Hanna-Barbera

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This article is about the company. For the Editorial Valenciana series of the same name, see Hanna-Barbera (Editorial Valenciana).
Hanna-Barbera
HB logo (Jetsons The Movie).png
The "Swirling Star" logo used for Jetsons: The Movie in 1990.
Formerly H-B Enterprises, Inc. (19571959)
Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. (1959–1991)
Hanna-Barbera, Inc. (1991–1992)
H-B Production Co. (1992–1993)
Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. (1993–2001)
Type In-name-only unit of Warner Bros.
Industry Film
Animation
Television
Predecessor(s) MGM Cartoons
Founded July 7, 1957
Founder(s) William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
George Sydney
Defunct March 12, 2001
Fate Absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation
Successor(s) Studio:
Cartoon Network Studios
Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe
Warner Bros. Animation
Library:
Warner Bros. Television Studios
(through Warner Bros. Animation)
(except licensed properties)
Headquarters Kling Studios, Hollywood, California, U.S. (1957–1960)
Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles, California, U.S. (1960–1998)
Sherman Oaks Galleria, Sherman Oaks, Los Angeles, California, U.S. (1998–2001)
Owner Screen Gems Television (18%, 1957–1966)
Taft Broadcasting (19661987)
Great American Broadcasting (1987–1991)

Turner Broadcasting System (50%, 1991–1993; whole, 1993–1996)
Apollo Global (50%, 1991–1993)
Time Warner/AOL Time Warner (1996–2001)

Parent Taft Broadcasting (1966–1987)
Great American Broadcasting (1987–1991)
Turner Entertainment Co. (1991–1996)
Warner Bros. Animation (1996–2001)
Division(s) Hanna-Barbera Australia (1972-1989)
Wang Film Productions (50%, 19781990s)
Cartoon Network Studios

Hanna-Barbera was an animation studio and production company founded in 1957 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera,[1] with financial backing by film director George Sidney. Prior to its founding, Hanna and Barbera were business partners at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) during the 1940s to 1950s, where they both served as the creators, directors and eventual producers of the Tom and Jerry theatrical animated shorts. When MGM's in-house animation department was shut down in 1957, Sydney—who previously formed a friendship with the two when they worked at MGM—helped form a deal with the producers at Screen Gems,[2] the television arm of Columbia Pictures. After Hanna-Barbera was created, it became one of the first and most successful animation studios to produce exclusively for television.

In its heydey, the company produced many successful animated television series such as The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Flintstones, The Yogi Bear Show, Top Cat, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, and The Smurfs.[3] Hanna-Barbera also gained a record-breaking eight Emmy Awards[4] while they produced numerous feature-length movies and specials.

Hanna-Barbera worked as an in-house studio until the beginning of the 1970s when they outsourced to Australia (which eventually led to its own independent off-shoot known as Hanna-Barbera Australia until the late 1980s), and then to South Korea by the end of the 1970s. They also used other animation outlets in Spain and the Philippines in the 1980s.

Hanna-Barbera had never been an independent studio, always having been a subsidiary of another company. In 1966, Hanna-Barbera was sold to Taft Broadcasting (later known as Great American Broadcasting), until 1991 when it was bought by Turner Broadcasting System. It was finally bought by Time Warner when it merged with Turner in 1996, where it remains today; although only as a brand name. The studio continued to operate as a standalone company until 2001, when it was shut down ten days before Hanna died. It was eventually folded into Warner Bros. Animation, as an in-name-only subsidiary of Warner Bros.

In the 1990s, Hanna-Barbera gained its own spin-off studio with Cartoon Network Studios, which become its own full-fledged studio when Hanna-Barbera was dismantled. In 2021, Cartoon Network Studios Europe rebranded itself as Hanna-Barbera Studios Europe.

History

Early Beginnings

William Denby "Bill" Hanna and Joseph Roland "Joe" Barbera began their partnership when they first met at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1937. Having previous experience in the animation industry since the early 1930s, they worked at MGM's animation department and solidified themselves as workmates for the next six decades. From 1940 to until 1957, they both created and worked on the Tom and Jerry series of theatrical cartoons, centering on the madcap exploits of a cat named Tom and a mouse named Jerry. Hanna supervised in the animation while Barbera did the stories in pre-production.

Tom and Jerry was MGM's most valuable animated property, with the cartoons themselves being substantially successful at the box office. It additionally earned thirteen Academy Award nominations for Short Subjects (Cartoons), with seven of each Tom and Jerry cartoon winning such:[1] 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). Despite this, the producer of MGM's cartoon division, Fred Quimby, received the awards instead of Hanna and Barbera.

Following Quimby's departure in 1955, Hanna and Barbera assumed his position and became co-heads of the MGM cartoon studio, and took over sole production of their Tom and Jerry series. Additionally, the duo directed and produced the short-lived Spike and Tyke cartoons, which ran for two shorts, and supervised in the last seven cartoons Tex Avery directed for the Droopy series. They also did work on other projects, including the animated title sequences and commercials for I Love Lucy.[5] Although they were fairly successful, MGM assumed that re-releasing cartoons was profitable, which eventually resulted in the closure of their animation unit on May 15, 1957.[6] In the meantime during the studio's last year, both men had developed a concept for television, centering on a cat and dog duo, which would later become The Ruff and Reddy Show.[6]

Director George Sidney, who had worked with Hanna and Barbera on several of his movies for MGM (such as in a sequence for 1945 the film Anchors Away, where Jerry interacted with Gene Kelly's character), became their business partner for the formation of their new animation studio. When the two men failed to convince MGM to back their then-upcoming studio, Sidney arranged to have them meet the executives at Screen Gems, who showed interest to their potential.[6] Harry Cohn, president and head of Columbia Pictures, took an 18% ownership to the studio and provided working capital.[2]

On July 7, 1957, H-B Enterprises was founded in rented offices on the lot of Kling Studios at Hollywood (formerly Charlie Chaplin Studios),[5] with Screen Gems becoming its new distributor and licensing agent; effectively handling merchandizing for the studio's animated characters.[7] Sydney and several Screen Gems alumni became members of the studio's board of directors, and the most of the former MGM cartoon staff – which included layout artists Richard Bickenbach and Ed Benedict and animators Carlo Vinci, Kenneth Muse, Lewis Marshall, Michael Lah and Ed Barge – became members at the new studio.[2] Hoyt Curtin, whom Hanna and Barbera first met after he composed a Schlitz beer commercial,[8] was put in charge to compose music for their programs.

New Digs

In 1963, a larger building of the studio was built in Los Angeles, California. The building was designed by architect Arthur Froehlich in a clean Mid-Century Modern style.[9]

Taft, the Great American

In 1987, Taft Broadcasting changed its name to Great American Broadcasting (or Great American Communications). In October 1989, David Kirschner was hired as the new president of Hanna-Barbera,[10] to bring it back out from a state of being "moribund" as Hanna-Barbera hadn't had a hit since The Smurfs.[11] Kirschner would make the studio a valuable asset again that could be sold for the financially troubled Great American,[12][13] To do this, Kirschner announced plans for a theme park inspired by Disney, Hanna-Barbera retail shops, home video programs sold at Hallmark shops, a new film and television banner called Bedrock Productions, and the franchise rights to Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts. They had also sold a new animated series to NBC called Gravedale High, created a new syndicated live-action/animation series called Wake, Rattle & Roll, and had plans in developing a TV series based on Kirschner's own animated film An American Tail.[10]

Great American put up Hanna-Barbera Productions for auction at an asking price of $350-400 million in 1991, with at least twelve entertainment companies bidding, which included the Walt Disney Company, Hallmark Cards,[14] and L'Oréal, and MCA, with the latter coming out on top, perhaps due to their already established relationship with Hanna-Barbera, having a HB-themed attraction at their theme park at Universal Studios Florida, and co-producing and distributing Jetsons: The Movie.[15] UPI reported that MCA had offered the lower price of $175 million on July 18.[16] Although discussions were still ongoing by August 31, the Los Angeles Times revealed that Turner Broadcasting System had bigger plans and a better offer for Hanna-Barbera, which according to sources close to the deal would be $250 million, with help from Apollo Investment Fund. With the Hanna-Barbera library containing more than 3,000 hours of animated programming,[13] TBS could air the cartoons across its cable stations.[16] One problem bidders like MCA would have to navigate through, however, was that Worldvision, via Spelling Productions, owned the domestic and international rights, although MCA seemed confident in being able to deal with this as they had their own distribution system.[15]

In 1993, the troubled Great American eventually filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Turner Planet

Ted Turner launches CN.jpg

On August 31, the Los Angeles Times announced that Turner had entered exclusive negotiations to purchase Hanna-Barbera Productions from Great American, as a joint venture with Apollo Investment Funds. Although no parties involved confirmed a price, sources close to the negotiations claimed that Turner would offer $250 million. They were also considering producing new cartoons based on Hanna-Barbera well-known characters. Turner faced the same prospect of having to deal with Worldvision's ownership of the distribution rights.[16] On September 3, UPI reported that Great American had accepted Turner's bid and written a letter of intent and started formal and exclusive negotiations with Turner for its acquisition. Turner was chosen because Great American chairman Carl Linder felt that the "quality of the TBS organization will assure the continued success of Hanna-Barbera's excellent programming."[14]

In a business report by UPI on October 29, it was announced that Turner Broadcasting System intended to buy Hanna-Barbera Productions from Great American Communications for $320 million. Chairman Ted Turner confirmed plans that he had been considering launching a cartoon channel for its Hanna-Barbera library, as well as plans to buy out Apollo Investment Funds 50% interest.[13] The next day, Turner confirmed that the company and its investment partner had signed a definite agreement that they would pay as much as $320 million to purchase the library and production commitments from Hanna-Barbera Productions. The $320 million payment included $40 million in contingent payments to be paid over an unspecified period. It was also speculated that Turner's plan to launch a channel dedicated to using its large library is to combat Disney Channel and Nickelodeon.[12]

Turner and Apollo Investments would both contribute $50 million each in addition to burrowing $160 million in bank debt. In addition, Turner paid a further $60 million for the distribution rights, which was possible after Spelling Entertainment gave up those rights to Great American for $24 million.[12] The deal was formalized December 4.[17] Turner had plans to integrate Hanna-Barbera into various parts of its organization, which resulted in the duplication of jobs already fulfilled by Turner employees in Atlanta and New York, resulting in the firing of 115 of 457 of Hanna-Barbera's employees at their Universal City-based animation studio. David Kirschner had been promoted from Hanna-Barbera's chief executive to the president of the production division, reporting to Scott Sassa, president of Turner Entertainment.[18]

On October 6, 1992, UPI via Variety, reported that Turner planned on cutting 50-75 staffers at Hanna-Barbera on November 1, due to "farm[ing] out its post-production work to outside firms rather than modernize Hanna-Barbera's post-production equipment." Turner was also pushing Hanna-Barbera into producing the films Once Upon a Forest and The Pagemaster, as well as having a hand in Disney's film Hocus Pocus.[19] UPI reported on December 29, 1993, that Turner bought out Apollo Investment Fund's 50% percent ownership for $255 million.[20]

The Cartoon Network

On February 18, 1992, Ted Turner announced plans for a 24-hour all-cartoon network which would be launched on October 1. The basic cable television channel would be Turner's fifth, joining TBS Superstation, TNT, CNN, and CNN Headline News.[21]

The Turner-Time Warner Merger

The Washington Post reported on September 21, 1995, that Turner Broadcasting System and Time Warner agreed to a $7.5 billion merger deal, which would make them the world's largest media company. Time Warner already owned about 18% of TBS since 1987 when TBS was faltering.[22]

Filmography

1950s

Main article: 1950s

1960s

Main article: 1960s

1970s

Main article: 1970s

1980s

Main article: 1980s

1990s

Main article: 1990s

2000s

Main article: 2000s

2010s

In popular culture

  • In Judge Dredd: The Megazine #13-15, during the "Red Razors" arc, a group of Sov-Block mercenary enforcers called themselves the Spooky Doo Gang, after Mystery Incorporated in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! In issues #14-#15, Daphne and Velma's doppelgangers are called Hannah and Barbara, in reference to William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, respectively.
  • In the movie Adventures in Dinosaur City (aka Dinosaur), there is a parody of The Flintstones called Dino Saur. In the intro, an anthropomorphic dinosaur passes the same Dino-shaped hedge several times in reference to the limited budget Hanna-Barbera had. It also has a goofy-looking caveman in the style of Barney, and a typical attractive woman one could see in any given episode.
  • In the Weekend Update sketch of the Saturday Night Live episode "Miranda Richardson/Soul Asylum," text on the screen reads that Rob Schneider was paid a promotional fee from Hanna-Barbera to speak positively about cartoons after the FFC's announcement that they had passed a vote that cartoons shouldn't be seen as educational.
  • In the letters section of Droopy Issue #1, cartoonist Scott Shaw draws an affectionate caricature of Tex Avery standing outside of his office at Hanna-Barbera, while holding a coffee mug that says "H-B," telling the other employees to call him by his real name Fred (as he did in real life), while dressed as Fred Flintstone.
  • In the Animaniacs segment "Back in Style," Thaddeus Plotz, the CEO of Warner Bros., tries to save the company by loaning off the Warner siblings to Phil and Schmoe, parodies of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, who were known for making cartoons of limited animation.
  • The humans in the animated TV series Krypto the Superdog resembled the cartoonish designs of the humans used in Hanna-Barbera's cartoons such as The Flintstones and The Jetsons.
  • In the George Lopez episode "Leave It to Lopez," Lopez has a bad dream where he and his family are the Jetsons living in Orbit City. Lopez, as Jetson, says he had a terrible time coming home from work because he felt like he was repeatedly going past the same background.
  • In the Drawn Together episode "A Tale of Two Cows," when Live Action Squirrel with Big Balls is chased off, he makes the Hanna Barbera running sound effect.
  • In the Torchwood book Slow Decay, Jack Harkness expressed his dissatisfaction with the TV film Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, marking it as a low point in Hanna-Barbera's output.
  • In the CollegeHumor Original online short "CSI: Scooby-Doo," Mystery Incorporated investigates the rape and death of Velma Dinkley, with Fred Jones suspecting it was a two-man job and asks for the whereabouts of Hanna-Barbera and the Warner Brothers.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Shallow Vows," Stan trips on a harp that produces the "Kabong" sound.
  • The Ricky Gervais Show, a televised adaptation of the podcast of the same name, turns the conversations of Ricky Gervais, Steve Merchant, and Karl Pilkington into literal animated context in the form of characters resembling late 50s-early 60s Hanna-Barbera designs.
  • In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "One Hundred," realizing that their series has reached a hundred episodes, Master Shake demands the network put his team's show in syndication. But this leads to Hundred, a monster shaped like the number 100, on the warpath. In their escape, Master Shake takes the Aqua Teen Hunger Force to a place to hide that's a parody of the Scooby-Doo series called Aqua Unit Patrol Squad with the pilot called "The Bayou Boo-Ya!," which in reality, is what actor Dana Snyder is pitching to the network. It has all the tropes and conventions one would expect, including a reference to the cheapness of the studio reusing backgrounds for characters to run in front of continuously.
  • In the Sons of Anarchy episode "Hands," Potter enters Juice's cell where he has been lent a TV that has the Merrie Melodies theatrical short Bars and Stripes Forever. Not really paying attention, Potter says he is a Hanna-Barbera fan, too, saying Quick Draw McGraw is his favorite. He offers Juice to sign some paperwork that will allow him to leave under the condition that Juice acts undercover. Potter, again not really paying attention or caring what's on, says he'll wait until after The Jetsons is finished for him to decide.
  • In "Episode 18" (series 7) of the UK BBC One Pointless game show, the first round of questions that fell into the "Cartoon" category is Hanna-Barbera cartoon characters, with host Alexander Armstrong showing an image of several of them together. The contestants have to be able to pick out all the obscure characters that 100 anonymous public people had been able to guess.
  • In the Comic Book Men episode "The Clash at the Stash," a seller mentions Hanna-Barbera being part of the Underoos line.
  • In the Family Guy episode "No Country Club for Old Men," Peter tells the family he got tired of not being able to find their luggage, so he tied a "vaguely looking Hanna-Barbera character" to it. True to his word, the family sees a purple rhinoceros come out on the luggage belt, with their luggage roped around it. The rhino angrily quips, "This trip was impoceros!"
  • In the Clarence episode "Spooky Boo," the kids check out a spooky house on Halloween, which old man Howard uses as an excuse to scare the kids while wearing a sheet and making eerie sound effects commonly heard in Hanna-Barbera cartoons, particularly Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! when the kids are running away from monsters.
  • In the Regular Show episode "The Dream Warrior," Rigby and Mordecai help Pops overcome his nightmares by watching Funkie Wunky and the Groovy Gang (a parody of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!), with the only nightmares from that show is the bad animation.
  • In the Legends of Tomorrow episode "Raiders of the Lost Art," Nate christens the main set of villains for the second season to be the Legion of Doom after a Hanna-Barbera cartoon he watched as a kid.
  • In Harley Quinn #64, Harley believes that Justice League Dark is dressed up like Mystery Incorporated because it is a DC/Hanna-Barbera event in reference to the one-shot crossovers DC Comics had been doing at the same time.
  • In the Succession episode "Kill List", Lukas Matsson interjects Roman & Kendall in their deal and ask the two if they had learnt their shady deal tactics at "Hanna-Barbera business school."
  • In the Teen Titans Go! episode "Warner Bros. 100th Anniversary," Starfire was excited to see the Looney Tunes and Hanna-Barbera guests, referring to the latter in her broken English as "the Hanna of Barbera's gang."

The Ren & Stimpy Show

Main article: The Ren & Stimpy Show
  • "Ren's Retirement:" The worm who eats both Ren and Stimpy in the end wears an outfit similar to early Hanna-Barbera funny animal characters, namely Yogi Bear. His voice and mannerisms, however, are a parody of Fred Flintstone.
  • "Stupid Sidekick Union:" At the beginning of the episode Stimpy quits again due to being part of the Stupid Sidekick Union, which Ren mocks him and asks if he will work at "Handle-Barbarian."

The Simpsons

Main article: The Simpsons
  • "The Front:" Roger Meyer Jr.'s notes that animators reuse backgrounds to save cost as he, Bart and Lisa pass by the same door, water cooler and cleaning lady several times. This parodies the fact that Hanna-Barbera reused their backgrounds many times.
  • "HOMЯ:" The voice actor who copies other characters' voices and celebrity voices at the animation festival references how many early Hanna-Barbera "funny animal" characters' voices were often based off popular celebrities of the time.
  • "Grampa vs. Sexual Inadequacy" and "Who Shot Mr. Burns? (Part One):" The couch gag features the family in Hanna-Barbera poses running past the couch several times.

Tiny Toon Adventures

Main article: Tiny Toon Adventures
  • "The Acme Bowl:" The Acme Loo football team lost against the Santa Ana Barbarians, a play on Hanna-Barbera, who resemble cavemen dressed in Fred Flintstone's orange loincloth.
  • "Pledge Week:" In the "It's All Relatives" segment, Babs acts and dresses like Yogi (with an authentic background to match) in the hopes that this impression is what her grandmother wants to see.

47cartoonguy's documentary series

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Part 5 (finale):

References

  1. ^ a b "Hanna and Barbera" Encyclopædia Britannica. Britannica.com. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  2. ^ a b c Hanna, William, Ito, Tom (1999). A Cast of Friends. New York: Da Capo Press. 0306-80917-6. Pg. 81–83.
  3. ^ Holz, Jo (2017). Kids' TV Grows Up: The Path from Howdy Doody to SpongeBob. Jefferson, NC: McFarland. pp. 81–85, 124–126. ISBN 978-1-4766-6874-1. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  4. ^ "William Hanna – Awards" AllMovie. Retrieved November 8, 2023.
  5. ^ a b Barbera, Joseph (February 26, 1997). "Leonard Maltin interviews Joseph Barbera". Television Academy Foundation. Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  6. ^ a b c Barrier, Michael (2003). Hollywood Cartoons: American Animation in Its Golden Age. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-1980-2079-0.
  7. ^ Rogers, Lawrence H. (2000). History of U. S. Television: A Personal Reminiscence. Bloomington. IN. USA: AuthorHouse. pg. 444-447.
  8. ^ Gary Karpinski - email interview with Hoyt Curtin, 1999. Retrieved December 9, 2023.
  9. ^ "Hanna-Barbera Building". Los Angeles Conservancy. Retrieved October 23, 2022.
  10. ^ a b Sanchez, Jesus (November 16, 1989). "Like Disney, Hanna-Barbera will diversify into theme parks and retail.". Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  11. ^ Lev, Michael (July 28, 1991). "Making a Difference; On the Block: Yogi & Co.". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2024.
  12. ^ a b c Lippman, John (October 30, 1991). "Turner Is Buying Hanna-Barbera Film Library". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  13. ^ a b c McNary, Dave (October 29, 1991). "Turner to buy Hanna-Barbera for $320 million". UPI. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  14. ^ a b (September 3, 1991). "Great American to sell Hanna-Barbera". UPI. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  15. ^ a b Citron, Alan, Lippman, John (July 18, 1991). "MCA in Talks to Purchase Hanna-Barbera". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  16. ^ a b c Citron, Alan (August 31, 1991). "Turner in Negotiations to Buy Hanna-Barbera". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  17. ^ (December 4, 1991). "Hanna-Barbera Is Now a Turner Property". The Associated Press. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  18. ^ Lippman, John (December 7, 1991). "Turner Fires a Fourth of Hanna-Barbera Staff". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 9, 1991.
  19. ^ (October 6, 1992). "TBS may cut 75 jobs at Hanna-Barbera". UPI. Retrieved February 18, 2024.
  20. ^ .(December 29, 1993). "TBS buys remaining interest in Hanna-Barbera for $255 million". UPI. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  21. ^ (February 19, 1992). "Ted Turner to Launch All-Cartoon Network". The Associated Press. Retrieved February 9, 2024.
  22. ^ Farhi, Paul (September 22, 1995). "Time Warner, TBS Agree on $7.5 Billion Merger". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 9, 2024.