Joe Barbera, half of the famous animation duo Hanna-Barbera, died yesterday at the age of 95 from natural causes at his home in California. Just the name Hanna-Barbera makes me smile, and remember how it would always flash across the screen at the beginning of the best cartoons from the Saturday mornings of my youth.
Alongside recollections of watching questionable shows like The Gummy Bears or Chip ‘n’ Dale Rescue Rangers (I can still sing the songs for both, wanna hear it? Didn’t think so), as well as better ones like He-Man and The Smurfs, I spent lots of weekend mornings with The Jetsons and The Flintstones. The duo also created Yogi Bear and Scooby-Doo.
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.
Hanna, who died in 2001, once said he was never a good artist, but that Barbera could “capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I’ve ever known.”
Yay for the both of them, for all the joy the’ve added into countless kids’ artificially-sweetened-cereal fueled Saturday mornings.
Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)
[from The Jetsons] – Violent Femmes
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? – Matthew Sweet
Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In
[from The Flintstones] – Frente!
(I just remembered that I totally had the original version of this song on vinyl record)
Sugar, Sugar [from The Archie Show]
Mary Lou Lord & Semisonic
The Tra-La-La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)
[from The Banana Splits] – Liz Phair & Material Issue
[Parts of this post are lifted from the AP article, and the songs are from the excellent mid-’90s snapshot of nostalgia Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits, which has more great tracks from the likes of The Ramones, Sublime, Reverend Horton Heat, and Juliana Hatfield/Tanya Donelly]