Happy birthday wishes to cartoon legend Joseph Barbera, who founded famed cartoon studio Hanna-Barbera Prods. with William Hanna in 1944. Barbera is 94 today.
Working for MGM, Barbera and Hanna created the beloved cat-and-mouse team of Tom and Jerry in 1940. While the theatrical shorts won numerous Academy Awards, it was their work in television that established Barbera and his partner as true innovators of animation. Working on budgets a fraction of the size they were used to dealing with at MGM, the duo designed a system for limited animation and introduced generations to such indelible characters as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Quickdraw McGraw,The Flintstones and the Jetsons, to name a few.
Hanna-Barbera continued to produce TV animation through the 1980s, churning out such shows as The Smurfs, Tom and Jerry Kids and Pac-Man. Turner Broadcasting acquired the Hanna-Barbera library in 1991, changing the name of the studio first to H-B Productions Company, then Hanna-Barbera Cartoons Inc. The library eventually found a home on Cartoon Network, where new Hanna-Barbera productions are developed under the Cartoon Network Studios banner.
On March 15, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences unveiled a wall sculpture honoring Joseph Barbera and William Hanna, who passed away in 2001. The monument depicts the toon creators surrounded by some of their most famous characters. The well-attended ceremony was followed by a birthday luncheon for Barbera.