Wednesday, 3 October 2012

A Visit to the Hanna-Barbera Studio

Want to see the Hanna-Barbera studio in its days of glory, say the late 1960s? Let’s pay a visit. No doubt we’ll receive some assistance from knowledgeable readers about who some of the people are.

First, we see the Editing Department. The second photo is great. Grease pencil in the ear, plastic cups and film all over the place. Jay Sabicer points out the man at the left of the top photo is Bill Getty.

Obviously, this isn’t Editing. It’s Iwao Takamoto at his drawing board. Evidently, he stole his pants from Alexander of Josie and the Pussycats. Groovy, man, groovy!! It looks like his office on Cahuenga faces the parking lot and the empty hills nearby.

Several shots of Ink and Paint. I believe the woman in the smock is Robert Greutert. Note the drawing of the Herculoids and the Galaxy Trio in the background of the last photo, along with what I guess are drawings by the woman’s kid.

Two shots of sound recording. The man in the suit is Frank Paiker, who had a long career in animation going back to the ‘20s.

A background being worked on. I can’t tell which cartoon is being worked on, nor who the artist is.

Back to layout. Here’s Dick Bickenbach, who’d been in the business about 35 years when this was taken. Bick spent time at the Iwerks studio before appearing at Walter Lantz’ door in late 1936. A few years later, his name started appearing on Warner Bros. cartoons. He left the McKimson unit in the mid-‘40s to work in layout on the Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM and followed T and J’s creators to their own studio in 1957, providing model sheets for the main characters from Ed Benedict’s character drawings for the early shows, and laying out cartoons into the early ‘70s.

Someone at Hanna-Barbera in the mid-‘60s might point out this is a rare shot of Jerry Eisenberg because he’s not talking. Jerry rates having a window. There’s an unidentified screaming woman on his wall. It looks like Gladys Kravitz (also a Screen Gems Presentation).

What? No Alexander pants? Notice the drawing of the non-Wacky racing cars next to him. Speaking of cars, Iwao once mentioned that he designed Speed Buggy because no one could figure out what to do with the character (which was not among Mel Blanc’s best. It was Jack Benny’s far-funnier Maxwell with a five-pack-a-day habit).

Two shots of Art Babbitt, who ran Hanna-Barbera’s commercial division for a time. Thanks to Rudy Agresta for the ID. I’m used to seeing pictures of a much-younger Babbitt from his days at Disney.

Ah, the friendly reception desk. Observe the rotary dialers sticking up to the right of each person at the switchboard. I wonder how many times they had to tell people Huckleberry Hound was out.

Staff and characters outside the building at 3400 Cahuenga. The studio later erected other buildings on the block to handle the company’s expansion. You can see the Banana Splits out front, so the photo is from 1968 at the earliest.

Here’s a picture of the building taken recently by reader Jessie Martinez. No Ruff and Reddy, no Carlo Vinci and Ed Love, no sounds of Hoyt Curtin. Just a reminder that time carries on and of the fine artists who entertained several generations.


  1. The guy in the sweater-vest in the sound room is Bill Getty. He was a member of my church in Orange County, where he lived. During my college years, he was able to secure an interview with Alex Lovy, who was working on the Jetsons reboot in the mid 80's. Alas, Mr. Getty died just a few years later.

    1. Bill Getty is my Dads dad. He is still alive but Bill Getty passed away! Hope people can remember him (:

  2. Was the unidentified woman Jayne Barbera, Joe Barbera's daughter? Just a guess.

  3. Re your comment "Layout artists I don't recognize..." These are two shots of Art Babbitt, animator extraordinaire.

  4. Great blog Yowp!! Loved seeing the H-B Studios in it's hey day. I especially like the picture of the film editor on the " moviola " with the grease pencil and miles of film. I can relate to that. Before digital, I was always knee deep in China markers, razor blades, and splicing tape tabs stuck to the bottom of my shoes. Also good to see some faces behind the names we've seen on the opening and closing credits for years.

  5. Thanks, Rudy. I'm not used to seeing Babbitt that old. But, yeah, I can see it now. He looks taller sitting down, too.

  6. No offense, but right about this time was the downfall (the Banana plits, reasonably funny, specially the Winchell Beagle Fleege) would be replaced by four other truly "teeange" icons, hhuman and with a Greaat Dane, and none of of us wanna go there. Still this would be about the last stand, 1968 when Huck Finn and a couple of other expierments (Abbott and COstello are still a personal gjilty pleasure of mine), though there is no Ruff and Reddy (too late for them),Hoyt CUrtin, (nor of course the 1950s-early 60s libraries) you're right, just the sound of Nichols, and merchandising dollars,even (cue Snagglepuss "exit"..:)).; (As I said here and before I liked the occasional comedy exoperiments and live-animation stuff they were doing here, but we won't go into the next few years for the sake of the blog.)

    I'd love to see more early storyboard sketched and even the sound recording (sound FX< an d the use of the Capitol mujsic being recorded into the soundtracks, and the early Curtin vinvyls as well, if photos of such things exist.) SC

  7. And what about Alex Toth?
    Isn't there any photos of him working at Hanna-Barbera on that occasion?

  8. I think the unidentified background artist could be Ron Dias. Compare this picture above with up to date pic from his website

  9. I am currently writing a biography on Ron Dias and would love to use the photo of him above. It is the background artist with the tape residue on the picture. Do you have the rights to the pictures, and if so, may I use that one? My email is Thank you! - Vince

  10. Alguém sabe o nome desta rotatória na mesa ???? Este aparelho fazia rotações e facilitava a vida dos ilustradores,mas eu nuca soube o nome disso.