WILLIAM HANNA and JOSEPH BARBERA (Executive Producers) first met in 1937 at MGM’s animation studios. Both had been working as animators, Hanna for Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies and Barbera for Terrytoons. Hanna began his career in animation in 1929 at Harmon-Ising Studios where he worked for 8 years directing and writing cartoons. It was his cartoon “To Spring” which caught the eye of MGM in 1936, and he was hired to start their animation department from scratch on the #2 lot.
By 1938, the two realized that they should be a team – Hanna had the comedic sense and organizational skills of a great director, and Barbera the excellent drawing skills and comic inventiveness of a great animator. They proved they were a winning combination from their very first Tom & Jerry episode and went on to win seven Academy Awards® for their work at MGM.
In 1957, Hanna and Barbera formed their own production company with the idea of developing original animation for television. During its history, Hanna-Barbera Productions has been the birthplace of more than 3,500 half-hours of animated programming and more than 350 different series, specials, television motion pictures and theatrical films.
Hanna-Barbera’s first production was a six-minute animated title Ruff & Reddy. In 1958, they produced television’s first all-animated series, The Huckleberry Hound Show which earned Hanna-Barbera their first Emmy Award and the first Emmy ever awarded for a cartoon. They followed with Quick Draw McGraw. Yogi Bear got his own series in 1961 as a spin-off of The Huckleberry Hound Show and Quick Draw McGraw series.
The ground-breaking 1960 debut of The Flintstones set the stage for their space-age counterparts, The Jetsons. Other prime-time series were Top Cat and The Adventures of Johnny Quest. Hanna-Barbera also created television’s longest running animated series, Scooby-Doo, which ran for 17 seasons. In 1981, they created Smurfs, which ran for nine years and won two Emmy Awards. And in 1984, Hanna and Barbera executive produced The Flintstones for Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment, which was an international hit at the box office.
In honor of 50 years of outstanding achievement, Hanna and Barbera were presented with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Governor’s Award.