Launched this summer in the United States on HBO Max, the animated series “Jellystone!”, Which brings together many legendary characters from the Hanna-Barbera brand, is coming to France on Cartoon Network. Meeting with his showrunner, CH Greenblatt.
DashFUN: How to present Jellystone, which revisits in a modern way all the cult heroes of the Hanna-Barbera brand?
CH Greenblatt (creator and showrunner): William Hanna and Joseph Barbera were fabulous cartoon creators. Who doesn’t remember The Flintstones family or Satanas and Diabolo! It was the golden age of Hanna-Barbera in the 70s. I really wanted to bring back to life the mythical heroes who gave us so much pleasure.
When Warner took over the entire catalog of all of their creations, they gave me carte blanche to do whatever I wanted. At the beginning the idea was to create several short films. But when I got to work I quickly had a better idea: to create a series around a city, Jellystone, with all my favorite Hanna-Barbera characters. I think for the children it will be great to discover these characters that they don’t know. And for us adults, it is inevitably a great moment of nostalgia, a tribute to the cartoon heroes who rocked our childhood.
In the end, it was really pure pleasure to meet all these cult characters who had their own universe in the same environment and to see what could happen. In addition, it allowed me to bring out of the closet characters that everyone had somewhat forgotten.
Which characters in particular?
There is, for example, an episode with Glump, taken from the series Valley of the dinosaurs. I didn’t even remember it existed! But we also brought Shazzan back to the fore in other episodes. He was never considered a Hanna-Barbera “classic”, but in our series he almost becomes a main character. We also have The Hillbilly Bears and so many other characters that you will surely recognize without really knowing them.
There are so many easter eggs that I couldn’t even name them all. But what is certain is that we have not created any new characters for Jellystone’s needs. We just tapped into Hanna-Barbera’s catalog and brought a good chunk of it back to life.
Who are the main characters of this new series?
It’s mostly a series built around Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy, as well as Hucklebbery Hound, who is the town’s mayor. But you will also find Yogi Bear, Top Cat, El Kabong, who is a bit like Jellystone’s Batman. Or the essential Jabberjaw. This first season highlights all these characters that we love. And I was going to forget Capitaine Caverne who adds a little spice to our already very spicy recipe.
In addition to your work as a showrunner on the series, have you also lent your voice to certain characters?
Obviously, that goes without saying. I notably lent my voice to Doggie Daddy, Boo Boo, Benny the ball, or Yippee. I could not miss this opportunity.
What elements do you think are unique and specific to the universe created by Hanna-Barbera?
In fact, you should know that all these characters are really inspired by American comedians who really existed. For example, Yogi Bear was inspired by Art Carney (Ed Norton) from the Honeymooners. Hanna-Babera has always been inspired by comedians from the 50s and 60s. I find that these characters reflect American pop culture from the second half of the 20th century. Take The Jetsons, it’s really a metaphor for 1950s society. As for Hong Kong Crazy Crazy, it’s the answer to all the late ’70s kung fu movies starring Bruce Lee.
How, then, does this series resonate with our times?
There was a choice to keep us relevant. As with Yogi Bear, who is a parent who over-protects his child. There is also an episode where children destroy their city with a virtual reality game: we are in the middle of the madness of young people playing video games without realizing the consequences of their actions.
The character of El Kabong is, moreover, in this episode and it is he who pushes them to the extreme. There are therefore topical themes but we always try to add a note of humor to them to better convey the message. You should never preach but always try to educate. In the end, we must always try to rebuild this human tissue which seems to have disappeared from our society. It’s a series that shows that we can live together despite our …