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William Hanna

William Hanna

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Also Known As: William Denby Hanna, Bill Hanna Died: March 22, 2001
Born: July 14, 1910 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Melrose, New Mexico, USA Profession: producer, director, executive, animator, composer, lyricist, story editor, screenwriter, structural engineer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One half of the most celebrated animation-producing duos in history, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's company, Hanna-Barbera Productions, created some of the best-loved animated television programming of the 20th century and beyond, including "The Huckleberry Hound Show" (syndicated, 1958-1961), "The Yogi Bear Show" (syndicated, 1961-62), "The Flintstones" (ABC, 1960-66), "The Jetsons" (ABC, 1962-63), "Jonny Quest" (ABC, 1964-65), "Super Friends" (ABC, 1973-1986) and "The Smurfs" (NBC, 1981-89). With Barbera, Hanna began his career with the Oscar-winning Tom and Jerry animated shorts for MGM. When the company shuttered its animation division, the duo launched their own company, striking pay dirt almost immediately with "Huckleberry Hound" and "The Flintstones," their first primetime series. Hanna-Barbera's cartoons, driven largely by bright, simple artwork, clever writing, and memorable characters, led the television animation field until the 1980s, when financial difficulties resulted in their sale to a variety of companies. They rebounded in the 1990s as part of Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network, for which they oversaw such cutting-edge cartoons as "The Powerpuff Girls" (1998-2005) before...

One half of the most celebrated animation-producing duos in history, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's company, Hanna-Barbera Productions, created some of the best-loved animated television programming of the 20th century and beyond, including "The Huckleberry Hound Show" (syndicated, 1958-1961), "The Yogi Bear Show" (syndicated, 1961-62), "The Flintstones" (ABC, 1960-66), "The Jetsons" (ABC, 1962-63), "Jonny Quest" (ABC, 1964-65), "Super Friends" (ABC, 1973-1986) and "The Smurfs" (NBC, 1981-89). With Barbera, Hanna began his career with the Oscar-winning Tom and Jerry animated shorts for MGM. When the company shuttered its animation division, the duo launched their own company, striking pay dirt almost immediately with "Huckleberry Hound" and "The Flintstones," their first primetime series. Hanna-Barbera's cartoons, driven largely by bright, simple artwork, clever writing, and memorable characters, led the television animation field until the 1980s, when financial difficulties resulted in their sale to a variety of companies. They rebounded in the 1990s as part of Turner Broadcasting's Cartoon Network, for which they oversaw such cutting-edge cartoons as "The Powerpuff Girls" (1998-2005) before Hanna's death in 2001. William Hanna's vast output of animated fare over the course of his six-decade career contained so many beloved characters and shows that his position as one of the dominant forces in American animation was assured for eternity.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Jetsons: The Movie (1990) Director
2.
4.
5.
6.
  Moo York (2008)
7.
  Superstars (2008)
8.
9.
  Hot Dog! (2008)
10.
  On the Road (2008)

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, The (2000) Voice (Special Appearance)
2.
 Flintstones, The (1994)
7.
 I Yabba Dabba Do (1993) Voice
8.
 Last Halloween, The (1991) Narration
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
As the son of a construction superintendent for the early Santa Fe railroad stations, moved with family from train stop to train stop
1913:
By age three, lived in Baker, OR where his father was assigned to build a dam
:
Began attending school in Logan, UT
1917:
At age seven, moved with family to San Pedro, CA
1919:
Moved to Los Angeles
1922:
At age 12, began a lifelong association with the Boy Scouts of America (date approximate)
:
Began taking lessons on the alto saxophone; performed with a group of local children (subsequently studied piano, composition and harmony)
1929:
Left college to look for work after the economic collapse (date approximate)
:
Took a job with the engineers building the Pantages Theater on Hollywood Boulevard
:
Referred to a newly formed animation company, Harman-Ising Studios, by his brother-in-law Jack Stevens (himself an employee of Leon Schlesinger's Pacific Title, an art studio that crafted titles and artwork for film companies)
1930:
Hired as a cel-washer by Harman-Ising studios, then working with producer Schlesinger on the Looney Tunes cartoon series for Warner Bros.; worked with future animation director Friz Freleng
:
Developed story material for "Bosko" cartoons while washing paint off animation cells
:
Painted cels and punched animation paper
:
Ran inking and painting department during the day; worked with Ising on story material at night
1933:
Continued to work for Harman-Ising when they severed ties with Schlesinger and left Warner Bros. over budget disputes; Harman-Ising contracted to produce cartoons for MGM
:
Joined the writing staff; wrote lyrics and music as needed; with artist Paul Fennell, formed a unit to produce cartoon musicals
1934:
Began directing cartoon shorts for Harman-Ising
1937:
Hired by MGM as a director and story editor when the studio began its own animation unit under the supervision of Fred Quimby; Joe Barbera hired initially as an animator but soon became a storyman
1938:
First meeting with Barbera
1940:
First collaboration with Barbera "Puss Gets the Boot"; first Tom and Jerry cartoon (though Tom Cat is initially named Jasper); neither Hanna nor Barbera received screen credit; sole producing credit went to Rudolf Ising; nominated for a 1940 Oscar
:
Wrote and directed only "Tom and Jerry" cartoons for 17 years; the series won an unprecedented seven Academy Awards between 1943 and 1952; unit head Fred Quimby took home the statuettes
1945:
Major supporting character Spike the Dog introduced in "Quiet, Please"
1945:
With Barbera, assigned to direct a live-action/animated sequence in which Jerry the mouse dances with sailor Gene Kelly in the musical feature "Anchors Aweigh"
1946:
With Barbera, directed the animated opening credits for the musical "Holiday in Mexico"
1953:
With Barbera, animated a sequence for the musical "Dangerous When Wet" in which Tom and Jerry dance with Esther Williams
1953:
Animated the lengthy "Sinbad the Sailor" segment of Gene Kelly's multi-part dance film "Invitation to the Dance" in which Kelly danced in an elaborate cartoon environment (shelved until 1956)
1955:
With Barbera, named production heads of the MGM animation department after Fred Quimby retired due to health reasons; picked up first Oscar nomination (along with Quimby and Barbera) for "Good Will to Men"
1957:
MGM, hurt badly by the growing competition form TV, eliminated the studio's entire animation department
1957:
Co-founded production company Hanna-Barbera (with Barbera)
1957:
Contracted with NBC-TV to create a six-minute cartoon on a budget of $2,800 (as compared to the minimum budget of $50,000 alloted by MGM for a theatrical cartoon short of the same length)
:
Premiered their first animated TV series, "Ruff and Reddy" (NBC), starring a quick-thinking cat (Ruff) and a dimwitted dog (Reddy) in six-minute "bookends" for vintage cartoons
1958:
Produced (with Barbera) "The Huckleberry Hound Show" (syndicated), TV's first all-animation TV show; introduced the character of Yogi Bear who would star in his own series, "The Yogi Bear Show", beginning in 1961
1959:
With Barbera, produced and directed "The Quick Draw McGraw Show", a syndicated cartoon series
1960:
"The Huckleberry Hound Show" became Hanna-Barbera's first Emmy-winner (Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Children's Programming); the first cartoon to win an Emmy
:
With Barbera, produced and directed the hugely successful ABC cartoon sitcom, "The Flintstones", the longest running animated series in primetime until Fox's "The Simpsons" broke its record
:
In tandem with Barbera, produced and directed "Top Cat", an ABC primetime series; although Top Cat's primetime stay was short, he would later star as the treasure master in "Yogi's Treasure Hunt" of "The Futuristic World of Hanna-Barbera"
:
Produced and directed (both with Barbera) the sci-fi-flavored ABC cartoon sitcom "The Jetsons"; only 24 episodes produced originally; 41 additional episodes produced in 1985 to make the series more viable in the syndication market
1964:
Feature producing and directing debut (both with Barbera), "Hey There, It's Yogi Bear", a theatrical feature spin-off of the TV series; also feature screenwriting debut (with Barbera and Warren Foster)
1964:
Produced and directed (both with Barbera) "The Man Called Flintstone", a theatrical feature spin-off of the TV series
:
With Barbera, executive produced and directed "The Adventures of Jonny Quest", their first successful animated adventure series and the last to be created for primetime; reputedly the first animated show to use realistic human figures; after a season in primetime, the show subsequently played on Saturday mornings on each of the networks; new episodes produced in 1986 for inclusion in the expanded syndicated Sunday morning series "The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera"
:
Revived (and revised) the popular characters Tom & Jerry for CBS's "Tom and Jerry Show"
1967:
With Barbera, sold studio to Taft Broadcasting
:
Executive produced and directed (both with Barbera) "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" (ABC), a cartoon comedy mystery series which remained in continuous production--under various titles--for 17 years (end date approximate)
1972:
Produced (with Barbera) "Wait Til Your Father Gets Home", a syndicated "adult" cartoon series dealing with similar issues as those on "All in the Family"
1972:
Executive produced (with Barbera) the studio's first live-action TV-movie "Hardcase" (ABC), a Western
1973:
With Barbera, produced "Charlotte's Web", a feature musical based on E B White's classic book; earned the studio an Annie Award
1976:
Earned star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; honored with Joseph Barbera
1977:
Hanna-Barbera Productions produced the acclaimed CBS live-action TV-movie, "The Gathering", a 1978 Emmy winner for Outstanding Special (Drama or Comedy); Barbera listed as executive producer (Hanna did not not take an individual credit); generated a sequel "The Gathering, Part II" (NBC, 1979)
1978:
Hanna-Barbera produced its first live-action feature film, "C.H.O.M.P.S.", starring Valerie Bertinelli
1978:
"The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour", a short-lived live-action comedy variety series (with high-tech puppet hosts) aired on NBC in primetime
1980:
Various entertainment subsidiaries of Taft Broadcasting reorganized into the Taft Entertainment Company with Hanna-Barbera as a division; Hanna served as senior vice president (and Barbera as president) of Hanna-Barbera Productions
:
Executive produced (with Barbera) "The Smurfs", a hugely successful cartoon series based on the Belgian comic strip by Peyo Culliford (end date approximate)
1982:
Produced (with Barbera) "Heidi's Song", an animated feature
1988:
Taft Broadcasting, Hanna-Barbera's parent company, sold to the Great American Broadcasting Company; did not affect day-to-day operation of studio
1990:
Directed and produced (both with Barbera) "Jetsons: The Movie"
1993:
Provided his voice for ABC movie "I Yabba Dabba Do!"; also directed (solo) and produced (with Barbera)
1994:
Inducted into the TV Hall of Fame by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences
1994:
Executive produced (with Barbera and three others) "The Flintstones" feature film
:
TNT, TBS and the Cartoon Network aired "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Compton Junior College: Compton , California - 1929 - 1930
Compton Junior College: Compton , California - 1929 - 1930

Notes

About his relationship with Joseph Barbera: "One thing that has probably kept us together is that, while we work very closely here at the studio, his outside interests are entirely different from mine, and we never see each other socially. We have had strictly a business relationship all along.

"When Joe and I did the Tom and Jerry cartoons at MGM, Joe did all the drawing, and I did all the timing and directing. We'd sit across a big desk and together we'd develop all the material ... My talent, I believe, has been in organization. I'm still directing pictures, but I'm also directing the work of other people. And I also spend a lot of time with the writers. My own efforts have always been in writing: I have written the main titles and lyrics for over one hundred series." --William Hanna, in "Cartoons Today"

"As it is now, we're turning out eight half-hour shows a week. One person works on more footage per day than all of us combined used to. Back in the Tom and Jerry days, I personally did a minute and a half of film a week; now I do as much as thirty-five minutes a week. So you can see the quantity produced is much greater today. The economics has a lot to do with it, of course. The economics of TV dictates the quality. I think we do a fair job on character design and we do a good job on voice casting and in backgrounds, but we fall short in actual animation. It is unfortunate that more money cannot be spent on animation. The cost per foot of Tom and Jerry-type animation would be prohibitive, even for theatrical shorts. I think that to achieve the same standards today, a six-minute Tom and Jerry would cost in the area of $100,000. They only cost $30,000 to make in the forties." --Wiliam Hanna, in "Cartoons Today"

"In the early days, I had bar sheets. Did you ever see those? I had [music] bar sheets and I would set established tempos--2/10 frame beats to the bar, 2/12, 2/14. Whatever the click was ... The reason ours [characters] worked so well with the music is because we had bar sheets there and would establish a tempo that would suit a chase, or a spooky scene, or whatever it was and you'd establish that tempo and record it to that ... For me it was a godsend. The music that I had studied." --Hanna quoted in THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER 1994 ANIMATION SPECIAL ISSUE

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Violet Blanch Hanna. Married on August 7, 1936; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William John Hanna. Superintendent of construction. Worked on early Santa Fe railway stations.
mother:
Avice Joyce Hanna. Wrote poetry.
sister:
Marion Hanna. Author. Younger; had short stories published.
son:
David William Hanna.
daughter:
Bonnie Jean Hanna.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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