Hanna Barbera Cartoon Characters

Friday, April 22 by Mike Harris

If you’ve been a kid at any point in your life (which is highly likely), then odds are you know and love at least a few Hanna Barbera cartoon characters. Founded by Hollywood executives William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in 1957, Hanna-Barbera turned out a number of animations in the latter half of the twentieth century that have become cultural icons. Perhaps more importantly, though, the studio found a way into the fond, nostalgic memories of millions of Americans during that time, as evinced by this list of well-loved and wildly popular Hanna Barbera cartoon characters.

  1. Scooby Doo. Despite the fact that the original cartoon was relatively short lived, the mangy mutt animators called “Scooby Doo” has become a symbol of childhood in the seventies. Scripted as a sort of “Hardy Boys” for the animated screen, “Scooby Doo-Where Are You” derived most of its humor from Scooby’s antics. His excellent pantomiming skills and bottomless stomach endeared him to millions in the 25 cartoon episodes he originally appeared in.
  2. Fred Flintstone. Rarely do Hanna Barbera cartoon characters clearly represent the blue collar, “Joe Sixpack” demographic. Fred Flintstone, on the other hand, was exactly that. Prone to hilarious outbursts and no slouch in the bowling alley, Fred made living in the Stone Age almost cool. Not to mention, his vehicle was powered by foot. Pretty impressive.
  3. George Jetson. What Fred Flintstone was to the past, George Jetson was to the future. Like Fred, George was a dedicated father and husband. But instead of smashing rocks, he rocked the white collar working on computers for his disdained boss, Cosmo Spacely. Always on the verge of getting fired, George’s neuroses made him one of the most interesting–and endearing–Hanna Barbera cartoon characters.
  4. Papa Smurf. For being over 500 years old as stated in the classic cartoon “The Smurfs,” lead character Papa Smurf sure was lively. Apparently the only Smurf in existence who could grow facial hair, Papa Smurf was the wise old man who kids of the day wished their grandpas were. And for bonus cool points, the old man had some pretty enviable magical powers to boot.
  5. Tom and Jerry. Though they’re not a singular Hanna Barbera cartoon character, they simply can’t be mentioned without one another. In American animation, Tom and Jerry have become something of a “gold standard.” Today, their antics wouldn’t be aired–what with all the violence and stereotypes the cartoon flaunts. But these two were products of a more innocent time, and even the staunchest anti-violence proponent probably couldn’t help him or herself from laughing every time Tom is blown up or conked square in the head.  

- Mike Harris