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Friday, 23 March, 2001, 11:15 GMT
The cartoon dream team
Joseph Barbera and William Hanna
Joseph Barbera (left) with his partner William Hanna
Joseph Barbera and William Hanna, who has died aged 90, remain the two most famous names in cartoons more than 60 years after they first met and teamed up to form their formidable partnership.

The Flintstones, Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Wacky Races, Top Cat and Quick Draw McGraw were all born out of the imagination of the two men.

Over more than half a century of animation the two men garnered 12 Academy Award nominations, winning seven times, and picking up eight Emmy awards.

They met in 1937 at MGM studios where they were working as cartoonists and quickly teamed up.

Hanna began life as an engineer and Barbera as a banker, giving little hint of their careers together or their working partnership.

Barbera once said: "We understood each other perfectly, and each of us had deep respect for the other's work."

'Big chance'

Hanna, in agreement, said: "I always wanted to be a director. So did Joe. Our only problem was finding the big chance."

Their first production, Puss Gets The Boot, was their big chance and won them their first Oscar nomination.

The cartoon was the precursor to perhaps their most famous creations, Tom and Jerry.

Impressed by their success, MGM let the pair develop the cat and mouse theme, which spawned the cartoon duo.

For 17 years from 1940 to 1957 the two men worked on nothing else but Tom and Jerry.

Animated sitcom

In 1957 as MGM and many other studios closed their animation departments Hanna and Barbera moved into TV, founding their own company.

Instead of viewing television as the death knell of animation they saw the opportunity.

The two men pulled together a creative team of artists and writers, picking from the many talents left jobless after the cull of animators by film studios.

They pioneered high-quality animation in a cost-effective fashion, spawning the term "limited animation".

Emmy awards

Ruff and Reddy, followed by the Emmy-winning Huckleberry Hound were the first cartoons out of the Hanna Barbera factory.

The two men continually re-wrote the rules of animation and developed the world's first half-hour animated sitcom, The Flintstones, which was originally called the Gladstones.

The show was a primetime success for six years and all 166 episodes are still shown world-wide.

The Jetsons, Wacky Races, The Hair Bear Bunch, Hong Kong Phooey and Captain Caveman all rolled off the Hanna Barbera production line of hits.

They produced more than 3,000 half-hour TV animations, creating more than 2,000 characters.

Hanna Barbera studios was bought by Warner Brothers in 1996 but William Hanna was said to have worked at his desk every day up until his death.

See also:

25 Mar 01 | Talking Point
Your tributes to cartoonist William Hanna
23 Mar 01 | TV and Radio
Legendary American cartoonist dies
17 Oct 00 | Entertainment
Scooby film gets go-ahead
08 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Scooby-Doo, where are you?
15 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Asterix punches his way back
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