2006_12_arts_barbera.jpgJoseph Barbera, one part of the famed cartoon duo Hanna-Barbera, has died at the age of 95. In his life, which started out in New York (Little Italy and then Flatbush), he created Tom and Jerry, Huckleberry Hound, The Flintstones and also worked on The Smurfs...all of your childhood favorites, over 100 cartoons in 4 decades.

While in New York Barbera attempted banking, playwriting and amateur boxing. He then sent a sketch to Collier's magazine which they purchased, but more importantly they encouraged him to become a cartoon artist. He began his career on the East Coast but eventually ended up in California at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s animation unit, where he met Hanna.

A career was launched and the list of cartoons the two created could go on forever. Amongst their list of achievements are their 1973 film adaptation of “Charlotte’s Web", and in 1978 they even produced a television special starring KISS, called "Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park"!

In 2001, Hanna died and the company was fully absorbed by Warner Brothers’ animation division. Barbera stayed in the game and was even the writer, director and storyboard artist for the 2005 cartoon “The KarateGuard,” his first theatrical Tom and Jerry work in over 45 years. He also wrote an autobiography titled “My Life in ‘Toons: From Flatbush to Bedrock in Under a Century”.

Remember to go visit Smurf Village, which is up until March of 2007.

Last month another legend in animation, Chris Hayward, died at the age of 81. He wrote for "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and created "The Munsters". The Times noted that Jay Ward Productions (where Hayward was employed for a time) "was no Hanna-Barbera: Mr. Hayward often worked in a freezing basement, for little compensation beyond the joy of writing deliciously bad puns for the masses."

Lastly, a memorial service for Peter Boyle was held yesterday in Manhattan. The Post notes that the service was uplifting and kept in the spirit of Boyle's humor.