How Hanna Met Barbera

By Phin Upham

Most people who grew up in the 60s or beyond know at least one Hannah Barbera cartoon. From Huckleberry Hound to The Smurfs, the studio produced some of the most iconic cartoons of American animation history. While less prominent than the Disneys and Warner Bros. of the world, Hanna-Barbera remained an important force in animation until the mid 90s.

The studio was started by Joseph Barbera, whose career began with Van Beuren Studios in 1932. After four years with the now defunct studio, Barbera moved to Terrytoons in 1936. A year later, his work took him to California. There, he found a job at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

While at MGM, Barbera met his future business partner William Hanna. The two men worked closely to produce the hit series Tom and Jerry, which most people reading this will no doubt recall is a short about a cat’s inept pursuits of the nightmarish mouse who taunts him. MGM dissolved its animation department in 1957, which left Hanna and Barbera out of a job. With nowhere to turn, they leaned on each other to create what would become one of the most successful ventures in Western animation: Hanna-Barbera Studios.

Their partnership would produce The Flinstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, Scooby Doo, Huckleberry Hound, and many more. Collectively, they won seven Academy Awards and eight Emmy Awards. They’ve appeared on television, in books and been the subject of films. With a worldwide audience of more than 300 million, and an endearing presence on television since the 1960s, the studio is considered one of the most influential in Western animation.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.