When I was six I wrote to Mickey Mouse. Somewhere, probably amid my brothers things since he got the dresser it was stored in, is the autographed photo that Mickey sent back to me. Ahhhh, the true pleasure of mail at six, and mail from the Most Famous Mouse of all time, even better! I’m so glad that Mickey sent me a colorful photo of himself in his study, all smiles and ears. It’s so much better than what his creator, Walt Disney told Joseph Barbera (of cartoon fame) when he wrote to him asking for advice about getting started in animation. Walt wrote back that “it’s a tough business” and that Barbera should find another line of work. Ugh, what a gut punch from the big rat. I mean, you want an honest answer, but geeze. That’s like sitting on Santa’s lap and having him say, “Forget it kid! You ain’t gettin’ nutin’.”
Well, fortunately Barbera was made of sterner stuff. He’s a great example of what happens when you ignore people who tell you that “you can’t”. I thank my lucky Mouse photo that I always ignored those discouraging words, but I’m kinda scrappy…that just strengthens my resolve. So, me and Barbera, we’re like this <crossing my fingers – this means we’re tied together>, we’re pals, compadres, two of a kind…you know, except, he was a guy and rich, extremely artistically talented and famous…that’s where we differ, but other than that, we’re totally cut from the same cloth.
Of course, you know how the rest of the story goes <…did I just begin to channel Paul Harvey?>…
He went on to become a successful animator, storyboard artist, cartoon artist, producer, director and you know him as part of the successful duo Hanna-Barbera.
The Hanna-Barbera studios produced cartoons that are synonymous with many Saturday morning and after-school memories: The Jetsons, Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, The Flintstones, etc. You know the shows are great when you see your own kids enjoying them like you did at their age. That’s better than some of the big rat’s creations. Ironically, there is a rat that Hanna-Barbera gave voice to that I just love. I don’t know how I would express my discomfort any time that I’ve over-eaten without being able to make a Templeton reference. Yes, I read the book, “Charlotte’s Web”. However, it’s with great amusement that I recall Templeton the rat from the animated movie. The hilarious, intoxicated animation of Templeton that Hanna-Barbera (and Paul Lynde as the voice of Templeton) created branded that gluttonous, county fair connoisseur on my mind forever. For instance, after Thanksgiving, “I feel like Templeton.”
A Veritable Smorgasbord:
Hanna-Barbera characters you just might have seen once or twice: