Wednesday, 8 August 2012

They Made Hanna-Barbera Cartoons

Pictures of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera abound. They went from television animation pioneers to television animation icons and their images were featured in all kinds of publicity material.

Of course, there was a whole team working under them. Even if anyone paid attention to the credits, few people knew what they looked like. However, some appeared in what I can assume were publicity photos that had been taken in case a newspaper or magazine wanted to run a feature on how cartoons were made.

None of these photos are captioned or dated. I’m sure there will be some people who will recognise the photo subjects and can help identify them. These were taken in the Cahuenga studio.

This is where I show my woeful ignorance of the process of animation. About all I can tell is this is someone is drawing Yogi Bear. I have no idea what the sheet is beside the animator. The someone, by the way is Bob Carr, who started as an assistant at Disney and came over to Hanna-Barbera for the third season of the Huckleberry Hound Show after the layoffs at Disney. You can see Bob’s work on Flickr. Thanks to Mark C. for the ID.

Here’s veteran animator Dick Lundy (he has a tag with his name on the chair) referring to an exposure sheet. He has a turntable to the left of him; to listen to dialogue maybe? I don’t want to guess what’s in a lump in his coffee cup (if I had to, I’d guess a sponge. I hope it’s not coffee).

Here’s Ben Shenkman working on caricatured for a toothy Bill and Joe, who appeared in animated form in the pilot “Color Me Happy,” produced in 1965 with the idea that ABC would air the show in the 1966-67 season. Daws Butler is caricatured in the Fall Festival poster with Yogi and Huck. Someone will ID the model sheet of the woman because they’re more into the H-B adventure shows than I am. I think it’s one of the Herculoids; I haven’t seen the show since it aired. Shenkman was an assistant animator from New York who apparently worked at Columbia in the ‘30s, moved to the Schlesinger studio about 1940, and then on to MGM. Thanks again to Mark C. for the ID.

This animator working on Fred Flintstone has no chair but a window overlooking barren hills and power lines. Note the model sheets of Pebbles to the right.

Let’s move to the background department. Here’s Art Lozzi, who joined the studio when it opened in 1957 after a career at MGM with a stop at Disney in between.

I can’t name too many women involved in the production of H-B backgrounds in the early days. Vera Hanson (née Ohman) and Neenah Maxwell were background artists in the first few years. I don’t know if the latter two were still at the studio when these pictures were taken. Sorry the photos are murky since I can’t definitively identify the background drawings or the cel on the bottom photo. However, one helpful reader can and says the cel is Meteor Man of the Galaxy Trio. Thanks, Anon. Further to what Dave Mackey mentioned in the comments, Janet Brown worked on backgrounds on that series. I remember it airing but don’t recall watching it. See the credits below.

These were among the photos that used to appear on the Cartoon Network site and have been rescued from obscurity.


  1. The animator in the top photo is Bob Carr. The artist drawing the caricatures is Ben Shenkman, and I think the animator with the drawing of Fred on his table might be George Nicholas.

  2. The sheet alongside Bob Carr in the first picture is an exposure sheet, which is used by the animator to stage and time the action. Nowadays, x-sheets are prepared by timing directors, usually veteran animators.

    There were some other female background painters at HB by 1965, Janet Brown, Ann Guenther, Pat Keppler, and Sheila Brown among them.

  3. The sheet looks different than the graphed sheet Dick Lundy is working with, hence my confusion.

  4. The caricature of Bill & Joe is NOT from "Hanna-Barbera Presents: The World --Color It Happy." The drawing is too realistic, unless they were simplified for the final product which was much more cartoony. The cel in the bottom photo is Meteor Man from "The Galaxy Trio," so the photo is from 1967.

  5. There are more female background painters who worked at Hanna-Barbera (from the 60s to on): Sandra Loughly, Patricia Frye, Daniela Bielecka, Lorraine Andrina, Rosemary O'Connor, Cathy Clark, Thelma Witmer, Marsha Gertenbach and Barbara Begg.
    I'll continue with this list which involves the female background painters who worked at Hanna-Barbera, on a next opportunity.
    So long!

  6. Here are more female background painters who worked on Hanna-Barbera: Roberta Greutert, Venetia Epler, Marilyn Shimikomochi and Cathy Braver.

  7. Venetia Epler passed away in 2005, but her sister Daphne Huntington retained a lot of artwork relating to those old cartoons. Some can be seen here: