My Life in 'Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century

Joseph Barbera, Author Turner Publications Inc $19.95 (250p) ISBN 978-1-57036-042-8
Dubbed by 60 Minutes ``the sultan of Saturday morning,'' Barbera, along with his partner Bill Hanna, pioneered the concept of television animation, delighting generations of kids with such shows as The Jetsons , Scooby Doo , The Smurfs and The Flintstones . In their heyday, the Hanna-Barbera team was responsible for up to 70% of the cartoon programming on American airwaves, and their vast corpus continues to be widely circulated in syndication today. Here Barbera, writing with Axelrod ( The War Between the Spies ), provides a chatty and lucidly detailed inside look at the 'toon biz, chronicling his rise through the ranks from inker to studio head and recounting the history of his legendary partnership with Hanna, which began at MGM in 1940 with the creation of the immensely popular ``Tom and Jerry'' movie shorts and lasted for more than 50 years. Particularly interesting are Barbera's accounts of the various technical innovations and marketing strategies that were necessary to launch cartoons on the small screen. The Flintstones , for example, almost died before the show was born for want of corporate sponsorship. Clearly a shrewd and hard-working businessman as well as a talented artist, Barbera emerges here as a quintessential American success story, a Brooklyn boy whose persistent faith in his creative vision led him to the top ranks of the entertainment industry. His memoirs are almost as much fun as his 'toons. Photos not seen by PW. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/1994
Release date: 06/01/1994
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