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Blog History of Frederator’s original cartoon shorts. Part 14.

December 30th, 2006

(L)Mike Lazzo, originating programmer, Cartoon Network & (R) Joe Barbera
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It was almost an accident I became president of the famous Hanna-Barbera studio, but it was a chance to revive cartoons through my idea of making shorts the way they did in the theatrical days.

Blog History of Frederator’s original cartoon shorts.
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.
Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10. Part 11. Part 12. Part 13.

Cartoon Network had just launched and senior creative executive and programmer Mike Lazzo had a great idea for a “Cartoon Advisory Board” really just a great excuse to hang with legends. He assembled a room somewhere in Hollywood with Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera, Friz Freleng, Noel Blanc (Mel’s son), and John Kricfalusi. (…:::Later, Jerry Beck refreshes my recollections below in comments.) Mike had a bunch of questions he asked and they answered, but only one sticks in my mind. As I remember it went something like this:

Mike Lazzo: What makes a good producer?

Joe Barbera: Fred Quimby was a great producer!

(Note from FS: I knew Joe despised Quimby, so this confused me right off the bat.)

Quimby would come in around 10 in the morning, go right to his office and make some phone calls. Around 11 his barber would come in and give him his daily trim and shave. 12:30 he was off to lunch, back at 2:30 for some calls to East Coast distributors and then he’d go home.

Mike Lazzo: What was the production unit doing all day?

Joe Barbera: We were making the cartoons we felt like making. Like I said, Fred Quimby was a great producer!

I was listening closely. “Hey, I can do that job!” I said out loud.

(More next time.)

Blog History of Frederator’s original cartoon shorts.
Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.
Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10. Part 11. Part 12. Part 13.

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I was also a part of that Cartoon Advisory Board meeting. (Animation historian Jeff Lenberg was there too. I think we were invited because Lazzo wanted to meet us. I had already met several times before this with Betty Cohen). What a treat it was. We literally spent a day together hanging out (I forget which hotel, but I think it was The Four Seasons) and talking about what CARTOON NETWORK could be and what made the old cartoons so great. They gave us all jackets and schwag (which I still have!), fed us a great dinner and we all put our handprints in cement at a ceremony at a Melrose art gallery that night. I brought with me a printed list of ideas to present to Mike Lazzo, and in time most of them were actually accomplished. One of those ideas, a special called LOST WARNER BROS. CARTOONS, became TOONHEADS: THE LOST CARTOONS (viewable these days on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 1). Those were the days…

 
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