Last month, the world lost one of its most talented cartoon writers, Joseph Barbera. Today, another member of the Hanna-Barbera Studio family has passed on. At age 81, Iwao Takamoto died today. This very talented animator brought some of the most famous cartoons to life. Among his crowning achievements are Scooby-Doo, the Flintstones, and the Jetsons. With him dies an era in animation that is long gone. A man that is responsible for some of my favorite childhood memories has moved on.
Of all the cartoons from the 80s and earlier 90s, none could match the feeling I got from a cartoon my parent's generation. Scooby-Doo was truely a child of the 70s. I have seen every episode and I still watch them when they are on today. It was the extreme talent of Takamoto that brought Scooby and his gang to life. More than the stories and voices, the images of those characters in timeless.
Takamoto's inventions were not limited to a gang of medeling kids and their dog. Other famous characters from Hanna-Barbera owe him their start. Among them are Muttley (seen most often in the Wacky Races cartoon), Astro (the talking dog featured in the Jetsons0, and the Great Gazoo (who caused much trouble on the Flintstones). In his earlier career, Takamoto worked on such Disney masterpieces as Cinderella and Peter Pan.
The life of Iwao Takamoto is set in one of the darkest eras of US history. He was born in LA in 1925. A good deal of this young life was spend in an internment camp duing World War II. While at the camp, he received training in illustration from other interned Japanesse-Americans. After the war ended, Takamoto got a job drawing for Disney. In 1961, he began working for Hanna-Barbera and the rest is history. Even at the time of his death he was still working. As the VP of Animation at Warner Bros., Takamoto worked on the characters for the new cartoon "Krypto the Superdog." But now his talent has been silenced.
With so many like Takamoto gone, an important age in animation is gone. A time when animation was a long process. A time when the quality final product mattered more. We don't have many animators like that any more. It is evident when you view what is considered popular animation these days. Scooby-Doo and the like will always be classics. We have Iwao Takamoto to thank for that. May he rest in peace.