Saturday, 5 January 2019

Facts and Figures About Hanna-Barbera, 1966

One of the people responsible for many of the posts on this blog never lifted a pencil or a paint brush at Hanna-Barbera. He was Arnie Carr, the man responsible for getting the studio free publicity in the media (that’s him to the right with Fred Flintstone).

Carr was with Ziv Television in 1955 when he joined Irving Fein’s staff at CBS radio before migrating to KABC-TV, Screen Gems and then directly for Hanna-Barbera in March 1960. In September 1962, he opened his own PR agency (originally at 3487 Cahuenga Blvd.) but kept the cartoon studio as a client. Perhaps Arnie’s big claim to fame (or was it a publicity stunt) was signing the breakaway African country of Biafra as a client in 1968.

Arnie retired from the movie/television press agent game and opened an art and jewellery gallery in Santa Monica in 1991. We lose track of him after that.

He and his staff would have, among other things, churned out press releases about the H-B shows and studio, some of them written like newspaper stories that papers could use as much as they wanted to fill column space. They wouldn’t have been bylined, although there would likely be a contact name and number at the bottom. However, we’ve found one flack job that has Arnie’s name on it. He garnered a full page in the May 1966 edition of Studio magazine (“for and about people in the industry”) with two stock photos. It’s really a big ad, but we presume Hanna-Barbera didn’t pay ad rates for it.

A bear by the Tail!
By Arnold Carr
When you grasp the fact that more than one-third of the total population of Europe, North and South America and Japan each week voluntarily glues itself to the animated television antics produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, you know you’ve got a bear by the tail!
It’s true. More than 300 million men, women and children watch one or more of 15 H-B concoctions on television in some 47 lands.
Now consider this:
The consumer products carrying the likenesses of such diverse Hanna-Barbera characters as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Fred Flintstone have mushroomed during the past seven years into the largest merchandising Operation of its kind in the world. Projected gross retail sales via more than 1500 licensed manufacturers of some 4,500 products ranging from Flintstone window shades to Yogi Bear bubble bath in 1966. More than $150 million.
And this:
The soaring success of the Hanna-Barbera combo actually dates back just seven years to the day they were relieved of their duties at MGM Studios — although the partnership first flowered 25 years ago when they created the seven-times Oscar winning cartoon short, “Tom & Jerry,” at the same studio.
Today, Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc., owns and fills a Contemporary 3-story, $1,250,000 building on a 2 1/2 acre plot in North Hollywood, California; and employs some 350 artists, technicians, writers and directors in the largest animation studio operation in the world.
Additionally, H-B is engaged in the production of commercials and industrial films, both animated and live-action, for many of the nation’s leading corporations. In fact, total H-B production budget for 1966 will hit approximately 20 million.
Moreover, Hanna-Barbera is currently producing two live-action pilot films for the 1967 season. It is also entering into the production of live action, full-length feature films.
The Hanna-Barbera record label, established in 1964, is already one of the fastest growing Companies in the business. It adds up to an impressive achievement which started in the spring of 1957, when out of work and out of necessity, Hanna and Barbera began thinking in terms of cartoon shows for television.
H-B’s first television offering was “Ruff and Reddy.”
In rapid succession the nation took to its heart the likes of “Huckleberry Hound” (the first half-hour animated series on TV), “Quick Draw McGraw” (the slowest horse in the West) and “The Flintstones,” “Yogi Bear,” “Top Cat” and “The Jetsons” “Touche Turtle,” “Lippy the Lion” and “Wally Gator.” “Magilla Gorilla,” “Peter Potamus,” “Atom Ant,” “Secret Squirrel,” and “Johnny Quest” [sic] bringing the total of 15 TV series from Hanna-Barbera on the world’s airwaves concurrently.
It is a notable sidelight to this smashing success in visual imagery that neither Hanna nor Barbera began his career as a cartoonist or artist.
Bill Hanna was born in Melrose, New Mexico, and spent his school years studying engineering and journalism and accidentally turned to cartooning.
Joe Barbera was born in New York City and attended the American Institute of Banking. An inveterate doodler and dreamer, Barbera started submitting gag drawings to leading magazines and managed to sell one to Collier’s. This led Barbera to a brief huddle with himself (about seven seven minutes) during which he determined to seek a career in cartooning as opposed to the world of finance.
In 1937, Bill Hanna was hired by MGM as a director and story man in the cartoon division, and Joe Barbera simultaneously was employed as an animator and writer at the same studio.
During their 20-year tenure at MGM, the team turned out more than 125 segments of the aforementioned and highly acclaimed “Tom and Jerry” theatrical cartoon. Their annual animation production of approximately 45 minutes per year at MGM compares dramatically with an output at Hanna-Barbera Productions of that much material each week.
Operating a multi-million dollar entertainment empire without inter-office memos and with a consistent open-door policy is considered unorthodox even by Hollywood Standards.
But the warm comraderie of the H-B operations has produced artistic and economic success as impressive to Hollywood as to the business world and the 300 million weekly viewers of all their shows.

1 comment:

  1. Here are the series produced by Hanna-Barbera, which premiered in 1966: Space Ghost & Dino Boy, Frankenstein Jr. & The Impossibles, The Space Kidettes and the Hanna-Barbera's version for Laurel & Hardy.