I think Ranger Smith is one of the deepest cartoon personalities ever created. In fact the whole chemistry between him, Yogi and Boo Boo is inspired.
I also think that the Hanna Barbera style itself is absolute raw material for experimentation and eventual greatness. The limited animation techniques they pioneered to try and hide the fact that the cartoons are cheap could have been exploited by less conservative minds and turned into part of the entertainment itself. It's perfect for Flash, but no one has taken advantage of it yet.
Hey the picture above and the one below were drawn by that magic imp of the animation world - Aaron Springer. Boy do I love his talent.
The solutions the HB animators came up with to create limited walks made me laugh even when I was a kid, and I always wanted to make fun of them and draw attention to them. Me and my friends actually used to walk to school in limited animaton walk cycles. I perfected the Perry Gunite walk - to the great amusement of the Italian bullies that always wanted to kill me, but couldn't because they were laughing too hard.
HB was absolutely chock full of creative raw material and could have spawned a truly imaginative well respected school of animation techniques, had it been taken advantage of.
I love to experiment, and when I got the chance to do a couple HB cartoons myself, I went at it. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to continue developing the style. Part of the problem of experimenting is you have to get the rest of the artists (and executives) to go along with you and its very hard for them to break habits that the animation business has instilled into them, so it takes time to get the cartoons fully developed into a whole new thing. I'd bet you 75% of my directing time is spent just trying to get my crew to actually believe I want them to draw what I said to draw - or even drew myself! Especially when jumping from one style to another.
That's why I hate the whole notion of "style". It really should be renamed "blind habit". People should just learn to draw well and forget trying to have a style. I saw this film the other day that was an unbelievable symphony in formula. It was "The Little Match Girl" done in a completely Cal Arts "style". Every single part of it was drawn and animated by formula and you had seen it all a million times before. I mean it was all smooth and airbrushed and everything, but ye Gods I'd go nuts if I had to just draw the same poses and expressions for a lifetime - especially in such a cold style. The funny part is, many Ren and Stimpy people animated on the cartoon and I guess had to learn the Cal Arts style (or maybe revert to it). Of course Disney has tons of time and money to wait for you to learn to do everything the same way.
Here's another section from "Ranger's Retreat" where Ranger Smith is learning how to trust everyone without question. I think Politicians take this course on their retreats. Shouldn't they really be teaching "Suspicion" lessons?
Note the difference between storyboard scribbles and the final drawings in the colored frames.
We draw continuity really fast, because we are trying to aim for spontaneity of emotion. Then we polish up the poses in layout.
In animation, with the right mindset, you can add a lot of entertainment that neither the script or the storyboards came up with. I'll put up a clip later of funny HB walks.
This was how I ate breakfast every morning when I was 8 and 9 years old. With my Yogi Mug and Huck Bowl.
Here's part 1 if you missed it: