Hanna, Bill

Posted in WB Cartoon Companion on March 22, 2004

    One half of the duo of Hanna-Barbera, who would provide the stiffest competition for the Warner Brothers studio with their Tom and Jerry cartoons for MGM in the forties and fifties. For better or for worse, he and his partner Joe Barbera went on to revolutionize the animation industry with their mass production techniques of “limited animation” for television starting in the late 1950s.

    The obituary in Variety for Hugh Harman lists Bill Hanna as having worked at the Warner Brothers studio. His own autobiography indicates that he had started out there as a custodian/“gofer”, later graduating to a position as a cel washer -- which was also the entry point for Chuck Jones into the industry. He was eventually put in charge of the then very small ink and paint department (clearly indicating the mobility of workers in the industry at that time). Hanna claims that Harman and Ising incorporated some songs that he wrote into some of the Bosko cartoons, though he does not identify any in particular.

    Hanna left the studio when Harman and Rudy Ising split with producer Leon Schlesinger in 1933. The rest, as they say, is history.

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