My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century

My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century

0.0 0
by Joseph Barbera
     
 

No other studio, not Disney, not Warner's, has created more familiar and beloved - or just plain more - cartoon characters than Hanna-Barbera, and just about all of them started life in the mind of Joe Barbera. He was born on Manhattan's Lower East Side and was raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, by a doting mother and a father who made a bundle as a popular barber, only to… See more details below

Overview

No other studio, not Disney, not Warner's, has created more familiar and beloved - or just plain more - cartoon characters than Hanna-Barbera, and just about all of them started life in the mind of Joe Barbera. He was born on Manhattan's Lower East Side and was raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, by a doting mother and a father who made a bundle as a popular barber, only to gamble most of it away before finally bowing out on his family altogether. Fresh out of high school, young Joe spent six years chained to a desk in a Wall Street bank filling out income tax forms. There he discovered he couldn't add, but he knew he could draw, and after he saw Walt Disney's pioneering "Skeleton Dance" at a Roxy Theatre Matinee, he knew he wanted to draw animated cartoons. This is Joe Barbera's story. Of coming up through New York's sweatshop studios during the early days of animation. Of trekking to Hollywood, where, with Bill Hanna, he created America's favorite cat and mouse, Tom and Jerry, and transformed MGM's struggling new cartoons studio into the envy of the industry and the winner of seven Academy Awards. This is the story of a Brooklyn boy let loose on Hollywood. Of making it big in that glittering town, only to have it all come crashing down when MGM closed its animation studio in 1957. Of picking up the pieces and using them to build a wondrous and wildly profitable cartoon kingdom in the brand-new world of television. Up-front and personal, My Life in 'toons is not only compelling autobiography, it is the fascinating inside story of the art and industry of animation by one of its creators, who populated the world of children and adults alike with Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Jonny Quest, The Jetsons, The Flintstones - television's first epoch-making prime-time animated sitcom - and many more. It is a warm, candid, harrowing, and hilarious tale of survival and success riding the juggernaut of Hollywood movie making and navigating the jungles

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dubbed by 60 Minutes ``the sultan of Saturday morning,'' Barbera, along with his partner Bill Hanna, pioneered the concept of television animation, delighting generations of kids with such shows as The Jetsons , Scooby Doo , The Smurfs and The Flintstones . In their heyday, the Hanna-Barbera team was responsible for up to 70% of the cartoon programming on American airwaves, and their vast corpus continues to be widely circulated in syndication today. Here Barbera, writing with Axelrod ( The War Between the Spies ), provides a chatty and lucidly detailed inside look at the 'toon biz, chronicling his rise through the ranks from inker to studio head and recounting the history of his legendary partnership with Hanna, which began at MGM in 1940 with the creation of the immensely popular ``Tom and Jerry'' movie shorts and lasted for more than 50 years. Particularly interesting are Barbera's accounts of the various technical innovations and marketing strategies that were necessary to launch cartoons on the small screen. The Flintstones , for example, almost died before the show was born for want of corporate sponsorship. Clearly a shrewd and hard-working businessman as well as a talented artist, Barbera emerges here as a quintessential American success story, a Brooklyn boy whose persistent faith in his creative vision led him to the top ranks of the entertainment industry. His memoirs are almost as much fun as his 'toons. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Library Journal - Library Journal
Had Barbera and partner William Hanna stopped after their first success in animation-the creation of Tom and Jerry-their place in movie history would still be secure. After all, that warring cat and mouse team won seven OscarsR-more, Barbera is proud to claim, than his more esteemed colleagues at Disney or Warner Brothers earned for any of their individual creations. But Barbera really hit the jackpot with television, beginning in 1960 when he got the green light for a prime-time show called The Flintstones. (It's no coincidence that this book and the live-action film based on the series are enjoying simultaneous release.) Hanna-Barbera went on to become the General Motors of animation, churning out dozens of shows of varying quality. Barbera is an unassuming man, and this memoir is like most of his creations: amusing but hardly memorable. For popular collections.-Thomas Wiener, formerly with ``American Film''
Gordon Flagg
Creator, with partner Bill Hanna, of dozens of cultural icons beloved by Boomers (e.g., the Flintstones, Yogi Bear) and Generation X-ers (Scooby Doo), animator Barbera looks back at his 60-year career. He and Hanna hit with MGM's "Tom and Jerry" cartoons in the 1940s and 1950s, but it was MGM's 1957 decision to shut down its animation studio that propelled them to a new medium and their greatest success. Although they didn't, as Barbera claims, invent cartoons for TV or the bare-bones "limited animation" technique--those were the distinctions of Jay Ward's 1949 "Crusader Rabbit" series--they developed dozens of hit series. Barbera offers entertaining anecdotes about the animation pioneers he worked with, but shows little inclination to discuss the artistic impetus behind his own work. Such indifference may be understandable: his TV success was due to cost-cutting animation techniques and to pitching solely to kids (as opposed to the adults at which the classic theatrical cartoons were aimed). There's no denying, however, the ongoing appeal of Hanna and Barbera's characters, so his book--self-serving and cliche-ridden as it is--will still find an eager audience.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781570360428
Publisher:
Turner Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
07/15/1994
Pages:
250
Product dimensions:
6.34(w) x 9.29(h) x 1.00(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >