William Hanna

About William Hanna

Animation great William Hanna created along with his partner Joseph Barbera a cartoon empire that included The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Jonny Quest, The Jetsons, Scooby Doo, Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles, Atom Ant, The Banana Splits, among many others. The duo, whose partnership lasted over 50 years, also created the cat and mouse pair, Tom and Jerry for MGM. Another Hanna-Barbera hallmark was the cartoons' sensational soundtracks created under the supervision of Hoyt Curtin. Rhino has issued a number of releases based around Hanna-Barbera cartoons including Hanna-Barbera Classics, Vol.1, Hanna-Barbera: Pic-A-Nic Basket of Cartoon Classics, The Flintstones: Modern Stone-Age Melodies, Scooby-Doo's Snack Tracks: The Ultimate Collection, and Toon Tunes: 50 Favorite Classic Cartoon Songs.

Hanna attended college before getting a job as a construction engineer. Losing his job because of the Great Depression, Hanna went into animation; first working for Leon Schlesinger's Pacific Art and Title. Schlesinger would later work at Warner Bros.' cartoon department on their Looney Toons series. In 1930, Hanna went to work for Harmon-Ising Studios on Looney Toons and Merry Melodies series as a writer, lyricist, and composer. Hanna met Barbera in 1937 when both worked for MGM's animation department. Their cartoon creation Tom and Jerry won seven Academy Awards and was featured in a classic live action/animation movie scenes with Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh and Esther Williams in Dangerous When Wet. When MGM closed their animation department, the two decided to go in business for themselves.

Starting their own Hanna-Barbera productions in the late '50s, the produced the Huckleberry Hound and Friends TV series; which was the first animated series to win an Emmy. The duo also created the first, successful prime time cartoon series with The Flintstones, a long-running Top 20 hit in the '60s; thus laying the foundation for other nighttime cartoons as Rocky and Bullwinkle, The Simpsons, and Futurama.

At the age of 90, William Hanna died in his north Hollywood home on March 22, 2001. ~ Ed Hogan