Database for Animation Studies


Hanna-Barbera’s Cacophony: Sound Effects and the Production of Movement

Zaps, crashes, boinks, and bangs flooded TV’s airwaves with the rise of Hanna-Barbera Productions at the end of the 1950s, and these sound effects have been heard ever since. Hanna-Barbera Productions created and proliferated one of the most recognizable collections of sounds in television and animation history. This article traces the formation of Hanna-Barbera’s library of sound effects and how these sound effects operate within the studio’s cartoons. Motored by television’s demanding production schedule and restrictive budgets, Hanna-Barbera persistently recycled its sound effects across episodes, seasons, and series. These sound effects, heard over and over again, were paired to the studio’s brand of limited animation – a form of animation that is often seen as kinetically wanting – to enliven images through sonically invoking movement, what this article calls trajectory mimesis. This logic of trajectory mimesis facilitates the repetition of the studio’s sound effects. These conditions – television’s economic restraints and the studio’s limited animation aesthetics –provided the ideal conditions for the creation of Hanna-Barbera’s iconic library of sound effects.

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Animation: An Interdisciplinary Journal
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