Tom and Jerry
William Hanna, who together with his partner Joseph Barbera, created cartoon characters such as as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, the Flintstones, Scooby Doo and the Jetsons, died in March 2001, at the age of 90. He was the the co-chairman and co-founder of Hanna Barbera Studios, founded in 1957, when MGM closed its cartoon division.
Born in 1910 in Melrose, New Mexico, as the son of a construction superintendent for the Sante Fe railway stations, William Hanna majored in journalism and engineering at Compton (California) Junior College. He began his animation career during the Depression in 1930 when he dropped out of UCLA and took a position at Hollywood's Harman-Ising studios where he worked in the story and layout departments. From 1931 to 1937, Hanna contributed story ideas to Harman-Ising's Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies series, produced on behalf of Leon Schlesinger and Warner Bros. He also wrote the music and lyrics for several of the catchy tunes heard in these cartoons. When Harman-Ising moved to MGM, they took Hanna along as a story editor. And when MGM formed its own animation department in 1937, Hanna was hired by department head Fred Quimby, who later became the producer of Tom And Jerry. At MGM, Hanna met his future partner for 60 years, Joseph Barbera.
Born in 1911 in New York City, Joseph Barbera had worked in a bank before working for Fleischer Studios, painting and inking cells for characters of Betty Boop and Popeye the Sailor Man. After a short job at Van Beuren Studios which went out of business due to the success of the Disney studios. He worked for the MGM cartoon studios, where he met Hanna.
At MGM, Hanna directed many of The Captain and the Kids cartoons in 1938-39 with William Allen. In 1938, he worked with Joseph Barbera for the first time, on Gallopin' Gals. Afterwards, they collaborated on Puss Gets the Boot, the first in the Tom and Jerry series in 1939. By the way, in the first episode, Tom was called "Jasper". With Tom and Jerry, Hanna and Barbera were able to break Disney's Oscar monopoly for cartoons. In twenty years, they won seven Oscars for their films with Tom and Jerry. Hanna was more the director and invented the stories, whereas Barbera preferred to work out the gags.
In the 1940s, their cartoon characters Tom and Jerry danced with Gene Kelly in the motion picture Anchors Away and Invitation to Dance as well as with Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet. In 1957, MGM closed its animation unit. Cartoons had became relatively expensive. Hanna and Barbera formed their own company which produced TV animation. Among the cartoon characters created by Hanna and Barbera are Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo, The Flinstones (in German: Familie Feuerstein), The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, The Banana Splits and Scooby-Doo. They also created theatrical-feature work, including A Man Called Flintstone in 1966, Charlotte's Web in 1972 and Heidi's Song in 1982.
Some of the most successful Tom and Jerry cartoons
- The Midnight Snack 7/19/41
- The Night Before Christmas 12/6/41 Academy Award Nomination
- The Yankee Doodle Mouse 6/26/43 Academy Award Winner
- Mouse Trouble 11/23/44 Academy Award Winner
- Quiet Please 12/22/45 Academy Award Winner
- The Cat Concerto 4/26/47 Academy Award Winner
- Dr Jekyll And Mr Mouse 6/14/47 Academy Award Nomination
- The Little Orphan 4/30/49 Academy Award Winner
- Hatch Up Your Troubles 5/14/49 Academy Award Nomination
- Jerry's Cousin 4/7/51 Academy Award Nomination
- The Two Mousketeers 3/15/52 Academy Award Winner
- Johann Mouse 3/21/53 Academy Award Winner
- Touche, Pussy Cat! 12/18/54 Academy Award Nomination
- Tot Watchers 8/1/58 (the last of the early Tom and Jerry cartoons directed by Hanna & Barbera; the cartoons of the 1960s were first made by Gene Deitch and later by Chuck Jones; from 1975-77, Hanna & Barbera revived Tom and Jerry).