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Animation expert JERRY BECK is the author of 10 books on animation and the cinema, including Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Guide and The 50 Greatest Cartoons. He is a frequent contributor to Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide, as well as such popular magazines as Variety, Holywood Reporter, and the online Animation World Magazine. He lives in Los Angeles, CA.
Jerry Beck is an animation historian and cartoon producer. His over fifteen books on the subject include The Animated Movie Guide, Looney Tunes: The Ultimate Visual Guide and The 50 Greatest Cartoons. He is currently edits and writes two popular animation blogs, Cartoon Research and Animation Scoop.
Beck is a former studio exec with Nickelodeon and Disney, and is currently a consulting producer to Warner Bros., Universal and Disney for their classic animation dvd compilations. Beck has programmed retrospectives for the Annecy and Ottawa Animation Festivals, Turner Classic Movies, The Museum of Modern Art and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. He has taught animation history at NYU, SVA, the AFI and UCLA. He is the host/producer of the annual "Worst Cartoons Ever" screening at the Comic-Con International: San Diego.
Beck started his career in film distribution, working at MGM/UA, Orion Classics, Cannon Films and Expanded Entertainment (Tournee of Animation), before starting his own company, Streamline Pictures in 1989, the first U.S. distributor to import anime features such as Otomo's Akira and Miyazaki's Laputa: Castle In The Sky. Beck was instrumental in launching Animation Magazine, and has written for The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. Beck was also the West Coast Bureau Chief for Kidscreen magazine in 2000. He co-created and co-wrote the animation blog CARTOON BREW from March 2004 through February 2013. He has also created, written and produced animated films for various clients. He is presently teaching a course on Animation History at Woodbury University in Burbank, California.
I should preface this review by stating that I have been a fan of the Hanna-Barbera studios since I was old enough to sit in front of the television. I've worked in the animation industry for 15 years, and consider myself an expert on the studio and it's characters.
Like most other fans of the Hanna-Barbera library, I was excited to hear that animation historian Jerry Beck was writing a book about Hanna-Barbera's early years. After being disappointed in other H-B coffee-table-type books, I thought, "Finally! Someone who knows his stuff is going to get it right!" Well, guess what? He didn't. There are TONS of factual errors in this book. I'm starting a list and will forward it to anyone that cares, but to start:
1. Page 61, photo 15 is called out in the caption text as a Limited Edition recreation of a Quick Draw McGraw cartoon episode title card. This is wrong. It's the actual title card used in production, which was signed by Bill & Joe. The H-B Animation Art division never re-created this piece.
2. Since Snagglepuss was given his own segment on "The Yogi Bear Show," his fur color has always been pink (except when he first appeared on "The Quick Draw McGraw Show," in which case it was more of an orange color). Jerry Beck states (Caption text, Page 67) that the color is actually purple. Huh? Purple? Other than the covers of a few Coloring and/or Sticker Books released by Western Publishing, it's always been pink. The Hanna-Barbera studio paint code, since 1961 has always been: XRR-1, which is pink. Perhaps the proof reader was sick that day.
3. Page 75 calls out a background layout as being art for a collectible plate. Wrong. It's the original background layout for the Flintstones episode titled, "The Gruesomes.Read more ›
After years of dreaming, and having those dreams crushed by earlier, horrible attempts at a proper Hanna-Barbera coffee-table art book, THIS wonderful, colorful, artiful (?) book has made my dreams come true.
This book may not sound that big at 157 pages, but what you can't tell from that number is that every oversized page is PACKED with photos of REAL production artwork (not those awful fakey-fake publicity "cels.") -- most of which was apparently photographed from original archival artwork! There are pictures of storyboards, layouts, animation drawings, model sheets, development sketches, character designs, etc...stuff that has never seen the light of day until now. I've been waiting for someone to put together this kind of book for ages.
There are also tons of beautiful photos of vintage H-B collectable and toys, like plastic dolls and View-Master reels. If you remember the groundbreaking art direction in Chip Kidd's Batman Animated art book from the nineties, you can imagine what this looks like.
The other feature that really expands the page-count is that there are tons of little envelopes and pockets and pamphlets bound into this book that contain beautiful facsimiles of trading cards, full-color 12-page mini-comic book reprints, Model sheets, storyboard sequences and vintage activity-book pages.Read more ›
I was blown away when I first cracked this book open. It's overflowing with amazing visuals from everything Hanna Barbera. All of the added extras like mini comics, cards and cels are so cool. We can only hope that Jerry Beck has a similar Looney Tunes book in the works. BUY THIS!
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On of the trends among higher end collector's books over the past couple of years have been to pack them with all sorts of extra treasures and trinkets. I guess since if DVD's have extra features, why not books as well. The latest such book is Insight Editions' The Hanna-Barbera Treasury which spotlights the legendary animation company with a look at their history, its many famous cartoons and characters, and including all types of interesting memorabilia.
The studio was formed by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera in 1944 as they worked for the MGM studios producing the Tom & Jerry series of cartoons. The HB animation of that time period easily rivals the best animation being produced by Disney or Warner Brothers and the Tom & Jerry cartoons still hold up well sixty years later. But what really made HB great was their embrace of the new medium of television, and their realization that they had to sacrifice some quality to remain profitable. Many animation studios folded in the 1950's when it became so cost prohibitive to produce cartoons.
Hanna-Barbera decided to start stressing characters over animation. It gave them a bit of an undeserved bad rap from animation snobs who frowned upon their repetitive animation techniques. But, simply put, they did what they had to do to remain profitable and as a result, created some of the most memorable characters in animation history. Even Disney cannot boast as many notable characters as the HB studio. The book takes a look at two dozen of their most famous characters in chronological order, beginning with Tom & Jerry in the 1940's. The history and creation of each show is covered with all sorts of interesting stories and anecdotes. Rare photos of period merchandise are also pictured as well as those "extras" I spoke of earlier.Read more ›
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