A very “influential” part of my childhood passed away yesterday. That’s right – I’m talkin’ about Joe Barbera … part of Hanna-Barbera … the man who helped create such cartoon legends as Tom and Jerry, Yogi Bear, and Huckleberry Hound. I know, I know, most of today’s kids probably have no idea who these icons of the “Technicolor” screen are … and maybe they have an idea who the Flintstones were/are. But, I watched these cartoons daily as a youngster. So, in your honor, Mr. Barbera, I will do a top-5 list of my favorite Hanna-Barbera Characters:
5. Yogi Bear always made me laugh. He was an interesting character in that he was always outsmarting the ranger, but always seemed to be outsmarted by everyone else. Of course, everyone remembers his famous tag-line, “I’m smarter than the average bear!.” However, he never seemed to be smarter than the average bee, as he always seemed to be getting stung in his “bear” ass.
4. I’ve probably seen just about every incarnation of Tom and Jerry. However, my favorite ones were the ones with the old maid in them … you probably can’t remember these, because in this PC world, they have “creatively” edited her out. I’m sure the idea was that this was good for society … but basically, they ripped that part of my childhood away from me.
3. The Flintstones, as most “older” people probably know, were a blatant rip-off of the Honeymooners. In my mind, that never took away from the cartoon, though. Something I just found out today was that this cartoon was originally run during prime-time hours, much like the Simpsons and Family Guy. My question is, when the Simpsons finally wraps up, will people in 20 or 30 years realize it was a primetime cartoon? Damn, that Kazoo (or however you spell it).
2. The Wacky Racers – This one is probably not well known, but as a child, I couldn’t get enough of this cartoon. Every episode, there was a car (or plane) race with the same characters – and every week a different character won. Some of the better known characters included Penelope Pitstop, Dick Dastardly (who always cheated, but never won), and the Gruesome Twosome. Dastardly’s dog, Mutley, was my favorite.
Without a doubt, my favorite cartoon was Quickdraw McGraw, especially the ones in which he would turn into his alter-ego, “El-Kabong!” Basically, he would go after bad guys and smack them over the head with a guitar. If you tell me that Mr. Barbera never partook in drugs, this would be my biggest “evidence” to prove he did. What a genius!
Please, list any cartoons that you liked. I left off a big one, Scooby Doo, I know. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the cartoon, but that whole Scrappy Doo season killed it for me.