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Top 10 Most Famous Hanna-Barbera Cartoon TV Shows

ben marvazi 2020

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Take the Nostalgia Train With These Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Shows

In the rich hallways of animation history, few names shine as brightly as Hanna-Barbera. 

The studio, founded by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, became a household name, synonymous with Saturday morning cartoons and beloved characters that have stood the test of time.

Hanna-Barbera's innovative approach to animation paved the way for a new era of televised cartoons, blending humor, adventure, and unforgettable stories.

Hanna-Barbera characters olympics

GIF by BoomerangOfficial via GIPHY

As pioneers in the animation industry, the Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows created a legacy that extends far beyond their time, influencing generations of animators and delighting audiences of all ages. 

This blog post takes a nostalgic journey through the top 10 Hanna-Barbera cartoon TV shows, exploring the charm and uniqueness that made each show a classic. 

From the Stone Age to the Space Age, these shows have left an indelible mark on the world of animation.

The Golden Age of Animation: Hanna-Barbera's History

The Hanna-Barbera cartoon show story begins in 1957, a pivotal moment in animation history. 

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, already renowned for creating the iconic Tom and Jerry cartoons, embarked on a new venture that would revolutionize the world of animation. 

They saw the untapped potential of television and set out to create animated content specifically for the small screen. This bold move marked the beginning of what many consider the golden age of animation.

At a time when animation was primarily seen in cinemas or as part of children's programming, Hanna-Barbera dared to dream bigger.

Huckleberry Hound walking

GIF by Boomerang Official via GIPHY

They introduced a new format of storytelling to television, bringing animated shows to prime time. This not only expanded the audience for animated content but also allowed for more sophisticated and varied storytelling. The Hanna-Barbera cartoon creations weren't just for kids; they were for the whole family.

The Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows had distinctive styles combined with colorful, vibrant animation with witty, engaging scripts. They broke new ground by introducing relatable characters and stories that mirrored everyday life, albeit with a whimsical twist. 

The studio's impact on animation and pop culture is immeasurable. They didn't just create cartoons; they created cultural icons. 

Characters like Fred Flintstone, Yogi Bear, and Scooby-Doo became as recognizable as any live-action TV star. Hanna-Barbera's shows were more than just entertainment; they were a reflection of the times and a window into an imaginative world where anything was possible.

Top 10 Most Famous Hanna-Barbera Cartoon TV Shows

1. The Huckleberry Hound Show (1958–1961)

Video via YouTube

This pioneering show marked a significant milestone in animation history, being the first animated series to win an Emmy Award. 

"The Huckleberry Hound Show" was known for its episodic variety and its memorable characters, including the beloved Yogi Bear, who was so popular that he was spun off into his own series. 

This pioneering Hanna-Barbera cartoon show had a unique style, with episode title cards reminiscent of theatrical shorts, setting a new standard in TV animation.

2. The Flintstones (1960–1966)

Video via YouTube

"The Flintstones" broke new ground as the first prime-time animated series with a 30-minute sitcom format, revolutionizing television history. 

Notably, this Hanna-Barbera cartoon featured the first animated pregnancy, with Wilma Flintstone seen in maternity clothes. This show also marked the first use of a laugh track in a Hanna-Barbera production, adding to its sitcom feel.

3. The Yogi Bear Show (1961–1962)

Video via YouTube

Originating as a segment on "The Huckleberry Hound Show," Yogi Bear quickly became a star in his own right. 

"The Yogi Bear Show" continued the tradition of theatrical-style episode title cards and brought Yogi's antics in Jellystone Park to the forefront, delighting audiences with his clever schemes to snatch picnic baskets.

4. Top Cat (1961–1962)

Video via YouTube

Set in the urban alleys of New York, "Top Cat" charmed viewers with its portrayal of a clever and charismatic alley cat. 

The show's prime-time slot highlighted Hanna-Barbera's ambition to produce cartoons that appealed to both children and adults.

Top Cat's witty escapades and close-knit group of feline friends offered a refreshing take on city life.

5. The Jetsons (1962–1987)

Video via YouTube

"The Jetsons" took viewers to a futuristic utopia, contrasting "The Flintstones'" prehistoric setting. As a prime-time series in its debut season, it presented an optimistic view of the future, filled with flying cars and robot maids.

This iconic Hanna-Barbera cartoon had longevity and sporadic production spanning over two decades, showcasing Hanna-Barbera's lasting appeal.

6. Jonny Quest (1964–1965)

Video via YouTube

A trailblazer in action-adventure animation, "Jonny Quest" brought a sense of realism and excitement to the animated world. 

It was the first fully realized action-adventure series on North American television, offering thrilling escapades and cutting-edge animation techniques. Its prime-time airing on ABC underscored its broad appeal.

7. Laurel and Hardy (1966–1967)

Video via YouTube

This Hanna-Barbera cartoon adaptation of the legendary comedy duo Laurel and Hardy was a delightful homage to classic comedy. 

The show preserved the essence of the original characters while introducing them to a new generation in an animated format, offering timeless humor and slapstick in each episode.

8. The Space Kidettes (1966–1967)

Video via YouTube

A lesser-known gem, "The Space Kidettes" showcased Hanna-Barbera's ability to explore different genres.

In syndication, the show was paired with "Young Samson," offering a unique combination of space exploration and adventure, appealing to the imaginative minds of its young audience.

9. Wacky Races (1968–1970)

Video via YouTube

Initially conceptualized as a game show, "Wacky Races" was a departure from the typical Hanna-Barbera cartoon formula. 

It featured an ensemble cast of eccentric characters in a series of madcap races, each episode filled with inventive vehicles and slapstick humor.

10. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (1969–1978)

Video via YouTube

This iconic series introduced one of the most beloved characters in animation history, Scooby-Doo.

As the first Saturday morning cartoon to use a laugh track, it blended mystery, comedy, and adventure in a way that captivated audiences and set the stage for numerous spin-offs and adaptations.

Impact and Legacy of Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Shows

The influence of Hanna-Barbera's cartoons extends far beyond their original air dates. These shows were not just a part of the animation landscape; they helped shape it

Each series brought something new to the table, whether it was "The Flintstones" in a prime-time slot, the action-packed adventures of "Jonny Quest," or the mystery-solving antics of "Scooby-Doo."

Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows have a special place in the hearts of multiple generations. They were a staple of childhood for many, and their appeal has stood the test of time, as evidenced by the continued popularity and relevance of these characters. 

Fred Flintstone from The Flintstones Hanna-Barbera cartoon show

GIF by BoomerangOfficial via GIPHY

The studio's ability to create a wide variety of shows, from sitcoms and action-adventures to mystery and comedy, demonstrates their versatility and understanding of their audience.

Moreover, Hanna-Barbera's approach to animation paved the way for future studios and animators. Their innovative techniques and storytelling styles have inspired countless artists and creators. 

The studio's legacy is not just in the shows they produced but in the creative spirit they fostered, which continues to influence the animation industry today.

Get Inspired By the Best Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Shows

It's clear that the studio's impact on animation and popular culture is both profound and enduring. 

These shows were more than just entertainment; they were groundbreaking achievements that pushed the boundaries of what animated television could be. 

From "The Flintstones" to "Scooby-Doo," Hanna-Barbera created a legacy of innovation, humor, and storytelling that continues to resonate with audiences of all ages.

the Scooby Doo gang running away

Cover GIF via GIPHY

Whether you grew up watching these classics or are discovering them for the first time, the charm and creativity of Hanna-Barbera's cartoons are undeniable. 

They remind us of a simpler time and bring a sense of nostalgia that is both comforting and delightful. As we look back on these iconic shows, we are reminded of the timeless nature of great storytelling and the enduring appeal of well-crafted animation.

Feeling inspired by these iconic Hanna-Barbera cartoon shows? If you’re an animator who’s looking to start your own studio or just grow your career, check out our blog on How to Start an Animation Studio and GET FREE TRAINING to kickstart your animation career today.

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