Hanna and Barbera


Edited by Kevin Sandler

"Hanna and Barbera: Conversations" presents a lively portrait of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, the influential producers behind Tom and Jerry, the Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, the Smurfs, and hundreds of other cartoon characters who continue to entertain the world today. Encompassing more than fifty years of film and television history, the conversations in this volume include first-person accounts by the namesakes of the Hanna-Barbera studio as well as recollections by artists and executives who worked closely with the pair for decades. It is the first collection of its kind about Hanna and Barbera, likely the most prolific animation producers of the twentieth century, whose studio once outflanked its competitor Walt Disney in output and influence.

Bill Hanna fell into animation in 1930 at the Harman-Ising studio in Los Angeles, gaining skills across the phases of production as MGM opened its animation studio. Joe Barbera, a talented and sociable artist, entered the industry around the same time at the wild and woolly Van Beuren studio in Manhattan, learning the ins and outs of animation art before crossing the country to join MGM. In television, Hanna’s timing and community-oriented work ethic along with Barbera’s knack for sales and creating funny characters enabled Hanna-Barbera to build a roster of beloved cartoon series.

A wide range of pieces map Hanna and Barbera’s partnership, from their early days in Hollywood in the 1930s to Cartoon Network in the 1990s, when a new generation took the reins of their animation studio. Relatively unknown when they made over one hundred Tom and Jerry theatrical cartoons at MGM in the 1940s and 1950s, Hanna and Barbera became household names upon entering the new medium of television in 1957. Discussions here chart their early primetime successes as well as later controversies surrounding violence, overseas production, and the lack of quality in their Saturday morning cartoons. With wit, candor, insight, and bravado, "Hanna and Barbera: Conversations" reflects on Bill and Joe’s breakthroughs and shortcomings, and their studio’s innovations and retreads.


Co-editor Kevin Sandler is an associate professor in the Arizona State University Department of English's film and media studies program.

Portrait of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera
Date published
University Press of Mississippi

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