Monday, December 18, 2006
Half Of Hanna-Barbera Animation Duo Dies
Animation giant Joseph Barbera is dead. I was reminded of his legacy when someone joked that the Upper West Side was becoming like the backdrop of a Jetsons cartoon where everything repeats: walk five or ten blocks and you see Starbucks, Gap, Chase, Duane Reade, Starbucks, Gap, Chase, Duane Reade and on and on. The point is not to mock the barebones animation but to recognize that Hanna-Barbera taught us something that animated hits like "South Park" and "Beavis and Butthead" took to heart: lovely detailed animation is wonderful, but all you need to create a lasting hit is great characters. Yogi Bear, The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Jonny Quest, the Smurfs, the Powerpuff Girls and on and on. Nothing truly extraordinary or earth-shaking, perhaps, but lasting pop-cultural stuff nonetheless.