People especially those who were born in the early or late 2000s may not be familiar with the name, “Hanna-Barbera” but we’re pretty sure you are already familiar with the characters they have created throughout the years. In fact, you may not know it but you have probably seen their works everywhere from animated series, magazines, articles, games, and even toys when you were a kid. It’s just that you didn’t know them well enough. Well, stick around and get ready as we will now dive in deep on the train of nostalgia.
What is Hanna-Barbera?
Let’s begin by explaining what or who Hanna-Barbera really is. Actually, it is the name of an animation studio company that was drawn from the surnames of two distinct people who were responsible for its creation: William Hana and Joseph Berbera. Together, they produced hundreds of animations from 1957 until 2001 when they finally merged with Warner Bros. Alongside Walt Disney Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, and Warner Bros Animations, they can be considered the “OGs”, as they set the stage for future animation studios like Pixar, Dreamscape, Cartoon Network, and Nickelodeon in producing iconic cartoons and series that we came to love when we were kids.
With that out of the way, let’s proceed to the list of eight popular Hanna-Barbera Characters we have prepared for you below:
1. Fred Flintstone
In 1960, Fred made his screen debut as the main protagonist in the television series, “The Flintstones” where he plays the role of husband to Wilma Flintstone and father to their daughter, Pebbles Flintstone. Now, imagine a caveman getting to enjoy television while cozying up in his cave or driving his own car while looking for food or going to work. Sounds crazy, right? Now you get the idea. Their story revolves around a fictional prehistoric town called, “Bedrock” where cave people get to enjoy versions of modern-day amenities but with a prehistoric “touch”.
Aside from substituting alarm clocks with birds, showers with elephants, and living peacefully with the dinosaurs of the show, he is popularized by his catchphrase, “Hooba-dooba-dooba!” and is portrayed as someone who really cares about his family, and loves to bowl alongside his good friend and neighbor, Barney. Although a little bit clumsy, he always schemes to try everything just to get rich even though it doesn’t always go according to his plan.
2. Space Ghost
He made his debut on an animated show called, “Space Ghost” in 1966 and is credited for giving rise to the popularity of superhero cartoons. He was first portrayed as a superhero who fights supervillains and aliens in outer space alongside his sidekicks, Blip the Monkey, and the twins: Jan and Jace in the 1960s. Later on, he would have a change in his role by becoming a host of his own late-night talk show in the 1990s called, ‘Space Ghost Coast to Coast’.
As a parody of an actual late-night talk show, the program would him earn so many fans because of his ‘unconventional’ approaches to interviews as well as his humorous banter with his fellow cast mates: Zorak and Moltar (two of the villains he fought in his earlier shows).
3. Yogi Bear
While originally an extra in the show “Huckleberry Hound Show” which aired in 1958, his popularity with the masses led him to finally star in his own animated series called, “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear!” which debuted in 1964. He is portrayed as a homegrown smarter-than-your-average bear in Jellystone National Park who loves to steal visitors’ picnic baskets alongside his companion, Boo-boo.
In contrast to the latter’s caution and fear of consequences, Yogi does the opposite as the only thing in his mind is food, food, and food. The good thing about him is he never means harm to those people he steals from but he sure does give Park Ranger Smith (the park ranger assigned to Jellystone National Park) a lot of headache. The show would further catapult his popularity, solidifying him as one of the most memorable characters among all Hanna-Berbera characters.
4. George Jetson
Popularly known for his iconic catchphrase, “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” and “Hooba-Dooba”, he is also regarded as the “Fred Flinstone” of the future as they almost share the same personalities and catchphrase. The only thing that contrasted them was the time setting. As the main protagonist of the animated sitcom, “The Jetsons” which began airing in 1962, his story revolves around him living with his wife, Jane, teenage daughter Judy, son Elroy, and pet Astro in Skypad Apartments located in the futuristic city of Orbit.
He can be seen working his job as a “digital index operator” (technically, someone who repeatedly pushing a button for hours at most) for his boss, Cosmo G. Spacely who runs his company like a tyrant. Although worn down by stress over his job and family affairs most of the time, his caring personality and dedication to his family knows no bounds making him one of the most appreciated and loved characters ever created by Hanna-Barbera.
Also known as “T.C.”, this iconic anthropomorphic cat made his debut as the main protagonist in the animated show, “Top Cat” in 1961. In the story, he can be seen sporting a purple hat and vest while leading a gang made up of his fellow alley cats. Also, he is always portrayed as a cunning smooth-talker and hustler who schemes a lot for the sake of pursuing his goals – in most cases – getting rich and not getting caught by the police. Despite this, the good thing about him is he actually gives more credit to the phrase, “always be yourself” and is always caring and loyal to his gang no matter what.
But their story wouldn’t be complete without Officer Charlie Dibble. In charge of upholding law and order in Hoagy’s Alley, where T.C. and his gang live, he constantly gets in T.C. and his gang’s way, even though he frequently becomes the target of their antics. From being pranked to being deceived, you name it. Their love-hate interactions contribute to a lot of amusing and hilarious conversations that make the characters of Top Cat, especially T.C. himself, shine more.
After making his debut in “Scooby-Doo. Where Are You?” in 1969, this anthropomorphic talking Great Dane would, over time, become a popular household name in the United States. As of late, he and the rest of the crew of Mystic Inc., (Fred, Velma, Daphne, and Shaggy), have already been featured in nineteen TV series, two live-action adaptations, and more than forty animated films including the star-studded “Scoob” released in 2020, featuring the voices of popular Hollywood artists such as Amanda Seigfried, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez, Ken Jeong, and renowned Americas Got Talent judge, Simon Cowell.
He stands out from the other Hanna-Barbera characters due to his speech problem with the letter “R”. What happens is that he frequently pronounces almost every word with an initial “R,” thus, “Uh-oh” usually becomes “Ruh-oh,” for example. But don’t be fooled. Even though he shares Shaggy’s cowardly nature and love for the Scooby Snacks, his sense of smell and unbelievable luck in discovering clues or strange habit of unintentionally thwarting the villain’s evil schemes helps his team a lot in uncovering and exposing villains who pose as supernatural beings in the series. I
7. Huckleberry Hound
Aside from his charming blue dog appearance, easy-going personality, Southern drawl, and several funny renditions of “My Darling Clementine” at the beginning of each of his episodes, the way he engages the audience in such comical storytelling while acting in ways that, for the most part, don’t work out for him are among the reasons why he will always be one of the most beloved characters that Hannah-Barbera ever produced.
After making his debut in 1958, his show would make history by becoming one of the first animated series to be broadcast during prime time. It was also during the 1960s that he reached the peak of his popularity, becoming a cultural icon in the United States at the time and would be the first animated character to win an Emmy Award for “Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Children’s Programming.” It is also worth mentioning that his popularity led to his memorable crossovers with other Hanna-Barbera characters in, “The Flintstones” and “The Yogi Bear Show” as well as him finally having his own comic book series.
8. Dick Dastardly
This Hanna-Barbera villain character from the animated series, Wacky Races is popularly known for his “dastardly conducts” while competing in a long and complex road rally competition. Accompanied by his loyal anthropomorphic pet dog Muttley, he always makes sure he wins at all costs by dishing out different sorts of schemes to sabotage his opponents, not knowing all would backfire on him.
Despite this, his character has earned a lot of sympathy from fans across the world as he could have won the majority of these races had he not cheated or had terrible luck. Following his debut on the television screens in 1968, he would, later on, appear in other series such as “Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines”, “Yogi’s Treasure Hunt”, and “Scoob.” In most of his appearances, he can be seen sporting a long mustache, a tall top hat with aviator goggles on top of it, and a long purple coat His famous catchphrases are “Muttley, do something!”, “Drat, and double drat!”, and occasionally “Triple drat!” or “Curses, foiled again!”
Tom and Jerry – Although it was the Metro-Gold Mayer (MGM) who released the first-ever animated short film, “Puss in the Boots” for this classical duo in 1940, the men behind their creation were actually the same two men who would eventually start the Hanna-Barbera animation studio in 1950. With its slapstick violence and dark comedy, the Tom and Jerry series still remain extremely popular today, so much so that you will still see a lot of materials and content that are dedicated to these two whether it’s on the Internet or in DVDs. For over eighty years, these characters have continuously entertained so many people and they’re probably not going to stop anytime soon.
A lot of these characters may not be as complex as their contemporaries in other prominent animation studios but their simplicity in design as well as their simple yet equally entertaining, well-written stories is what makes them so unique from the rest. And to think that the people working at Hannah-Barbera studio at the time were able to pull off this amazing slew of characters who, in some ways, may have positively influenced/shaped one ‘s childhood, even without having that much budget and little influence really deserves some credit.