...A great man passed from this plane of existence recently.
Joseph Barbera, at the ripe old age of 95, died the other day. For those who don't know who he is, just turn on the television to Cartoon Network, or Boomerang, or any place else that's showing classic cartoons. Things like 'Tom and Jerry', or 'The Flintstones', or my personal favorite, 'Yogi Bear'. He was one half of Hanna-Barbera, a team that created cartoons for over 50 years.
The Jetsons, The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo... they all had the Hanna-Barbera touch. I can't even begin to list the hundreds of characters that he and his partner created. You'll just have to read his IMDB page to see them all. I think the earliest Hanna Barbera cartoon I ever watched, that I can recall, was Yogi Bear.
Yogi had this sweet con man charm - he'd scheme into anything he wanted, sometimes get in a spot of trouble, and his little conscience would try and talk him out of it. That conscience being Boo-Boo, the smart little bear that was his best buddy. That one made such an impression on me that I still use that voice and inflection when Yogi says "Hey Boo-Boo" when I'm in a silly mood with B (we sometimes call her Boo). Oh, so many memories, so many cartoons.
I heard the news of his death when I turned the radio on just before dropping off to sleep the other night. And as DH cuddled me close because it was so cold, I quietly cried. This will be news to him, I think, when he reads this. I never knew Joseph Barbera, and he hasn't been doing very much lately in the realms of cartoon making, but the impact that his work had on generations of children will be felt.
Impact? As if cartoons were something important? Yes, they are. They're wonderful short films, small bursts of unrealistic situations that entertain greatly. My daughters love Tom and Jerry. I don't know what it is about that cat and mouse and the violence inherent in their relationship (you thought I was going to say 'system', didn't you?) but they're hysterical!
And they will be for years to come. As will Huckleberry Hound, Lippy the Lion, and Atom Ant. The Fantastic Four will fight cartoon crime while Quick Draw McGraw keeps feeding those biscuits to Doggie Daddy. Ah, the biscuits.
Boomerang was a free preview on my satellite dish a few weeks back, and I was thrilled that I could show the girls all sorts of cartoons that I grew up with. Quick Draw and Top Cat, The Pink Panther (not a Hanna Barbera cartoon, I know), Yogi Bear and the Perils of Penelope Pitstop. They loved it all and were sad to see the preview end. As was I. It was a great glimpse back into how a simple story could entertain me easily.
And still can.
Thank you Joe Barbera for all that you did with William Hanna (who passed away in 2001), the legacy that you left for generations of children to enjoy, and the benchmark that other animators have had to live up to, or surpass....
...I hope you don't mind if we don't cry anymore and instead laugh at Baba Looie, Kwicky Koala, and Jabberjaw.