Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Josie, Joe, Bill, Iwao & The H-B Studios

I can now understand why the guy at "The Astounding B-Monster" website got downhearted because he felt like his site was basically becoming an ongoing obituary column....'cause it seems like almost every day now there comes word that the animation industry or 1960's entertainment has lost yet another personality or visionary. Just in the past month we've lost no less than Joe Barbera, James Brown, Steve Krantz, Yvonne De Carlo and (pictured) Iwao Takamoto.
That's one hell of a list.

And if you go back over the past year, so many icons have passed it's really sobering. It's as if there's some sort of "1960's culture-rapture" goin' on. Almost everyone who entertained me growing up is starting to check out now.
John Buscema died on by 40th birthday...and now Iwao on my 45th. (Also reminding me that at best, my own life-sojourn is probably more than halfway over.)
If you're reading this to begin with I'm going to assume that Iwao needs no life's-work resume from me. He's been widely credited as the creator of the characters from Scooby Doo, Where Are You? Hell, even Conan O'brien and Saturday Night Live made Scooby Doo-related jokes about his death last week. (though neither, to my knowledge, made any mention of Joe Barbera's death just 3 weeks earlier --The guy who's show is on after Letterman did that at least!) He also helped create and design several other H-B hounds over the years including "Astro" from The Jetsons, "Muttley" from Wacky Races, and "Krypto" and other characters from the recent Krypto Cartoon Network series.

So, here's a bizzaro comic I dug up after Joe Barbera's passing last month, but with the Holidays n' all I just hadn't had a chance to run it yet...it's a Dan DeCarlo drawn comic from 1970 where Josie and the Pussycats pay a visit to Hanna-Barbera studios in North Hollywierd in conjunction with their new CBS Saturday morning cartoon show. Seems like Dan mighta actually gone to the Studio to do the story --but I still wonder where the gang is supposed to be approaching the building from in the opening panel...

So Alexandra works her charms on team Ruby-Spears, hoping they'll write her some better action with Alan M. Meantime the Pussycat crew works their way down to the animation department...who else would they run into there in 1970 if not Iwao and --making his third appearance in this blog-- Carlo Vinci! (Btw---Did I mention that I always thought of Alex and Alexandra as the Linus and Lucy of the Archie set? Just with more money....)

So the H-B staff play an expensive trick on Alexandra which involves the Pussycats being shown a completed scene that the H-B alchemists have whipped up during their visit(!) in which Alan M hits Alexandra in the face with a pie. (Yeah right...even though in all honesty, a lot of sequences in the actual show often looked like they were animated in a single coffee-fueled afternoon)

Good thing the songs on the show were better than that...'cause even as an eight-year-old I thought this little ditty was pretty lame!
Er...I mean...my sister bought Archie comics...I bought mainly Harvey titles and weird stuff like House of Mystery & Mad.

Thanks and kudos for this post go out to The Dan Decarlo family, The Joe Barbera family, The Bill Hanna family, The Iwao Takamoto family and Archie Comics Publications.


Blogger Robert Pope said...

Oh, my Lord. You know you're getting old when Alexandra starts to look really sexy (with Dan DeCarlo drawing her, how could she look otherwise?) And that crazy skunk stripe always made me think she was some sort of all-grown up Lucy Van Pelt...of course, none of this has a damned thing to do with my admiration for Iwao, which was the whole point of the post, wasn't it? He sure was great; his character designs and model sheet were peerless.
Thanks, Clay!

5:13 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'll bet Ken Spears couldn't beleive that they got his first name wrong when he saw this thing.

12:11 AM

Anonymous Buzz said...

As near as I can tell, Josie and the gang are arriving at H&B by leaping Evil Kneivel style off of Mulholland Rd. Small wonder Alex and Alexandra chose a much saner mode of arrival!

The salt in the wound re this story is that Archie Co. never told Dan DeCarlo that JOSIE was being made into an animated series until the Friday before the show premiered! And of course they subsequently screwed him out of royalties by claiming they gave him the idea for JOSIE when in fact JOSIE was a failed comic strip he had shopped around based on hiw wife's teen years.

I don't think DeCarlo actually visited H&B, merely got photo references. Joe Ruby and Ken Spears are unrecognizable -- Joe should be bouncing off walls or at the very least smoking a cigar.

And DeCarlo missed one detail re the exterior of the building: The white panels were actually an open lattice; the curved designs were large portal-like openings set about 2 feet apart from the real exterior wall of the buildings. The office windows were on the other side of these lattices (which I assume were to provide some shade from the direct sun). I once startled the bejeebers outta the late Chuck Menvile when I showed up to a story conference by climbing the exterior lattice and entering his office through the window.

Love your site -- it's always a delight to visit.

5:51 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is great!

but are you missing page 7 ?

3:23 AM

Blogger Ward Jenkins said...

Hey-- that cameraman on the last panel of the sixth image looks like Louie! "Hey boobie! Lay off the cels!"

10:24 AM

Blogger Toonhead_NPL said...

(from the first draft of the story):

Pepper, arriving at H-B Studios: (surprisingly) "Hey! I've turned black!"

11:17 AM

Anonymous Nobody you know said...

Animators have the best blogs, period. Thank you.

1:16 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the comment about Mr. Spears' wrong first name: If you take a closer look at the panel, you can see that "Bill" has been squeezed into the space and is in a slightly different hand. I think somebody saw "Ken" and (for some strange reason) decided that was wrong, so it got "fixed."

At least they didn't think his first name was Ruby.

12:25 AM

Blogger tomservo56954 said...

I would like to know how H-B ended up producing JOSIE, when the rest of the Archie Comics product was done by Filmation.

8:24 PM


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