Saturday, 6 April 2019

Patterson Flintstone

How many times did this leap run cycle get used on The Flintstones?

There are four drawings in this cycle, but what’s different is the first two below are shot once, while the other two are shot twice.

The cycle is similar to one in a late ‘50s Woody Woodpecker cartoon, which isn’t surprising as this scene come from “The Engagement Ring” episode animated in its entirety by Don Patterson.

Like several of the earliest Hanna-Barbera artists, Patterson tried to fill the screen with as much expression as Hanna-Barbera’s limited animation would allow. Here are a variety of expressions from this cartoon.

Donald William Patterson was born on Boxing Day 1909 in Chicago. His father Searles William Patterson was a writer for the Tribune, but moved the family to Long Beach, California within four months. Patterson graduated in 1928 from Hollywood High School and married his high school sweetheart in 1933 (they were married for 65 years). By then he was employed as an in-betweener at the Charles Mintz studio along with his brother Ray, who has quite the animation history as readers likely know.

Don was hired by the Walt Disney studio where he was responsible for some excellent animation on shorts and features. However, he was at MGM by the later ‘40s, and then when the Walter Lantz studio reopened in 1950 after a shutdown of over a year, he was hired as an animator (where he was between the two studios, I don’t know). Patterson’s skills resulted in a promotion to a director’s job in 1952. Lantz soon decided to create two units and put Paul Smith in charge of the other one. Patterson’s animators were La Verne Harding, Ray Abrams and Ken Southworth, but he ended up animating scenes as well (Harding was soon swapped for Herman Cohen). He was entrusted with the studio’s only 3-D release, Hypnotic Hick, but for reasons that may only be known in an unpublished interview, Patterson was demoted to animator when Tex Avery arrived (Smith continued directing until the very bitter end of the studio). When Avery quit, Alex Lovy was hired to direct and Patterson remained an animator. He, Lovy and Harding all high-tailed it to Hanna-Barbera in 1959.

Patterson’s career at Hanna-Barbera coincided with the studio adding another half-hour series to its workload, The Quick Draw McGraw Show. He worked on some good Yogi Bear cartoons, including Show Biz Bear (“looks like....a me”) and Oinks and Boinks and stayed with the studio for the next three decades. He enjoyed his retirement years on his boat and passed away just short of his 89th birthday in 1998 in Santa Barbara.


  1. Lantz's decision and his eventual loss of Patterson turned out to be Hanna-Barbera's gain, at least before the studio's system became so cookie-cutter all the individuality was squeezed out of the animation. Lantz's output would have likely been better if Avery had taken over Paul Smith's unit, while I'm not quite sure what a Paul J. Smith episode of The Flintstones or a Yogi cartoon would have looked like (let alone a Paul J. Smith Scooby Doo episode by the end of the 1960s....)

  2. I thought this recent Flintstones-related news story was hilarious. Be sure to click through the slideshow!

  3. It still blows my mind the fact that each Flintstones episode were animated by a single animator.

    1. Only some Season 1 and 2 episodes. Some of the later Season 1 episodes had up to five animators, and with one exception every episode from Season 3 on had at least two.

  4. "The Engagement Ring" is one of my favorite Flintstones episodes for just that reason, the animation alone is funny.

  5. I just love the animation in season one (and the backgrounds too). I wish I could go back in time and be working as an animator at HB during this time.

  6. The instant I saw the still where Fred has his hand in the bowl, and the spiral eyes, I heard Wilma's voice "FRED!!"

  7. FRED (menacing): "This is a stick-up...put your hands up, and doo-oon't turn around!"

    (Digs around in garbage)

    FRED: "Okay...I got what I came for...put your hands down and juuuust keep moving!"

    GARBAGE MAN (confused): "I don't get it...what kinda screwball's gonna hijack a garbage truck?"

  8. I love Don Patterson's animation for H-B - great expressions and some personality animation thrown in for good measure.