If It Weren't For You Meddling Kids!

Their animation was often choppy, the action repetitive but even so, William Hanna (who died in 2001) and Joseph Barbera created some of the most memorable cartoons ever made. Barbera passed away earlier this week and looking back at what he and his partner created at Hanna-Barbera is to view the work of animation giants.

The list is incredibly extensive and impressive: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You, The Flintstones, Tom & Jerry, The Jestsons, The Yogi Bear Show, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Wacky Races and the Super Friends to name just the some of the A-list. While Warner Bros. animation was the gold standard, Hanna-Barbera were the workaday heroes, pumping out cartoon after carton and making my Saturday mornings heaven.

The meddling kids of Scooby-Doo was always a favourite, despite the fact that every show was nearly identical – kids drive about in Mystery Machine, discover a haunted (fill in the blank), they would split up and Shaggy and Scoob would go off and find food and the ghost/monster and after a failed trap the ghost/monster is revealed to be Old Man (fill in the blank).

So much of today’s prime-time cartoons owe a debt of gratitude to Hanna and Barbera. Without The Flintstones you wouldn’t have The Simpsons and Family Guy. Fred and family were the most successful animated prime time show until Homer’s clan took the crown. Many of the original cartoons are being revived these days, albeit in an ironic, mashed-up kind of fashion. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law and Space Ghost: Coast to Coast have both bought back the original HB characters and reimagined them as layers, judgesm, talk show hosts and more. Robot Chicken also delves into the archives every so often, going to show that I wasn’t the only on sitting on that couch every weekend.

The pair were amazingly prolific and imaginative and it will be a long time before pop culture sees the likes of them again.


  1. While I don't love every Hanna-Barbera cartoon that came down the pike (I never did care for Scooby-Doo), I have loved quite a few. I was always a big fan of Jonny Quest and all those superhero cartoons (Space Ghost, Birdman, et. al.). And I've always liked The Jetsons, Top Cat, Hong Kong Phooey, and a good number of others. While their cartoons were limited by necessity (let's face, after they left MGM they were working for television), I think they had a gift for memorable characters.

  2. Oh some of my very favorite cartoons, what a terrible loss.

  3. While you're on the theme of cartoon classics, I stumbled upon this gem http://www.fanpop.com/spots/christmas/soapbox/64
    Enjoy - and apols if you've already seen.
    Merry Christmas Jer, Gill & little guy!

  4. jamesee - I wish I could claim credit for the pic, but I am very good at searching for them.

    mercurie - I agree, and I think your tribute was excellent, as ever. Read it here: http://mercurie.blogspot.com/2006/12/joseph-barbera-rip.html

    tisha - I feel your pain. Somebody need to step up to the plate.

    steph - fantastic link! Found some great Christmas videos there. Enjoy your holidays and we'll see you soon.