...we've got the means to make amends. I am lost, I'm no guide, but I'm by your side. (Pearl Jam, Leash)

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Yabba dabba doo

Joe Barbera, half of the famous animation duo Hanna-Barbera, died yesterday at the age of 95 from natural causes at his home in California. Just the name Hanna-Barbera makes me smile, and remember how it would always flash across the screen at the beginning of the best cartoons from the Saturday mornings of my youth.

Alongside recollections of watching questionable shows like The Gummy Bears or Chip 'n' Dale Rescue Rangers (I can still sing the songs for both, wanna hear it? Didn't think so), as well as better ones like He-Man and The Smurfs, I spent lots of weekend mornings with The Jetsons and The Flintstones. The duo also created Yogi Bear and Scooby-Doo.

Their strengths melded perfectly, critic Leonard Maltin wrote in his book Of Mice And Magic: A History of American Animated Cartoons. Barbera brought the comic gags and skilled drawing, while Hanna brought warmth and a keen sense of timing.

Hanna, who died in 2001, once said he was never a good artist, but that Barbera could "capture mood and expression in a quick sketch better than anyone I've ever known."

Yay for the both of them, for all the joy the've added into countless kids' artificially-sweetened-cereal fueled Saturday mornings.

Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)
[from The Jetsons] - Violent Femmes

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? - Matthew Sweet

Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In
[from The Flintstones] - Frente!

(I just remembered that I totally had the original version of this song on vinyl record)


Sugar, Sugar [from The Archie Show]
Mary Lou Lord & Semisonic

The Tra-La-La Song (One Banana, Two Banana)
[from The Banana Splits] - Liz Phair & Material Issue

[Parts of this post are lifted from the AP article, and the songs are from the excellent mid-'90s snapshot of nostalgia Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits, which has more great tracks from the likes of The Ramones, Sublime, Reverend Horton Heat, and Juliana Hatfield/Tanya Donelly]

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At December 19, 2006 9:44 AM, Blogger Stephen K. said...

That is very sad. What is it these days with kids and anime? What happened to the good stuff? Truly the end of an era. As always, those are great songs.

At December 19, 2006 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great songs, but do the actual original songs still exist?

The violent femmes weren't around in the 60's to do the original, same with many of those songs.

At December 19, 2006 5:50 PM, Blogger Nathaniel said...

i, for one, want to hear you sing those songs. hell, i just might join in with you.

dashing and daring, courageous and caring..

sad day; great post!

At December 19, 2006 6:18 PM, Blogger heather said...

Hope you enjoyed that phone call, nathaniel. Don't challenge me to do something like sing to a favorite show unless you really wanna hear the goods. Duck Tails is next.

At December 19, 2006 9:15 PM, Anonymous Jeff said...

Yes, many of the original Hanna-Barbera songs have been reissued on CD, but most are out of print. Search Amazon.com for "Hanna Barbera" or "Cartoon Network" and you'll find them, mostly available used from sellers other than Amazon. We found one such collection at our local library. Our 11-year-old son, who has never seen most of the original cartoons, loves the music.


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