Happy Birthday William Hanna: Remembering the Legendary ‘Hanna-Barbera’ Animator

by Joe Rutland

If you’ve ever seen “The Flintstones” or “Yogi Bear,” then you have seen the handiwork of “Hanna-Barbera” animator William Hanna.

July 14th is William Hanna‘s birthday. He died on March 22, 2001, at 90 years old. But he and his business partner, Joe Barbera, were responsible for a lot of Saturday morning cartoon shows.

Instagram account DoYouRemember paid tribute to the “Hanna-Barbera” animator on his birthday.

‘Hanna-Barbera’ Animator First Works With Partner On ‘Tom and Jerry’ Cartoons

Before Fred, Yogi, and Top Cat, though, there were “Tom and Jerry.” See, Hanna started working with Barbera at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1937. In 1940, they put together a movie cartoon called “Puss Gets The Boot.” It featured Tom (the cat) and Jerry (the mouse).

Critics loved it. Audiences did, too. Hanna and Barbera were working at the MGM cartoon studio, but that studio’s head, Fred Quimby, wasn’t sure about doing other characters. What happened? The two animators put together 114 short films with Tom and Jerry as stars. They won seven Academy Awards and were nominated for seven more.

Because of costs, MGM shut down the animation studio. Hanna and Barbera went on to separate projects but came back together to form Hanna-Barbera Productions.

Animators Team Up For ‘The Yogi Bear Show,’ ‘The Flintstones’

This is when these two animators started really cranking out the work. Their first series was called “The Ruff & Reddy Show” and was mildly popular. That was followed by “The Huckleberry Hound Show” and “The Yogi Bear Show.” Both of them gained quite a following and were very well-received.

Then we come along to “The Flintstones,” which really was a Stone Age ripoff of “The Honeymooners.” Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty made people young and old alike laugh and was a hit for ABC. “Top Cat” also was a primetime cartoon from Hanna-Barbera.

From then on, it would take more fingers and toes you have on a body to total up the successes from “Hanna-Barbera”. “Space Ghost,” “Jonny Quest,” “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” and the list goes on and on.

“Hanna-Barbera” was a name that became synonymous with cranking out cartoon series one after another. While some might balk at the look of the animation itself, children are only interested in laughing at their antics. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were a winning team in the world of animation.

As television networks have shifted away from being cartoon-heavy on Saturday mornings, you can still find “Scooby-Doo” or “The Flintstones” on your TV. Cartoon Network has been a home for some of them. Syndication reruns keep their cartoons in circulation.

William Hanna proved to be one of television’s most successful animators. So today, we wish him a happy birthday and a “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!” on top.