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Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc.
Private company (1957–1967)
Subsidiary (1967–2001)
Name-only unit (2001–present)
Industry Animation
Fate Separated from subsidiary Cartoon Network Studios and folded into Warner Bros. Animation
Successor Cartoon Network Studios
Warner Bros. Animation (library only)
Founded July 7, 1957[1]
Founder William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Headquarters Los Angeles, California, United States
Products TV series
Theatrical films
Direct-to-video projects
TV movies
Parent Independent
Taft Broadcasting
American Financial Corp. (1987–1988)
Great American Broadcasting (1988–1991)
Turner Broadcasting System (1991–1996)
Time Warner (as AOL Time Warner from 2001–2003)

Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. (simply known as Hanna-Barbera and also referred to as H-B Enterprises, H-B Production Company and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons) was an American animation studio that dominated American television animation for nearly three decades in the mid-to-late 20th century. It was formed in 1957 by former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (creators of Tom and Jerry) and live-action director George Sidney in partnership with Columbia Pictures' Screen Gems television division.[2] It was sold to Taft Broadcasting in late 1966, and spent the next two decades as a subsidiary of the parent and its successors. Hanna-Barbera was known not only for its vast variety of series and characters, but for building upon and popularizing the concepts and uses of limited animation.

For over thirty years, Hanna-Barbera produced many successful animated shows, including The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo and The Smurfs. Also, the studio produced many television movies, theatrical films and specials. In addition to winning seven Oscars, Hanna and Barbera won eight Emmy Awards,[3] a Golden Globe Award, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, among other merits. After its fortunes declined in the mid-eighties when the profitability of Saturday morning cartoons was eclipsed by weekday afternoon syndication, it was purchased from Taft (by then named Great American Broadcasting) in late 1991 by Turner Broadcasting System, who used much of its back catalog to program its new channel, Cartoon Network.[4][5]

After Turner purchased the company, both Hanna and Barbera continued to serve as mentors and creative consultants. In 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner, and Hanna-Barbera became a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Animation. With Hanna's death in 2001, it was absorbed into its parent, and Cartoon Network Studios continued the projects for the channel's output. Barbera continued to work for Warner Bros. Animation until his death in 2006. The studio now exists as an in-name-only company used to market properties and productions associated with the Hanna-Barbera library, specifically its "classic" works. In 2005, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences honored Hanna and Barbera with a bronze wall sculpture of them and the characters they created.


Founders William Hanna (left) and Joseph Barbera pose with several of the Emmy awards the Hanna-Barbera studio has won.

Melrose, New Mexico native William Hanna and New York City-born Joseph Barbera first met while working at the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer cartoon studio in 1939. Their first directorial production was the Oscar-nominated Puss Gets the Boot (1940), which served as the basis for the popular Tom and Jerry series of short subject theatricals. Hanna and Barbera served as directors and story men of the shorts for over 18 years. Hanna provided the screams and yells for Tom. Seven of the cartoons won seven Oscars for Best Short Subject (Cartoons) between 1943 and 1953, though the trophies were awarded to their producer Fred Quimby, who was not involved in the creative development of the shorts.[6]:83–84 With Quimby's retirement in 1955, Hanna and Barbera became the producers in charge of the MGM animation studio's output.[7]

Outside of their work on the shorts, the two men moonlighted on outside projects, including the original title sequences and commercials for I Love Lucy.[8] Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer decided in early 1957 to close its cartoon studio, as it felt it had acquired a reasonable backlog of shorts for re-release.[7] Hanna and Barbera, contemplating their future while completing the final Tom and Jerry and Droopy cartoons, began producing animated television commercials.[1] During their last year at MGM, they developed a concept for an animated television program about a dog and cat pair in various misadventures.[1] After they failed to convince to back their venture, live-action director George Sidney, who'd worked with Hanna and Barbera on several of his features, most notably Anchors Aweigh in 1945, offered to serve as their business partner and convinced Screen Gems, the television subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, to make a deal with the animation producers.[2]

Harry Cohn, head of Columbia Pictures, took an 18% ownership in Hanna and Barbera's new company, H-B Enterprises,[2] and provided working capital to produce. Screen Gems became the new studio's distributor and its licensing agent, handling merchandizing of the characters from the animated programs.[9] H-B Enterprises offically opened for business in rented offices on the lot of Kling Studios (formerly Charlie Chaplin Studios)[8] on July 7, 1957, two months after the MGM animation studio closed down.[1] Sidney and several Screen Gems alumni became members of the studio's original board of directors, and much of the former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer animation staff – including animators Carlo Vinci, Kenneth Muse, Lewis Marshall, Michael Lah, and Ed Barge and layout artists Ed Benedict and Richard Bickenbach – as its production staff.[1]

1957–69: Television cartoons[edit]

Hanna-Barbera was one of the first animation studios to successfully produce cartoons especially for television.[10] Previously, animated programming on television had consisted primarily of rebroadcasts of theatrical cartoons. Their first animated series for television The Ruff & Reddy Show, featuring live-action host Jimmy Blaine and several older Columbia-owned cartoons as filler, premiered on NBC in December 1957. The studio had its first big success with The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, a syndicated series aired in most markets just before primetime. The program was a ratings success, and introduced a new crop of cartoon stars to audiences, in particular Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear. The show won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Children's Programming. The studio began to expand rapidly following the success of Huckleberry Hound, and several animation industry alumni – in particular former Warner Bros. Cartoons storymen Michael Maltese and Warren Foster, who became Hanna-Barbera's new head writers – joined the staff at this time.[1]

By 1959, H-B Enterprises was reincorporated as Hanna-Barbera Productions, and was slowly becoming a leader in television animation production. After introducing both, a second syndicated series, The Quick Draw McGraw Show and its first and only theatrical series, Loopy De Loop, in 1959, Hanna-Barbera migrated into network primetime production with the animated ABC sitcom The Flintstones in 1960. Loosely based upon the popular live-action Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners, yet set in a fictionalized stone age of cavemen and dinosaurs, the show ran for a total of six seasons in prime time on ABC, becoming a ratings and merchandising success. It was the longest-running animated show in American prime time television history until being beaten out by the FOX mega hit The Simpsons in 1996. For syndication, The Yogi Bear Show, spinoff of The Huckleberry Hound Show first aired and during the early and mid-sixties, the studio produced more new successful prime time and syndicated shows, such as Top Cat, The Hanna-Barbera New Cartoon Series (featuring Wally Gator) and The Jetsons.

More new upcoming animated shows produced for air time were The Magilla Gorilla Show, Jonny Quest, The Peter Potamus Show, The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show, Sinbad Jr. and his Magic Belt and Laurel and Hardy. Hanna-Barbera also produced several television commercials, often starring its own characters (notably, the best known ones are the long running series of Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles cereal television ads for Post featuring Barney going thru a series of schemes and costumes to trick Fred in to giving up his Fruity or Cocoa Pebbles to him), and animated the opening credits for the ABC network sitcom Bewitched (in which, the characters of the show's animated opening title, would appeared as guest stars in a season six episode of The Flintstones, voiced by both Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York rertospectively). The studio moved off of the Kling lot in 1963 (by then renamed the Red Skelton Studios) into a new location at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. West in Hollywood, California.

The former Hanna-Barbera building at 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. West in Hollywood, California, seen in a 2007 photograph. The small yellow structure (lower right) was originally the "guard shack" for the property entrance to the east of the building.

This California contemporary office building was designed by architect Arthur Froehlich. Its ultra-modern design included a sculpted latticework exterior, moat, fountains, and after later additions, a Jetsons-like tower. After the success of The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show in 1965, two new Saturday morning series debuted the following year, Frankenstein, Jr. and The Impossibles, which blended action-adventure with the earlier Hanna-Barbera humor style and Space Ghost, which featured action-adventure. A number of comedy and action cartoons followed in 1967, among them are The Space Kidettes, The Abbott and Costello Cartoon Show, Birdman and the Galaxy Trio, The Herculoids, Shazzan, an adaptation of Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four, Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor and Samson & Goliath (also known as Young Samson).

The Hanna-Barbera and Screen Gems partnership lasted until 1965, when Hanna and Barbera announced the sale of the studio to Taft Broadcasting.[9] Its acquisition of Hanna-Barbera was delayed for a year by a lawsuit from Joan Perry, John Cohn, and Harrison Cohn - the widow and sons of former Columbia head Harry Cohn - who felt that the firm had undervalued the Cohns' 18% share in the company when it was sold a few years prior.[11] By December 1966, the litigation had been settled and the studio was finally acquired for $12 million by Taft, who spent 1967 and 1968 folding it into its corporate structure[9] and became its distributor. Both Hanna and Barbera stayed on to run the company. Screen Gems retained licensing and distribution rights to the previous cartoons,[9] as well as the trademarks to the characters from those shows (The Flintstones and Yogi Bear in particular) into the seventies and eighties.[9][12]

In 1968, live-action and animated comedy-action was mixed for its birth of new programs, such as The Banana Splits Adventure Hour and The New Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, while the successful Wacky Races, and its spinoffs The Perils of Penelope Pitstop and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines, aired on CBS, returning Hanna-Barbera to straight animated slapstick humor. Cattanooga Cats debuted on ABC the following year. The studio tried being a record label for a short time when Danny Hutton was hired to head Hanna Barbera Records.[13] It was distributed by Columbia Records, with artists of Louis Prima, Five Americans, Scatman Crothers and the 13th Floor Elevators. Previously, children's records with Hanna-Barbera characters were released by Colpix Records. Next came in 1969, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, a program which blended elements of Hanna-Barbera's comedy programs, various action shows, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis and I Love a Mystery.[14][15] The series centered on four teenagers and a dog solving supernatural mysteries.

The 1970s[edit]

New Saturday morning and prime time cartoons, programs featuring mystery-solving, crime-fighting teenagers with comical pets (or mascots) and many spinoffs premeried. These series included, Harlem Globetrotters, Josie and the Pussycats, Where's Huddles, The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, Help!... It's the Hair Bear Bunch!, The Funky Phantom, The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, Wait Till Your Father Gets Home, The Flintstone Comedy Hour, The Roman Holidays, Sealab 2020, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space, Speed Buggy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, Yogi's Gang, Super Friends, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Inch High, Private Eye, Jeannie, The Addams Family, Hong Kong Phooey, Devlin, Partridge Family 2200 A.D. These Are The Days, Valley of the Dinosaurs, Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch, The New Tom and Jerry/Grape Ape/Mumbly Show and The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour.

In the mid to late seventies, more favorites were Clue Club, Jabberjaw, CB Bears, The All-New Super Friends Hour, The All-New Popeye Hour, Yogi's Space Race, Challenge of the Super Friends, The Godzilla Power Hour, The New Fred and Barney Show, Casper and the Angels, The New Shmoo, The Super Globetrotters, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo and The World's Greatest Super Friends. The majority of American television animation was produced by Hanna-Barbera[citation needed] and the only competition came from Filmation, DePatie-Freleng and a few others that specialized primarily in prime time specials, such as Rankin-Bass, Chuck Jones Enterprises and Lee Mendelson-Bill Meléndez. Filmation lost ground to Hanna-Barbera when the failure of Uncle Croc's Block led ABC president Fred Silverman to drop Filmation and give Hanna and Barbera the majority of the network's Saturday morning cartoon time.[citation needed] Joe Ruby and Ken Spears left the studio to found Ruby-Spears Enterprises, with Filmways serving as its parent company in 1977.

First foray into live action[edit]

Hanna-Barbera also tried its hand at producing live-action production, though its success in selling such programming was limited by its track record as an animation studio, such as Korg: 70,000 B.C., The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour, Benji, Zax & the Alien Prince and Going Bananas. But the most notable production out of many of the non-animated projects is the 1977 Emmy-award winning television film The Gathering, starring Ed Asner. Its live-action department spun off into Solow Production Company, founded by Herbert Franklin Solow, which immediately following the name change was able to sell the action adventure series Man from Atlantis to NBC.[16]

Production process changes[edit]

Early H-B Enterprises logo used from the studio's inception in 1957 until 1960.

Hanna-Barbera produced prime-time, weekday afternoon, and Saturday morning cartoons for all three major networks and syndication in the United States from 1957 to 1995. The small budgets that television animation producers had to work within prevented them, and most other producers of American television animation, from working with the full theatrical-quality animation the duo had been known for at MGM. While the budget for a seven-minute Tom and Jerry entry of the 1950s was about $35,000, Hanna-Barbera was required to produce five-minute Ruff and Reddy episodes for no more than $3,000 a piece.[2] To keep within these tighter budgets, Hanna-Barbera modified the concept of limited animation (also called semi-animation) practiced and popularized by the United Productions of America (UPA) studio, which also once had a partnership with Columbia Pictures.

Character designs were simplified, and backgrounds and animation cycles (walks, runs, etc.) were regularly re-purposed. Characters were often broken up into a handful of levels, so that only the parts of the body that needed to be moved at a given time (i.e. a mouth, an arm, a head) would be animated. The rest of the figure would remain on a held animation cel. This allowed a typical 10-minute short to be done with only 1,200 drawings instead of the usual 26,000. Dialogue, music, and sound effects were emphasized over action, leading Chuck Jones—a contemporary who worked for Hanna and Barbera's rivals at Warner Bros. Cartoons when the duo was at MGM, and one who, with his short The Dover Boys practically invented many of the concepts in limited animation—to disparagingly refer to the limited television cartoons produced by Hanna-Barbera and others as "illustrated radio".[17]

In a story published by The Saturday Evening Post in 1961, critics stated that Hanna-Barbera was taking on more work than it could handle and was resorting to shortcuts only a television audience would tolerate.[18] An executive who worked for Walt Disney Productions said, "We don't even consider [them] competition".[18] Ironically, during the late 1950s and early 1960s, Hanna-Barbera was the only animation studio in Hollywood that was actively hiring, and it picked up a number of Disney artists who were laid off during this period. The studio's solution to the criticism over its quality was to go into features. The studio produced six theatrical features, among them higher-quality versions of its hit television cartoons and adaptations of other material. Hanna-Barbera was also the first animation studio to have their animation work produced overseas. One of these production companies was a subsidiary started by Hanna-Barbera called Fil-Cartoons in the Philippines.[19] Wang Film Productions got its start as an overseas animation facility for Hanna-Barbera in 1978.[20]

1981–91: Rise and fall[edit]

Competing animation studios, such as Sunbow Entertainment, Marvel Productions, Filmation and Rankin/Bass would began to introduce successful syndicated cartoons based upon characters from popular toy lines and action figures.[citation needed] Hanna-Barbera still continued to produce for Saturday mornings but no longer dominated the television animation market. In 1981, Taft purchased Ruby-Spears from Filmways, in which that studio would often pair its shows with the Hanna-Barbera programs.[citation needed] Then in 1979, the parent bought Worldvision Enterprises, which then throughout the eighties, became the syndication distributor for most of the cartoons. It was also during this time the studio switched from traditional cel animation to digital ink and paint for some of their shows. Both Hanna-Barbera and Worldvision had their own home video labels (Worldvision Home Video and Hanna-Barbera Home Video) while many of the shows were released by other VHS distributors.[citation needed]

1980 saw the series debuts of Super Friends (featuring El Dorado), The Flintstone Comedy Show, The Fonz and the Happy Days Gang and Richie Rich. Brand new programs emerged in 1981, such as Laverne and Shirley in the Army, Space Stars, The Kwicky Koala Show and Trollkins. Hanna-Barbera's most popular hit show The Smurfs, based on Belgian cartoonist and creator Pierre Culliford's popular comics and stories and centering around the society of tiny, blue creatures led by Papa Smurf, aired for nine seasons becoming a ratings success and the top rated program in eight years. It was the longest-running Saturday morning cartoon and the highest for an NBC program since 1970.[citation needed] Pac-Man, The Little Rascals and The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour debuted on ABC in fall 1982. Jokebook, Shirt Tales and The Gary Coleman Show aired that year as well. The Dukes, Monchhichis, The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show and The Biskitts came next in 1983.

For 1984, Snorks, Challenge of the GoBots, Pink Panther & Sons and Super Friends: The Legendary Super Powers Show made their network and syndicated airings. In 1985, The programming block The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera introduced Yogi's Treasure Hunt, Paw Paws and Galtar and the Golden Lance syndicated while ABC aired The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. Also, The Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians and a revival of The Jetsons debuted. Hanna-Barbera produced The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible, a series for direct-to-video about three adventurers traveling back in time to biblical events in the past.[21] A new version of Jonny Quest, Pound Puppies, The Flintstone Kids, Foofur and Wildfire all aired in 1986. Sky Commanders, Popeye and Son, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, The Completely Mental Misadventures of Ed Grimley, The New Yogi Bear Show and Fantastic Max were introduced in 1987 and 1988.

Throughout all of this, Hanna-Barbera was affected by the financial troubles of its parent company Taft, which had just been acquired by the American Financial Corporation in 1987 and had its name changed to Great American Broadcasting the following year.[citation needed] Many of the business deals were overseen by CEO Charles Mechem.[citation needed] With the rest of the American animation industry, it had began to move away from producing everything in-house in the seventies and eighties. Much of its product was outsourced to studios in Australia and Asia, including Wang Film Productions, Cuckoo's Nest Studios, Mr. Big Cartoons, Mook Co., Ltd., Toei Animation, and its own Philippines-based studio Fil-Cartoons. In 1989, much of its staff responded to a call from Warner Bros. to resurrect their animation department.[citation needed] Tom Ruegger and his colleagues left for Warners to develop programs, such as Tiny Toon Adventures and Batman: The Animated Series.[citation needed]

The rights to the Hanna-Barbera properties were licensed to Universal Studios for brand new projects (most notably a film ride sharing the namesake of the syndicated programming block) while then-newcomer David Kirschner was appointed as the head of the cartoon studio in 1989, with founders Hanna and Barbera remaining as co-chairmen.[22] Less than successful and burdened with debt, Carl Lindner, Jr.'s company, Great American put Hanna-Barbera, along with Ruby-Spears, up for sale in 1990. That same year, The Smurfs appeared in the drug prevention special Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue, produced by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation.[citation needed]

1991–92: Turner rebound[edit]

Hanna, Iwao Takamoto, a studio employee, and Barbera, from July 14, 1996

In November 1991, the Hanna-Barbera studio and library, as well as much of the Ruby-Spears library, were acquired by a 50-50 joint venture between Turner Broadcasting—which by that time had also bought the pre-May 1986 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer library—and Apollo Investment Fund for $320 million.[23] This was with the intention of launching an all animation based network aimed at children and younger audiences.[citation needed] Turner's president of entertainment Scott Sassa hired Fred Seibert, a former executive for MTV Networks, to head Hanna-Barbera. He immediately filled the gap left by the departure of most of their creative crew during the Great American years with new animators, writers, and producers, including Pat Ventura, Craig McCracken, Donovan Cook, Genndy Tartakovsky, David Feiss, Seth MacFarlane, Van Partible, Stewart St. John, and Butch Hartman with new production head Buzz Potamkin.[citation needed]

The studio was renamed H-B Productions Company in 1992, changing its name once again to Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. a year later, the same year that Turner acquired the remaining interests of Hanna-Barbera from Apollo Investment Fund for $255 million.[24] Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventures made its debut on CBS following The Adventures of Don Coyote and Sancho Panda, Tom and Jerry Kids, Wake, Rattle, and Roll (also known as Jump, Rattle, and Roll), Rick Moranis in Gravedale High and Midnight Patrol: Adventures in the Dream Zone in 1990. Next came The Pirates of Dark Water for syndication, then Yo Yogi!, Young Robin Hood, Fish Police, Capitol Critters and a second Addams Family series in 1991 and 1992. New shows of Droopy: Master Detective, The New Adventures of Captain Planet, SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron and 2 Stupid Dogs made their premieres in 1993, then Dumb and Dumber in 1995.

1992–2001: Partnership with Cartoon Network, dissolution[edit]

In 1992, Turner launched Cartoon Network to broadcast its huge library of animated programs, of which Hanna-Barbera was the core contributor. As a result, several classic cartoons, especially the Hanna-Barbera ones, were rebroadcast.[25] In 1994, Turner Broadcasting refocused the studio to produce new shows exclusively for the Turner-owned networks and then in 1995, the studio produced What a Cartoon! (also known as World Premiere Toons) for Cartoon Network, an animation showcase series led by Fred Seibert, founder of Frederator Studios. The program featured various new creator driven cartoon shorts developed by its in-house staff. Several original series emerged from the project, giving the company their first smash hits since The Smurfs and the first show based on a What a Cartoon short was Genndy Tartakovsky's Dexter's Laboratory. This spawned a multitude of new originals for the network known as Cartoon Cartoons while in 1996, regular new Hanna-Barbera shows Cave Kids and The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest premiered on Cartoon Network. The Mansion Cat featuring Tom and Jerry first aired on Boomerang in early 2001.

In 2001, Hanna-Barbera was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation (following the Turner/Time Warner merger in 1996) and the Hanna-Barbera name began to disappear from newer shows by the studio in favor of the Cartoon Network Studios label. This came in handy with shows that were produced outside the company, but Cartoon Network had a hand in producing (ex.: Ed, Edd n Eddy, Hi Hi Puffy Amiyumi and Codename: Kids Next Door) as well as shows the studio continued to produce (ex.: Adventure Time, Regular Show, Camp Lazlo and Ben 10). Hanna died of throat cancer on March 22, 2001, ending the decades-long partnership of 60 years in animation with Barbera, who would since then, move on to work for Warner Bros. Animation on new television series and direct-for-video movies based on the Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry properties until his passing on December 18, 2006.[26] As of 2015, Hanna-Barbera Productions is an in-name-only unit of Warner Bros. Animation, which administers the rights to its catalog and characters.

Sound effects[edit]

Besides their popular world famous cartoon shows and characters, The Hanna-Barbera studio was also noted for their large library of sound effects. Besides cartoon-style sound effects (such as ricochets, slide whistles and more), they also had familiar sounds used for transportation, household items, the elements, and more. When Hanna and Barbera started their own cartoon studio in 1957, they created a handful of sound effects, and had limited choices. They also took some sounds from the then-defunct Metro-Goldwyn Mayer animation studios and by 1958, they began to expand and began adding more sound effects to their library.

Besides creating a lot of their own effects, they also collected sound effects from other movie and cartoon studios, such as Universal Pictures, Warner Bros. Animation, and even Walt Disney Productions. Some of their famous sound effects included a rapid bongo drum take used for when a character's feet were scrambling before taking off, a "KaBONG" sound produced on a guitar for when Quick Draw McGraw, in his Zorro-style "El Kabong" crime fighting guise, would smash a guitar over a villain's head, the sound of a car's brake drum combined with a bulb horn for when Fred Flintstone would drop his bowling ball onto his foot, an automobile's tires squealing with a "skipping" effect added for when someone would slide to a sudden stop, a bass-drum-and-cymbal combination called the "Boom Crash" for when someone would fall down or smack into an object, a xylophone being struck rapidly on the same note for a tip-toeing effect, and a violin being plucked with the tuning pegs being raised to simulate something like pulling out a cat's whisker.

The cartoons also used Castle Thunder, a thunderclap sound effect that was commonly used in movies and television shows from the 1940s to the 1980s. Other common sounds such as Peeong (a frying pan hitting sound with a doppler effect) and Bilp were used regularly in all of its cartoons. Starting in the 1960s, other cartoon studios began using the sound effects, including Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Universal Animation Studios, Disney Television Animation, Film Roman, Cartoon Network Studios, DiC Entertainment, Warner Bros. Animation and many others. By the 21st century, almost every animation studio was using the sound effects. Like Hanna-Barbera was in the 90s, they are used sparingly, while some cartoons and non-animated series like Warner Bros. Animation's Krypto the Superdog, Nelvana's The Magic School Bus, Disney's Bonkers and Spümcø's Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" make heavy use of the classic sound effects, mostly for a retro feel.

Some Hanna-Barbera sounds show up in various sound libraries such as Valentino and Audio Network. Hanna-Barbera Records (the studio's short-lived record division) released a set of LP records in the late 1960s entitled Hanna-Barbera's Drop-Ins, which contained quite a few of the classic sound effects. This LP set was only available for radio and television stations and other production studios. In 1973, and again in 1986, Hanna-Barbera released a second sound effect record set; a seven-LP set entitled The Hanna-Barbera Library of Sounds, which, like the previous set, contained several of the classic sound effects. Like the previous set, this was only available to production companies and radio/TV stations. The 1986 version was also available as a two compact-disc set.

In 1993, the last president of the studio, Fred Seibert recalled his early production experiences with early LP releases of the studio's effects, and commissioned Sound Ideas to release a four-CD set entitled The Hanna-Barbera Sound FX Library, featuring nearly all of the original H-B sound effects used from 1957 to 1992, a more vast collection compared to the early LP releases (including the sounds H-B had borrowed from other studios). The sound effects were digitally remastered, so they would sound better on new digital soundtracks. A fifth CD was added in 1996, entitled Hanna-Barbera Lost Treasures, and featured more sound effects, including sounds from Space Ghost and The Impossibles. Also in 1994, Rhino Records released a CD containing some of Hanna-Barbera's famous sound effects, titled simply as Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Sound FX, and also included some answering-machine messages and birthday greetings and short stories starring classic Hanna-Barbera characters, and was hosted by Fred Flintstone.

In 1996, it was reissued with the Hanna-Barbera's Pic-A-Nic Basket of Cartoon Classics CD set, which also contained three other CDs of Hanna-Barbera TV theme songs and background music and songs from The Flintstones. Here, the CD was relabeled as The Greatest Cartoon Sound Effects Ever. In the 1980s, Hanna-Barbera slowly began to cease using their trademark sound effects. This was especially true with the action cartoons of the time such as Sky Commanders. By the 1990s, with cartoons shows, such as Fish Police and SWAT Kats, the sound effects were virtually nonexistent, being replaced with newer, digitally recorded sounds (mostly from Sound Ideas), as well as the Looney Tunes sound library by Treg Brown. A few early 1990s cartoons continued to use the sound effects, such as Tom & Jerry Kids and The Addams Family.

By 1996, each television series from the studio typically had its own set of sound effects, including some selected from the classic Hanna-Barbera sound library, as well as some new ones and various sounds from Disney and Warner Bros. cartoons (this was especially true of Dexter's Laboratory and Cow and Chicken). Several of the classic Hanna-Barbera sound effects still pop up from time to time in many of Cartoon Network Studios' productions. However, on the recent Warner Bros. produced Scooby-Doo shows (What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated), the Hanna-Barbera sound effects are very rarely used.

List of Hanna-Barbera productions[edit]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ a b c d e f Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons. New York: Oxford University Press. Pg. 560–562. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
  2. ^ a b c d Hanna, William and Ito, Tom (1999). A Cast of Friends. New York: Da Capo Press. 0306-80917-6. Pg. 81–83
  3. ^ "William Hanna – Awards". allmovie. Retrieved August 12, 2008. 
  4. ^ "COMPANY NEWS; Hanna-Barbera Sale Is Weighed". The New York Times. July 20, 1991. Retrieved August 19, 2010. 
  5. ^ Carter, Bill (February 19, 1992). "COMPANY NEWS; A New Life For Cartoons". The New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  6. ^ Barbera, Joseph (1994). My Life in "Toons": From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta, GA: Turner Publishing. p. 207. ISBN 1-57036-042-1. 
  7. ^ a b Barrier, Michael (1999). Hollywood Cartoons. New York: Oxford University Press. Pg. 547–548. ISBN 0-19-516729-5.
  8. ^ a b Leonard Maltin (1997). Interview with Joseph Barbera (Digital). Archive of American Television. 
  9. ^ a b c d e Rogers, Lawrence H. (2000). History of U. S. Television: A Personal Reminiscence. Bloomington. IN. USA: AuthorHouse. pg. 444-447
  10. ^ Benzel, Jan (February 23, 1992). "Caveman to Carp: The Prime-Time Cartoon Devolves". The New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2010. 
  11. ^ Shostak, Stu (03-11-2011). "Interview with Jerry Eisenberg, Scott Shaw!, and Earl Kress". Stu's Show. Retrieved 03-18-2013. Jerry Eisenberg, Scott Shaw!, and Earl Kress were all former employees of Hanna-Barbera over the years, and relate the history of the studio to host Stu Shostak
  12. ^ "BRIEFCASE: Great American Broadcasting". Orlando Sentinel. August 19, 1989. Retrieved December 23, 2014. 
  13. ^ Davidson, Chris (March 27, 2007). "Animation + Rock = Fun: The Danny Hutton Interview". Bubblegum University. 
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  • Barbera. Joseph (1994). My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century. Atlanta: Turner Publishing. 157-036042-1
  • Burke, Timothy and Burke, Kevin (1998). Saturday Morning Fever : Growing up with Cartoon Culture. New York: St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-16996-5
  • Hanna, William (1999). A Cast of Friends. New York: Da Capo Press. 0306-80917-6
  • Lawrence, Guy (2006). Yogi Bear's Nuggets: A Hanna-Barbera 45 Guide. Spectropop.com