Ten long-forgotten Hanna-Barbera Cartoons

Last Wednesday, when I was writing my blog post about finally getting some ribbons at the Altamont Fair Photography Contest, I linked to a YouTube clip that paid tribute to the old Banana Splits Saturday Morning TV show.  And it got me to thinking…

I loved watching Hanna-Barbera’s Saturday morning cartoons.  Loved them like I love air.  Okay, yeah, there were the great Filmation cartoons, and a DePatie-Freleng cartoon now and again, but you gotta love the Hoyt Curtin orchestrations and the comedic timings and the action shows…

Yes, there were some fantastic cartoons from the HB studios – family sitcoms like The Flintstones and The Jetsons; mystery shows like Scooby-Doo, Where Are You and Josie & the Pussycats; and adventure shows like Jonny Quest and the Pirates of Dark Water.

Hanna-Barbera made a TON of cartoon shows, and not all of them have achieved the kind of adulation and loyalty as did the ones I mentioned above.  With that in mind, I want to share ten HB cartoons that have, for better or for worse, fallen through the cracks of time.  Some of them were ahead of the game; others were almost cookie-cutter clones of prior HB efforts.  Still, it’s time to give them another viewing here.  So go get yourself a bowl of Rice Krispies – and since it’s Hanna-Barbera cartoons, pour me a bowl of Fruity Pebbles – and tune in to some long-forgotten treasures from the HB archives.

This was actually the first Hanna-Barbera cartoon to make the airwaves. It definitely has that Hanna-Barbera “limited animation” style to it – the same style that was used in everything from Huckleberry Hound to Yogi Bear to Magilla Gorilla.

A gentle family comedy, all centered around two football players, their families, and their acerbic neighbor.  If the characters sound a lot like the ones from The Flintstones, well, Hanna-Barbera’s stable of voice actors – like Daws Butler, Mel Blanc and Jean Vander Pyl – did a LOT of work for the company.

This aired in the early 1970’s, and was another Hanna-Barbera “family” comedy, only this time the emphasis was placed on Roman Empire puns. Had a tendency to give me a headachius maximus.

This was a syndicated Hanna-Barbera cartoon that was supposed to air in prime time, and was supposed to be a more “relevant” series in the same vein as All in the Family.

Another Hanna-Barbera “teens solving mysteries” show, but instead of a goofy-looking Great Dane, we have a 200-year-old ghost. Perfect for solving mysteries around the time of the Bicentennial.

This was a 30-minute cartoon that appeared in conjunction with Hanna-Barbera’s animated Godzilla series; the cartoon was later shown as its own standalone program. I’m not even going to ask where Jana found a hairstylist and makeup artist in the deepest part of the jungle. Nah. Wouldn’t be worth the trouble.

This show came out at about the same time as the Transformers cartoon series, and was just completely blown out of the water. Only 65 episodes were produced, and there were some serious continuity errors from one episode to the next. But what can you do these days with a toy-based cartoon series?  Maybe that really was the “challenge” of the GoBots.

Hey, you remember that cartoon that was sorta based on the Smurfs, that cartoon in which all the characters lived underwater and had lots of adventures? No, not SpongeBob SquarePants… this one.

You want proof that Saturday morning cartoons aped whatever was popular in prime-time? In 1974, guess what the most popular TV drama was. That’s right, The Waltons. So why not put together a period cartoon about life in pre-World War I Indiana, and call it “These Are The Days“?  Probably thinking they couldn’t have animated The Magnificent Ambersons

Okay… I just need to say this. At one time in my life, I thought this was the worst animated cartoon to ever appear on Saturday morning broadcast television. The worst. And today, nearly 25 years later… my opinion hasn’t changed one single bit.

Hope you’ve enjoyed this digital trip  back in time.  Now go put away your cereal bowl, get washed up and go outside and play, you’ll miss out on all the sunshine!