My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century
No other studio, not Disney, not Warner's, has created more familiar and beloved - or just plain more - cartoon characters than Hanna-Barbera, and just about all of them started life in the mind of Joe Barbera.
He was born on Manhattan's Lower East Side and was raised in Flatbush, Brooklyn, by a doting mother and a father who made a bundle as a popular barber, only to gamble most of it away before finally bowing out on his family altogether. Fresh out of high school, young Joe spent six years chained to a desk in a Wall Street bank filling out income tax forms. There he discovered he couldn't add, but he knew he could draw, and after he saw Walt Disney's pioneering "Skeleton Dance" at a Roxy Theatre Matinee, he knew he wanted to draw animated cartoons.
This is Joe Barbera's story. Of coming up through New York's sweatshop studios during the early days of animation. Of trekking to Hollywood, where, with Bill Hanna, he created America's favorite cat and mouse, Tom and Jerry, and transformed MGM's struggling new cartoons studio into the envy of the industry and the winner of seven Academy Awards.
This is the story of a Brooklyn boy let loose on Hollywood. Of making it big in that glittering town, only to have it all come crashing down when MGM closed its animation studio in 1957. Of picking up the pieces and using them to build a wondrous and wildly profitable cartoon kingdom in the brand-new world of television.
Up-front and personal, My Life in 'toons is not only compelling autobiography, it is the fascinating inside story of the art and industry of animation by one of its creators, who populated the world of children and adults alike with Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Jonny Quest, The Jetsons, The Flintstones - television's first epoch-making prime-time animated sitcom - and many more.
It is a warm, candid, harrowing, and hilarious tale of survival and success riding the juggernaut of Hollywood movie making and navigating the jungles of network television, wheeling, dealing, working - and coping - with the likes of Friz Freling, Tex Avery, Mel Blanc, Harry Cohn, Howard Hughes, Fred Silverman, Michael Eisner, Brandon Tartikoff, Ted Turner, Gene Kelly, Jose Ferrer, Harry Belafonte, Zsa Zsa Gabor, and Michael Jackson.
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My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a CenturyUser Review - Book Verdict
Had Barbera and partner William Hanna stopped after their first success in animation-the creation of Tom and Jerry-their place in movie history would still be secure. After all, that warring cat and mouse team won seven OscarsR-more, Barbera is proud to claim, than his more esteemed colleagues at Disney or Warner Brothers earned for any of their individual creations. But Barbera really hit the jackpot with television, beginning in 1960 when he got the green light for a prime-time show called The Flintstones. (It's no coincidence that this book and the live-action film based on the series are enjoying simultaneous release.) Hanna-Barbera went on to become the General Motors of animation, churning out dozens of shows of varying quality. Barbera is an unassuming man, and this memoir is like most of his creations: amusing but hardly memorable. For popular collections.-Thomas Wiener, formerly with "American Film''
Review: My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a CenturyUser Review - Goodreads
For the boomers who came of age in the 60s, and who relished the Saturday morning cartoons, "Toons" is a must. Although written 15 years ago, it sends you on a nostalgic visit with Fred and Wilma ...