May 1, 2017 posted by

Hanna Barbera Prime-Time Production Notes (Part 2)

More material from the Hal Humphrey file at USC (Thank you Ned Comstock) – This week a few things relating to the first Hanna Barbera prime time series, The Flintstones, Top Cat and The Jetsons.


First up, The Flintsones. Here’s the first release giving credit-data for the premiere episode (note Carlo Vinci’s credit) – and Humphrey’s column discussing the use of ‘canned laughter’ on a cartoon.

The second season press release, followed by Humphrey’s columns plugging the series in January 1963 (on Pebbles birth) and December 1964 (about “The Gruesomes”).

And finally Humphrey’s invitation to attend the screening of The Man Called Flintstone – with his notes:

“For Theaters Only; Best of Goldfinger, Silencers; Sexy girls, for adults; fighting Smirk; Eventually its going to TV…”


In 1961, ABC introdued Top Cat to the prime-time line up… Described as a “Runyonesque animated situation comedy” with no allusions to The Phil Silvers Show – but fun to read.


Finally in 1962 – The Jetsons. I love seeing the animators get credit in these releases. After years of anonymous work they begin to break through – even if the only people seeing this are the media press.

NEXT WEEK: More fun with Hanna Barbera press releases.


  • When I was a kid, I always hated it when cartoons had laugh tracks. I wondered if the “audience” that was supposedly watching the filming was supposed to be full of animated people.

    • Apparently some of the same thinking was imposed on the early episodes of the Rocky and Bullwinkle segments of the original ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS in 1959. It was not only annoying, but totally unnecessary.

    • I remember laugh tracks on various Saturday morning shows. Not just the ones demoted from prime time, and not just from HB. The Pink Panther show put laugh tracks on theatrical shorts; think that was the only case of theatrical s being thus abused.

      They were almost invariably ADULT laugh tracks; something I didn’t really notice until one show experimented with high-pitched children’s laughter. It was annoying even then, just like when you saw kids your own age being total idiots in commercials.

    • I agree. Laugh tracks are very unnecessary for cartoons, in general.

  • While I agree in many cases that the laugh track was unnecessary, there were instances where the pacing of the show allowed for or played to the laugh track. In the case of “ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS”, having heard the laugh track, it was so minimal that I didn’t really let it bother me. In that case, I was more bothered by the mix and how some sound effects trampled over the narration or even the dialogue. So, even though the laugh track was something that should never have been, I’d rather hear all such shows as they originally were conceived. Now, some Hanna-Barbera shows have been so mangled that we’ve probably lost bits and pieces of dialogue to some of the episodes of any of those prime time sitcoms. But I’ll always remember TV GUIDE’s “FALL PRE-VIEW” ads for those cherished series, even “ROCKY AND HIS FRIENDS”, although I never looked to TV GUIDE to keep me informed of that one since it changed its location and time slot so often. If I remember correctly, the show ran on ABC-TV on Saturday nights, and I’ll always remember the promos for “JET FUEL FORMULA”.

  • Hey Jerry, do you think you are going to continue the Cartoons considered for an academy award series? I found it very interesting.

    • Yes I will be continuing that series I started on Academy Award submitted cartoons in the near future.

  • So T.C.’s “$1,000,000 Derby” was the first episode to premiere. Why do many sources list it as the fourth aired?

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