Wednesday 28 March 2018

Some Faces of Hanna-Barbera

It’s great to see the people responsible for those fun early Hanna-Barbera cartoons back in the studio’s heyday.

These pictures, I believe, are from Jerry Eisenberg’s collection, and courtesy of Tony Benedict. Jerry, if you don’t know, was a layout artist at the studio whose name can be found on The Huckleberry Hound Show and other great series. They have been sitting in a folder that was supposed to have been posted several months ago but got set aside somehow.

Here’s a snapshot of Art Lozzi. Art was working at the MGM cartoon studio at the time of its closing in 1957 and some months later was hired at Hanna-Barbera. He’s responsible for some really fun-looking backgrounds. Scooter Looter and Loco Locomotive, both with Yogi Bear, are his cartoons. Art is still alive and living in Greece, where he was working with one of the hotel chains. Lozzi told that it would take days to two weeks to paint the backgrounds for a short cartoon.

This colour shot is of one of the other early background artists at the studio, Fernando Montealegre. Credit watchers will know he only went by his last name on screen. You may have seen his work on some of the final cartoons made at the MGM cartoon studio; his backgrounds were flat and stylised. They were less so when he arrived at H-B. He was originally from Costa Rica and died in 1991 in California.

Here are Art and Monty along with Jerry Eisenberg in the background department at, judging by the cinderblock wall on the right, the windowless studio at 3501 Cahuenga, where the staff moved by August 1960 while the Flintstones was beginning production. Oh, to be able to see those long backgrounds on the boards to the left (at least that’s what I think they are).

Jerry along with fellow layout artist Willie Ito checking out a gorilla for sale. Both of them had worked at Warner Bros. in the 1950s. Willie ended up at Snowball, which was the studio Bob Clampett set up to make Beany and Cecil cartoons (and several other animated projects that never got sold) before going to H-B.

If you don’t know who this is, you really are on the wrong blog.

I don’t know if that’s the Emmy that Hanna-Barbera won for The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1960. I imagine this picture was taken some years after that.

Here’s the Arthur Froelich-designed building (with a bomb shelter), the third studio, at 3400 Cahuenga. It’s under construction here and opened in 1963. That’s Cahuenga Boulevard on the far right where that car is parked next to the phone pole (a 1959 Chevy is near the centre of the picture). Next to Joe and Bill and some TV cartoon characters, it’s probably the most famous face of Hanna-Barbera, even though my favourite cartoons were made at the Kling Studios on La Brea.


  1. Thanks for the great pics,Yowp. Always good to see the faces behind the art. Agreed. My favorite cartoons were created at the other studio also.

    1. Mine,too at both of the other studios! !SC

    2. Changing studios seems to have an impact on the output of animation. The Disney Studio had their most creative and inventive period during the Hyperion days, while at the fancy big new studio their animation became more standardized, and the Fleischer Studio seems to have lost much of its spark and originality after moving to Florida, which location didn't last long for them before the studio itself was reconfigured. Looks like Hanna-Barbera suffered a similar fate in loss of originality after changing studios. Other factors were involved in all three cases, of course, but it's interesting to note that bigger doesn't always guarantee better.

  2. A smaller office means less overhead. When they built their own big building for animation production, they were saddled with paying for it. Plus don't forget the costs for electric, heating/cooling, insurance, etc. When you own the building, You can no longer downsize when production is lean.
    I believe the sheer size and expense of the new building put a new emphasis on the business and not the creativeness of the product. Joe and Bill had to find ways to keep the plant busy. On top of that, The closeness of Bill and Joe to the rest of the operation was separated when Bill moved into the Penthouse and Joe had that big office that was away from the crew. That may have had something to do with the way the cartoons were created as well. I really feel that the studios best period was their first five years of operation.