(l-r) Joseph Barbera and William Hanna with their animated cast of characters (courtesy Warner Bros. Consumer Products)
(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass.) – A new exhibition, “Hanna-Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning,” featuring the work of the creative team behind such memorable Saturday morning cartoons as “The Yogi Bear Show,” “The Flintstones,” and the “The Jetsons,” goes on view at Norman Rockwell Museum on Saturday, November 12, and remains on display through May 29, 2017. There will be a special exhibition preview talk by Jerry Beck, animation historian and author of “The Hanna-Barbera Treasury,” on Saturday, November 12, at 4pm.
Before the rise of basic cable, Saturday mornings for many children in America were spent watching cartoons on one of three available television channels. From 1958 through the 1980s, a majority of those cartoons bore the imprint of Hanna-Barbera. Creating scores of popular series such as The Yogi Bear Show, The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, and Scooby-Doo, Hanna-Barbera was an animation powerhouse and its bountiful creativity is beloved to this day.
“We are thrilled to present the first museum exhibition on the work of Hanna-Barbera,” notes Jesse Kowalski, the museum’s Curator of Exhibitions. “This show will provide a comprehensive look into the animation team that collaborated for more than 60 years. William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, with a group of the most gifted animators and writers in the business, created thousands of memorable characters over the years. They brought animation from the movie theater into the home, forever changing the landscape of American television and popular culture.”
“This exhibition continues our look at visual storytelling in its many forms,” adds museum Chief Curator Stephanie Haboush Plunkett. “Illustration and cartoons are the people’s art, and we look forward to further exploring their creatively-rich history.”
Jayne Barbera, daughter of Joseph Barbera and long-time producer at Hanna-Barbera, notes, “I worked for Hanna-Barbera Productions for thirty years alongside these two gentlemen. To be in a room with both of them at the same time was to experience an extraordinary genius. We were able to create happiness, adventure, and joy in the process of entertaining children.”
“The Flintstones” concept art, ca. 1960. THE FLINTSTONES and all related characters and elements © & ™ Hanna-Barbera (courtesy Warner Bros. Consumer Products)
“Hanna Barbera: The Architects of Saturday Morning” will focus primarily on the golden years of the studio — from the premiere of their first cartoon, The Ruff and Reddy Show, in 1957 and The Huckleberry Hound Show in 1958, to the debut of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1969.
Hanna and Barbera’s early work on Tom and Jerry will be explored, in addition to the scores of TV and film animation and live-action projects created by the studio between 1970 and 2001.
Included within the exhibition will be original animation art, sketches, model sheets, photographs, and archival materials that detail the process of bringing the studio’s creations to life.
Also included in the exhibition, Hanna-Barbera-related toys and other commercial products, and an interactive installation that will draw from the vast library of sound effects created by the studio.
An exhibition video, produced by Norman Rockwell Museum, will include commentary from original Hanna-Barbera animators Tony Benedict, Jerry Eisenberg, Willie Ito, and Bob Singer. An exhibition catalogue will include a foreword by Jayne Barbera, daughter of studio founder Joe Barbera, and essays by animation historians Jerry Beck and Michael Mallory.
Hanna-Barbera Productions was formed in 1957 by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, two successful animators from MGM Studios. As a result of their work on the Tom and Jerry animated film shorts, MGM received seven Academy Awards for animation. Hanna and Barbera left MGM when the studio stopped production on animated films. Capitalizing on the changing viewing habits of audiences, the partners achieved immediate success on TV with The Huckleberry Hound Show and Yogi Bear in 1958, followed by the groundbreaking prime-time series, The Flintstones, in 1960.
Throughout the next 30 years, Hanna-Barbera produced over 200 individual cartoon series for television. Eventually absorbed by Warner Bros., the studio’s animation legacy remains available in syndication and on DVD, and its impact on popular culture can be seen in everything from Fred Flintstone hawking vitamins and Fruity Pebbles cereal, to comic books and live-action movies featuring such characters as Scooby-Doo.
About Norman Rockwell Museum
Norman Rockwell Museum holds the largest and most significant collection of art and archival materials relating to the life and work of Norman Rockwell. The Museum also preserves, interprets, and exhibits a growing collection of original illustration art by noted American illustrators, from historical to contemporary. The Norman Rockwell Museum Art Collection and Norman Rockwell Archive inspire a vibrant year-round exhibition program, national traveling exhibitions, and arts and humanities programs that engage diverse audiences. The collections, which are made accessible worldwide, are a comprehensive resource relating to Norman Rockwell and the art of illustration, the role of published imagery in society, and the American twentieth century.
Since its inception, Norman Rockwell Museum has explored the impact of illustrated images and their role in shaping and reflecting our world through changing exhibitions, publications, and programs. Dedication to a deepened understanding of the art of illustration has led to the formation of the Rockwell Center for American Visual Studies. The first of its kind in the nation, this research institute supports sustained scholarship and establishes Norman Rockwell Museum’s leadership in the vanguard of preservation and interpretation relating to this important aspect of American visual culture.
Norman Rockwell Museum is located on 36 park-like acres in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Rockwell’s hometown for the last 25 years of his life. The Museum is open year-round; closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. From May through October, hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; from November through April, hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The Museum will be open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursdays during the month of August. Rockwell’s studio is open May through October, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Museum admission is $18, $17 for seniors, $16 for military veterans, $10 for students, $6 for kids and teens 6 to 18, and free for Museum members and children 5 and under. Visit the Museum online at Norman Rockwell Museum.