Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Writing For a Blue Hound and a Futuristic Dog

You can get a chance to see and hear early Hanna-Barbera history tomorrow. And I don’t mean here on this blog.

There aren’t too many of the people left who worked at the studio in its early days in the late ‘50s or came on board when it was making history with the first animated prime time situation comedy in 1960. One of them is Tony Benedict.

Tony is the last of the early writers for the studio. Charlie Shows was there at the beginning in July 1957. Mike Maltese was hired in November 1958 as the studio’s head writer from Warner Bros. His old Warners (and Fleischer’s) comrade Warren Foster was hired the next year. H-B kept expanding. It needed writers. In 1960, the studio hired Tony. He worked on cartoons starring Huckleberry Hound and Yakky Doodle (inventing Alfie Gator) before turning his attention to the Flintstones. A bunch of sitcom writers had been contracted to supply Flintstones’ stories. They couldn’t draw. Tony could. He turned their written words into storyboards and added sight gags.

Anyway, why should I tell Tony’s story when you can hear and see him tell it himself. He’ll be on Stu’s Show tomorrow (Wednesday the 7th) at 4 p.m. Pacific time for a good couple of hours to talk about his career at Hanna-Barbera and how he left when fantasy/super heroes took over Saturday morning cartoons and new owners took over the studio. And there’s a bonus. Tony still has story art from his career 55-plus years ago that he’ll be showing off.

Tony worked with almost every big name in animation who passed through Hanna-Barbera in the early going, Mike Lah being a notable exception. Dan Gordon. Mike Maltese. Warren Foster. Carlo Vinci. Monty. Dick Bickenbach. Ed Benedict. Hoyt Curtin. The list goes on and on. With any luck, Tony will talk about these fine people and, of course, Mssrs. Hanna and Barbera. And this doesn’t include his earlier career at Disney and UPA. Oh, did we mention he invented Astro (né Tralfaz)?

You can watch the broadcast right here. If you miss it, it’ll be in Stu’s archive for a nominal charge.

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