Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Joe Barbera Dies

The world of animation has lost a giant.
Joseph Barbera, who died yesterday at age 95, was the last of the great pioneers of the field.
Barbera first teamed with lifelong friend and business partner William Hanna in 1937 to create the long running Tom and Jerry series of theatrical cartoon shorts for MGM. In 1957, after the studio shuttered its animation division, the duo went into business for themselves to produce cartoons for the new medium of television. Their first effort was The Ruff and Reddy Show, and from their they would go on to dominate the field of TV animation with such hits as Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Jonny Quest, Hong Kong Phoey and dozens more. They also venture into feature animation with 1973's Charlotte's Web.
Huckleberry Hound became the first animated series to win an Emmy, and The Flintstones was the first animated show to air in prime time. (Fred and Wilma Flintstone were also the first married couple in TV history to be shown sleeping in the same bed.)
Barbera even became a cartoon character himself at least once, appearing with Bill Hanna at the wedding of Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble in the 1993 animated TV movie I Yabba-Dabba Do!

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