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[R.I.P.] Joe Barbera (12/18/06) Yogi Bear's Co-Creator

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  • madchinaman
    Yogi Bear s co-creator dies at 95 http://www.cnn.com/2006/SHOWBIZ/TV/12/18/barbera.ap/index.html LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Joe Barbera, half of the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 18, 2006
      Yogi Bear's co-creator dies at 95

      LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Joe Barbera, half of the Hanna-
      Barbera animation team that produced such beloved cartoon characters
      as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones, died Monday, a
      Warner Bros. spokesman said. He was 95.

      Barbera died of natural causes at his home with his wife, Sheila, at
      his side, Warner Bros. spokesman Gary Miereanu said.

      With his longtime partner, Bill Hanna, Barbera first found success
      creating the highly successful Tom and Jerry cartoons.

      The antics of the battling cat and mouse went on to win seven Academy
      Awards, more than any other series with the same characters.

      The partners, who had first teamed up while working at MGM in the
      1930s, then went on to a whole new realm of success in the 1950s
      and '60s with a witty series of animated TV comedies, including "The
      Flintstones," "The Jetsons," "Yogi Bear," "Scooby-Doo"
      and "Huckleberry Hound and Friends."

      Playing to their strengths
      Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his
      book "Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons."

      Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna
      brought warmth and a keen sense of timing.

      "This writing-directing team may hold a record for producing
      consistently superior cartoons using the same characters year after
      year -- without a break or change in routine," Maltin wrote.

      Warner Bros. Chairman Barry Meyer called Hanna and Barbera's
      characters "not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved
      part of American pop culture."

      The team's cartoons spanned "the Stone Age to the Space Age and from
      prime time to Saturday mornings, syndication and cable," Meyer said.

      "While he will be missed by his family and friends, [Barbera] will
      live on through his work."

      Hanna, who died in 2001 at age 90, once said he was never a good
      artist, but his partner could "capture mood and expression in a quick
      sketch better than anyone I've ever known."

      The two first teamed cat and mouse in the short "Puss Gets the Boot."
      It earned an Academy Award nomination, and MGM let the pair keep
      experimenting until the full-fledged Tom and Jerry characters
      eventually were born.

      Jerry was borrowed for the mostly live-action musical "Anchors
      Aweigh," dancing with Gene Kelly in a scene that become a screen

      Television becomes their forum
      After MGM folded its animation department in the mid-1950s, Hanna and
      Barbera were forced to go into business for themselves.

      With television's sharply lower budgets, their new cartoons put more
      stress on verbal wit rather than the detailed -- and expensive --
      action featured in theatrical cartoon.

      Like "The Simpsons" three decades later, "The Flintstones" found
      success in prime-time TV by not limiting its reach to children.

      The program, a parody of "The Honeymooners," was among the 20 most
      popular shows on television during the 1960-61 season, and Fred's
      shout of "yabba dabba doo!" entered the language.

      The Jetsons, which debuted in 1962, were the futuristic mirror image
      of the Flintstones.

      "It was a family comedy with everyday situations and problems that we
      window-dressed with gimmicks and inventions," Barbera once said.

      "Our stories were such a contrast to many of the animated series that
      are straight destruction and blasting away for a solid half hour."

      The show ran just one season on network TV but was often rerun, and
      the characters were revived in the 1980s in a syndicated show.

      Barbera said he liked the freedom syndication gave the producers,
      with none of the meddling from network executives.

      "Today, Charlie Chaplin couldn't get his material by a network," he
      once said.

      Even so, the influence of Hanna-Barbera was felt for decades. In 2002
      and again in 2004, characters from the cartoon series "Scooby-Doo"
      were brought to the big screen in films that combined live actors and

      Barbera started as a banker
      Hanna-Barbera received eight Emmys, including the Governors Award of
      the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1988.

      "Joe Barbara was a passionate storyteller and a creative genius who,
      along with his late partner Bill Hanna, helped pioneer the world of
      animation," said friend, colleague and Warner animation President
      Sander Schwartz.

      "Joe's contributions to both the animation and television industries
      are without parallel -- he has been personally responsible for
      entertaining countless millions of viewers across the globe."

      Neither Hanna, born in 1910, nor Barbera, born in 1911, set out to be

      Barbera, who grew up in the New York City borough of Brooklyn,
      originally went into banking. Soon, however, he turned his doodles
      into magazine cartoons and then into a job as an animator.

      Hanna, who had studied engineering and journalism, originally went
      into animation because he needed a job.

      Although not the hit factory it was in the '50s and '60s, the Hanna-
      Barbera studio remained active through the years.

      It eventually became a subsidiary of Great American Communications
      Co., and in 1991 it was purchased by a partnership including Turner
      Broadcasting System, which used the studio's library when it launched
      cable TV's Cartoon Network in 1992. Turner is now part of Time Warner.

      Funeral arrangements were pending, Miereanu said. In addition to his
      wife, the animator is survived by three children from a previous
      marriage, Jayne, Neal and Lynn.
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