While news about Apple’s new iPhone was all over the headlines this last week, the death of Iwao Takamoto went by as a footnote in some publications. Yet for many of the Baby Boomer Generation, we cut our Saturday-morning-teeth on the creative genius of Iwao Takamoto. Takamoto is best known for his character designs of such favorites as Scooby Doo and The Jetsons. He was not only an animator but a television producer, film director, and production designer as well.
Takamoto was born in 1925 in Los Angeles, California. During the war and while in the Manzanar internment camp, Iwao learned to draw. In 1947 he was hired by Walt Disney Studios as an assistant animator. He worked on such films as Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, and Lady and the Tramp to name a few.
In 1961, Hanna-Barbera brought Takamoto onboard. I remember seeing the award winning Charlotte’s Web in 1973 which he directed. He later became the VP of Creative Design for H-B Studios. But today, it is Scooby Doo that Takamoto is best known for. He said Scooby Doo was designed after talking with a Great Dane breeder. The name was inspired by Frank Sinatra’s final melody in “Strangers in the Night.”
You will be missed Takamoto-san.