Tag Archive: Hanna Barbera


Review by C.J. Bunce

A new book at last features a throwback many fans of classic TV cartoons may not be aware of.  If you watched Hanna-Barbera animated shows Jonny Quest, Sinbad Jr. and His Magic Belt, Young Samson & Goliath, or Space Ghost before you learned how to read as many kids did, you might never have made the connection that Tim Matheson was the voice of Jonny, Sinbad, Samson, and Jace.  That’s the boy who would grow up to be well-known actor Tim Matheson, who would star in Animal House and Fletch, and have key roles in shows like Magnum Force and 1941, and guest star in several TV series, from Leave it to Beaver to Burn Notice, in addition to directing even more shows, all over the past six decades.

In the new book Jonny Quest Speaks: Jonny, Sinbad Jr. & Me, author Kevin Scott Collier pieces together past interviews with creators from Hanna-Barbera, giving a background for Jonny Quest, which premiered in 1964.  He includes an interesting and informative interview with Matheson as he recounts not only voicing the various cartoon characters, but his direct work with animation legends Joe Barbera, Don Messick, and Mel Blanc.  It all amounts to a good comic-con panel worth of content from Matheson, who recalls his interactions at this time in his life with great clarity.  A big deal for Matheson was his first public appearance, flying first class into Kansas City and staying at the Muehlebach Hotel.  He signed autographs at a department store, yet his series had not yet aired on television.  Matheson illustrates how he learned how the business of Hollywood works (and why the animation pioneers had the biggest houses in town), something he picked up by paying attention to the adults working around him, all always serious about their craft.

Matheson discusses his takes on competing animated series (speaking fondly of animation pioneer Jay Ward) and goes into more detail about working with Blanc and Gary Owens of Laugh-In fame in a chapter on Sinbad Jr. and His Magic Belt, Young Samson & Goliath, and Space Ghost.  The actor has been working long enough and is lucky enough to be able to drop names he worked with including Lucille Ball, Henry Fonda, and Bob Hope.

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Our borg Best of 2018 list continues today with the Best in Print.  If you missed them, check out our review of the Best Movies of 2018 here, the Kick-Ass Heroines of 2018 here, and the Best in Television 2018 here.

So let’s get going.  Here are our selections for this year’s Best in Print:

Best Read, Best Sci-fi Read – The Synapse Sequence by Daniel Godfrey (Titan Books).  The Synapse Sequence is one of those standout reads that reflects why we all flock to the latest new book in the first place.  The detective mystery, the future mind travel tech, the twists, and the successful use of multiple perspectives made this one of the most engaging sci-fi reads since Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park.  Honorable mention: Solo: A Star Wars Story novelization by Mur Lafferty (Del Rey).

Best Retro Read – Killing Town by Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins (Hard Case Crime).  The lost, first Mike Hammer novel released for the 100th anniversary of Mickey Spillane’s birth was gold for noir crime fans.  This first Hammer story introduced an origin for a character that had never been released, in fact never finished, but Spillane’s late career partner on his work made a seamless read.  This was the event of the year for the genre, and a fun ride for his famous character.  Honorable mention: Help, I Am Being Held Prisoner, by Donald E. Westlake.

Best Tie-In Book – Solo: A Star Wars Story–Expanded Edition novelization by Mur Lafferty (Del Rey).  Not since Donald Glut’s novelization of The Empire Strikes Back had we encountered a Star Wars story as engaging as this one.  Lafferty took the final film version and Lawrence and Jon Kasdan’s script to weave together something fuller than the film on-screen.  Surprises and details moviegoers may have overlooked were revealed, and characters were introduced that didn’t make the final film cut.  Better yet, the writing itself was exciting.  We read more franchise tie-ins than ever before this year, and many were great reads, but this book had it all.  Honorable Mention: Big Damn Hero by James Lovegrove (Titan).

Best Genre Non-fiction – Hitchcock’s Heroines by Caroline Young (Insight Editions).  A compelling look at the director and his relationship with the leading women in his films, this new work on Hitchcock was filled with information diehard fans of Hitchcock will not have seen before.  Young incorporated behind-the-scenes images, costume sketches, and a detailed history of the circumstances behind key films of the master of suspense and his work with some of Hollywood’s finest performers.

There’s much more of our selections for 2018’s Best in Print to go…

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The ultimate shark sighting?  A make-ready skit when Jason Momoa finally gets to host Saturday Night Live?

We have seen some great team-ups that also served as great mash-ups.  One of the best came last year when DC Comics took a side trip with Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes characters, especially in the Batman/Elmer Fudd crime-noir, one-shot story “Pway for Me,” by Tom King, Lee Weeks, and Lovern Kindzierski.  It was our pick for last year’s best team-up/mash-up.  This year DC Comics is back, but this time they paired off again with characters from Hanna-Barbera.  Last year for DC Meets Hanna-Barbera, Volume 1, that meant pairing Jonny Quest and Adam Strange, Space Ghost and Green Lantern, Flintstones and Booster Gold, and Suicide Squad and Banana Splits.  In comic book stores and coming soon in a compilation edition, DC Meets Hanna-Barbera, Volume 2 features even more great team-up/mash-ups:  Who wins when you pair The Flash and Speed Buggy?  How serious can cartoon characters get when you’ve teamed Black Lightning and Hong Kong Phooey?  Or “Super Sons” Robin and Superboy taking on Dynomutt?  But the winner is clear… How could you possibly lose with a team-up of Aquaman and Jabberjaw?

With the right amount of seriousness (mainly from Aquaman) and the right amount of nostalgic humor (mainly from fun-loving land shark Jabberjaw), Dan Abnett strikes throwback gold with a story full of seaside quips and Jaws references, pulling ideas even from the classic favorite Superfriends show.  The result is one of the best Aquaman stories we’ve read.  And Abnett completely tapped into the pulse of the classic Jabberjaw cartoon, tying in his band of friends The Neptunes.  Artists Paul Pelletier, Andrew Hennessy, and Rain Beredo created a unique, incredible look, something out of Syfy’s Haven town and Luc Besson’s future world in Valerian and Laureline.  THIS is the ongoing series that needs to continue, although, understandably the pairing is a big stretch even for comic books and animated series, bridging time and space to get these two worlds together.  But it works.  From the setting, a seaside tourist town called Amnesty Bay (playing on the Jaws town of Amity), to the return of the world’s best drumming shark, to the sound of fingers on a chalkboard, to those Rodney Dangerfield meets Curly Howard catch-phrases, to the final entanglement with shark hunters, this one has it all.

DC has already featured Hanna-Barbera together in ongoing comic book series from the favorite characters of 1970s Saturday morning cartoons in the series Future Quest, Scooby Apocalypse, The Flintstones, Wacky Raceland, Dastardly and Muttley, The Ruff and Reddy Show, The Jetsons, and Exit, Stage Left!: the Snagglepuss Chronicles.  A great writer should be able to find unlimited potential for Jabberjaw and his friends.  Check out these preview pages from the publisher for the story “A Bigger Beat”–

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Originally a Hanna Barbera character that became the impetus for the animated superhero TV genre that took off in the 1960s, Space Ghost got his own reboot in the 1990s as a has-been superhero hosting his own late night talk show Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.  Originally airing on Cartoon Network and later Adult Swim, Space Ghost: Coast to Coast was a series with its very own style of humor, featuring the animated superhero interviewing real-world guests via a television monitor to the right of his desk.

Oddly surreal, Space Ghost often spent more time talking about himself than showing any interest in his guests.  His guests often seriously looked as if they had no idea what the series was about, and seemed genuinely irritated–as if they expected to be interviewed on a real entertainment show.  Cringeworthy moment after moment became the hallmark of the series, yet it all worked for fans of oddball animated TV.  If you want to look at human nature in a different way, and see what celebrities have a sense of humor and who can think on their toes, this may be the series for you.

coast-to-coast-crew

Now you can stream all the episodes here at the Adult Swim website for free.  The Bee Gees, Weird Al Yankovic, Jim Carrey, Alice Cooper, Billy Mumy, Mark Hamill, Lassie, Catherine Bach, Jimmie Walker, Bill Nye, Goldie Hawn, Charlton Heston, Steve Allen, Michael McKean, Tom Arnold, Bob Costas, Conan O’Brien, Tenacious D, Willie Nelson, and William Shatner all appeared in Space Ghost’s interview seat, plus many others.

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In the Entertainment Memorabilia auction community, today is day one of the biggest auction weekend in years.  Following up on their second auction of Debbie Reynolds’ collection costumes, props and camera equipment from Hollywood’s Golden Age, Profiles in History pulled out all the stops and has accumulated props and costumes from sci-fi, fantasy, action TV and films, and an entire day devoted to original animation art.  It begins with the Icons of Hollywood Auction today and tomorrow, December 15-16, 2011, and continues Sunday, December 17, 2011, with the Icons of Animation Auction.

As reported here December 6, 2011, one item on the block is a special effects arm used for Lindsay Wagner as Jaime Summers as the original Bionic Woman.  But that just scratches the surface of great stuff available.  And based on recent auctions, there is no global economy problem, as props and costumes are breaking past records.  On eBay recently a Matt Smith Doctor Who costume sold for $75,000.  With a franchise as popular as Star Trek, and as old and with a similar fan following, this kind of price reflects fan loyalty and what really loyal fans are willing to shell out to hold a piece of TV or silver screen magic in their hands.

The auction starts today with original studio marketing photographs of various actors and actresses over the past 100 years, as well as lobby cards, posters and one of a kind costume sketches by the likes of Edith Head and other early designers.  Then lots of scripts and logo art from TV and film credits.  Here are some key items from Day One:

  • Billy Mumy shirt for his role as Will Robinson from Lost in Space, with an estimate of $8,000 to $12,000.
  • One of the 1969 Dodge Chargers used as the General Lee in The Dukes of Hazzard has an estimate of $40,000 to $60,000.
  • Dalek from a 1985 episode of Doctor Who, estimated at $10,000 to $12,000.
  • Mork from Ork costume from Mork and Mindy, estimated at $40,000 to $60,000

Some key items from Day Two:

  • Bela Lugosi screen-worn cape as Count Dracula from Dracula, estimated at $1,500,000 to $2,000,000.
  • Longbow from The Adventures of Robin Hood, estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.
  • Judy Garland gingham dress as Dorothy Gale from The Wizard of Oz, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.
  • One of four known pairs of ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, estimated at $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.
  • Bert Lahr’s Cowardly Lion costume from The Wizard of Oz, estimated at $2,000,000 to $3,000,000.

  • A variety of items from The Planet of the Apes and Back to the Future franchises.
  • The DeLorean from Back to the Future III that was at Comic-Con this year, estimated at $400,000 to $600,000.

  • Steve McQueen driving suit from LeMans, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.
  • Steve McQueen U.S. Navy uniform from The Sand Pebbles, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.

  • Gene Wilder Willy Wonka hat from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.
  • Sean Connery Marko Ramius Russian naval uniform from The Hunt for Red October, estimated at $6,000 to $8,000.

  • The “Red October” submarine model from The Hunt for Red October, estimated at $20,000 to $30,000.
  • Michael Keaton batsuit from Batman Returns, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.
  • Endo-skull from Terminator 2, estimated at $12,000 to $15,000.
  • Bruce Campbell Ash costume from Army of Darkness, estimated at $12,000 to $15,000.

  • Peter Weller Robocop costume from Robocop, estimated at $10,000 to $12,000.
  • James Marsden Cyclops costume from X-Men 2, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.
  • PreCrime stunt jetpack from Minority Report, estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Bob Newhart Papa Elf costume from Elf, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.
  • Will Farrell Buddy the Elf costume from Elf, estimated at $8,000 to $12,000.
  • Star Trek Original series wooden hand phaser, estimated at $30,000 to $50,000.
  • Patrick Stewart Captain Jean-Luc Picard tunic from Star Trek: The Next Generation, estimated at $4,000 to $6,000.
  • Jonathan Frakes Commander Will Riker tunic from Star Trek: The Next Generation, estimated at $3,000 to $4,000.

  • Collection of six costumes from bridge crew of Star Trek Voyager, estimated at $15,000 to $20,000.
  • Original NASA Gemini spacesuit, estimated at $150,000 to $250,000.
  • Russian spacesuit worn by first Russian woman to walk in space, estimated at $200,000 to $300,000.

On Day Three, every lot is a masterwork of animation history.  Lots include original art from Little Golden Books like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Smokey the Bear and The Night Before Christmas, Charles Schulz art from The Pumpkin Patch and Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown, original work from production studios from Hanna Barbera to Walt Disney.  Major highlights include:

  • The earliest known color cel of Mickey Mouse, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000.
  • Cels of the Queen and Snow White from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, estimated between $12,000 and $20,000.

  • Giant pan cel from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, estimated at $80,000 to $120,000.
  • Original Dumbo, Bambi, Lady and the Tramp and Cinderella cels, estimated at $4,000 to $8,000.

  • Several cels from Song of the South.
  • Several stunning cels of Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent from Sleeping Beauty, estimated from $300 to $80,000.

More information is available at the Profiles in History website.

C.J. Bunce

Editor

borg.com