Smarter than the average bear

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And Jerry, and Boo Boo and Barney. It doesn't sound right without Tom, Yogi and Fred. That's how we felt last week when we heard that Bill Hanna of Hanna-Barbera had died. What Saturday-afternoon serials were to The Greatest Generation, Saturday-morning cereal and cartoons were to the baby boomers. And nobody dominated Saturday mornings like Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. Purists pooh-poohed the quick-draw style of the originators of Quick Draw McGraw, but kids, and plenty of adults, weren't keeping track of frame rates and costs. We were too busy laughing. Besides, TV in its infancy could never have supported the $45,000 to $50,000 per-minute costs of theatrical animation (H-B did it for about $3,100 in the beginning). William Hanna helped pioneer the TV cartoon, then the prime time cartoon with The Flintstones. In the process, he and his partner filled the screen with characters that became an integral part of our cultural makeup. Who cannot identify the author of Yabba Dabba Doo and be considered culturally literate? Bill Hanna may be gone, but he is survived by Yogi Bear, Top Cat, Johnny Quest, Scooby Doo, Augie Doggie, Fred Flintstone, George Jetson, Huckleberry Hound, Josie and the Pussycats, Snagglepuss, Ricochet Rabbit and a veritable host of others.

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