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Joe Barbera, RIP

jbarbera (15k image)Legendary animation producer Joe Barbera, of Hanna-Barbera fame, died Monday at 95. Along with Bill Hanna, Barbera was responsible for such animated classics as Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, and many more. The Associated Press has more info, and Cartoon Brew is posting an expanding list of memories of Joe sent in by members of the animation community.

Warner Bros. Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer said, “From the Stone Age to the Space Age and from prime time to Saturday mornings, syndication and cable, the characters he created with his late partner, William Hanna, are not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved part of American pop culture. While he will be missed by his family and friends, Joe will live on through his work”.

Hanna, died in 2001 at 90.

Their first collaboration was the original Tom and Jerry short Puss Gets the Boot in 1940. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Short Subject: Cartoons. The cat and mouse series went on to win 7 Oscars. In the late 1950’s, with television increasingly replacing the big screen for audience’s entertainment dollars, Tom and Jerry was outsourced to an animation company in Europe and Barbera and his partner wasted no time making a name for themselves on the small screen.

From the late 1950’s on Hanna-Barbera Productions became the name in television animation, winning 8 Emmy Awards along the way. The Huckleberry Hound Show debuted in 1958, and Yogi Bear got a spin-off show in 1961. From 1960 to 1966, The Flintstones aired on ABC and was the first successful prime-time animated program on network TV. It was nominated for an Emmy as best comedy series alongside live action shows including Candid Camera and The Andy Griffith Show – a feat not even The Simpsons has matched. In 1962, audiences were introduced to The Jetsons, and in 1964, Jonny Quest. In 1969, came Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, the longest running American animated television series produced for Saturday morning television. It ran from 1969-1976 on CBS, from 1976-1986 on ABC. Spin-offs such as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, and What’s New, Scooby-Doo? have aired since then, and Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, currently airs on The CW.

Barbera’s company continued it’s success in the 1970’s – most animated shows on TV that decade came from his studio, including Josie and the Pussycats, Super Friends, Jabberjaw, and Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. The Smurfs became a huge hit for the company in the 1980’s, but competition was much fiercer and in 1990 Hanna-Barbera was sold to Turner Broadcasting. The 90’s saw Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, and The Powerpuff Girls produced under the Hanna-Barbera label.

Barbera had remained active in animation late into his life, most recently writing, storyboarding, directing, and producing the 2005 Tom and Jerry short The Karaterguard.

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