Tuesday, December 19, 2006
So Joseph Barbera Died. Until I was about 14 and developed a massive fascination with animation I thought Hannah/Barbera were two women who made cartoons. I was never a big fan of their television work although like anyone growing up in the 70's I watched it because it was all pervading. It was virtually impossible to turn on the TV to any of the three channels available without finding a Hannah Barbera cartoon on at least one of them, be it the Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, Maggilla Gorrila, Topcat (Bosscat), Touche Away, Scooby Doo or any of the hundreds of other's their studio turned out. What tends to be forgotten though is that these two men were behind many of the best Tom and Jerry cinema cartoons of the 40's before TV all but wiped them out and, love them or loath them, these two men were in many ways responsible for the survival of animation outside of Disney Studios. You can see their influence in the work of many TV animators, illustrators and cartoonists today from Samurai Jack and Kim Possible to Les MacClaine's Highway 13. Hannah Barbera cartoons are so much a part of the fabric of popular culture they're referenced everywhere, like Disney, like Elvis and the Beatles and that's one hell of a legacy.