I found this in my garage this morning. Isn’t it cool? It’s an old, hand drawn animation layout from Hanna-Barbera’s “The Flintstones.” Perhaps I should be more specific. This layout sketch is not from the original animation show from the sixties. This drawing is from the reboot of “The Flintstones” back in the seventies. For some reason (perhaps legal) the show was not called “The Flintstones” in it’s return to the television screens on Saturday Morning. The new series was given the title of, “The Fred and Barney Show.”
Scott Shaw! and I supervised layout on the new Hanna-Barbera show back in the early seventies. It might surprise you to know there was precious little original art from the successful cartoon show. As Scott and I prepared the new show for production, we realized much to our horror that much of the original artwork from “The Flintstones” had been destroyed. That’s right, kids. The original character designs, layouts and backgrounds had been tossed into the dumpster. That’s the way things worked in the old days of animation. Cartoons shows were viewed as temporary. A show on the air would soon be replaced by another one. Naturally, animation art was not highly regarded. It was considered much like everything else in popular culture. It would be embraced for a time and then tossed away, replaced by something hot and new.
There was a ray of light, however. One of Hanna-Barbera’s top talents had the foresight to squirrel a few things away. The artist’s name was Bob Singer and Mr. Singer is an incredible animation legend in his own right. Bob often wore many hats at the cartoon studio but he was best known for his talents as a layout artist and character designer. Singer was a gifted draftsman with a strong sense of design and composition. Sometimes working with Bob could be a challenge but there was no disputing his amazing talent when it came to creating animation. Even after two decades working at Disney I had the good fortune to be mentored by Bob Singer.
We were lucky enough to have a little preparation time for the new Hanna-Barbera television show. Gathering up what Bob Singer had found, we began creating new sets of model sheets and a few of the lead animators began creating stock animation scenes we could utilized in the series. Even though the show had not yet moved into production there were still certain basic scenes - stock scenes, if you will, that could be animated. Of course, the main title sequence could also move into animation. We were lucky to have writer, Bob Ogle come on board as story editor, and in time the entire “Fred and Barney” team was in place. We hit the ground running and the shows were pretty darn good. I confess, this Hanna-Barbera show will always be a favorite and I consider myself lucky to have worked on it.
This cool layout sketch is one of the few items left from the Hanna-Barbera show. It’s a tangible piece of art you can actually hold in your hand. The paper is worn and ragged and it’s not as sexy and polished as the glossy, digital stuff being done today. However, this scruffy sketch is the real deal and truthfully, this is what animation all about.