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The Madness & Awesomeness of H-B Cartoons

By Rachina Ahuja
I’m a ‘90s child and like most anti-social kids, I spent a significant part of my early years watching cartoons on TV. Cartoon Network in those days was brilliant. It started off with just a 12 hour slot on TNT/Cartoon Network (as far as I remember) and the last show of the day used to be Popeye at around 9 pm which was then followed by strange old Hollywood movies on TNT. Later, they did away with TNT and Cartoon Network became independent which may have been one of the happiest days of my geeky childhood. Thus began the golden age of cartoons(on Cartoon Network at least), which ended as soon as they started showing stuff like ‘Shamsher Sikandar Chaddie Buddie’ and ‘Ben 10’, which I strongly dislike. Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer a horse named El Kabong in a Zorro outfit, who hits villains on the head with a guitar to some green-eyed dweeb with a fancy watch (I don’t even care to find out properly).
Point here is, some or almost all of the best, craziest and funniest cartoons came from William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. Now that I look back, I barely remember watching anything apart from Hanna Barbera cartoons. Let’s do a recap *crash-boom-bang-badoinkkk*

Scooby Doo
Throw him a Scooby Snack and he’ll do anything, even chase after ghosts and monsters. These mystery-solving, meddling kids and their dog became so popular that thousands of poor pomeranians(annoying yappy dogs) were named Scooby by their proud owners(erroneously secure in their originality) and two big Hollywood movies were spawned.

The Flintstones
Poor Fred, always yabba-dabba-doo-ing into adventures and taking his hapless buddy Barney with him. His sole aim in life was to go bowling with the guys, twinkle-toe his way to victory and not get in trouble with his wife. Based in the ‘stone-age’ when pigs were garbage-disposals, dinosaurs were pets, and velociraptors were airplanes, The Flintsones was almost like a sitcom, except from a billion years ago and um, without real people.

The Jetsons
The Jetsons was centered around George Jetson, his wife and kids, his dog, his robot housekeeper and his irate, bullying boss Mr. Spacely, who could often be heard yelling, “JETSONNNN!” It was just like the Flintstones except based in a different time: the future, which meant we got to see some nifty gadgets and fake future technology.

Top Cat
TC and his gang of alley cats-Benny the ball, Spook, Brain, Fancy Fancy and Choo Choo- were forever on the lookout to improve their situation and of course, to evade Officer Dibble (for years, I thought his name was Table) who was always suspicious of their schemes.

Quick Draw McGraw
Sheriff of a small western town, Quick Draw, a horse and his sidekick Baba Looey, a burro, used to fight crime with their sheer awesomeness. Occasionally, Quick Draw would show up as El Kabong, as I mentioned, and with a yell of “Oleeeee!” would hit the  perpetrator with his guitar, producing a very satisfying ‘kabong’ sound.

Yogi Bear
Nobody in Jellystone Park could keep their ‘pic-a-nic’ baskets safe, the acquisition of which was the main desire of Yogi’s heart, which in turn was the bane of Ranger Smith’s life.

Dick Dastardly and Muttley in the Wacky Races
Dick Dastardly was always off being true to his name and trying to get to the finish line first in the most fiendish way possible while his dog, Muttley, tagged along and snickered. Muttley’s snickering was quite possibly the best part of the show, apart from the unconventional vehicles of the equally unconventional participants.

Heavens to Murgatroyd! This cowardly pink mountain lion was a slippery one. Whenever in trouble, or being chased by Major Minor, he was quick to escape with an announcement of “Exit! Stage left!” and the famous Hanna Barbera running sound effect.

The Addams Family
The strangest family in the neighbourhood, or possibly in the world, the Addams had several peculiar habits which included but were not limited to : keeping a pet hand, having a large, blue, frankenstein-like butler, attempting to kill each other out of boredom, unwittingly terrorizing their neighbours and...dancing.

Swat Kats
Protectors of Megakat City and part-time junk yard workers, T-bone and Razor were two ‘kats’ that you did not want to mess with. Seriously, they came with a fighter jet, uniforms and their own awesome theme song.

2 Stupid dogs
They liked running around in circles(in case of the little one), just sitting around(the big guy) and getting in free at the drive-in. What can I say? They were just really stupid.

Magilla Gorilla, Huckleberry hound, Atom Ant, Secret Squirrel
Some of the shorter toons featured a Gorilla in a pet shop window who was always trying to escape, a blue dog who liked to sing about his darling Clementine, a crime-fighting ant and a detective squirrel.

I could go on forever, Hanna Barbera produced cartoons from the 1960s onwards all the way to the 1990s and there are several that I’ve left out. Here’s to the hope that their legacy, the legacy of real cartoons (apologies for the oxymoron) lasts forever and people don’t forget that cartoons are meant to be outrageous, ridiculous, hilarious, possibly borderline offensive and accompanied by sound effects of similar characteristics.

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Rachina Ahuja
Writing about myself is an annoying task because I’m never the same. I like change, I’m used to it, but when I go to my favorite restaurant, I’ll always order the same thing. Why take a risk? My ideal occupation would be Captain of a pirate ship with a pet orangutan but I’ll settle for making animated movies.


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