Composer and arranger Hoyt Curtin was the mastermind behind some of the most memorable theme songs in the history of animation, authoring the immortal title music to television classics including The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo and The Jetsons. Born September 9, 1922 in Downey, California and raised in nearby San Bernadino, according to the spaceagepop.com website Curtin began studying piano at the age of five and was leading his own professional dance combo while still in middle school. After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Curtin studied music at the University of Southern California -- his attempts to land work scoring feature films were thwarted, and to pay the bills he wrote for television (including early and obscure series like Lost Women of Zarpa and Jail Bait) and advertising jingles, most significantly a spot for Schlitz beer animated by the production team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. From there Hanna and Barbera asked Curtin to compose a theme for their upcoming NBC animated series The Ruff and Ready Show, which he wrote in a matter of minutes; in the quarter century to follow, he wrote, arranged and conducted virtually every note of theme and incidental music in the vast Hanna-Barbera canon, working on the classic Jonny Quest, Josie and the Pussycats, Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound and The Smurfs in addition to the series mentioned above. Curtin officially retired in 1992, although he continued writing the occasional song, contributing material to the 1999 Simpsons album Go Simpsonic. Around that same time, he won the International Animated Film Society's Winsor McCay award for lifetime achievement. Curtin passed away on December 3, 2000; his most enduring themes are compiled on Rhino's 1996 Hanna-Barbera's Pic-a-Nic Basket of Cartoon Classics set.
Share this page