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Old December 19th, 2006, 12:56 AM   #1
gmd3d
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Unhappy Barbera dies at 95

Barbera



Joe Barbera, half of the Hanna-Barbera animation team which produced such beloved cartoon characters as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear and the Flintstones, has died.

Warner Brothers spokesman Gary Miereanu said the 95-year-old died today of natural causes at his Los Angeles home with his wife, Sheila, at his side.

With his partner, Bill Hanna, Barbera first found success creating the highly successful Tom and Jerry cartoons.

The antics of the battling cat and mouse went on to win seven Academy Awards, more than any other series with the same characters.

The partners, who had first teamed up while working at MGM in the 1930s, went on to a new realm of success in the 1950s with a witty series of animated TV comedies, including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Scooby-Doo and Huckleberry Hound and Friends.

Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his book Of Mice and Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons.

Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna brought warmth and a keen sense of timing.

“This writing-directing team may hold a record for producing consistently superior cartoons using the same characters year after year – without a break or change in routine,” Maltin wrote.




Warner Brothers Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer said today: “From the Stone Age to the Space Age and from prime time to Saturday mornings, syndication and cable, the characters he created with his late partner, William Hanna, are not only animated superstars, but also a very beloved part of American pop culture. While he will be missed by his family and friends,

“Joe will live on through his work,”

Hanna, who died in 2001, once said he was never a good artist but his partner could “capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I’ve ever known.”

The two first teamed cat and mouse in the short Puss Gets the Boot. It earned an Academy Award nomination, and MGM let the pair keep experimenting until the fully-fledged Tom and Jerry characters were born.

Jerry was borrowed for the mostly live-action musical Anchors Aweigh, dancing with Gene Kelly in a scene that become a screen classic.

After MGM folded its animation department in the mid-1950s, Hanna and Barbera were forced to go into business by themselves.

With television’s sharply lower budgets, their new cartoons put more stress on verbal wit rather than the detailed – and expensive – action featured in theatrical cartoon.
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