Friday, August 06, 2010

The HB I Like

I don't like Tom and Jerry at all. I do like Hanna Barbera's TV cartoons from 1957 to about 1962. Really to about 1960. They are fun cartoons to eat breakfast with.They were on to a great thing for kids and then dumped everything good about it really fast.
The color and design in the early HB cartoons is pure candy.


I also like the simplicity. Simple, that is but with a method. Not simple without skill like today's simple. Modern TV is crawling with cartoons that look (and sound) like they are made by retarded 10 year olds. It seems like networks go out of their way to make cartoons amateurish and no fun. It's a complete mystery to me.This is proof that even on an extremely low budget you can at least make something fun to look at. And great voices don't cost that much either. HB certainly had those.

I loved the Jetsons as a kid because of its promise. It never quite lived up to its core elements though. HB was just too conservative to take advantage of what it had. I'll never understand it.
HB merchandise did take advantage of the style though. It was often more liberal with the designs than the studio itself.

I really liked when Dino was an African American.
I wish I could find more Dan Gordon storyboards for HB.
Someday someone will let me revive these characters. They are in my blood. I bet they would make a fortune.

Here's one of my favorite sites:

http://yowpyowp.blogspot.com/


I like it not just because its about early HB cartoons that I think it's good. It tells you lots of interesting history and behind the scenes stuff, plus he tells you about the music and shows lots of funny frame grabs:It's just what you want from a cartoon blog. Very pure.




I wish there were sites like this for WB and Fleischer. Tex Avery too. If there are, let me know. Maybe I missed them.

44 comments:

CJ said...

Hey John!

Speaking of YogiBear...
Ruin your braincells in this new exciting trailer from the new feature film!

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/yogi-bear/trailers/11116426/

JohnK said...

Yeah, I know. Like I said, people with money go out of their way to make cartoons ugly and not entertaining. It's like everyone is afraid of fun and professionalism.

RooniMan said...

It's odd. They we're on a great streak of greatness and fun, but then suddenly, it all just vanished, leaving nothing but pain and misery for the rest of time.

CJ said...

John:

I don't think the problem is necessarily the designs themselves. While they're not the best, they're not the worst in terms of what's being made into 3D films. I mean, it's pretty deplorable they're taking people, that I'm sure have talent, and are making them do this. And this...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi4HJ2jQno8

I think my main problem with this guy who keeps doing these films like Garfield and Chipmunks. Is that the characters, despite being well rendered, aren't believable because of the other realistic people and animals that can't break the same realm of physics like the 3D characters can and they just don't fit visually.

You know what might sound weird? I find puppets from films like Labyrinth and some other classics films more appealing and believable than these guys. Don't know why though.

CJ said...

John:

Oh just curious. What don't you like about T&J? I like most of the short except for the 90's cartoon and the static looking ones from the 60's. The music and designs of the characters were always jerky which scared me as a kid.

SparkyMK3 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TedM said...

Cool blog. Early HB are the best.

TedM said...

Thanks for the info on the cool HB site.

kurtwil said...

A pity that Turner, for whatever weird reason they have, is not asking you, JK, to do more HB-inspired or HB-derived works.

Hopefully someday they will come around and give you another shot.

kurtwil said...

...and as one other late night thought, perhaps your upcoming cartoon course will focus on how to draw/animate those characters. That way, should Turner give you the green light, you'll potentially have a local and possibly inexpensive crew to make a pilot with.
Why should Rough Draft have all the fun? :-)

Yowp said...

Thanks a lot, John.

Did Art Lozzi use a sponge to get the greenery effect on those trees in the "Granny" frame? (from Hoodwinked Bear).

I wish I had some ability to pick out some telltale signs of the different layout and BG people. I couldn't tell you the difference between Joe Montell and Dick Thomas.

George Nicholas had some great drawings of Yogi when he first arrived at HB and it's a shame he tamed it down. Gerard Baldwin had the oddest-looking versions of the characters.

Jorge said...

I love these early Yogi cartoons. To me they look and feel like late Tex Avery cartoons but in limited animation - but with the added benefit of much better characters.

I wish Tex had come to work for H-B after he retired from theatrical animation - we could have had 100 extra Tex Avery cartoons. Can you imagine Droopy in limited animation? I can.

JohnK said...

Hi Yowp,

Great site!

Yeah, that looks like sponge. No one used it better than the early HB guys Lozzi and Monte especially.

Scrawnypumpkinseed said...

Easily the best cartoons to come out of the 60's. They realized that for whatever reason, animation studios were becoming tighter and tighter with the budget.

Even with the limited budget they kept the core essentials like unique characters voices, appealing designs and layout.

Early Hanna Barbera cartoons should be the mold for modern limited animation cartoons. Its cartoony fun without the expenses of full animation.

Captain Karanga said...

That's interesting that you don't like Tom & Jerry, do you like the Chuck Jones era of Tom & Jerry?

Paul Salvi said...

GOOD things about the Yogi Bear trailer:

Anna Faris lookin' mighty fine!

And Justin Timberlake does a better Boo-Boo than you'd think -- surprised the hell out of me, how much better he sounds than Aykroyd!

Martin Juneau said...

But i do like mostly of this early HB cartoons. Totally lively and the artists having more times to developping their art abilities than the post-1962 shows at the studio. I do like some Tom and Jerry shorts but mostly from 1944 and 1948 when the characters become more edgier and violent and thanks, the Scott Bradley music helps to make it a delight.

But yeah i agree. Fun, simplicity and professionnalist cartoons (And art finally) is replaced by amateurish, fear and plagiarisation.

Roberto Severino said...

I hate it when so people start giving Hanna-Barbera a bad rap just because the cartoons they produced later ended up being total garbage. I agree that their best cartoons were made from 1957-1960, and even after that period, there were still a few good gems being produced, like The Jetsons and Top Cat. To be honest, I think the last cartoon they ever made worth watching was either The Wacky Races or Penelope Pitstop. At least those still looked professional, yet extremely uninspired ideas. Then from there, it all went to hell until that new Jetsons series got made.

"Modern TV is crawling with cartoons that look (and sound) like they are made by retarded 10 year olds."

Seems like the immature ten years olds have taken over everything. It's very frustrating, which is why I hardly ever watch TV anymore. Even the news reporters act childish now. What ever happened to sophistication and class in entertainment, especially in animation and the movies, and music? Stupidity and amateurism seem to be the norm these days. I hope you write a theory about that.

HemlockMan said...

Wow!!! That Dan Gordon storyboard is fantastic!! I'd love to see cartoons done like that! I've never heard of him. Did he just do storyboards? What a dandy artist!

JohnK said...

"Even the news reporters act childish now"

I was just complaining about that to Eddie the other day!

Watching Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow is like watching kids in a high school debate. You can't tak anything they say seriously because of it.

To say nothing of Beck.

I do like Anderson Cooper though.

Fata Morgana said...

CJ: I don't think it sounds weird at all. Puppets do end up looking more realistic than CGI because they're real objects in real space. And they have more appeal because they're better designed.

As for T&J, I'm with Mr. K., though I don't have the professional eye to understand why, I was always bored and annoyed by T&J as a kid. Something about it - the designs? the movement? - is just not as appealing and fun as it should be.

drawingtherightway said...

It makes you wonder why Filmation never had quality to begin with... at least HB started out with quality before degrading. Speaking of Filmation and HB, I found this interview with Lou Schiemer that I thought was ironic. On the one part of the interview he briefly discusses his time at HB as a layout artist and being frustrated because his layouts would come back with notes on them to make the characters on model. I bet there were many artists at Lou's own company Filmation that could say the same thing!

Jack G. said...

"...Watching Keith Olbermann or Rachel Maddow...To say nothing of Beck."

I think those talking heads just try to work up their particular political audience (conservative or liberal).

Back to HB:

I really do love the background from their start to about the first or second season of the Flintstones. Just love looking at them: So simple, yet thoughtful.

Marty Fugate said...

Why Walt Disney is the Antichrist. A rant, in case anyone is curious.

http://badfuture.blogspot.com/2010/08/walt-disney-antichrist.html

Steven Hartley said...

What is it that you dislike about Tom and Jerry, I freakin' love them!!! However you are entitled to your own opinion.

talkingtj said...

i love the hanna barbera cartoons! iam definately a hanna barbera baby! they made me want to be an animator! i still want to be an animator! i wish even more of their stuff was available on dvd. the idea that men in their in their 40's used their time and energy to create cartoons for the kiddies is just amazing to me.today, if youre not in your twenties, networks will think you cant relate to kids at all, hanna barbera would be a flop. and i would disagree with you john, i would say hanna barbera were great til about 1968, in 69 scooby doo came out and it was all formula, formula, formula! and dont forget the controversy created by some obscure parent group concerning the perceived violence of space ghost, that went a long way to making them even more conservative, plus the usual nonsense from the network execs and the advertisers. i cant believe how all these great characters are allowed to languish in obscurity, if you do succeed in obtaining the license to do new shows with these characters, please hire me to help write it, i do love these characters so much!

Pokey said...

I have a blog like Yowp's for Clokey sotp motion [like Yowp's, NOT from the eighties or any of the other modern eras]
See my sig link.

To be honest, R.Severiono the late 60s is the era when the ideas for 70s shows started.

On Labyrnth, when it came out, a critic said the then-unknown Jennifer Connelly's character would [@14 years old] "be more likely to be reading 'Tiger Beat' than to be reading 'Alice In Wonderland"" LOL.

Puppets+imagination+film=Half of the classic Rankin-Bass output.

JokhnK., you're right about everyone being afraid of fun and professionalism.

CJ, I think that we've now ALL seen those Yogi ads.:)

Pokey[Which mentions the 1950s and 60s freaky Gumby classics, unaltered!

MistahB said...

I don't know, I like the early Tom and Jerry cartoons where it had great comedic timing and they used their principles correctly, but when the show got more conservative with their animation, it just became awkward and stupid. I'm just curious about the reason why you don't like it John.

JohnK said...

I don't really know why. I just find them boring.

Maybe because the characters have no personality.

Kiavik said...

I guess we can consider futurama "the jetsons which lived up to its premise"? I'm not talking about animation here, just the exploiting of a futuristic setting in a comedy series.

Raven M. Molisee: said...

CJ / Fata Morgana:

In regard to puppets, I feel the same way. They definitely feel more real/more alive than any CG creation. I just watched Gremlins 2 again the night before last. Gizmo and the gremlins are done so well, so believably with just live effects and blue screen, that it made me shudder to think that its only a matter of time before these movies are "updated" with CG too. Its a shame because the other thing I like about puppets is that, like a real live human body, a puppet is limited by its construction. A puppet moves how it CAN move, so there isn't this disconnect between how a character looks and how it moves.. This is something that often jars me in newer movies to a point where I can no longer suspend my disbelief and it turns into just watching 'stuff' instead of being engaged by anything. CJ said it best, its like the CG character and the live action people are operating with different physics. They're no longer bound by the same world.

It makes for a frustrating cinema experience. I really wish there were fun puppet movies and animated films for me to enjoy. Its not like I relish being cynical just for the sake of being cynical. =P

Taco Wiz A.K.A That One Guy said...

Can you recommend any DVDs or VHS tapes with these cartoons, John?

pumml said...

The Gene Deitch Tom & Jerry cartoons which fall into that same era (60-62) have a real appeal because they're so zany. Very creative and fun with their bgs, too. Especially the episode where they go hunting in the jungle.

Many American car designs peaked during this period as well... coincidence?

Roberto Severino said...

"I don't really know why. I just find them boring.

Maybe because the characters have no personality."

I can kinda see why you'd find Tom and Jerry boring. I personally love the classic Hanna-Barbera Tom and Jerry cartoons and even some of the ones Chuck Jones directed, but from a technical aspect, the concept of it is really uninspired and formulaic and the first place. Cat chases mouse in almost every cartoon, with a few variations here and there to keep it fresh basically. It's as simple and uncreative as that. If it weren't for the strong draftsmanship, fluid animation, lovely BGs, and decent gag timing (at least for me), these cartoons would have absolutely nothing going for them and would have faded into absolute obscurity. I think if you're looking for more personality in these type of cat and mouse cartoons, I think Claude Cat and Hubie and Bertie are more of the kinds you'd love, John. Do you find the Irv Spence animation scenes funny though?

JohnK said...

I love Claude Cat and Hubie and Bertie. They are chase cartoons, but with personality and style.

I like Irv Spence a lot, but mostly in Tex and Ub's cartoons. He seems toned down in the HB cartoons.

Martin Juneau said...

This is perhaps the same pain i have with modern comics as Europpean or mainstream. They are reflects of our modern society who encourage fear, amateurism and conservatism rather than discovery, curiosity and fun. At some points, it was the artists themeselves who was responsible of the decline of good comics with their pacifism in the end-1970's and now we have trash comics made by peoples who even can't draw. (I think Zep as long he's one of the only survivers started this tragic trend.)

The Butcher said...

You don't like Tom and Jerry at all? I always knew you thought the characters and ideas were bland, but don't you think there are some good aspects to it?

I remember the gags at times being very funny and extreme.

Desert Island said...

OH MAN. You must find a way to do the Jetsons. What a dream combo!

James Dalby said...

What is it you don't like about Tom and Jerry?

J. said...

These have great design, that's for sure, but Tom & Jerry are the prime example of how a good concept and script can easily defeat any kind of looks. They were (and still are) oh so much more entertaining to watch than any other HB cartoon.

Guy said...

J.: Ah, yes. What better example of the power of scripts is there than something that wasn't made with scripts and in fact has no talking?

Joche said...

Hello John,

I totally agree it will be great if they give you the chance to revive HB Characters. This is something I have dream about and I was thinking maybe could be a chance to do something together. I'm from an animation studio from Argentina and we use to do a lot of stuff for Cartoon Network Latin America.

I hope you could be interested!

jose@hookupanimation.com

Pokey said...

Desert Island..."you must find a way to do the Jetsons:..He did, but not all the characters, though (the show turns 50 this month). My creator Art Clokey did me, in a remake HIMSELF in 1986, without the same music and sounf FX anf voices. ...

Pokey said...

CJ, John, Yogi needed some kind of someboback. Gremlins movies mentioned elsewhere didn;'t have Yogi merchandise (but then that was before the merger)..and I appreciate Yogi, Huck or the others. Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry (both of whose general lakc of canned music rights issues save them from oblivion on DVD) aren't the only things that WB owns, animation wise.Steve