Hanna-Barbera was an animated cartoon production company that dominated television animation during the second half of the 20th century. Hanna-Barbera was formed in 1944 by MGM animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and live-action director George Sidney as H-B Enterprises, in order to produce sponsored films and later television commercials. H-B company was actually part of MGM, until MGM shut it down in 1957.
After MGM shut down its animation studio in 1957, H-B Enterprises became Hanna and Barbera's full-time job, and the company was renamed Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1960. Over the years, Hanna-Barbera produced many successful cartoon shows, including The Ruff & Reddy Show, The Huckleberry Hound Show, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Snagglepuss, The Flintstones, Top Cat, The Yogi Bear Show, Jonny Quest, The Atom Ant/Secret Squirrel Show, Wally Gator, The Jetsons, The Magilla Gorilla Show, Space Ghost, Birdman, The Herculoids, The Banana Splits, Wacky Races, Scooby-Doo, Speed Buggy, Squiddly Diddly, Hong Kong Phooey, Jabberjaw and The Smurfs. Many of these shows and their characters became and still are icons of Western pop culture. In the mid-1980s, the company's fortunes declined somewhat after the profitability of Saturday morning cartoons were eclipsed by weekday afternoon syndication. However, H-B's cartoon characters were still known.
In 1991, the company was purchased by Turner Broadcasting, primarily so that Ted Turner could use its library of over 300 cartoon series as the basis of the programming for its new Cartoon Network cable television channel. Re-christened H-B Production Company in 1992, and Hanna-Barbera Cartoons in 1993, the studio continued without active regular input from William Hanna or Joseph Barbera, who both went into semi-retirement yet continued to serve as ceremonial figureheads for the studio.
During the late 1990s, Turner turned Hanna-Barbera towards primarily producing new material for the Cartoon Network. In 1996, Turner was bought out by Time Warner. With Bill Hanna's death in 2001, Hanna-Barbera was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network Studios assumed production of Cartoon Network output. Joe Barbera remained with Warner Bros. Animation as a ceremonial figurehead until his death in 2006. The Hanna-Barbera name is today only used to market properties and productions associated with Hanna-Barbera's "classic" works such as The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo.
Hanna-Barbera is known for its use of limited animation. When watching cartoons like Huckleberyy Hound Show, you can see the same background being used over and over again. You can also hear similar voices being used. H-B not only saved money by using the same backgrounds and hiring actors with a multitude of voices, but they also saved time in making cartoons. Less casting was necessary and there was less emphasis on creating new backgrounds for every frame. H-B is also known for its use of catchphrases, such as the Flinestones' "Yabbadabbadoo."