An Animation Legend

Today I was having lunch with Mike over at WB Animation in Sherman Oaks, and we were walking down Ventura Blvd. when out from the back of a limousine steps animation legend Joe Barbera and his assistants on their way to lunch. Joe is an animation pioneer. He and William Hanna created the famous Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM in the 40's through the late 50's when the rise of television killed the theatrical cartoon.

Rather than cave-in to the 'threat' TV posed on animation, Hanna and Barbera pioneered their own special brand of limited animation that made it affordable to create original animation for television. Their studio (which I'm proud to have worked at for several years back in the 1990's) created the first prime-time animated shows like the Flintstones and the Jetsons, as well as most of the Saturday morning fare many of us grew up watching. (Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Scooby-Doo, Johnny Quest and the list goes on…)

Sadly Bill Hanna passed away in 2001 and is greatly missed by his fans.

Joe Barbera is in his 90's and he's still out and about. It was an honor to shake hands with such an animation icon. Mike and I both had the honor of meeting him previously during our H&B; days a decade ago. I own an autographed copy of his autobiography: "My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century" and several autographed cells from H&B; grace the walls in my home.

My hats off to a man who was key in making the industry I've made my living in -Television Animation- a viable reality!

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