Joe Barbera, the co-founder of Hanna-Barbera, has died at age 95.
Barbera with Bill Hanna (who died in 2001) created and produced staples of pop culture Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo, The Flintstones, and The Jetsons., among literally dozens of other cartoon characters.
Many of us who grew up in the 1960s to the 1980s saw their cartoons by the bucketload on Saturday morning TV. Before that, they won seven Academy Awards for their Tom and Jerry short cartoons. They also won 8 Emmys.
Their library made the creation of Cartoon Network possible, and Boomerang's programming schedule is nearly all Hanna-Barbera creations. Their influence can be seen in many Adult Swim cartoons, where the writing is key, not the quality of the animation. They created the original versions that spawned Space Ghost Coast to Coast, Harvey Birdman, and Sealab 2021. They also produced a personal favorite, KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park.
Writer Mark Evanier on his site tells some funny stories about working with Joe Barbera, and includes links to memories from Paul Dini and others.
So many of the cartoons I loved came from Hanna-Barbera, far more than from Disney. I loved Bugs Bunny of course, but Hanna-Barbera cartoons somehow felt like they were mine. They never tried to teach me nothin', and they were just good and silly. My favorites (besides Super Friends) were The Hair Bear Bunch, Great Grape Ape, Blue Falcon, and Laff-A-Lympics, which blew this little comic book geek's mind -- a universe filled with dozens of characters that all knew each other. And one of them had a theme song called "Stop That Pigeon."
The neatest thing, besides many of these airing on Boomerang, is that a lot of them are coming out on DVD now. Maybe I don't want to watch every episode of Yogi Bear right now. But I could.