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Rest in peace, Joe Barbera
December 18, 2006 5:35 PM   Subscribe

The last of the great animation directors has died. Joe Barbera was half of the Hanna-Barbera duo that created the Oscar-winning Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM. When that studio closed, they learned how to do cartoons for television on a much smaller budget, and gave us so many memorable characters. Mark Evanier worked for Barbera, and is sharing his memories on his always excellent blog.
posted by evilcolonel (77 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by eriko at 5:40 PM on December 18, 2006


Aww crap.
posted by nightchrome at 5:43 PM on December 18, 2006


Actually, one more thing -- those of you that dare to snark at Tom and Jerry need to go watch Mouse in Manhattan again.
posted by eriko at 5:43 PM on December 18, 2006


...and animation loses another one of its pioneers.

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posted by May Kasahara at 5:51 PM on December 18, 2006


My gut reaction is to offer a '.' with a snark against Tom & Jerry. But before I put finger to keyboard I had a think and while I still find Tom & Jerry boring and even perhaps insufferable, the truth is that it was amazing for its day and it still is a landmark in animation.

Despite the questionable comedic value of Tom & Jerry, the fact is that Joseph Barbera was one half of a team who went on to create the cartoons that defined my childhood and my morning viewing almost exclusively for the best part of probably ten years. They inspired in me, and no doubt in many of todays cartoonists, a real desire to draw and to emulate the trappings of Snags, Huck and Mr Jetson. Hell, The Flintstones all but inspired The Simpsons (right down to its lengthy run and sucktitude in its later years) so frankly the man deserves one hell of a lot of respect for that alone.

And I feel that he has gotten that here today. In what is no doubt a Metafilter rarity, we have here an obituary post that is more than just a single link newsfilter post and actually gives some context and meat to this sad and tragic news. Well done, evilcolonel. Well done.

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posted by Effigy2000 at 5:53 PM on December 18, 2006


My son and I were watching an old Yogi Bear cartoon last night and I all but lost it when Yogi's ass started making that ludicrous drumming noise when he strolled about. It was one of those forgotten things from my childhood that came rushing back provoking much hilarity! Good times.
posted by Tim McDonough at 5:54 PM on December 18, 2006


Oh, and the always excellent animation blog Cartoon Brew now has a post up with remembrances of Joe Barbera (it'll be updated continuously).
posted by May Kasahara at 5:55 PM on December 18, 2006


Wow. Just heard about this on the radio, then I bring up MeFi and it's here. That sucks.

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(Good post, btw)
posted by brundlefly at 5:59 PM on December 18, 2006


Other Tom and Jerry cartoons that stand amongst the classics. "The Cat Concerto", "Toché, Pussy Cat," "Pecos Pest," "Quiet, Please" and "Solid Serenade"
posted by eriko at 6:04 PM on December 18, 2006


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posted by BoringPostcards at 6:11 PM on December 18, 2006


aww. Tom and Jerry weren't pleasing to me but are deeply embedded childhood memories. The list of Hanna Barbera cartoons is huge. Among the ones I did like are:
Huckleberry Hound (1958)
Pixie & Dixie with Mr Jinx (1958)
Augie Doggie & Doggie Daddy (1959)
Quick Draw McGraw (1959)
Yogi Bear (1960)
Flintstones (1960)
Snagglepuss (1960)
Top Cat (1961)
Wally Gator (1962)
Jetsons (1962)
Magilla Gorilla (1963)
Ricochet Rabbit & Droopalong (1963)
Adventures of Jonny Quest (1964)
Atom Ant (1965)

Joe Barbera



Thanks especially for The Jetsons, Top Cat, Yogi, Quick Draw McGraw and The Flintstones. Life would have been less fun without them.
posted by nickyskye at 6:23 PM on December 18, 2006


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he filled our childhoods with great stuff
posted by amberglow at 6:40 PM on December 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


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My best recommendation as a tribute is to get a nice DVD set of Tom&Jerry cartoons, or Yogi Bear or Flintstones, depending on your persuasion, and share them with your kids/nieces/nephews etc.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:42 PM on December 18, 2006


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Ditto on Flintstones and Jetsons.
posted by zoogleplex at 6:44 PM on December 18, 2006


oops, the image should've turned up:


posted by nickyskye at 6:50 PM on December 18, 2006


BLF: I have someone on here (I don't remember who) to thank, when they mentioned that they got a T&J DVD set off eBay for cheap from someone in China.

I did a couple searches, found (presumably) the same thing they'd bought, ordered it (~$20 shipped), and now I have a 98% complete T&J collection (140 episodes).
posted by mrbill at 6:52 PM on December 18, 2006


Man, Top Cat was my main man!

So long, Joe, and thanks.

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posted by trip and a half at 7:01 PM on December 18, 2006


And Hayao Miyazaki has retired. Luckily it looks like his son will be taking up the torch.
posted by Drexen at 7:05 PM on December 18, 2006


Bah, sentimental boomer nostalgia. Hanna Barbera made cheap crass witless cartoons. I grew up with them too. Yogi Bear and Boo-boo? Quick Draw McGraw? They dominated TV cartooning and it was a long bleak stretch until, when, the Simpsons? Their best stuff was cartoon versions of other people's work, e.g., flintstones = honeymooners. The Jetsons was fresh at first but the jokes ran out fast. Excuse me, I forgot the great Huckleberry Hound. Hanna Barbera totally sold out.

condolences to the family, but the work after Tom and Jerry was shlock.
posted by cogneuro at 7:06 PM on December 18, 2006


He got the tribute he earned in the final scenes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
posted by crispynubbins at 7:10 PM on December 18, 2006


And let's not forget Space Ghost. Thanks for fueling the fires of my childhood imagination, Joe.
posted by QuestionableSwami at 7:11 PM on December 18, 2006


condolences to the family, but the work after Tom and Jerry was shlock.
posted by cogneuro at 7:06 PM PST on December 18


When you're dead and gone, here's hoping someone points to this post and pens something on the order of, "Here lies cogneuro, yet another negative, arrogant, myopic, mouthbreathing intraweb troll. Monstrously, inappropriately critical; enjoyed pissing on the dead. He never made a mark on anything. Really, it's best that you just keep on moving to the next headstone."
posted by frogan at 7:17 PM on December 18, 2006 [2 favorites]


H-B was, like, 80 percent of my childhood.

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posted by hifiparasol at 7:19 PM on December 18, 2006


cogneuro, did you think that about them when you were young? I imagine my childhood would have been filled with endless Abbott and Costello and other live-action schlock reruns (definitely worse than H-B stuff for the most part) if these cartoons hadn't existed. I treasure Sid & Marty Krofft stuff too, but it wasn't art, nor did they pretend it was--it was fun entertainment for kids like these were. H-B pioneered the cheap animation we see everywhere, and it opened the way for an explosion of it--some good, some shit, and some just fun.
posted by amberglow at 7:19 PM on December 18, 2006


It's actually fascinating to see how little needed to be animated/changed for each frame for real characters to shine thru and for the stories to get told. (I bet the SouthPark guys absorbed tons of H-B when they were starting.)
posted by amberglow at 7:22 PM on December 18, 2006


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posted by alms at 7:22 PM on December 18, 2006


Scooby Doo too! Scrappy was crappy, but Scooby Doo was teh dog!

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posted by susanbeeswax at 7:30 PM on December 18, 2006


I read Joe Barbera's autobiography when I was in grade school and I was amazed at how much passion and excitement he had for cartoons. It was one of the things that made me want to draw cartoons. For better or worse it's ludicrous to suggest Barbera wasn't one of the ten most influential people in the American television industry. He lived a life doing what he loved.

Exit. Stage left.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:30 PM on December 18, 2006


It's actually fascinating to see how little needed to be animated/changed for each frame for real characters to shine thru and for the stories to get told.

That's partly because they were great designs that belied their limited movement. But it also owes a lot to the tremendously talented voice actors that gave the characters life -- Daws Butler, Don Messick, Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, and on and on.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:31 PM on December 18, 2006


When its my time to die I want to hear that wild drum sound followed by a ricochet bullet. My legs and feet in a blurry circle yet my body and arms stiff. Maybe tipping a straw hat. Then whoosh off-frame, stage left.

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posted by hal9k at 7:53 PM on December 18, 2006


the Hair Bear Bunch is the Sistine Chapel of the 20th Century

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posted by matteo at 7:59 PM on December 18, 2006


(Drexen, Miyazaki has another film due out in 2008. He makes a lot of films for a retired guy <smiley face> )
posted by lekvar at 8:13 PM on December 18, 2006


Hmm Frogan has called me name for strongly wording an opinion. Yippie yi yo kay yay!

Amberglow. good question. I'm sure I watched it all, alas That's what was on. Except for reruns of Warner Bros. cartoons, which I liked a lot more from a young age. And I have enjoyed watching my own kids get familiar with the classic WB stuff. OK, I remember the Flintstones being quite a sensation when it came out (that's how old I am). But Hanna Barbera the company put out a lot of low grade stuff. I think the wikipedia article is pretty fair.

Nostalgia aside.
posted by cogneuro at 8:27 PM on December 18, 2006


A . for those great Saturday mornings of yesteryear, when all I needed were a couple of chairs & a blanket to make a fort, a TV playing H-B cartoons, and mom and dad still asleep.

(And to those that snark about T&J - you obviously don't remember being 5 as well as I do.)
posted by bashos_frog at 8:40 PM on December 18, 2006


I recently learned about Hanna-Barbera's influence in an animation course, and all of their stuff, good and bad, is essential to animation history. Also, don't forget that some of Adult Swim's best shows owe everything to h-b.

Tom and Jerry is amazing, RIP Joseph Barbera.
posted by johndog at 8:42 PM on December 18, 2006


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(And a Ghibli Earthsea? Sounds good to me—especially after the hash that the Sci Fi channel made out of the book).
posted by Iridic at 8:44 PM on December 18, 2006


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posted by Smart Dalek at 8:46 PM on December 18, 2006


Wow, Marty Nodell last week, and Joe Barbara this week...I don't cartooning can afford the inevitable third.

*sniff*
posted by dejah420 at 8:51 PM on December 18, 2006


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posted by nooneyouknow at 9:22 PM on December 18, 2006


In the grand history of cartoon animation, there are a few themes. Disney went towards film while WB and MGM perfected the eight-minute short. But H-B put cartoons on television. The latter is why Adult Swim exists, and why Fox's Sunday night schedule has 90 minutes of animation.

I don't think it's unfair to point out the chaff while celebrating the wheat. When you go to TV, that's what happens, especially in a format that lacked the computing power that frees animators today. And while you can argue that H-B's crappy stuff set the trend for the even crappier stuff of the 80s, it never quite descended to that level. Although Scrappy Doo tried.

I have fairly pure tastes: the Looney Tunes animators will always rank higher in my estimation. But heck, I pretended to be Hong Kong Phooey in my misspent youth, and always wondered why the Laff-a-lympics rarely got shown on the BBC, until I got to see it again in my cynical old age. Also, 'Stop The Pigeon'.
posted by holgate at 9:32 PM on December 18, 2006 [1 favorite]


"How much is that gorilla in the window?" Take our advice, at any price, a gorilla like Magilla is mighty nice. Gorilla. Magilla Gorilla for sale.

Some of the best themes were from Hanna Barbera cartoons.

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posted by DonnieSticks at 9:39 PM on December 18, 2006


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posted by moonbird at 10:35 PM on December 18, 2006


I'm sure I watched it all, alas That's what was on. Except for reruns of Warner Bros. cartoons, which I liked a lot more from a young age.
Us too--we lived for Bugs (that's where we first heard classical music too).
We did know tho, that Bugs was old and made a million years ago, as opposed to all the Hanna-Barbera stuff--the slang, the look of it all, the clothes and cars and everything--HB stuff was new and made specifically for us right then sitting in the living room watching it--from the bellbottoms to the afros to the "groovy" music and bands (even when they were in outer space). : >
posted by amberglow at 10:50 PM on December 18, 2006


In case anyone wants to listen to the music themes from those Hanna Barbera cartoons... Wally Gator, Quickdraw McGraw, The Flintstones, Top Cat, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Magilla Gorilla, Atom Ant..

A full roster at this great site, Mike’s classic Cartoon Themes.
posted by nickyskye at 10:57 PM on December 18, 2006


(I would have loved to have asked him what was up with all the ascots on all the lead guys--did anyone ever ask?)
posted by amberglow at 11:07 PM on December 18, 2006


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Why does it feel like I'm putting my childhood away?
posted by Sparx at 11:45 PM on December 18, 2006


Top Cat was genius.
posted by PenDevil at 11:56 PM on December 18, 2006


Top Cat!
The most effectual Top Cat!
Whose intellectual close friends get to call him T. C.
Providing it’s with dignity.

Top Cat!
The indisputable leader of the gang.
He’s the boss, he’s a whip, he’s the number one pip.
He’s the most tip top, Top Cat.

Yes he’s a chief, he’s a king,
But above everything,
He’s the most tip top,
Top Cat. Top Cat!


R.I.P.

Thanks for the links to the themes, nickyskye!
posted by trip and a half at 1:00 AM on December 19, 2006


Bah, sentimental boomer nostalgia.

Born in 1978, myself, so no boomer here. Hanna-Barbera's cartoons will have a place in my heart forever. I fondly remember sitting at the TV before and after school in the 80's watching endless reruns of Quickdraw McGraw, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Scooby Doo, and so many more. Hell, I'm willing to bet I saw just about every Flintstones episode at least once during my college years - I watched it at lunch EVERY day. Yeah, watching some of them today isn't all that entertaining (although, I have to admit that I still absolutely LOVE Tom & Jerry, and I'll watch it whenever I catch it on Boomerang here), but they entertained the hell out of me when I was a kid, and I hope that my kids will find them as enjoyable.
posted by antifuse at 3:16 AM on December 19, 2006


He was a legend of the Golden Age of cartoons. Remember who was responsible for GI Joe? Transformers? Masters of the Universe? Even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?

Now who was responsible for Yogi Bear, Quick Draw, Scooby Doo, The Flintstones, Tom and Jerry? Yeah, it's like that.

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posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:25 AM on December 19, 2006


About those ascots, amberglow (and the shirtcuffs, bowties, collars, muzzles, five o'clock shadows, etc, etc): Hanna & Barbera's biggest impact on animation was in the way they produced their cartoons. When HB was contracted to do shorts for TV, they were under financial restraints far greater than what they'd faced even during the dark last days of the MGM theatrical shorts. Their solution was to use a kind of 'assembly line' animation, where the characters were designed so that they could be broken down into a number of elements.

Say if Top Cat is standing still, but talking and gesturing w/ one hand: the bottom cel level would be a static painted and inked drawing of his headless body, the next level might be his featureless head, another level would be the gesturing hand, and the two top levels would be a series of 'muzzles' with mouth drawings and a set of eyes with extra drawings for blinks. (If you use layers in Photoshop this might sound familiar.) The cuff and collars broke up the lines of the character's body so that inconsistancies in the paint colors (due to the layers of the cels' acetate film) wouldn't be so obvious, and the studio could save money on paint, ink and acetate.

The system is still used in a lot of studios (the idea is a big part of the way flash animation works, I think.) Their design sense is what still floors me, though. That mix of minimalism, function and appeal is a delight and an inspiration.

BTW, Joe Barbera's autobiography is just a gas.
(Sorry about the legnth. And-)

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posted by maryh at 4:35 AM on December 19, 2006


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p.s.:That's interesting, maryh-- I didn't know that.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:01 AM on December 19, 2006


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posted by DragonBoy at 6:39 AM on December 19, 2006


thanks, maryh! It was always obvious that Alan of Josie and the Pussycats and Freddie of Scooby Doo, and even the guy in the sputtering car show and the fake Evil Knievel guy were all basically the same.
posted by amberglow at 6:46 AM on December 19, 2006


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posted by DrSkrud at 7:07 AM on December 19, 2006


funny cartoons.

also..."what's jumpin' chick?" always makes me laugh.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:24 AM on December 19, 2006


How Barbera inspired Aardman Animations' Peter Lord
posted by Tuffy at 8:38 AM on December 19, 2006


Interesting comment maryh. Thanks. It's so nice to know how things work.

Never thought I'd think so much about TV shows of yore but cogneuro's comment expressed some of my own ambivalence about Hanna Barbera cartoons. My vintage animation preferences are for a lot of detail with rich backgrounds, varied, deep colors, intriguing stories. It never dawned on me that the H-B minimalist images were based on economics. I do think the Wikipedia page about the H-B productions is fair. That said, I agree with Peter Lord's opinions about H-B work, that it was modern.

The H-B cartoons portrayed a kind of post World War II social sophistication that came through those minimalist images, however not with emotional depth. Before this thread I never thought much about H-B cartoons being animated sit-coms, which is now quite obvious. They weren't I Love Lucy style but more Dobie Gillis like, quite anti-authoritarian with the underlying presumption that kids weren't idiots but smart.
posted by nickyskye at 10:19 AM on December 19, 2006


"The system is still used in a lot of studios (the idea is a big part of the way flash animation works, I think.)"

No thinkin', maryh; that's exactly how most Flash animation is done. Therefore H-B are also the fathers of some very modern animation techniques, and lots of people owe them gratitude for their livings.

"It never dawned on me that the H-B minimalist images were based on economics."

Pretty much everything in animation is based on economics these days! Union scale for animators is about $1,500 per week right now (in the US anyway), with more experienced people (art directors, directors, designers) making $2,500, $3,000, sometimes more per week. A show like The Simpsons costs more than $500,000 per episode and takes 26 weeks to turn around... with a US staff of 40-50 people all making that much money.

That's why Flash work is getting so popular, and one reason why South Park does so well - the production costs are a fraction of traditional hand-drawn work (SP is all done in Maya, a 3D CGI app in which they animate flat "cutouts"), and the turnaround time is much much shorter (SP's turnaround averages only 6 weeks!), which further minimizes cost.

H-B turned out a ton of crappy cartoons (and a few good fun ones) back in the Sat AM days of yore... but the studio did contribute some important things to animation. I have a couple of friends who worked there for many years back in the day, and they said it was both a grueling hack factory and a lot of fun, paradoxically...
posted by zoogleplex at 11:34 AM on December 19, 2006


and as that lovable pig says...th...th...th...that's all folks (looney tunes) r i p
posted by baker dave at 11:42 AM on December 19, 2006


Their design sense is what still floors me, though. That mix of minimalism, function and appeal is a delight and an inspiration.

Except that wasn't Hanna-Barbera's innovation. That was UPA, United Productions of America. The cartoon that really broke limited animation into the mainstream was "Gerald McBoing-Boing" -- which won the Academy Award for Best Animation in 1951 for UPA.

UPA's other works didn't fare as well, though Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol is somewhat of a classic. But to credit H-B with bringing limited animation to the fore is a mistake. UPA broke that mold, H-B followed only because they had to -- both because of the stylistic influence of UPA, and because of the cost of traditional theatrical animation, which was abandoned by almost everyone by 1955. Wikipedia notes the cost discrepancy. H-B would spend $40,000 dollars in the late 1940s making an 8 minute Tom and Jerry short -- and the exact same amount making a Josie and The Pussycats 22 minute TV show in 1970.

Indeed, by 1980, H-B had given up what had become their great stylistic mark -- the incredible sound effects library that they'd built up over the decades. Really, by 1980, H-B wasn't leading, they were just churning out frames.
posted by eriko at 1:11 PM on December 19, 2006


factory or not, H-B must have been an excellent training ground.
posted by amberglow at 1:13 PM on December 19, 2006


Thanks for those links, NickySkye. That Japanese short was wonderful!

Before this thread I never thought much about H-B cartoons being animated sit-coms, which is now quite obvious.

Those early TV shows definitely were, and a lot of the later ones were just kiddy knock-offs of prime time shows. Anyone remember LaVerne and Shirley in the Army? (My husband claims that Top Cat was based on Phil Silvers from Sgt Bilko, and he's usually right about these things.)

I love the Tom And Jerrys' from the '40's and '50's. I admire the early TV shows for thier design and the sometimes clever animation & direction under such constraints. But I gotta admit, a lot of those shows were just talky and boring as hell. And I'm surprised no one has mentioned this yet, but another of HB's most lasting contributions to animation was the laugh track.
The Laugh Track.
On cartoons.
I remember watching Scooby Doo as a kid and just being tormented: How can there be an audience? Where are these people? Are they watching this show in a movie theater? Why are they laughing at jokes that aren't even remotely funny? Are they being forced? Are they drunk? Are they crazy?? It was beyond absurd, and it covered for a lot of really lousy writing. Years later when the Simpsons was ready to begin its run, I remember James Brooks reassuring an interviewer that even without a laugh track, people would know where the funny parts were in a Simpsons show. It took, what? 30 years? but the Simpsons finally killed that convention off for good.

I'm sorry Joe's gone, but I really needed to get that off my chest. Whew.
posted by maryh at 1:19 PM on December 19, 2006


eriko, I wasn't just talking about the minimal design, I meant characters designed minimally to accomodate very limited animation. Gerald McBoingBoing has a wonderful design but he's still pretty fully animated. UPA wasn't being cheap, they were being modern. HB was trying be do both. (early on, anyway.)
posted by maryh at 1:23 PM on December 19, 2006


did you find it weird, mary? all tv shows had laugh tracks--every single one (even regular shows and game shows with actual audiences were sweetened heavily--all that "filmed before a live audience" stuff)--i think my brothers and i found it normal--it was what all of tv was like.
posted by amberglow at 1:52 PM on December 19, 2006


I guess I could always imagine that a live action show, even if it was obviously shot on location instead of on a soundstage, could concievably have an audience around to laugh at it. But cartoons? I didn't really understand how they were made, but I was sure people had to draw them first. I just couldn't figure out where the audience was coming from- were they hanging over the artists' shoulders, waiting for them to finish painting a scene so they could bust out laughing? Was a studio audience watching the cartoon on tv live, and I was watching them watching it? I dunno, it just troubled me. I was a sensative child.
posted by maryh at 2:05 PM on December 19, 2006


I think that the discussion in this thread raises valid point - that there's a fine line between "doing your best to achieve maximum output with a limited budget" and "plain old selling out." As good as it was, it was very obviously mass-produced entertainment. Would we really have been worse off if there were, say, 4 or 5 really good H-B series as opposed to 295 mediocre ones and 4 or 5 really good ones?

There's no doubt that H-B were enormously influential and popular, but let's face it, a lot of it was crap. I mean, I remember this one cartoon called Jabberjaw, which was, like, Scooby Doo only with a shark instead of a dog. I think they even used the same voices.

As far as the "not funny" thing goes - I never though Tom and Jerry was funny, not even when I was a little kid. I also never thought that Looney Tunes were laugh-out-loud funny, and were at best "clever-funny." To be honest, I think the earliest cartoon I actually laughed at was probably Ducktales or Tiny Toons.

And then, of course, Ren and Stimpy and the Simpsons came along and changed everything.
posted by Afroblanco at 3:03 PM on December 19, 2006


Boy, has this been an interesting and educational thread. Just learned about limited animation and the impact of Gerald McBoingBoing on the history of cartoons. I always wondered who the hell invented that awful laugh track thing and when it started. ugh. It seemed so weird to do that to a show. I was asked recently by a guest from India about why it was used and had no answers, now I do. Thinking back about hearing it on the Flintstones way back when, it made it sound as if the cartoon were a more adult sit-com, as if it were about non-animated people.

For those missing early Tom and Jerry: the YouTube results.

maryh, While watching cartoons with a laugh track, I vaguely remember having similar thoughts about Who are these invisible laughers? But then, as a kid listening to a $5 transistor radio under my pillow in the early mid-60's I thought that each song on the radio was played live, with the real bands in the studio. (Imagining it must have been quite crowded at the radio station, lol, what with the bands all coming and going like that.) Is the wonderful Dot and the Line cartoon, a limited animation?

A cool blog about 50's animation, Cartoon Modern.

Those H-B sound effects were/are so excellent.
posted by nickyskye at 4:37 PM on December 19, 2006


Afro, Flintstones and Jetsons were the first cartoons made specifically for prime-time viewing (they tried later in the 70s too with Wait Til Your Father Gets Home but it totally sucked), so laugh tracks for them makes tons of sense. I've read that they actually do help trigger laughter--it's some social cohesiveness thing--we want to join in.

oh, speaking of not understanding how shows/laugh tracks worked, imagine if there was no tv and only radio--my mother went to a live kid's radio show once (or a taping of one--i never knew) when she was young and was so shocked/disappointed she made my grandmother take her out--they weren't even dressed up in costumes or anything and were only standing in front of mics talking, apparently.

They must have made 1700 variations of Scooby Doo--i can just imagine the meetings--"how about a talking car helping the gang solve mysteries?" "perfect!" "how about a talking shark ...?" "perfect!" "how about a Revolutionary-era ghost?--a Funky Phantom!" "perfect!" "how about a ..."
posted by amberglow at 5:08 PM on December 19, 2006


"oh, and they sing in a band!" "perfect!"

"and they go into outer space and meet monsters all the time?" "perfect!"

"and they're actually Charlie Chan's children and they all sing in a band together--the Chan Clan!" "perfect!"

"and they all hang out with a Evel Knievel-type daredevil!"
"perfect!"

"and this time, Shaggy is Southern, and Daphne has dark hair!"
"perfect!"
...

; >
posted by amberglow at 5:12 PM on December 19, 2006


(in a way, it's just like the 20 different CSIs and Law and Orders today)
posted by amberglow at 5:14 PM on December 19, 2006


Oh amberglow, you're killing me!

There was one called Schmoo or something that had a giant white testicle shaped thing as Scooby, with a crew of comic book-writing, crime-fighting kids. And wasn't there one where the Three Stooges were crime fighting robots?? It's like they had a big jar of paper slips with random nouns written on them that they'd just pull out and write a show around!

Wasn't there a Gilligan's Island in space, too, or did I just dream that?
posted by maryh at 5:26 PM on December 19, 2006


maryh, the Schmoo has a much longer history than the HB show would lead you to believe (longer, indeed, than HB itself, having begun in the mid-30's). It/they started as a part of L'il Abner. Don't blame the poor Schmoo for HB's weird character treatment.
posted by lekvar at 6:09 PM on December 19, 2006


And my favorite worst H-B Sat AM cartoon:

The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang.

Gawd. Awful.

Gimme Space Ghost and the Galaxy Trio anytime!
posted by zoogleplex at 6:16 PM on December 19, 2006


wasn't it Gilligan's Island in the future in space? : >

i realized something else too--i think H-B didn't jump on the product becomes cartoon bandwagon until very very late--something in their favor, even if they did recycle the same concepts over and over.
posted by amberglow at 8:28 PM on December 19, 2006


did they do the Brady Kids and Jackson 5 cartoons too?
posted by amberglow at 8:30 PM on December 19, 2006


Wasn't there a Gilligan's Island in space, too, or did I just dream that?

That was no dream -- Gilligan's Planet was all too real.
posted by gigawhat? at 10:53 AM on December 20, 2006


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