Wednesday, 25 July 2018

Stories From Hanna Barbera Veterans — Live!

No, a character from The Flintstones didn’t one day suddenly cross over into the world of Pixie and Dixie (though it would make more sense than some of the ridiculous “Hanna-Barbera” cross-overs of today). This monster has been conjured up by Mr. Jinks in Magician Jinks, one of the last cartoons with the meeces put into production on the Huckleberry Hound Show.

And who is responsible for this incidental character?

To the right, you see the credits for this particular cartoon. You will notice the name of one Jerry Eisenberg. Jerry was newly-landed at Hanna-Barbera, which was continuing to expand its operations. The studio had The Flintstones and Top Cat in prime time, was still producing cartoons for the Huck, Yogi and Quick Draw half-hour shows for Kellogg’s, churning out the disappointing Loopy De Loop series for Columbia Pictures and working on new concepts, such as Hairbrain Hare. Jerry had already rubbed elbows with some of the great Golden Age artists who didn’t work for Walt Disney. He came from Warner Bros. and had already worked for Joe Barbera as an assistant in-betweener at MGM before the company decided to shut down its cartoon studio. His father was Harvey Eisenberg, known perhaps more for his work in comic books than animation, which went back to the days of the Van Beuren studio in New York.

For a minute, it appears as if Alfie Gator will succeed in his quest for a culinary delight—a duck dinner (out of camera range, Fibber Fox swats the gator’s butt, forcing Yakky Doodle back out of his mouth. Alas). Alfie was a parody of Alfred Hitchcock, specifically the TV host version, where Hitch would appear in silhouette to “Funeral March of a Marionette” and introduce tonight’s stawwww-ry.

Alfie was one of the characters created by the writer whose name you see on the right. Tony Benedict arrived at Hanna-Barbera from UPA and was put to work drawing story sketches. He was soon working on stories for Huck Hound and Yakky Doodle in addition to The Flintstones, The Jetsons and so on. My favourite creation of Tony’s is the comic relief dog Astro. Tony stayed on at Hanna-Barbera until the rise of adventure cartoons and the studio’s sale by Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, and various Columbia pictures interests to Taft Broadcasting. Before his stop at UPA, he began his animation career at Walt Disney.

The credits you see to the right are not from a Hanna-Barbera cartoon. The title card is from the Beany and Cecil show from Bob Clampett’s studio. Clampett had a bunch of plans for various animated series, including one starring Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy, but things fell apart when prime time cartoons failed in 1961-62 and the networks, for the most part, stayed away from the idea. Willie Ito then moved on to Hanna-Barbera where he provided layouts for a number of series. Like Eisenberg, he had worked in the Chuck Jones unit at Warner Bros. and like Benedict, he got some early grounding at Walt Disney (where he eventually returned).

Getting the opportunity to hear first-hand experiences in animation from these veterans should never be missed. That opportunity is today. The three will be appearing on “Stu’s Show,” which has become far more elaborate and graduated to streaming video (you can still listen to the programme as well). Want tales about putting together The Flintstones? Want to learn what Joe Barbera ate for lunch? Want to hear what kind of practical jokes O.B. Barkley pulled? (O.B. was an assistant animator at MGM and Warners). If anyone knows, it’s these men.

Read more below to find out more about this afternoon’s show. Click here for the link to the broadcast at 4 p.m. Pacific.


  1. Thanks Yowp, this is great!

  2. As Jinks would say: "Afrigany Hoosisistan"

  3. Just heard most of the show and it was wonderful!! I wish I could have totally appreciated the silent "home movies", but from comments made during the airing of these reels, it sounded as if it would have nicely rivaled the Christmas reels done at Warner Brothers!

  4. Are you talking about the DC Comics crossovers done lately?