On this day in 1957, William Denby Hanna and Joseph Roland Barbera, having completed 17 years of producing 118 shorts of Tom & Jerry for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, struck out on their own to forge their own animation studio to produce content for television, on 3400 Cahuenga Blvd. West in Hollywood, California: Hanna-Barbera Producitons, Incorporated. Their first series was The Ruff and Reddy Show, which began a 7-year run on NBC December 14 of that year.
In the many, many years since, they produced material which became many a staple to devout Saturday morning viewers (including this one!), such as Huckleberry Hound, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Magilla Gorilla, Jonny Quest, Space Ghost, Birdman, Frankenstein Jr, The Herculoids, Dastardly And Muttley, Penelope Pitstop, Scooby Doo, Harlem Globetrotters, Josie and The Pussy Cats, The Hair Bear Bunch, Sealab 2020, The Roman Holidays, Speed Buggy, Super Friends, Hong Kong Phooey, Valley Of The Dinosaurs, Dynomutt Dog Wonder, Skatebirds, Godzilla, Smurfs, Richie Rich, Pac-Man, Little Rascals, and others far too countless to mention! Box office reciepts also benefited greatly from The House that Willie and Joe Built, with their releases of Hey There It's Yogi Bear, The Man Called Flintstone, Charlotte's Web, Heidi's Song, etc. Many Emmies and numerous other accollades were earned by H-B for their many projects. Of course, as we know, during the course of this undertow of creativity, Hanna and Barbera, in 1975, revisited their first creation, Tom and Jerry, producing new installments of their cat-and-mouse team exclusive to TV (a first for T&J) in a series aired in tandem with exploits of a 40-foot purple primate, Grape Ape (and later a Columbo-inspired supersleuth hound), which had a 2-year run on the ABC Funshine Saturday schedule.
After nearly 34 years of producing memorable content to the populace, the company dissolved in March 2001, shortly before Hanna's death at 91; Barbera followed 5 years later in December 2006 at age 95. But they should be rest assured of their lasting impact on our society as we reflect on them on their Diamond Jubilee today, and continue to enjoy their work on TV and home video releases (on VHS, Beta, laserdisc and DVD).
Here's to 6 more funtastic decades of Hanna-Barbera Entertainment and beyond!
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Those who have adored and continue to follow Willie and Joe's many award-winning projects over the past half-century, can discuss them here.