Joseph Barbera, the man who gave us our lovely childhood cartoons, “Tom and Jerry” and “The Flintstones” and “Scooby-Doo”, has passed away.
Joseph Barbera died of natural causes, at 95, in his home in Studio City, California. Together with William Hanna he co-founded the Hanna-Barbera production company, which was active between 1957 and 2001.
Hanna-Barbera produced such memorable cartoon series as “The Flintstones”, “The Jetsons”, “The Huckleberry Hound Show”, “The Yogi Bear Show”, “Jonny Quest”, “Wacky Races”, “Scooby-Doo”, and “Smurfs”, all of which have traveled the world over, entertaining and fascinating millions of children.
Indeed, who on this planet has not heard of those two wacky pals, the lovable Tom and Jerry? The cartoon was extremely successful from the very beginning, both with critics and the audience. In the 1940s, “Tom and Jerry” cartoons received five Academy Awards for Best Short Subject: Cartoons and won others in later years.
Joseph Barbera was born in Manhattan, in 1911. He first tried to be a cartoonist for a magazine called The NY Hits Magazine, during the Great Depression, but it didn’t work. He became an animator and scriptwriter for the Van Beuren Studio in 1932 and worked on several cartoons, including “Cubby Bear” and “Rainbow Parades”. When Van Beuren closed down in 1936, Barbera moved over to the MGM studios.
He teamed up with William Hanna in 1938 to direct theatrical short cartoons. Their first creation was titled “Puss Gets the Boot” (1940), the first Tom and Jerry film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best (Cartoon) Short Subject.
In their 17 years of “Tom and Jerry” partnership, the two artists witnessed 14 nominations for Academy Awards, which in itself is a record. Among the cartoons that received the coveted award are “The Yankee Doodle Mouse”, “Mouse Trouble”, “Quiet Please!” and “The Cat Concerto”.
Other remarkable critical acknowledgement for the two partners has been the acceptance of eight Emmys, including the Governors Award of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences in 1988.
William Hanna died in 2001, at 90; Barbera continued to do what he loved best, as an executive producer for Warner Bros. Animation on television series such as “What's New, Scooby-Doo?” and “Tom and Jerry Tales”. He also played a very big part in the animated “The Karateguard”, released in 2005, a short Tom and Jerry cartoon.
Mr. Barbera, thank you for my wonderful childhood cartoons. Rest in peace.