Saturday, October 25, 2014

Top 5 Underrated Hanna-Barbera Cartoons

I am a big cartoon fan. My favorite animators would have to be William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I'll tell you a little. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera met at MGM in 1939, and created Tom and Jerry. When MGM closed their animation studio in 1957, they started their own called H-B Enterprises, later Hanna-Barbera Cartoons. Some of their biggest hits included The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Jonny Quest, Scooby-Doo, and The Smurfs. I should probably mention that they didn't actually create The Smurfs. It was based on a Belgian comic but they made the TV series. Hanna died in 2001 and Barbera died in 2006. Some of their shows don't get as much attention as I think they should. So I decided to count down the top 5 underrated Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Keep in mind that I haven't seen all their shows, and the ones on this list I've only seen a few episodes of so I don't have much to say, so I could post an updated list someday, but you can get the current list below the break.

5. Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks

Airing as part of The Huckleberry Hound Show, Pixie and Dixie were two mice that tried to outsmart the house cat, Mr. Jinks. If you think you heard this before, you're right. This, in many ways, resembles Tom and Jerry, which as I mentioned above, was created by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. However, there are some differences. Unlike Tom and Jerry, who only spoke occasionally, Pixie and Dixie and Mr. Jinks spoke regularly. It was also less violent, and unlike the slightly sinister Tom, Mr. Jinks wasn't much of a threat. There were also times where Jinks would outwit the mice, while Tom winning was rare. In spite of all the differences, I like it. It's not as good as Tom and Jerry, but I still love watching it. My final score of it is: 4/5

4. Atom Ant

Airing as part of The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show, Atom Ant is a superhero. He operates out of an anthill, where he possesses things like a mainframe computer and exercise equipment. He's often contacted by the police, who send him out on assignments. Some of these missions parodied Batman. Some villains include the Ferocious Flea and mad scientist Prof. Von Gimmick. What I like about this show is that Atom Ant doesn't need those big muscles to take down bad guys. My final score of it is: 4/5.

3. Top Cat

Airing on ABC from 1961-1962, Top Cat is probably the least known of Hanna-Barbera's prime time cartoons.  Top Cat, commonly referred to as T.C., is the leader of a group of alley cats, and they're always trying to cheat someone. I like what the writers do with it.  I've only seen a few episodes, so I can't say much, but I think it deserves more attention. Unlike other prime time Hanna-Barbera cartoons that got cancelled after one season (The Jetsons, Jonny Quest), Top Cat didn't get a reboot in the 80s. It had a TV movie called Top Cat and the Beverly Hills Cats, but that was it. A feature film was released in Mexico in 2011 and in the U.s. in 2013. I haven't seen it yet, but I hear it's not good, so I'm in no hurry. My final score: 4/5

2. Huckleberry Hound

Airing on ABC from 1958-1962, Huckleberry Hound was a southern dog that often sang (badly) My Darling, Clementine, and had a variety of jobs, like a scientist (trying to neutralize a gigantic, thinking potato), a Foreign Legion soldier (foiling a renegade Frenchman-turned-Arab), or a modern policeman (trying to subdue an impish  ape named Wee Willie). I liked the humor of this show as well as the story. I liked seeing Huck in these situations that he didn't always have a strong handle on, and when people reacted to his bad singing, I couldn't get enough of it. My final score: 4/5.

Honorable Mentions

When making this list, I had to eliminate a few possibilities, so I thought I'd add a few honorable mentions. I won't talk about them, but if you have any questions, leave them in the comments and I'll try to answer them at some point. Here they are:

Secret Squirrel


2 Stupid Dogs

1. Yogi Bear

I don't know if this counts as an underrated show because Warner Bros. found it valuable enough to make a feature film out of it, but I never heard of him before that (I wasn't the Hanna-Barbera fan I am now) and I'v known about the shows mentioned in the first paragraph for years, so here it goes. Yogi Bear and his sidekick, Boo-Boo live at Jellystone National Park. He looks to raid the park goers "pic-a-nic" baskets, much to the dismay of Ranger Smith, who tries to stop him. Like many Hanna-Barbera characters, he was based on a popular celebrity of the time, in Yogi's case, Art Carney's Ed Norton character on The Honeymooners. Daws Butler's voice for the character broadly mimics Carney. Originally starting in The Huckleberry Hound Show, Yogi was so popular that he got his own show, and later a feature film called Hey There, It's Yogi Bear, the first feature based on a TV series. He wen't on to star in other shows like Yogi's Gang and Yo Yogi. Baseball star Yogi Berra sued Hanna-Barbera over the name similarities. They claimed it was a coincidence. Berra lost the lawsuit, but now the story is that Yogi Bear was named after Yogi Berra. This is a really fun show to watch. It's funny seeing Yogi get into trouble. I haven't seen the Warner Bros. movie, but I hear it's not good, so I'm in no hurry.
My final score is: 4.5/5

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