Creator / Hanna-Barbera

The partnership of William Hanna (1910–2001) and Joseph Barbera (1911–2006) began at MGM's animation studio, where the pair spent almost 20 years directing Tom and Jerry shorts. After MGM got out of the cartoon business in 1957, Hanna and Barbera founded their own studio, which came to dominate Western Animation on television for decades.

The studio's extremely prolific half-century-plus output included classic cartoon series like The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo, Space Ghost, and The Smurfs; the Emmy-winning live-action Made-for-TV Movie The Gathering; a handful of feature films, most namely a popular adaptation of Charlotte's Web; and the infamous live-action acid sequence KISS Meets the Phantom of the Park, as well as countless other projects.

Hanna-Barbera pioneered the use of many Limited Animation techniques, such as Ring Around the Collar, to produce cartoons on a low budget quickly enough to meet a television schedule. The company has been accused of fostering the Animation Age Ghetto as a result of their popularizing of kiddie fare for Saturday Morning Cartoons.note  They've also been cited as one of the causes of the so-called "Dark Age of Animation" due to the their cartoons being produced on an incredibly low "cut the corners" budget. Some also became critical of the wave of similar shows to their earlier programs (especially The Flintstones, The Smurfs and Scooby-Doo) starting in the 1960s. This wave of copycat cartoons was spurred on by networks searching for the next big hit in that vein, who would then cancel the copycat show when it didn't meet ratings expectations.

There is also some critical opposition that probably comes as a by-product of producing so many at once. (you could argue that their biggest competitor was themselves). Though some of their shows get better individual recognition, such as Hong Kong Phooey and The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, are cult classics to this day, while other series, such as The Herculoids and Jonny Quest, are little masterpieces of design and layout. They also showed greater ambition with The Pirates of Dark Water, which (while not perfect) had a lot more time, money put into the animation, although it was sadly too good to last. In their prime, they never really attracted much critical attention but certainly achieved fame to the greater public. In an example,Fred Seibert has vigorously defended the classic H-B style as having saved Western Animation at a time when the end of animated theatrical shorts meant a steep decline in budgets. Meanwhile John Kricfalusi – one of the aforementioned critic supporters and no fan of H-B has a very different stance. Even to the point at one time he spread a false rumor about Hanna and Barbera's thoughts on "Scooby-Doo".

In the modern era this hasn't stopped, and thanks to the Internet Backdraft, the studio will often become an example of Love It or Hate It. With certain areas claiming them a beloved studio/creators or in other cases dubbing them the people that ruined animation. Outside of the web in the modern home media market, the HB Family of properties are given the most attention by Warner out of their back catalog. This is evidence enough that the love side is still strong and economically successful.

The studio often produced crossovers starting in The '70s, such as Yogi's Ark Lark and Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics. WB Animation has now taken over as Spiritual Successor to that tradition.

They also produced the films Charlotte's Web, Heidi's Song, and Once Upon a Forest. These have the distinct honor of being the only animated movies they ever made that did not feature any of their trademark characters. They also produced a few live-action TV series, like Korg: 70,000 BC and Benji, Zax & The Alien Prince.

Another popular aspect of the company was their distinctive sound effects library. Said sounds have become so common in cartoons that they have become ingrained in our minds to the point of becoming Stock Sound Effects.

After the purchase of the studio by Turner Broadcasting in 1991, the studio was an integral part in the founding of Cartoon Network; while its archives (and the MGM and pre-1948 Looney Tunes library, the post-1948 Looney Tunes coming with the Time Warner acquisition in 1996) filled up the schedule, its studio also became the network's in-house production unit. Creating both "Cartoon Network Originals" and other projects. Following the death of Bill Hanna, the corporate culture was essentially split. Cartoon Network programming is handled by Cartoon Network Studios, which was spun out into being it's own entity. While Warner Bros. assumed the production of Scooby-Doo, the company's longest-running franchise, with Hanna-Barbera credited as the copyright holder. note  One important thing this schism provides confusion on is that the earliest Cartoon Cartoons stopped being associated with Hanna Barbera here as well. Which is true up to this day at marketing from WB and CN.

Turner Broadcasting was acquired by Time Warner in 1996, at which point studio President Fred Seibert left. To fill the void, Turner handed the studio's operations to Warner Bros. Television Animation the following year; WBTVA head Jean MacCurdy took Seibert's place as a result. The H-B studio at 3400 Cahuenga West was closed in 1998, and the studio's operations were moved into WBTVA's building in Glendale. Two years later, its operations were handed back to Turner Broadcasting, which moved them to a building in Burbank dubbed Cartoon Network Studios, while Hanna-Barbera's intellectual property was retained by WB. The name Hanna-Barbera was mostly retired after Bill Hanna's death in 2001, though Warner was already attempting to phase it out; H-B merchandise from the late '90s noticeably lacks any H-B branding and instead has Cartoon Network's on it. This practice was abandoned after Cartoon Network Studios replaced H-B; H-B's name can be seen on current Hanna-Barbera merchandise.

Towards the later end of their careers, In 1988, William Hanna (at age 78) co-directed the Scooby episode "Bicycle Built for Boo", and in 2003 Joseph Barbera (at age 92) co-wrote the Scooby episode "Homeward Hound". Barbera also co-wrote "Tom and Jerry: The Fast and the Furry" plus co-directed and co-wrote "The Karate Guard" (the final theatrical T&J short) in 2005. However, every other time Hanna and Barbera are credited as "executive producers" for Warner Bros projects, those are just respectful gestures (like with "Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue"). Hanna and Barbera both directed and wrote two "What a Cartoon!" shorts as well, and directed Jetsons: The Movie by themselves.

In 2016, Warner Bros. announced that there are plans to create a Shared Universe of animated films based on Hanna-Barbera properties, provided that the 2018 animated Scooby-Doo reboot (S.C.O.O.B.) does well. Interestingly enough, said shared universe will apparently utilize traditional animation.

The Other Wiki has information about the duo and their legacy. See also The Hanna-Barbera Wiki and Wang Film Productions, a Taiwanese studio first established by a former employee for outsourcing to (eventually expanding their services to other companies too).

For a complete list of their shows, check out or TV Tome:

List of Hanna-Barbera works:

Tropes related to Hanna-Barbera (as a company):

  • Animated Adaptation: In the late '70s and early '80s, the studio made cartoons out of everything, from Godzilla to Laverne and Shirley.
  • Animation Bump: While known for their heavy dependance on Limited Animation for their TV shows, the studio would use a bigger budget for all it was worth whenever they could get one, often in their feature films. In fact, several of Tom and Jerry's highly skilled animators migrated over to HB when MGM shut down their cartoon studio, so the talent was there when they needed it. They moved away from the limited stuff entirely in the late 80s/early 90s, when they started streamlining their creative process by farming out their animation services and producing far fewer shows at a time.
  • Crossover: They loved doing this with their core stable of characters. The first real example specifically would be Yogi's Birthday Party. However even before this the 50s/60s characters would often name drop one another in their segments. This practice would swell into future shows that would make even bigger crossovers or plots to make two come together. Examples such as Laff-A-Lympics and The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.
  • Darker and Edgier: While in some corners of the web the studio isn't thought to be associated with this trope, they have crossed this line many times. Most earliest in the 60s with shows like Jonny Quest and Space Ghost being action shows where the weekly bad guys didn't always survive the episode.
    • Their action cartoons during the 80s and 90s began to take this route as well- the last couple seasons of Super Friends brought in Darkseid, for starters; the trend continued with Galtar and the Golden Lance, The Pirates of Dark Water, and SWAT Kats.
    • And in even more obscure corners, the studio also provided things such as The Last Of The Curlews and Rock Odyssey featuring some scenes that may launch into pure nightmare fuel.
    • DC Comics' Hanna-Barbera Beyond; a slate of comic reboots of H-B properties; while the above mentioned Future Quest aims at a retro aesthetic, the others provide these kind of what if takes. These include Scooby Apocalypse (which takes the Scooby Gang into a world infected by a nanite virus), Wacky Raceland (which transplants the Wacky Racers into a Mad Max: Fury Road style environment), and The Flintstones comic that takes it back to its' roots about social issues in a prehistoric setting. This mirroring the multiple paths being taken in the modern animation projects.
  • Domestic Only Cartoon: For better or worse. On the one hand, they proudly kept animation jobs going in America at a time when it was an otherwise suicidal career choice. On the other, it was not a practice conducive to creating shows of a quality higher than what they produced.
  • Friendly Enemy: With Ruby-Spears, the two founders split from Hanna-Barbera to form their own company, yet the relationship sure didn't stop there between the two.
  • Limited Animation: Pioneered many of the techniques in creating animation on a television schedule and budget, at least with what the technology would allow at the time. Of corse, as mentioned on Animation Bump, give Hanna-Barbera a budget and they would use it for all it was worth.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Considering all of the list above it is no wonder there are multitudes of them.
  • The Power of Friendship: A near constant theme in their shows, regardless of formula. Most have characters that will be best of friends and sometimes whole episodes are devoted to showcasing how friendship overcomes hardship. For a 50th anniversary, Bill and Joe led several of their star characters in a song about teamwork.
    • Can be argued for the studio itself, which survived decades thanks to its founders' teamwork, despite the two of them being polar opposites (Hanna was the quiet country type, Barbera was the fast-paced city type) and rarely fraternizing outside of work. Inside the studio the two worked in their own ways and complemented one anther's talent to a tee.
  • Promoted Fanboy: Fred Seibert, who was head of television production from 1992 to 1993, President of the whole studio from 1993 to 1996, instituted the What A Cartoon program, and a set of logos celebrating classic Hanna-Barbera characters.
  • The Rival: Filmation during the '60s and '70s — the rivalry faded in the '80s as Filmation concentrated on syndication, and was eventually shut down by the end of the decade.
  • Recycled In Space: Definitely not the first to do this, but both the Trope Namer (with Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space) and Trope Codifier for how this trope is currently used. As stated above, they were known for shameless recyling — if one show was successful, do another just like it. If one was not, do one like one of the more successful shows, rinse, repeat. If you're not too busy, check out this trope's page for western animation. About half of the above list is on there.
  • Reused Character Design: The studio re-utilized many smaller designs over the years that if one watches enough can easily spot. The Super Globetrotters, is example that completly thrived on it on purpose..
  • Spiritual Successor: MGM Animation → Hanna-Barbera → Cartoon Network Studios.
  • Strictly Formula: They are notorious for making a decades long career with over a hundred shows with a handful of similar concepts.