Iwao Takamoto

Iwao Takamoto (April 29, 1925 – January 8, 2007) was an American animator, television producer, and film director. He began his career as a production and character designer for Walt Disney Animation Studios films such as Cinderella (1950), Lady and the Tramp (1955), and Sleeping Beauty (1959). Later, he moved to Hanna-Barbera Productions, where he designed a great majority of the characters, including Scooby-Doo and Astro, and eventually became a director and producer.

Iwao Takamoto
Takamoto (at center) with Bill Hanna, Joe Barbera and Christopher Bracher, July 14, 1996
BornApril 29, 1925
Los Angeles, California, US
DiedJanuary 8, 2007 (aged 81)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeMount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery
OccupationAnimator, television producer, film director
Jane M. Baer
(m. 1957; div. 1959)

Barbara Farber (m. 1964)

Early life and career

Takamoto was born in Los Angeles, California. His father emigrated from Hiroshima[1] to the United States for his health, and returned to Japan only once, to marry his wife. At 15 years of age, Takamoto graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School[1] in Los Angeles.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Takamoto's family, like many Japanese Americans, was forced to move to an internment camp. They spent the rest of World War II in the Manzanar internment camp. It was there that Takamoto received basic illustration training from two co-internees.

Takamoto first entered the cartoon world after the end of the war. Without the benefit of a formal portfolio of his work, he created a sketchbook of, by his own admission, "everything I saw".[2] It was based on this sketchbook that he applied to work at the Disney studios.

He was hired as an assistant animator by Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1945. Takamoto eventually became an assistant to Milt Kahl. He worked as an animator and character designer on such titles as Cinderella (1950), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961).


Takamoto left Disney in 1961 and joined Hanna-Barbera Productions.[1] He worked in several positions there, but is arguably best known as a character designer. He was responsible for the original character design of such characters as Scooby-Doo, The Jetsons' dog Astro, and Penelope Pitstop. He worked as a producer at Hanna-Barbera, supervising shows such as The Addams Family, Hong Kong Phooey, and Jabberjaw. He directed several feature length animated films, including Charlotte's Web (1973) and Jetsons: The Movie (1990). The inspiration for Scooby-Doo's creation as a Great Dane came from an employee of the Hanna-Barbera company, who bred this dog.[2]

Takamoto was Vice-President of Creative Design at Hanna-Barbera[1] and was responsible for overseeing Hanna-Barbera's many merchandising lines as well as design work for their Animation Art Dept. In 1996, he received the Winsor McCay Award for lifetime achievement and contributions in the animation field. In 2005 he received the Golden Award from the Animation Guild, to honor his more than 50 years of service in the animation field.

After Time-Warner merged with (then owner of Hanna-Barbera Studios) Turner Broadcasting in 1996, Takamoto became Vice President of Special Projects for Warner Brothers Animation.[2]

Personal life

Iwao Takamoto married Jane M. (née Shattuck) Baer in 1957. They met at Disney while working on the animated feature Sleeping Beauty (1959). They had one son together, Michael. In 1963, he met Barbara Farber, who was the assistant to the public relations director at Hanna-Barbera, Arnie Carr. Part of her job was studio tours, which was how she and Takamoto met. Takamoto married Barbara in 1964 and remained married to her for 44 years, until his death in 2007. Barbara had a daughter from a former marriage, Leslie.[2]


Takamoto died on January 8, 2007, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from a heart attack at the age of 81. Throughout the week following his death, Adult Swim put up a bumper reading "Iwao Takamoto [1925-2007]". He is buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles in Gardens of Blessing, Section 3, Lot 1390, Space 3.[3][4] There was a memorial added to the end of the Scooby-Doo film Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!.

Awards and legacy

Takamoto received the Winsor McCay Award, the lifetime achievement award from the International Animated Film Association (ASIFA) Hollywood.[1] He received an honorary citation from the Japanese American National Museum.[1] In 2005, he was given a golden award from the Animation Guild.[1]

Takamoto's memoirs were published posthumously in 2009 by University Press of Mississippi as Iwao Takamoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters by Iwao Takamoto and Michael Mallory. An intimate memoir, Living With A Legend, was published posthumously in 2012 by TotalRecall Press by his stepdaughter, Leslie E. Stern.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Wells, Paul (January 28, 2007). "Iwao Takamoto: Brilliant animator who eased the medium's transition from film to television". The Guardian. Retrieved April 21, 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Stewart, Susan (January 10, 2007). "Iwao Takamoto, 81, the Animation Artist Who Created Scooby-Doo, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
  3. ^ "Scooby-Doo designer dies in L.A." Reuters. 2007-01-09. Archived from the original on 2007-02-24. Retrieved 2007-01-10.
  4. ^ "Scooby-Doo's creator dies aged 81". BBC News. 2007-01-08. Retrieved 2007-01-10.

Further reading

External links

Charlotte's Web (1973 film)

Charlotte's Web is a 1973 American animated musical drama film produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and Sagittarius Productions and based upon the 1952 children's book Charlotte's Web by E. B. White. The film, like the book, is about a pig named Wilbur who befriends an intelligent spider named Charlotte who saves him from being slaughtered. Released to theaters by Paramount Pictures, Charlotte's Web features a song score of music and lyrics written by the Sherman Brothers, who had previously written music for family films like Mary Poppins (1964), The Jungle Book (1967), and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968). It is the first of only three Hanna-Barbera features not to be based upon one of their famous television cartoons, Heidi's Song (1982) and Once Upon a Forest (1993) being the other two.

Charlotte's Web was filmed in 1972 and released on February 22, 1973, to moderate critical and commercial success. The film has developed a devoted following over the following years due to television and VHS; in 1994 it surprised the marketplace by becoming one of the best-selling titles of the year, 21 years after its first premiere. No other non-Disney musical animated film has enjoyed such a comeback in popularity, prompting a direct-to-video sequel, Charlotte's Web 2: Wilbur's Great Adventure, which Paramount released in the US on March 18, 2003 (Universal Pictures released it internationally and, through Universal Animation Studios, animated it), followed by a live-action film version of the original story, which was released on December 15, 2006.

Chill Out, Scooby-Doo!

Chill Out, Scooby-Doo! is a 2007 direct-to-DVD animated comedy mystery film, and the eleventh in the Scooby-Doo direct-to-video film series, produced by Warner Bros. Animation (though it used a Hanna-Barbera logo and copyright at the movie's ending) which began in late 2006. It was dedicated to Iwao Takamoto, who died during the making of the film, with a September 4, 2007, release date for the DVD. It was the final direct-to-video Scooby-Doo movie that Joseph Barbera was involved with (but was not dedicated to him; instead, Tom and Jerry: A Nutcracker Tale carried a dedication to him).

Great Dane

The Great Dane is a German breed of domestic dog known for its giant size.The record holder for the tallest dog ever is a Great Dane called Zeus (died September 2014; aged 5), that measured 111.8 cm (44.0 in) from paw to shoulder. The tallest living dog is another Dane named Freddy, measuring 103.5 cm (40.7 in).

Hardcase (1972 film)

Hardcase is a 1972 American made-for-television Western film directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and starring Clint Walker and Stefanie Powers. It was the first fully live-action feature film of the Hanna-Barbera studios. The movie appeared on the ABC Movie of the Week on February 1, 1972 where it was a ratings surprise; becoming the seventh most popular show of the week.

Krypto the Superdog

Krypto the Superdog is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation, based on the DC Comics character Krypto. The show premiered on Cartoon Network on March 25, 2005, and aired on Kids' WB in September 2006. It would usually air after the Tickle-U block.

A comic book series (based on the TV show) was published by DC Comics under the Johnny DC imprint, which lasted 6 issues, from 2006 to 2007. The show was designed primarily for young children.

The show was produced in a manner reminiscent of the Hanna-Barbera shows of the 1960s to the 1980s, from the sound effects down to the animation style (veteran Hanna-Barbera designer Iwao Takamoto served as a creative consultant). The series is rated TV-Y.

The show was close captioned by the National Captioning Institute like many of Warner Bros. Animation's shows at the time.

List of animated feature films of 1973

A list of animated feature films that were first released in 1973.

Michael Mallory

Michael Mallory (born in Port Huron, Michigan in 1955) is a writer on the subjects of animation and post-war pop culture, and the author of the books X-Men: The Characters and Their Universe, Universal Studios Monsters: A Legacy of Horror The Science Fiction Universe and Beyond, and Essential Horror Movies. As an animation and film historian he has written over 600 articles, frequently for Variety, The Los Angeles Times and Animation Magazine, and has been featured in documentaries and DVD extras about animation. He co-authored the memoirs of animation legend Iwao Takamoto, which were published in 2009 as Iwao Takamoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters. He has also written the script for the annual Annie Awards ceremony, the Oscars of the animation industry, since the mid-1990s.


Muttley is a fictional character originally voiced by Don Messick. In the 2000 Wacky Races videogame, he was voiced by Billy West. The character is known best for his mischievous, wheezing laughter.

Penelope Pitstop

Penelope Pitstop is a fictional character who appeared in the Hanna-Barbera animated series Wacky Races, and starred in the spin-off The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, voiced by Janet Waldo.

Scooby-Doo (character)

Scoobert Doo is the eponymous character and protagonist of the animated television franchise Scooby-Doo created in 1969 by the American animation company Hanna-Barbera. Scooby-Doo is a male Great Dane and lifelong companion of amateur detective Shaggy Rogers, with whom he shares many personality traits. Named after a nonsense vocal line in Frank Sinatra's hit song "Strangers in the Night", he features a mix of both canine and human behaviors (reminiscent of other funny animals in the Golden age of American animation), treated by his friends more or less as an equal while speaking in a famous (and much parodied) speech impediment. His catchphrase is "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!"

Speed Buggy

Speed Buggy is an American animated television series, produced by Hanna-Barbera, which originally aired for one season on CBS from September 8, 1973 to December 22, 1973. With the voices of Mel Blanc, Michael Bell, Arlene Golonka and Phil Luther Jr., the show follows an orange anthropomorphic dune buggy who alongside teenagers Debbie, Mark, and Tinker, solves mysteries while participating in racing competitions around the world. The series was produced by Iwao Takamoto, executive produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and directed by Charles A. Nichols.

The series was originally developed under the working titles Speed Bug and Speed Buggs before it was settled as Speed Buggy. Takamoto was less involved with the series due to the trust he had for storyboard and animation artist Bob Singer. The concept for the show was inspired by the 1968 Walt Disney Pictures film The Love Bug and the Speed Racer anime franchise. Several of the storylines and plots originated on Hanna-Barbera's other animated series Josie & the Pussycats.

Speed Buggy lasted for one season with a total of sixteen episodes. Despite its short run, it was broadcast on the Big Three television networks years after its original run as the channels had purchased syndication rights. It was speculated that the series acquired a fan base due to its frequent rotation on American television. Critical response to Speed Buggy was generally positive; some critics enjoyed its shared themes with Josie & the Pussycats and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, while others found it unmemorable and overly repetitive. It has since been released on DVD as part of Warner Bros.' Archive Collection on a four disc set.

Super Friends (1973 TV series)

Superfriends is a 1973 animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera and National Periodical Publications. It is based on the Justice League comic books, and is the first incarnation of the Super Friends series.


Takamoto is a Japanese surname and given name.

Notable people with the surname include:

Iwao Takamoto (1925–2007), Japanese-American animator

Megumi Takamoto (born 1985), Japanese voice actress and singer

Norifumi Takamoto (born 1967), Japanese footballerNotable people with the given name include:

Moniwa Takamoto (1854–1919), Japanese samurai

Mōri Takamoto (1523–1563), Japanese feudal lord


Takemoto (written: 竹本, 竹元, 武本 or 嶽本) is a Japanese surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Eiji Takemoto (竹本 英史, born 1973), Japanese voice actor

Takemoto Gidayū (竹本 義太夫, 1651–1714), Japanese playwright and puppet theatre director

Iwao Takamoto (1925–2007), American animator, television producer, and film director

Izumi Takemoto (竹本 泉, born 1959), Japanese manga artist

Kazuhiko Takemoto (竹本 一彦, born 1955), Japanese footballer and manager

Masao Takemoto (竹本 正男, 1919–2007), Japanese artistic gymnast

Naokazu Takemoto (竹本 直一, born 1940), Japanese politician

Novala Takemoto (嶽本 野ばら, born 1968), Japanese author and fashion designer

Tina Takemoto, American artist

Yasuhiro Takemoto (武本 康弘, born 1972), Japanese director of anime series

Yoshiyuki Takemoto (竹元 義幸, born 1973), Japanese footballer

Yukari Takemoto (竹本 ゆかり, born 1955), Japanese swimmer

The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour

The Hanna-Barbera Happy Hour is an American television comedy-variety show produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions which aired for five consecutive weeks on NBC from April 13 to May 11, 1978.

The Little Rascals (animated TV series)

The Little Rascals is a 30-minute Saturday morning animated series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and King World Productions. It first aired on ABC on September 25, 1982. A spin-off based on the live-action Our Gang comedy shorts, it was broadcast as part of The Pac-Man/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show in 1982 and then as part of The Monchhichis/Little Rascals/Richie Rich Show in 1983.

The characters were designed by Iwao Takamoto and Bob Singer by using tracing paper on top of actual photographs of the real-life characters, and used a pencil to sketch the characters. The same technique was also used in previous Hanna-Barbera spin-offs such as Fonz and the Happy Days Gang and Laverne and Shirley in the Army.

Warren Foster

Warren Foster (October 24, 1904 – December 13, 1971) was an American writer, cartoonist and composer for the animation division of Warner Brothers and later with Hanna-Barbera.

Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch

Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch is an American animated television series, produced by Hanna-Barbera, which originally aired for one season on NBC from September 7, 1974 to November 30, 1974. With an ensemble voice cast consisting of Frank Welker, Judy Strangis, Paul Winchell and Lennie Weinrib, the show follows a humanlike Volkswagen Beetle named Wheelie and an evil motorcycle gang known as the "Chopper Bunch". The series was produced by Iwao Takamoto, executively produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera and directed by Charles A. Nichols. An accompanying comic book series, with contributions from artist John Byrne, debuted in May 1975, although he quit while finishing his second issue as he was unsatisfied with his creative control and felt he was overcompensated for his work. Other artists completed the series, which totaled seven comic books.

In addition to Hanna-Barbera's Speed Buggy (1973) and Wonder Wheels (1977–78), the three series were commonly grouped together due to the similarities in plot and characters. Reception-wise, several critics reacted negatively to the violence and portrayal of motorcycles in the series, prompting viewers to write letters to NBC in hopes that the show would be pulled off the air. Wheelie and the Chopper Bunch had a total of 13 episodes, each consisting of 3 segments, or a total of 39 segments. It has since been released on DVD as part of Warner Bros.' Archive Collection on a three-disc set.

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.