Hanna-Barbera Enterprises, Inc. was an animation studio that impacted and dominated television since it was founded in 1944. By William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and George Sidney. Also under the names of Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc. 1960, and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. It's Main function was to produce films and commercials. It went on to provide a powerful and lasting impact on television animation. Furthermore, a great many of the characters originally created by Hanna and Barbera for the small screen have crossed the boundaries into film, books, toys, and all manner of other media, becoming virtually ubiquitous as cultural icons. The name Hanna-Barbera still exists under the umbrella of Warner Bros. Animation for all historic proprietary material and to market "classic" associated material.
Comedy writer Bill Hanna and cartoonist Joe Barbera's careers merged in 1939, when both were working in the Cartoon Department at MGM Studios. Their first joint effort was a Tom and Jerry cartoon entitled, Puss Gets the Boot (1940). Seventeen years of Tom and Jerry episodes were to follow. The studio abruptly closed its cartoon unit in 1957, preferring re-runs to new material, nearly two decades after Hanna and Barbera began working at MGM.
New beginnng (1957)
Hanna and Barbera decided to try their collaborative hand at creating material for television. Having gained a solid reputation as film animators, the two successfully approached Columbia's Screen Gems television studio with a storyboard for Ruff and Reddy, a cartoon tale about two pals, a dog and a cat. The success of Ruff and Reddy as wrap-around segments for recycled movie cartoons (including Tom and Jerry) proved to be the beginning of a lengthy career in television animation.
Over the next three decades, Hanna-Barbera Productions produced many successful cartoon shows, including The Huckleberry Hound Show (the first cartoon series to receive and Emmy award), The Flintstones, Top Cat, Tom and Jerry, The Yogi Bear Show, Pixie and Dixie, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo, The Smurfs, and Wacky Races. In the mid-1980s, the company's fortunes declined somewhat after the profitability of Saturday morning cartoons was eclipsed by weekday afternoon syndication.
From 1991, Hanna-Barbera Productions, now a subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting System, boasts a library of several thousand cartoon episodes. Hanna-Barbera account for the bulk of the programming on Turner's Cartoon Network cable service. Since the 1970s Hanna-Barbera has produced, in addition to the cartoons, a number of films and specials for television including The Gathering (1977), The Stone Fox (1987), and Going Bananas (1984), as well as live-action feature films including The Jetsons: The Movie (1990), The Pagemaster (1994) and The Flintstones (1994). In 1994 the company was renamed Hanna-Barbera Cartoons.
Time Warner (1996)
In 1996, TBS owner Ted Turner merged with Time Warner. With Bill Hanna's death in 2001, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network Studios assumed production of Cartoon Network output. Joe Barbera remained with Warner Bros. Animation until his death in 2006.
Cartoon Network (2010)
The long and productive partnership between William Hanna and Joseph Barbera has yielded some of television's most successful and enduring programs. Cartoon series such as The Flintstones, The Jetsons, and Huckleberry Hound are as popular with audiences today as they were when first shown. While this is evidence of the timeless entertainment value of animated programming, it also reflects the astute business sense of Hanna and Barbera and their ability to recognize trends in the entertainment industry. After decades of exposure to audiences worldwide, many individual Hanna-Barbera animated characters have become so familiar to audiences that they have transcended their original program contexts to some extent. Two obvious examples are the Flintstones and Scooby Doo characters, which have achieved international recognition through television series, specials, theatrical film, and their display on every imaginable consumer product (most licensed by Hanna-Barbera).