Friends.

The 80's and early 90's was definitely a hit-and-miss era. More hit-and-miss animated versions of popular sitcoms (The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang, The Little Rascals, Laverne and Shirley in the Army, Mork & Mindy). More reboots of older cartoons (Pink Panther & Sons, Popeye and Son, The Flintstones Comedy Show, The Flintstones Kids). And a lot of Scrappy-Doo! Not to mention questionable concepts, such as the Pac-Man cartoons (yes, Pac-Man had a cartoon).

But as with the 70's, there were some gems. Yogi's Treasure Hunt, one of many HB all-star crossover series benefited from having people like John Lundin, Earl Kress, and future Tiny Toons/Animaniacs producer Tom Ruegger in the writers' room. When watching Treasure Hunt, one gets the feeling that the writers really loved the old HB characters, and were eager to write for them. But they also got a kick out of poking fun at those characters' clichés (for instance, in one episode, Boo Boo actually asks Yogi why he always talks in rhyme; Yogi sort of gives him an answer - "I only talk this way when I'm in the mood. And now I'm in the mood for food!"). Ruegger would later use this formula on A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. The last season and a half of Treasure Hunt is particularly enjoyable, as episode story lines and jokes tended to be more off-the-wall. One easily sense an early version of the 90s WB era style of writing in these episodes. Not to mention the fact that the animators littered the later episodes with cameos by some of the most obscure HB characters.

The late 80's brought a series of TV movies (the Superstars 10). These flicks are a mixed bag, some enjoyable (The Good, the Bad, and Huckleberry Hound [Tom Ruegger and John Lundin wrote this one as well], The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones, Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats), and some rather bad ones (the Yogi and Scooby movies). When watching these movies, one gets the feeling that the writers (and H & B) struggled to develop a decent story idea into a full 90 minute movie. Many of these movies tend to drag, and are littered with padding. Still, they mark the end of an era. These were among the last projects Daws Butler, Mel Blanc, and George O'Hanlon worked on.

The early 90's brought about a smaller number of cartoons than the previous two decades. Notable series included The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda and a few more attempts at bringing back the older HB characters (Tom & Jerry Kids, Droopy, Master Detective, Fender Bender 500, Yo Yogi!). Yes, trying to make Yogi Bear and co. 'hip' was a dumb idea. But to me, that was the show's only major flaw. The writing was actually decent at times (old reliable favorites like Earl Kress were still on board). And as with Treasure Hunt, Yo, Yogi! featured tons of old HB characters in cameos (I never thought I'd see Wee Willie or Granny Sweet in a post-50's/60's cartoon).

There were also a few decent Flintstones TV movies out at the time, but that mediocre live action movie followed shortly thereafter. Before moving to Cartoon Network, HB's last shows included an animated version of Dumb and Dumber (featuring pre-SpongeBob Tom Kenny and Bill Fagerbakke), and the Ren and Stimpy knock-off 2 Stupid Dogs (also notable for reviving Secret Squirrel).

The early CN era (if you consider those cartoons HB shows) brought about a Renaissance period of sorts. Dexter's Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, The Powerpuff Girls - all great cartoons.

:embarrassed: Phew! That took a lot out of me.

Yeah.... thoughts?
 

mr3urious

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You forgot about their Berenstain Bears series, co-produced by Australia's Southern Star Productions. That one was a great wacky series, and strangely had better animation quality than their usual stuff at the time. Too bad Nelvana's later version came up short in comparison, probably because Stan and Jan weren't around to write it thanks to Canadian content regulations.
 
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scooterfan360

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i love hanna-barbera's work ,and their allies ruby spears work. their cartoons were never a let down, they both have this i don't know how to put this, but they had that certain something. and unlike today's cartoons ,their cartoons made you want to get up on saturday morning. and so did muppet babies ,and when you seen that swirling star, and that giant rs on your tv screen, you knew that you were about to watch a good cartoon.
 

Drtooth

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The 70's was easily HB's worst decade. Suddenly, the studio changed from being about making creative, entertaining shows to making profits. Hanna-Barbera were no longer trend setters. Rather, they tried to cash in on whatever was popular at the time (there were tons of space themed shows once Star Wars came out). And once Scooby-Doo! Where Are You? HB produced an awful lot of copycats (Goober and the Ghost Chasers, The Funky Phantom, Jabberjaw, etc.) Not to mention those awful attempts at bringing back the early HB characters (Yogi's Gang, Galaxy Goof-Ups, The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show/Flintstones Comedy Hour, The New Tom and Jerry Show). And then there were the concepts that were just all around bad. Grape Ape, those animated spin-offs of live action sitcoms, Grape Ape, that Popeye reboot, Grape Ape, Casper and the Angels, Grape Ape, The Roman Holidays, Grape Ape, Grape Ape!
I've been saying that for a while. The 70's weren't that great for animation in general, with some strong exceptions to the rule. Hong Kong Phooey, like you mentioned, was easily their best show of the decade. It's like pre-Inspector Gadget Inspector Gadget type stuff right there. Superfriends, when they started up with the Legion of Doom episodes actually had a mark rise in quality (still campy as heck, though)... and if you want to include Ruby Spears at the time, Plastic Man at the tail end of the decade was surprisingly well done. They managed to work around the no hitting rule by being clever, and it was funny enough you didn't seem to mind. I thank Mark Evanier for that (even though a lot of it was kinda...ehem...borrowed from Get Smart).

They had some really odd stuff in the 80's and early 90's. The Pac-Man show, for all it was, was kinda fun. Not the greatest thing out there, but video game based cartoons were kinda like that back then. Thought of as spinoff merchandise first there to market video games to kids who wouldn't have been interested otherwise.
 

fuzzygobo

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Hanna Barbera always had something great to offer, and I got to enjoy them firsthand from the late 60's onward.

Likable characters (even lovable sometimes)- Top Cat, Augie Doggie, Magilla Gorilla, etc. plus the best voice talent in the busines- Arnold Stang, Allan Melvin, Howard Morris, and the indomitable Paul Winchell.

The 70's might have hit a valley in terms of quality and originality (except Hong Kong Phooey). But when you're only 7 years old, and you only have three channels at your disposal (no cable yet, no On Demand, no videos, no dvd's, no Netflix, just your own imagination to rely on) you'd be surprised how grateful you'll be for what you have.

If you wanted to complain about how bad 70's H-B was, you'd have to wait a few decades.

The last new H-B offering I remember from the 90s was "Swat Kats" ,which I thought was fantastic.
Thank you, Bill and Joe, for a lifetime of friends to share Saturday morning with.
 

Drtooth

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If you wanted to complain about how bad 70's H-B was, you'd have to wait a few decades.
I'll agree that there are some shows that you need to grow up with to appreciate, and ones that look quite awful in retrospect. I'll also add that kids weren't aware of the insane level of censorship from pressure groups was at the time. The 60's Superhero cartoon movement was kinda the medium's downfall in the decade to come.

Looking back soley as someone who didn't live through the decade, but wants to study as many cartoons as possible, the historical context does paint things as unfavorable. The rise of A.C.T. (where the "A" stands for action in a word that means action... great acronym, guys...) and the popularity of Archie like shows (Scooby-Doo was a close, intentional ripoff at one point, but diverged to something better) were a not that great mix. Filmation and HB pretty much ran the decade as rivals, and some of their shows were essentially the same.

However, out of all the Scooby-Doo knockoffs, I was pleasantly surprised by Funky Phantom. Seems that one was the tongue in cheek borderline self satire of the group. Hear me out on this. First they introduce the logic of solving Scooby style "not really a ghost" plotlines...with an actual ghost. Not to mention that the group, unlike the other series, was full of buffoons that were just a bit dysfunctional. Add to that a cat and dog rivalry that managed to subvert the no violence in kid's shows mandate at the time with old school cartoon violence (albeit mild form). If it's not an intentional self-parody, than it certainly comes off as one.
 

GonzoLeaper

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YAY for a Hanna-Barbera thread! I am a longtime fan of cartoons in general, of course- and definitely H-B- toons! :smile::wisdom:

I like Mo Frackle's rundown of their cartoon history- nicely done!:fanatic:
I myself feel that H-B had great cartoons throughout its history. I remember the Swat Kats and 2 Stupid Dogs cartoons of the '90s (I love 2 Stupid Dogs! I found that one hilarious- and it was great to have Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole back.) Also in the '90s- Droopy, Master Detective and Fender Bender 500 (part of Wake, Rattle and Roll) and Yo Yogi! were all great. And Pirates of Dark Water.
And there are tons of favorites for me from the 1980s, 1970s, 1960s and 1950s. To go all the way back, Ruff 'N' Reddy was one of their earliest (if not the earliest) cartoon and that is a cool show too. And certainly, I love Tom & Jerry- in all their forms. (particularly The Tom & Jerry Kids Show- loved watching that series!) And there are so many tons of memorable characters that I love- Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear (LOVE Yogi and the gang), Quick Draw McGraw (I was particularly fond of these cartoons as a kid), Touche Turtle, Yakky Doodle, Snagglepuss, Pixie and Dixe, Auggie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, Top Cat (LOVE this cartoon!), The Flintstones (definitely love them) and The Jetsons (another childhood favorite)- and of course- Scooby-Doo! (I am a huge fan of Scooby-Doo in all his iterations! Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! will always be the classic cartoon, of course- and The New Scooby-Doo Movies is an awesome follow-up series. Too bad that show will probably never get released to DVD in its entirety. And the Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo cartoons are great too- I love the episodes where Scrappy is solving mysteries with the whole Mystery, Inc. gang, as well as the comedic shorts with Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy. The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo is probably one of the darkest shows it's seen (until Scooby-Doo, Mystery Inc. came along). And I LOVE A Pup Named Scooby-Doo- one of the funniest cartoons ever! And What's New Scooby-Doo? and Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get A Clue! are cool too.)
And of course- I can't forget Scooby-Doo's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics! I LOVE that cartoon as well. And definitely Dynomutt, Dog Wonder- that's a great, funny superhero send-up cartoon. Of course, I also think H-B had a ton of great cartoons in the '70s- not just Hong Kong Phooey (though that one is great too.) And yeah- I know there were a lot of Scooby clones- but at least in H-B's case, they were ripping off their own material, rather than someone else's- and honestly, I don't care. I still love Clue Club, Jabberjaw, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, The Funky Phantom, The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, Speed Buggy, etc.
And there were some cool cartoon versions of sitcoms too- Jeannie, The Patridge Family in 2200 AD, and of course- Fonz and The Happy Days Gang, and Laverne & Shirley in the Army (later retitled Mork & Mindy/Laverne & Shirley/Fonz Hour)- I LOVE the sitcoms they're based on, so of course I LOVE these cartoons too. And for a drama series turned into a cartoon- there's also The Dukes (based on The Dukes of Hazzard).
And there were also shows like The Banana Splits, The Skatebirds, The Super Globetrotters and The Robonic Stooges.
I also love the late '70s efforts like Yogi's Space Race, Space Stars, Galaxy Goof-Ups, and Yogi's Gang, of course. Yogi's Treasure Hunt is a fun series too that unites so many H-B characters- and I LOVE seeing such crossovers. The Flintstone Comedy Hour, The Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show, and all the further Flintstones cartoons are great too. I love The Flintstones Meet The Shmoo and The Flintstones Meet The Thing cartoons particularly too. Pink Panther & Sons, Popeye & Son are both fun cartoons too- and particularly The Flintstone Kids- I loved that series as a kid. That show also reintroduced Captain Caveman, who of course was great in his own series with the Teen Angels too. The New Tom & Jerry Show, The Grape Ape Show, Casper and the Angels, The Roman Holidays, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, Those Were the Days, Loopy De Loop, Wally Gator, Peter Potamus, Magilla Gorilla, Atom Ant, Inch High Private Eye and so many others- there were all great too. And I love the Pac-Man cartoon! Waka Waka! (Not to be confused with Wocka Wocka!:embarrassed:)
And I'm definitely a fan of The Superstar 10 movies from the '80s- The Flintstones Meet The Jetsons, Rocking with Judy Jetson, Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, The Good, The Bad and Huckleberry Hound- and definitely all the Yogi Bear and Scooby-Doo movies- LOVE those!:smile:
Top Cat has also recently gotten another movie, which was fun to watch too. For that matter, I also love The Tom & Jerry Movie and the live action Flintstones movies. (The live action Yogi Bear movie- not as much. I'm also not that big on the live action Smurfs movies.)
But The Smurfs cartoons- LOVE the Smurfs! And The Snorks! And Shirt Tales! :smile:
And there's Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har, Hokey Wolf and Dingaling, Snooper and Blabber, Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole and so many others. And I can't forget Josie & The Pussycats and Josie & The Pussycats in Outer Space, since I'm also an Archie fan.:smile:
I also LOVE the Yogi Bear Christmas specials that were done, as well as The Flintstone Christmas specials and TV-movies of the '90s. I really can't think of any Hanna-Barbera cartoon I don't like- they're all so fun and good.
:smile::wisdom::super:
 

Drtooth

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Ugh... I hate Amazing Chan. And I hate that one of my favorite M*A*S*H* actors wrote it.

Seriously. Jamie Farr wrote for the show. If anything could have gotten Klinger that section 8, it should have been admitting to writing that. :big_grin:

The funny thing about Josie and the Pussycats is that it's the only Hanna Barbera produced Archie show. Only then because Filmation had such a workload that it practically let HB get the license. And thus, one of the most intriguing What Ifs in cartoon history came forth. HB turned Josie into a Scooby-Doo ish show, even changing some of the characters to be expies. Which makes you wonder what Filmation would have done had it made the cartoon instead. Obviously, the Archies would cross over a lot. Maybe Sabrina and the Goolies. But certainly the show would be completely different in tone and substance aside from them being a band. Something with more pro-social values maybe, with a more mundane setting. And probably only like 3 voice actors.
 

fuzzygobo

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"Amazing Chan" is cool enough to watch just the opening credits. 60 seconds tells the whole story. THEN wisely move on.

It would be wonderful if they ever release a Banana Splits box set with the original uncut episodes, including the Kellogg commercials (this show was at the time the most expensive hour in Saturday morning history, hence the need for Kellogg's deep pockets). I was just too young to remember its original run (although I was around), but in a syndicated half-hour version that ran in the mid-70's, the original episodes were ran through a Veg-O-Matic and came out as cole slaw.
Someone posted a taste of the original show on YouTube, but the quality is mediocre at best.

If someone ever had the forethought to release the "Scooby Doo, Where Are You?" theme song as a single, they would've blown Three Dog Night and Tommy James and the Shondells out of the water.:smile:
 

Drtooth

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"Amazing Chan" is cool enough to watch just the opening credits. 60 seconds tells the whole story. THEN wisely move on.
I saw an episode via the first volume of the 70's collection (which, frankly, I enjoyed more overall than the 80's collection, but I only got that one for the Ed Grimley cartoon anyway and it was five bucks). From what I can gather there are 3 groups of kids. The older teens that do nothing important but sing bubblegum pop randomly at the beginning and end of the episode without context, the middle kids that actually solve the mysteries, and the youngest ones that just exist to look cute and give one liners. They put too many characters in a single show. Writing, humor, whatever you could say about the show, conceptually they messed up with a large main cast.

But back to that Ed Grimley cartoon (HB produced)... it's amazing how not like a Hanna Barbera cartoon it looks. Certainly they took into consideration Martin's Canadian upbringing since it looks far more like a Canadian cartoon. Seriously, if there's one cartoon that woefully was ahead of its time and just couldn't find an audience it was Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley. It was far too hip for a children's audience though it was one of my favorites when I was a kid.
 
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