December 12, 2023 posted by Greg Ehrbar

It’s a Happy Holiday with Hanna-Barbera!

A look at an H-B soundtrack album from the nineties PLUS some exciting Hanna-Barbera news for a happy new year.


Kid Rhino Records WRC-1-540 (stereo/mono) Compact Disc/Cassette

Released in 1991. Executive Producers: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Producer: Robin Frederick. Musical Directors: Hoyt Curtin. David Lamb. Music Supervisors: Joanne Miller, Paul DeKorte. “Kid Rhino” Illustration by Scott Shaw! Running Time: 23 minutes.

Voices: Daws Butler (Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, Augie Doggie); Don Messick (Boo-Boo); Henry Corden (Fred Flintstone); Mel Blanc (Barney Rubble); John Stephenson (Doggie Daddy); Paul DeKorte, Sue Allen, Ida Sue McCune, John Richard Bolks, Darlene Lawrence, Edie Lehmann, Marilyn Powell, Michael Redman, and Andrea Robinson. (Vocalists).

Original Songs: “Hey Now (The Hanna-Barbera Christmas Sing-A-Long)” by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, and David Lamb; “Comin’ Up Christmas Time,” “Making a Big To-Do,” “Cindy’s Mistletoe Song,” “Hope,” by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, and Hoyt Curtin; “A Brand-New Kind of Christmas Song” by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, Hoyt Curtin, and John Bradford. (Additional Vocalists include Paul DeKorte, Sue Allen, Ida Sue McCune, John Richard Bolks, Darlene Lawrence, Edie Lehmann, Marilyn Powell, Michael Redman, Andrea Robinson, and Carl Anderson.)

Classic Christmas Songs: “Jingle Bells” by James Lord Pierpont; “Deck the Halls” (Traditional) with lyrics by Thomas Oliphant; “We Three Kings” by John Henry Hopkins, Jr.; “O Holy Night” by Adophe Adam and John Sullivan Dwight. Vocalists include Carl Anderson, Ramona Caywood, David Lamb, Nancy Bryan, Carrie Higgins, Bethany James, Kara N. Lamb, and Licia T. Rester.

Just as Hanna-Barbera Productions had its own “HBR” record label in the sixties, the company also had a VHS video division in the late eighties and nineties. Some of the cartoon collections have reached DVD, Blu-ray, and streaming. Still, a few were only released on VHS, including early cartoons starring Mr. Jinks, Pixie and Dixie, Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, and later series like the amusing Posse Impossible.

Veteran Hanna-Barbera artist Scott Shaw! provided the character art for the interior and song folio. He also created the Kid Rhino character in the top left and redesigned the Rhino character for the label.

A few videos bore the stamp of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera themselves, including a “personal favorites” series and a holiday-themed program made just for VHS in which they appeared on screen, decorating a home with a few adorable kids. The video, Hanna-Barbera’s Christmas Sing-A-Long! was part of the “Super Stars” series and included a lyric folder. Like Disney’s DTV music video segments, the songs were accompanied by archival Hanna-Barbera animation from various films and TV episodes. For the carols, clips were culled from Hanna-Barbera’s video series, The Greatest Adventure: Stories from the Bible, a series that became an obsession for Barbera. He spent years trying to sell it to networks, sponsors, and syndicators before producing it direct-to-video with great success. The voice cast was laden with prestigious names, including James Earl Jones, Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod, James Whitmore, Vincent Price, Dean Jones, and even Helen Hunt, daughter of H-B voice director Gordon Hunt. A pristine version is currently streaming on various services.

Rhino Records, with the help of H-B historian Earl Kress, was releasing some truly landmark recordings in the nineties including theme songs and background music never before available on commercial CDs and cassettes. New albums were also part of the mix, combining the classic and the newly minted.

Kid Rhino gave special attention to Hanna-Barbera’s Christmas Sing-A-Long album, first packaged in an oversized gift box that also boasted a lyric folder. The album contains stereo music created for the VHS production as well as songs from previous H-B animated specials and films. These include “Comin’ Up Christmas Time” first heard in Casper’s First Christmas (1979), “Hope,” “Making a Big To-Do,” and “Cindy’s Mistletoe Song” from Yogi’s First Christmas (1980), and “A Brand-New Kind of Christmas Song” from A Flintstone Christmas (1977). These songs popped up from time to time in other specials as well.

The disc (and cassette) is rather brief and the first thing one notes is the absence of John McCarthy’s two songs from the classic “Christmas Flintstone” original series episode in which Alan Reed sings for Fred. It’s most likely a licensing issue since the CD songs are from roughly the same era and contracts changed over the decades. But thanks to Earl Kress, the songs are included on Rhino’s indispensable album, The Flintstones: Modern Stone-Age Melodies.


“Hanna-Barbera’s Christmas Sing-A-Long”

Most music streaming services, including Spotify, currently feature the entire album:

Available for Pre-Order: Greg’s new Hanna-Barbera book!

Talk about a labor of love. This book is the result of intense (and delightful) research as well as decades of enjoyment that can also soon be yours as well.

HANNA-BARBERA: THE RECORDED HISTORY, FROM MODERN STONE-AGE TO MEDDLING KIDS tells the comprehensive story of the partnership of Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera in the thirties, the creation of Tom and Jerry, the establishment of Hanna-Barbera Productions, and development of countless characters, shows, and features from last century to this one.

It’s all told through the perspective of hundreds of Hanna-Barbera recordings, starting with “The King Who Couldn’t Dance” from Anchors Aweigh in 1945 to the Tom and Jerry movie soundtrack in 2021. It’s loaded with interviews, never-before-published facts, and behind-the-scenes revelations. 

Tim Matheson, the original voice of Jonny Quest, Young Samson, and Jace of Space Ghost, wrote the forward and Leonard Maltin wrote the introduction. It has the stamp of approval from our own Jerry Beck, music historian Jon Burlingame, and Bob’s Burgers creator Loren Bouchard.

The publication date of Hanna-Barbera: The Recorded History is currently August 15, but you can order it now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble or directly from the University Press of Mississippi (the publisher of the still-in-print Mouse Tracks: The Story of Walt Disney Records). This is going the be UPM’s “Year of Hanna-Barbera” because you can also pre-order Hanna and Barbera: Conversations, edited by Kevin Sandler and Tyler Williams (pictured at right) from UPM, Amazon, or Barnes and Noble too.

Here’s a holiday idea. When the original Star Wars was released in 1977, there was little or no fun stuff to buy or give as presents that holiday season. So, Kenner Toys printed a little catalog. Even though the merchandise would not ship until 1978, people wrapped up the catalog itself and gave it as an “anticipation” gift, much like giving a magazine or streaming subscription is done today. If the spirit moves you, simply click on the images of the front covers of either or both books and print them out for your gift-giving pleasure!

And as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless us, everyone.”


  • “Christmas is my favourite time of year, because
    Everyone becomes a Santa Claus!
    There’s a smile on every face
    Of the happy human race.
    Around the Christmas tree,
    The world is one big family,
    I want to shout so everyone can hear:
    Merry Christmas is my favourite time of year!”

    That’s a song I sing every year. It’s funny how many people remember it, but don’t remember where it comes from.

    Glad to hear your Hanna-Barbera book is finished and available for preorder. I look forward to reading it; I didn’t have many H-B records when I was growing up, but I did have a few. I remember dancing with my sister to the Wally Gator theme song. He’s the greatest percolator when he really starts to romp!

    • Very grateful for the kind words, Paul. Like Mouse Tracks, it was written in a way that the reader does not have to have heard any of the records to enjoy the book.

  • Not only is this all-too-brief listen a great way to get into the spirit of the holidays, also worth a glance is the accompanying VHS video, mentioned above, a delightful chance to share in the festivities with Bill and Joe, along with what appears to be their grandchildren. I love the clips from the various HB productions, cut a little differently in some cases than in their original sources in order to fit the music. Especially noteworthy are some Flintstones-themed lyrics incorporated into Jingle Bells.

    Re: the new book. This is great news, Greg! So this is the big project you have been keeping under wraps! I for one could not be more delighted. As you are well aware, the HB audio output has been a major interest of mine since the age of six, and it will be great to learn some behind-the-scenes facts about my all-time favorite recordings. I am especially burning to know why so many of the recordings didn’t feature the original voice artists performing their signature roles–as well as why so many others DID! I won’t list everything I’m hoping for in this book, because maybe it will require multiple volumes to do it all justice. But I’m sure that what is there is priceless and worthwhile. And maybe this can lead to more and more. Certainly this and Disneyland Records are two topics of which I can never get enough.

    Now all we need is to get all of this great stuff re-released so that it can delight future generations.

    Great posting as always–and Merry Christmas!

    • Thank you, Frederick. I think you will find the book filled with surprises! Yes, I do address all the questions we have had for so many years. The HBR label is a most fascinating, eclectic, and mysterious entity!

  • Greg,
    Are these “hundreds of Hanna-Barbera recordings” stories that most of the general public have not heard?

    I have recently finished rereading Iwao Takamoto’s biography – currently rereading Bill Hanna’s biography – and will then probably reread Joe Barbera’s biography.

    Will there be much material not previously printed in these books, or reference books like The Art Of Hanna Barbera?

    Or is most of the “never-before-published facts” from the era after Joe’s death.

    There are certainly stories that I do not believe have been put in book form – e.g. Mark Evanier’s blog entry of how Casper And The Teen Angels came into being.

    Mouse Tracks, which you co-authored. is a terrific book with many previously unprinted delights. including in-depth articles on people that I only knew of as names.
    That book is a high standard to try and live up to.

    • I think I misinterpreted the word “recordings” to mean tape recordings rather than 33/45 rpm records.

      • The book covers 78s, 45s, LP, cassettes, compact discs, and streaming on different labels, with a middle section all about the HBR label. It includes the first comprehensive Hanna-Barbera discography — but it became more than a book about recordings than I expected as I interviewed people, uncovered material I never knew about, and decided to bookend well over 50 years of the studio history with Tom and Jerry from then to now.

  • …the amusing Posse Impossible ? See, Greg? You DO “like everything”. 😆

    • Even Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch! 🙂

  • Greg,

    Will there be a place online to buy a signed copy of your book when it comes out?

    • Working on that, Kamden. Thanks for asking!

      • I want a signed copy, too!

  • Will you be covering Ted Nichols’ score for Scooby-Doo Where Are You? I always wondered why the score was never officially released and who leaked all those studio outtakes that are floating around the internet.

    • Yes, Alexandre, there’s a whole Scooby-Doo chapter, plus coverage of all the Scooby recordings that came over the decades. The underscores of Hanna-Barbera shows were not licensed for home recordings when they premiered. Some were issued later and all of that had to be renegotiated based on many fees and factors. None of the H-B themes except “Magilla for Sale” and pop themes like “The Tra-La-La Song” appeared on records either, until the 80s with the Tee Vee Toons series. Earl Kress was able to provide underscore music in the nineties, and a recent Jonny Quest CD contains Curtin, Nichols, and de Mello cues. None of the famous Scooby cues were officially released. The book only covers official releases either for the consumer market or promotional use under license — and there are hundreds of them!

  • Greg, thank you so much for such a wonderful post! I had the Hanna Barbera Christmas Sing a Long on VHS when I was little and I used to watch it every Christmas. Seeing it again brought back some memories. The rendition of O Holy Night was my favorite and Making a Big To-Do always stuck with me the most even years later.
    Also, congratulations on the new book. I will be sharing the news with people I know who grew up with Hanna Barbera cartoons and were around when the characters were originally introduced.

    • Very grateful that you will share the news, Danielle. “O Holy Night” is my favorite traditional Christmas carol and few can hit those notes just right, so I agree that the H-B version is beautiful. So many great memories!

  • Oh Greg………………. I MUST get your Hanna-Barbera “Recorded History” book. It’s been a tough year for me; THANK YOU for suddenly giving me something NICE to look forward to! Happy Holidays!! (See you on Facebook.) – Billy Carroll, Denham Springs, Louisiana

    • I hope that perhaps in some small way that this book brightens your 2024.

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