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Fred Seibert's Blog

The job I really wanted.

October 28th, 2007

When I was seven years old “The Huckleberry Hound Show” made me fall in love with Hanna-Barbera cartoons forever. So when I accidentally became President of the studio in 1992 I was naturally biased towards honoring the classic characters that made me a fan in the first place.

It took us a few years to get it together on a lot of fronts (saving the studio from extinction was job one) but by 1995 we had key initiatives in place, including licensing Creative Director Russell Hicks, Animation Art head Tom Barreca, and business head Alan Keith. The whole studio was constantly disappointed with the lack of cool stuff from our licensees so we decided to take matters into our own hands. We began with building and stocking a retail store right in the studio with the merchandised we wished someone else would do (maybe if we sent sample to a licensee they’d see the wisdom in our way and make the product for mass consumption). And soon, the idea percolated up, in those pre-Ecommerce days, we should have a high end catalog to make the best stuff available to the general public.

Russell, Tom, Animation Art Creative Director Eric Homan, and AA Director David Barenholtz put their teams to work developing contemporary merch we thought was worthy of our classic characters, and conceiving a catalog to showcase the stuff properly. I got heavily involved (frankly, I probably would’ve taken the job as catalog chief if they’d asked in 1992; I had an unhealthy obsession with catalog selling). By 1996 everything was ready.

And then Ted Turner sold the company.

The dingbats from Warner Bros. (the division Hanna-Barbera was attached to in the merger) were of a classic corporate take-over mold. They completely flamed everything Hanna-Barbera. Whatever we did was considered sub-standard, everything they did was great (of course, who could forget Histeria?). Dump the crap, shred the catalog, please listen to what we want you to do. It was little consolation that Peter Starrett, the head dingbat at the Warner Bros. stores, was summarily corporately executed as his grand vision of retail went down in flames.
…..
Hanna-Barbera Creative Director: Russell Hicks
Animation Art Creative Director: Eric Homan
Written by Marty Pekar
Designed by Susan McIntyre

Animation Art Vice President: Tom Barecca
Animation Art Director: David Barenholtz

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And special nods to catalog designer Susan McIntyre (now McIntyre-Young) and Marty Pekar, the guy who wrote the catalog’s entries, and from whom I learned a lot (though we never met in person).

 

Oh, and if you have one of the Quick Draw lamps, it’s very rare. Shipped together from the overseas manufacturer, bundled on large palettes, wasn’t the problem - it was sending them individually from Hollywood to galleries economically without them breaking into a bajillion pieces.

 

I started at H-B in ‘96 and snapped up SO much Kellman-ized merchandise while the store was still there. Man, it nice while it lasted.

 

Your comment on Warner Bros. makes me wonder what your relationship with Jean MacCurdy, Tom Ruegger, Tom Minton, Peter Hastings, Bruce Timm, Paul Dini, etc. was like, Fred.

 
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