It’s hard to believe, but it was 10 years ago tonight at 8:30ET (which was a Friday in 2001) that I told my oldest son he could stay up late to watch a new Frederator production (”But I don’t like anything on Nickelodeon!” I got my wish and he soon changed his tune. Thanks to the Oddparents he completely switch off his CN loyalties.).
Creator extraordinaire Butch Hartman and I started working together a few years before. He was already a veteran of the Hanna-Barbera art department, contributing to a lot of the studio’s comedies; the first one in my office pitching a short for our What A Cartoon! incubator of big ideas. Four shorts later, we almost had to pry him off his writing/directing gig on Johnny Bravo to be the last creator in the first Oh Yeah! Cartoons season, starting up FOP towards the end of 1997.
There really isn’t anyone else like Butch in the cartoon business, as evidenced by his three hit series over the past decade, which, if I’m not mistaken, is an unparalleled track record of success in our industry. Talented, dedicated, and motivated, he’s the animated hardest working man in show business.
Most importantly, he’s accomplished all this while being part of an amazing family. Butch, his wife Julieann, and their two teenage daughters have set Hartman House, a non profit organization dedicated to helping people the world over, to improve the lives of children and families throughout the world who suffer from poverty and hopelessness by building homes and providing food, education, and spiritual growth. They’ve built two homes for families in Guatemala, fed nearly 7200 families with Thanksgiving meals in the U.S., and are in the midst of funding a school in Africa. (Now that I think of it, if you’re a fan of any of Butch’s hits, why don’t you show him directly, and donate a little something to Hartman House.)
I’m really honored to have had such a long history with someone like Butch Hartman. And, at the rate we’re going, it’ll be going on for decades to come.
Congratulations on the anniversary bud, you’re one of a kind. My sincere best to your family.