William Denby Hanna and Joseph Barbera have had a powerful and lasting impact on television animation. Since the late 1950s, Hanna-Barbera programmes have been a staple of television entertainment, and many of the characters originally created by Hanna and Barbera for the small screen have crossed into film, books, toys, comics and have become cultural icons.
The careers of comedy writer Bill and cartoonist Joe merged in 1940 when they were both working in the cartoon department at MGM (Their first joint effort was a Tom and Jerry cartoon).
When the studio closed its cartoon unit, the duo decided to try their hand at creating material for television. In 1957, they produced Ruff and Reddy, a cartoon tale about two pals – one a dog and the other a cat.
In late 1958, Hanna and Barbera launched Huckleberry Hound.
This half-hour syndicated programme featured, in addition to the title character, such cartoon favourites as Yogi Bear, Pixie and Dixie, Augie Doggie, and Quick Draw McGraw (who went on to an enormously successful series of his own).
In 1960, a survey revealed that more than half of Huckleberry Hound‘s audience were adults. So Hanna and Barbera turned their efforts toward creating a cartoon for prime time. The result was The Flintstones.
The Jetsons, a “space-age” counterpart to The Flintstones, joined its predecessor in prime time in 1962.
Unlike The Flintstones, The Jetsons lasted only one season in ABC’s evening schedule. However, in the late 1960s, both programmes became extremely popular in Saturday morning cartoon line-ups and subsequently in syndication.
Hanna-Barbera Productions (now a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting) boasts a library of several thousand cartoon episodes.
Since the 1970s Hanna-Barbera has produced, in addition to the cartoons, a number of films and specials for television including The Gathering (1977), The Stone Fox (1987), and Going Bananas (1984), as well as live-action feature films including The Jetsons: The Movie (1990), The Pagemaster (1994) and The Flintstones (1994).
Ruff & Reddy 1957-60
Huckleberry Hound 1958-62
Quick Draw McGraw 1959-62
The Flintstones 1960-66
The Yogi Bear Show 1961-63
Top Cat 1961-72
The Jetsons 1962-63
Jonny Quest 1964-65
Fantastic Four 1967-70
Pebbles and Bam-Bam 1971-72; 1975-76
The Flintstones Comedy Hour 1972-74
Yogi’s Gang 1973-75
The New Fantastic Four 1978-79
The Smurfs 1981-90
The Jetsons 1985
Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera 1985
Pound Puppies 1986
The Flintstone Kids 1986-90
Sky Commanders 1987
Popeye and Son 1987