March 12, 1938 |
California, United States
Spears grew up in the Los Angeles area, and was a friend of the son of animation producer William Hanna. As an adult, Spears was hired at Hanna's company, Hanna-Barbera Productions, as a sound editor in 1959. He met Ruby in the editing department of Hanna-Barbera, and the two teamed up to become writers. Spears and Ruby wrote teleplays for several animated and live-action television programs, both freelance and as on-staff writers for Hanna-Barbera and DePatie-Freleng Enterprises.
For Hanna-Barbera, Spears and Ruby created Scooby-Doo, Dynomutt, Dog Wonder, and Jabberjaw, among other programs. At Depatie-Freleng, they created The Barkleys and The Houndcats. In the early 1970s, CBS president of children's programming Fred Silverman hired Spears and Ruby to supervise the production of CBS's Saturday morning cartoon lineup, a position they assumed at ABC when Silverman defected to that network.
Wanting to create competition for Hanna-Barbera, ABC set Ruby and Spears up with their own studio in 1977, as a subsidiary of Filmways. Ruby-Spears Productions produced a number of animated series for Saturday morning, among them Fangface, The Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Hour, Thundarr the Barbarian, Saturday Supercade, Mister T, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Superman, among others. Ruby-Spears was bought by Hanna-Barbera's parent company, Taft Entertainment, in 1981, and its back catalog was sold along with the Hanna-Barbera library and studio in 1991 to Turner Broadcasting. Current reissues of Ruby-Spears shows on DVD and digital platforms are therefore copyrighted by Hanna-Barbera Productions.
Spears continues to work with Ruby on the production and development of animated series.
- Jack Kirby’s Heroes in Waiting
- Shostak, Stu (05-02-2012). "Interview with Joe Ruby and Ken Spears". Stu's Show. Retrieved 03-18-2013.
- Shostak, Stu (01-16-2013). "Interview with Joe Ruby and Ken Spears". Stu's Show. Retrieved 03-18-2013.
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