OK, listen up here, Moosekateers, I have a confession to make. I fuckin’ love Hanna Barbera cartoons.
I watched them as a kid, incessantly. In the 80’s, I watched everything ever aired on U.S.A Network’s Cartoon Express. In the 90’s, I watched everything on the Cartoon Network and, before they started making money off of Dragon Ball Z, they couldn’t even afford to show anything other than ancient rickety Hanna– Barbera cartoons.
I’ve seen like every one of the fifty bajillion episodes of Scooby Doo that came out before the 90’s, like the “New Scooby Doo Movies” show where they team up with Sonny and Cher, and that super weird one, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, that had Vincent Price voicing a character, and an annoying Mexican kid instead of Fred and Velma.
In that one, they fought ACTUAL ghosts and monsters instead of pissed off farmers dressed up like the Ghost Face killer from Scream. Still, it wasn’t very good. But, for some reason, Scooby Doo is probably the only Hanna-Barbara property that is still popular among the younglings of today.
If you don’t know Hanna–Barbera, they are a studio started by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. They invented Tom and Jerry, but after they got fired from the MGM movie studios in the 40’s, they had to go from making big budget Tom and Jerry Cartoons, with excellent animation, to making low budget cartoons for TV that you could probably animate with the same amount of money it would take to buy some Slim Jim’s and Sour Patch Kids at the gas station. They were visionaries.
The process has been called “Limited animation” and what that really means is that the characters barely moved and mostly just said funny stuff. Incidentally, I still prefer this method to the way they make the lame–ass CGI cartoons they are churning out nowadays, where they just push the “Make a cartoon “ button on their computer and end up with shit like Boss Baby.
In spite of their limited resources, Hanna-Barbera managed to produce some classic cartoons like The Flintstones, The Jetsons, (I STILL have a crush on Judy) Yogi Bear and Huckleberry Hound. They even had a show called Squidley Didley which had a squid in it that predated Spongebob Squarepants by decades. (Even though he looked more like an octopus and didn’t have enough tentacles to be a squid or an octopus, but I still liked him.) They also had a homosexual lion character named Snagglepuss, decades before homosexual lions were accepted by society! My point is, they were ahead of their time.
They also made Jonny FUCKING Quest, one of the greatest action adventure cartoons EVER, created by the comic book artist/genius, Doug Wildey! (Google him. He was awesome.) Much like the Johnny Sokko and his Flying Robot show that I talked about in a previous column, it was absurdly violent and that, along with some of their other absurdly violent action shows, like Space Ghost and Birdman and the Herculoids, led to parents throwing a massive shit fit, which in turn, led to super strict guidelines for cartoons for decades. He-Man couldn’t even PUNCH anyone!
But, as much as I love Hanna Barbera, I’ll admit, some of their productions were, shall we say… a little bit flawed. (They once did an entire show about a magical talking Rubicks Cube from outer space.)
So, I’m gonna start a series of columns on this very site that will take you on a fun-tastic voyage to the bottom of one of my favorite barrels, THE HANNA BAR-BARREL!
I’m the biggest Hanna–Barbera fan boy known to man. Who better than me to differentiate the wheat from the chaff?
So, stay tuned, Mooseheads, for some useless information about crappy cartoons you’ve never heard of and probably won’t care about!
For now, I’ll leave you with this image of the Hanna-Barbera amusement park that once existed and I wish still did, because I wanna get a job dressing up like Jabberrjaw or Captain Caveman!
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