Happy 60th Birthday Hanna-Barbera

Happy 60th Birthday Hanna-Barbera

Happy 60th Birthday Hanna-Barbera: The Animation Studio That Started It All And Entertained Kids (And Adults) For Six Decades

Today, 60 years ago on 7th July 1957, the creators of Tom and Jerry – William Hanna and Joseph Barbera opened their very own animation studio. The new studio known as Hanna-Barbera (a combination of the founder’s surnames) was groundbreaking as it was one of the few animation studios that specifically made animated TV shows at the time, before Hanna-Barbera, most animation that aired on television were theatrical shorts. Hanna and Barbera were pioneers in the animation industry (and the media industry as a whole) and created cartoons that were both high-quality and affordable for television broadcasters. On 14th December 1957, Hanna-Barbera’s first ever production – The Ruff and Reddy Show aired on NBC in the United States, an animated show about two friends, a cat named Ruff and a dog named Reddy. It only took two months to get a studio running after the closure of the animation unit at Tom and Jerry’s animation studio – MGM and with the help of a director named George Sydney, a friend of Hanna and Barbera, they were able to reach a deal with Screen Gems (a part of Columbia Pictures), the deal laid a solid foundation for the new studio.

The Huckleberry Hound Show was the studio’s first big hit which premiered in 1958, Yogi Bear soon followed with his own show in 1961, also Top Cat debuted in 1961. The most important milestone (pun intended) for Hanna-Barbera was The Flintstones, based on the sitcom – The Honeymooners but in a stone age setting, the show was the studio’s biggest primetime hit and made Fred Flintstone and Hanna-Barbera a household name. Before Fox’s The Simpsons broke the record – The Flintstones was the longest running animated sitcom in the world, and aired between 1960 to 1966, quite an achievement considering this was still the early days of television animation. In 1962, came The Jetsons, which followed a similar formula to The Flintstones but this time in a futuristic setting.

In 1963, Hanna-Barbera Studios moved to their new state-of-the-art studios at 3400 Cahuenga Boulevard West in Hollywood, Los Angeles, after the studio’s opening, the science-fiction adventure show Jonny Quest and The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show soon followed, along with Wacky Races (which has been rebooted by Warner Bros. Animation) and its spinoff series’ The Perils of Penelope Pitstop and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines in the late 1960’s.

At the start of the 1970’s, Hanna-Barbera controlled 80% of the children’s programming in the United States, by this point it was the biggest animation company in the world, Disney may of ruled the theatrical animation business (and arguably still does), but Hanna-Barbera ruled children’s television, the very form of audiovisual media that kids were most exposed to in their own homes.

In 1970’s the studio was in full-production, with Josie and the Pussycats, Help!… It’s the Hair Bear Bunch!, Hong Kong Phooey, Captain Caveman being produced, but the most influential cartoon that was produced at Hanna-Barbera (and still being produced today with several re-versions and movies) is Scooby-Doo!, created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears in 1969, the series remains to be one of Boomerang’s biggest hits (alongside Tom and Jerry). Scooby-Doo! centres on four teenagers and the eponymous talking Great Dane who go solving spooky supernatural mysteries.

In the 1980’s, the studio started to decline, but it wasn’t all doom and gloom though, aside the odd spinoff and prequel such as The Flintstone Kids and The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, there was one hit that stood out – The Smurfs, an animated show about small blue human-like creatures that live in a forest, the show’s concept wasn’t created by Hanna-Barbera but rather by the Belgian cartoonist Peyo (real name Pierre Culliford).

The studio changed ownership a few times, but it wasn’t until 1991 that will completely change the course of the studio’s history and it’s so important that if it didn’t happen I wouldn’t be writing this blog today – Turner Broadcasting System brought 50% of the studio (as well as the all important archive) with the Apollo Investment Fund, at the time, Turner already owned the MGM catalogue which includes Tom and Jerry and for the first time the studio’s IP’s and Tom and Jerry are united under one company. In 1994, Turner fully owned the studio.

Both, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera carried on at the studio as creative consultants. The studio hired new animators, most notably – Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls), Donovan Cook (2 Stupid Dogs), Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory), David Feiss (Cow and Chicken), Seth MacFarlane (worked on multiple productions as well as his What A Cartoon! animated short – Larry and Steve which was the prototype for his later creation – Family Guy), Van Partible (creator of Johnny Bravo) and Butch Hartman (worked on several shows at Hanna-Barbera, later created The Fairly OddParents for Frederator and Nickelodeon).

Turner Broadcasting System hired Fred Seibert as the president of Hanna-Barbera and to oversee its What A Cartoon! animated short development programme, Seibert later founded Frederator Studios, the co-producer of Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time. During this time Cartoon Network Studios was only a brand name used by Hanna-Barbera.

People were originally sceptical of Ted Turner’s 24-hour news network CNN (Cable News Network) before it launched, but he proved the critics wrong, and he was about to prove them wrong yet again, Turner Broadcasting System Inc. or TBS for short decided to make use of its newly acquired catalogue of animated shows from Hanna-Barbera and MGM as well as new productions from the new studio, finally in the United States on 1st October 1992, the newest network from TBS – Cartoon Network launched, the world’s first ever 24-hour channel dedicated to nothing but cartoons. Cartoon Network quickly spread internationally with a focus on distribution as opposed to full-localisation, with the Latin American version launching in April 1993, the European launch in September 1993 from TBS’s base in London and the Asian feed launching in 1994.

Luckily, Cartoon Network already had a large library of cartoons to keep the channel going during its formative years while production on new shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory and Cow and Chicken were on-going. The 1996 merger between TBS and Time Warner was also important, especially as Cartoon Network now has full access to one of the biggest movie studios in Hollywood – Warner Bros. as well as content from Warner’s post-1948 animation library (Turner already owned the pre-1948 library). By 2001, Hanna-Barbera ceased to exist in its own right within the media conglomerate, with Warner Bros. Animation owning the Hanna-Barbera name and archive. Warner Bros. Animation is now responsible for modern remakes of its animated classics such as Be Cool, Scooby-Doo.

Sadly, William Hanna died in 2001, Joseph Barbera remained at Warner Bros. Animation as an executive producer and director until his death in 2006. William Hanna’s and Joseph Barbera’s studio and their legacy continues to this very day, the studio itself was renamed Cartoon Network Studios and continues to produce many of your favourite cartoons. There is so much to write about the history of Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network, so I’m leaving part two for the channel’s 25th Anniversary on 1st October this year. Hanna-Barbera has produced some of the most loved cartoon characters, its influence is still present today and it will carry on well into the future.

http://www.cartoonnetworkstudios.com
http://www.warnerbros.com
http://www.timewarner.com

Teen Titans Go! And The Powerpuff Girls Lego Dimensions Toys To Be Released 12th September

Teen Titans Go! And The Powerpuff Girls Lego Dimensions Toys To Be Released 12th September

Teen Titans Go! And The Powerpuff Girls Lego Dimensions Toys To Be Released 12th September

Lego Dimensions, the Children’s BAFTA award-winning interactive LEGO toy and video game hybrid featuring many popular media franchises, will be adding Teen Titans Go! and The Powerpuff Girls characters to the game, the new toys are part of the “Wave 9” set which will be available from 12th September.

Players that purchase either Teen Titans Go! expansion pack (Team Pack or the smaller Fun Pack) can access an exclusive, original episode to discover how the team of teenage superheroes ended up in the LEGO Dimensions multiverse. The Teen Titans Go! Team Pack, includes Lego minifigures of two members of the Teen Titans – Raven and Beast Boy. The Team Pack also features the 3-in-1 T-Car which can be rebuilt into the Forklift and the T-Plane for out of this world adventures by air and sea. Players can transform the Spellbook of Azarath into Raven Wings and the Giant Hand for adventures deep underground or even into outer space.

The smaller Teen Titans Go! Fun pack will feature a Lego minifigure of Starfire, in the game, players will be able to enable her special abilities to battle enemies and solve puzzles. Players can also build the 3-in-1 Titan Robot and then rebuild it into the T-Rocket or Robot Retriever.

Cartoon Network’s very own The Powerpuff Girls will also be getting its very own Lego Dimensions packs. Players can bring Townsville to LEGO Dimensions with The Powerpuff Girls Team Pack which includes Lego minifigures of Blossom and Bubbles. For access to additional special abilities, the 3-in-1 Octi can be rebuilt into the Super Skunk or Sonic Squid, and the PPG Smartphone can be rebuilt into the PPG Hotline and Powerpuff Mag-Net.

The smaller Powerpuff Girls Fun Pack includes a Buttercup Lego minifigure. Players can use this cherished champion of justice to fight crime and come just in time with supercool superpowers. The 3-in-1 Mega Blast Bot can be rebuild into the Ka-Pow Cannon and Slammin’ Guitar to rock extra-awesome combat abilities.

Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup each provide access to The Powerpuff Girls Adventure World where players can unlock iconic locations like Pokey Oaks elementary, Rainbow Land, and Professor Utonium’s lab. Players can go head-to-head in the Battle Arena for endless fun.

Additionally, a Fan Pack for horror-comedy character – Beetlejuice will also be released, the pack also includes Saturn’s Sandwort, which can be reconstructed into the Haunted Vacuum and Spooky Spider. Beetlejuice also had an animated series which aired on Cartoon Network UK and Cartoon Network USA in the late 1990’s.

Lego Dimensions is developed by UK games studio TT Games owned by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, a sister company of Turner (owners of Cartoon Network) in partnership with The Lego Group.

https://nintendowire.com/news/2017/05/31/lego-dimensions-wave-9-launch-september-12th/

https://brickset.com/article/28341/lego-dimensions-wave-9-expansion-packs-revealed

Boomerang EMEA Announces The Happos Family Season 2

Boomerang EMEA Announces The Happos Family Season 2

Boomerang EMEA Announces The Happos Family Season 2

Turner Broadcasting System Europe, owners of the animation channel – Boomerang has announced that their first ever original series – The Happos Family has been renewed for a second season. Turner released the press release during the 2017 Licensing Expo in Las Vegas this week (23/05/2017 – 25/05/2017). The new season will feature seven-minute long episodes (episodes had a 2.5-minute runtime in season 1), longer episodes mean longer adventures with the loveable Happos characters at the safari park, each with their own personality and theme. A total of twenty-five episodes will be made for season two. Digital content will be released alongside the premiere of the new season, digital content includes the popular Boomerang Make n’ Race app which also features Boomerang favourites Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry.

Season two of The Happos Family will launch on Boomerang feeds within the Europe, Middle East and Africa region starting from January next year. The new season will also be welcoming three new Happos: Football Happo, Scientist Happo and Acrobat Happo. The show is created in partnership with Italian chocolate company Ferraro, known for Ferraro Rocher, Kinder Surprise and Happy Hippos. Season two will be animated by Cyber Group Studios in France, the studio is also co-producing another animated show with Turner – Taffy, which is due to premiere next year. Season one was animated by Spider Eye in Cornwall, England.

The show has no dialogue which means the show doesn’t require any dubbing and translating making it easier for international distribution. Apart from Boomerang’s international channels, the show has premiered on POGO in India and free-to-air channel Karusel in Russia, reaching more than 88 million. The show has a diverse range of characters such as Astro Happo who has an aspiration to fly to the moon, the daredevil Stunt Happo, Party Happo, Ballerina and Bollywood. The show is referred to having slapstick humour with lots of heart.

From The Turner EMEA Press Release: Turner EMEA Announces Second Series Greenlight Of The Happos Family: First original production for Boomerang to become latest addition to Turner EMEA Kids franchise portfolio; New series to be produced by Cyber Group Studios, with episodes extended to 7 minutes.

Turner EMEA announced today (24/05/2017) that it has greenlit a second season of its first ever Boomerang Original, The Happos Family – this time featuring longer adventures with the loveable Happos characters, as well as a raft of new digital content.

Series two, made up of 25 x 7-minute non-dialogue episodes, will launch on Boomerang channels from January 2018, and will introduce three brand-new characters to the family set-up: Football Happo, Scientist Happo and Acrobat Happo. It has been created in partnership with world-renowned Italian corporation Ferrero and will be produced by leading European animation company Cyber Group Studios (headquartered in Paris), with whom Turner recently signed a co-production deal for another new Boomerang series, Taffy.

Following a first series of 20 x 2 ½ minute shorts – which has launched on Turner Kids channel POGO (South Asia) and free-to-air channel Karusel (Russia), as well as Boomerang channels globally, reaching more than 88M viewers to date* – series two will offer kids and families the chance to become better acquainted with each of the unique and hilarious Happos and the safari park in which they live, where just about anything seems possible. Whether it’s Astro Happo longing to fly to the moon, or Stunt Happo attempting a daredevil feat, or Party Happo in a dance off with Ballerina and Bollywood, each storyline is laugh-out-loud, slapstick comedy with lots of heart.

In addition to the linear roll-out, the Happos characters will appear across a variety of interactive digital platforms, including the popular Boomerang Make n’ Race app (more than 20M downloads worldwide) alongside other Boomerang favourite characters Scooby-Doo and Tom and Jerry.

“The great audience reaction, channel exposure and performance of Happos to date are all positive signs that we have an exciting new franchise on our hands”, says Johanne Broadfield, VP, Cartoon Network Enterprises EMEA. “We’ve seen kids actually belly-laughing while watching the content and demonstrating really strong engagement with the humour and characters. Taking the show to a new level, with longer episodes and extensive support across digital, stands us in very good stead for a successful consumer products programme – and we’re looking forward to the reaction we get from prospective partners here at Vegas.”

Pierre Sissmann, Chairman & CEO, Cyber Group Studios added: “We immediately fell in love with The Happos Family and it’s not at all surprising that the show is already resonating with kids and families around the world. We’re delighted to be partnering again with Turner and coming on board to produce the second series of Happos, this time with longer stories and great new characters.”

The Happos Family follows the lives of a family of Happos who live in an enclosure in a safari park. In the morning the park is open to human visitors who drive past the Happos, taking pictures of them wallowing in the mud, lazing by the pool, sleeping in the shade of the tree. When the last car races out of the safari park and the gates are shut to all visitors, the Happos jump up out of the mud, wake up from their snoozing and get dressed up. It’s now their time for crazy, zany, Happo adventures.

*Source: BARB, Auditel, AGB Nielsen, Kantar Media, TNS Gallup, MMS, IPSOS/KTLM, TNS TV/Index Plus, BARC Media Workstation, IBOPE, All Individuals, 10/16 – 08/05/17, All Day, Reach (1min+)

http://www.cybergroupstudios.com

http://www.boomerangtv.co.uk/shows/the-happos-family