More TV Memories – The Flintstones.

The Flintstones (ABC, 1960-1966)

This is a look back at another cartoon, it’s one that was originally on TV a rather long time ago, and this year is its 60th anniversary. I’m not usually so familiar with shows from as long ago as this, but it has been repeated so many times since, meaning that several generations of viewers will know this one. Firstly, it is noted as being just about the very first attempt at an animated show being shown in a primetime slot in America.

Also, it’s another one of those shows that is so well known that it’s difficult to know what angle to take because people will already know its story. For example, The Flintstones is a Hanna-Barbera cartoon that was set in Bedrock a rather long time ago in the Stone Age and featured the adventures of a family and their friends. But you already knew that. In fact I know you already knew that. vlcsnap-00828

This is because once on the daytime game show Pointless, I remember a moment where a contestant gave an answer that scored 100 points, meaning that everyone in the survey knew the right answer, the opposite of what they are supposed to achieve. So that must mean that it’s a piece of knowledge that literary everyone knows, and should be put on a list of the only things in life that are really worth knowing. I say all this because there was a question about who the main character in The Flintstones was, and all 100 correctly said Fred, so if you all know that already, what else can I say? vlcsnap-00815

You probably know too that Fred’s wife is Wilma, and their next door neighbours are the Rubbles. The show’s characters were loosely based on the sitcom The Honeymooners. It’s  a show that I’ve not ever seen much myself, but it was one of the most successful in helping to establish American TV in the 50s, and it was shown in this country on BBC2 in the late-80s/early-90s. vlcsnap-00816

Here’s something that you won’t know about the show, which is how I got into it. I first remember watching The Flintstones in the late-80s, when it was shown after CBBC ended (I don’t think that it was ever shown as part of CBBC itself) and although I wasn’t that old I do remember enjoying it. After a while though, the repeat of Neighbours was put into this slot and the ratings soared, so it moved off to various other timeslots, and everyone had a yabba-dabba-doo time. vlcsnap-00835

There were 166 episodes of The Flintstones in six series, and this total wasn’t surpassed by a primetime animated show until the The Simpsons about 30 years later. And since the show ended in 1966, there have been a huge amount of spin-offs almost right up to this day, along with two live-action films that did rather well. The show has often been parodied in Family Guy, and a while ago there was a rumour that Seth Macfarlane was working on a revival, but this didn’t happen. vlcsnap-00834

I also remember when I had Cartoon Network they often dedicated rather a lot of their schedule over to showing various original episodes and spin-offs, and they were still enjoyable to watch all these years on. And of course plenty of episodes have been released on DVD. After The Flintstones was a big success, Hanna-Barbera decided to launch a new cartoon about a family that was at the other end of the timescale, way into the future, which was The Jetsons, and I’ll review that one soon too.

One thought on “More TV Memories – The Flintstones.

  1. Michael says:

    Hi there. I like The Flintstones by Hanna-Barbera which features the voices of Alan Reed as Fred Flintstone, Mel Blanc as Barney Rubble and Dino, Jean Vander Pyl as Wilma Flintstone, Bea Benaderet and later Gerry Johnson as Betty Rubble and John Stephenson as Mr. Slate as well as Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm in their infant, teenage and adult forms in the show and in other Flintstones spin-offs.

    Henry Corden also took over as the second voice of Fred Flintstone in 1977 shortly after Alan Reed died on 14th June from a heart attack of that same year. Also, the Hanna-Barbera 1987 Superstars 10 movie called The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones marks the only time that Julie McWhirter-Dees does the voice of Betty Rubble and the final time that Mel Blanc provides the voice of Barney Rubble. On a side note, i think Daws Butler voiced Barney Rubble in some Season 2 episodes of The Flintstones due to the fact that Mel Blanc was involved in a car accident in Sunset Boulevard that almost cost him his life.

    There’s also the 90-second demo reel of The Flagstones pilot (which features grease-pencil marks being visible on the film), designed to sell the series to potential advertisers in the winter of 1960, depicting a scene from what would eventually become the third episode of the first season of The Flintstones called “The Swimming Pool” and featuring Daws Butler providing the voices of both Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, June Foray as Betty Rubble and Jean Vander Pyl as Wilma Flintstone (the only actress from the pilot to regularly reprise their role for the actual series).

    There’s also I Yabba-Dabba Do!, Hollyrock-a-bye Baby and A Flintstone Family Christmas (all from 1993) and A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994) which features Frank Welker as the voices of both Barney Rubble and Dino and B.J. Ward as the voice of Betty Rubble and Henry Corden, Jean Vander Pyl and John Stephenson reprising their voice-acting roles as Fred Flintstone, Wilma Flintstone and Mr. Slate as well.

    There’s also The Man Called Flintstone from 1966 and also The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown! from 2015 with the voices of Jeff Bergman, Kevin Michael Richardson, Tress MacNeillie, Grey Delisle-Griffin, Russi Taylor, Eric Bauza and John O’Hurley as the voices of Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble, Wilma Flinstone, Betty Rubble, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, Hoppy and Dino, and Mr. Slate, respectively. The latter film was released on 10th March 2015 and also marks the first time someone other than John Stephenson provides the voice of Fred Flintstone’s boss (Stephenson himself would die on 15th May of that year after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease two months after the film’s release).

    Also of note, the opening- and closing credits theme during the first two seasons and the first two episodes from the third season called “Dino Goes Hollyrock” and “Fred’s New Boss”, respectively, was called “Rise and Shine”, a lively instrumental underscore accompanying Fred on his drive home from work. The tune resembled “The Bugs Bunny Overture (This Is It!)”, the theme song of The Bugs Bunny Show, also airing on ABC at the time, and may have been the reason the theme was changed in the third season. As of the third season episode “Barney The Invisible” onwards, the opening and closing credits theme was the familiar vocal “Meet the Flintstones” for the remainder of the show’s run. However, when the show entered syndication, the “Meet the Flintstones” opening and closing was later added to the first two seasons and the aforementioned first two episodes of the third season. When MeTV (in the USA) began airing the series in September 2019, they originally used “Rise and Shine” to open and close the first two seasons and the aforementioned first two episodes of the third season, but as of October 2020, they eventually switched over to using the “Meet the Flintstones” theme and credits sequence for those seasons as well.

    The Flintstones also appared in a Scooby-Doo! Team Up Issue 7 by DC Comics in 2014 called Scooby-Doo, When Are You? Here’s the link: https://scoobydoo.fandom.com/wiki/Scooby-Doo,_When_Are_You%3F

    There’s also clips of The Flintstones on Boomerang UK’s YouTube channel which appear to be videotaped and with the original NTSC pitch and speed like in the USA and Canada, see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k7Mo8pOgGTE

    The show has also been remastered and restored in HD on both HBO Max and The Flintstones: The Complete Series Blu-ray (both in the USA) and featuring the 2003 Warner Bros Television logo at the end rather than the 1994 Hanna-Barbera Comedy All-Stars logo.

    The Flintstones – S1-2 Intro and Credits (1080p 2020 restoration): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g64TwR5fcfw

    The Flintstones – S3 Intro and Credits (1080p 2020 restoration): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTvMRSs5yv0

    So what are your thoughts and memories of The Flintstones anyway?

    Like

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