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The Flintstones is an animated Americanmarker television sitcom that ran from 1960 to 1966 on ABC. Produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions (H-B) and celebrating 50 years on the air in 2010, The Flintstones is about a working class Stone Age man's life with his family and his next door neighbor and best friend. It has since been re-released on both DVD and VHS.

This show played like a prehistoric Honeymooners and its popularity rested heavily on its juxtaposition of modern-day concerns in the Stone Age setting.

Overview

The show is set in the town of Bedrock (in some of the earlier episodes, it was also referred to as "Rockville.") in the Stone Age era. The show is an allegory to American society of the mid-20th century; in the Flintstones' fantasy version of the past, dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, and other long extinct animals co-exist with barefoot cavemen, who use technology very similar to that of the mid-20th century, although made entirely from pre-industrial materials and largely powered through the use of various animals. For example, the characters drive cars made out of stone or wood and animal skins and powered by foot.


Humor

One source of the show's humor was the ways animals were used for technology. For example, when the characters took photographs with an instant camera, the inside of the camera box would be shown to contain a bird carving the picture on a stone tablet with its bill. In a running gag, the animals powering such technology would, breaking the fourth wall, look directly into the camera at the audience, shrug, and remark, "It's a living," or some similar phrase. Other commonly seen gadgets in the series included:
  • a baby woolly mammoth being used as a vacuum cleaner
  • an adult woolly mammoth would act as a shower by spraying water with its trunk
  • lifts being raised and lowered by ropes around brontosaurs' necks
  • "automatic" windows are powered by monkeys that dwell on the outside
  • birds configured as "car horns" and activated by pulling on their tails or squeezing their bodies
  • an electric razor is depicted as a clam shell housing a honey-bee vibrating it as the edges are rubbed against the character's face.
  • a pelican with a beakful of soapy water is used as a washing machine.


Hollyrock

Travel to "Hollyrock," a parody of Hollywood, Californiamarker, usually involved an "airplane" flight—the "plane" in this case often shown as a giant pterodactyl. (Other familiar place names are similarly contorted: San Antoniomarker becomes Sand-and-Stony-o; the country to the south of Bedrock's land is called Mexirock; and so forth.)

The Stone Age setting allowed for gags and puns involving rocks; the names of the various characters being "rock" puns. These included celebrities of the 1960s such as:

The characters

The Flintstones live at 323 Cobblestone Lane in Bedrock. (However, in the season 2 episode, "The X-Ray Story," their address is given as "25 Stone Cave Road." Also, in the season 1 episode, "No Help Wanted" their address is shown as "201 Cobblestone Lane". An additional address of 342 Gravelpit Terrace is given, repeatedly, in episode 151, "The Masquerade Party", which aired in season 6.)

The Flintstones

  • Frederick Joseph "Fred" Flintstone - The main character. Fred is an accident-prone quarry worker and head of the Flintstone clan. He is quick to anger (usually over inconsequential matters) but a very loving husband and father.
  • Wilma Pebble Slaghoople Flintstone (née Pebble or Slaghoople, later Flintstone) - Fred's wife. She is somewhat more intelligent and level-headed than her husband.
  • Pebbles Flintstone - The Flintstones' infant daughter.
  • Dino - The Flintstones' pet dinosaur, who barks like a puppy
  • Baby Puss - The Flintstones' pet saber toothed cat.
  • Pearl Pebbles-Pebbles Slaghoople - Wilma's mother.
  • Tex Hardrock - Fred's uncle on his mother's side.
  • Jemina Hardrock - Fred's uncle's sister.
  • Eddy Alfaro - Fred's Butler.
  • Zeke Flintstone - Fred's uncle, who owned Sandstone Cemente, a pun on the California town, San Clemente, that was the site of Richard Nixon's "Western White House."
  • Ed Flintstone - Fred's Father.
  • Edna Hardrock - Fred's Mother.


The Rubbles

  • Barney Rubble - Fred's best friend and next door neighbor. He and Fred are both members of the fictional "Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes" (Lodge No.26), a men-only club paralleling real-life fraternities such as the Freemasons.
  • Betty Rubble (Elizabeth Jean née McBricker) - Barney's wife and best friend of Wilma.
  • Bamm-Bamm Rubble - the Rubbles' abnormally strong adopted son. His name comes from the only words he ever speaks: "Bamm" and "Bamm".
  • Hoppy - The Rubbles' pet Hopparoo (a kangaroo/dinosaur combination creature)


Other characters

  • Mr. Slate - Fred Flintstone's hot tempered boss at the stone quarry.
  • Arnold - the paper boy. A running gag is Fred being outsmarted by Arnold.
  • Joe Rockhead - a friend of Fred's.
  • Sam Slagheap - the Grand Poobah of the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes.
  • The Great Gazoo - an alien exiled to Earth who helps Fred and Barney, often against their will.
  • The Gruesomes - the Flintstone's strange next-door neighbors (inspired by the then-popular monster sitcoms The Addams Family and The Munsters).
  • Uncle Giggles - Fred's eccentric uncle who lived on Nightmare Hill. (A spoof of House on Haunted Hill)


Voices

It has been noted that Fred Flintstone physically resembled voice actor Alan Reed, and also Jackie Gleason. The voice of Barney was provided by legendary voice actor Mel Blanc, though five episodes during the second season employed Hanna-Barbera regular Daws Butler while Blanc was incapacitated by a near-fatal car accident. Blanc was able to return to the series much sooner than expected, by virtue of a temporary recording studio for the entire cast set up at Blanc's bedside. It should be noted, however, that Blanc's portrayal of Barney Rubble had changed considerably after the accident. In the earliest episodes, Blanc had used a much higher pitch. After his recovery from the accident, Blanc used a deeper voice.

Additional similarities with The Honeymooners included the fact that Reed based Fred's voice upon Jackie Gleason's interpretation of Ralph Kramden, while Blanc, after a season of using a nasal, high-pitched voice for Barney, eventually adopted a style of voice similar to that used by Art Carney in his portrayal of Ed Norton. The first time that the Art Carney-like voice was used was for a few seconds in "The Prowler" (the third episode produced). In a 1986 Playboy interview, Jackie Gleason said that Alan Reed had done voice-overs for Gleason in his early movies, and that he (Gleason) considered suing Hanna-Barbera for copying The Honeymooners but decided to let it pass.

Supposedly, Jackie Gleason intended to sue Hanna-Barbera for plagiarizing his program. According to Henry Corden, who took over as the voice of Fred Flintstone after Alan Reed died, and was a friend of Gleason’s, “Jackie’s lawyers told him that he could probably have The Flintstones pulled right off the air. But they also told him, “Do you want to be known as the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air? The guy who took away a show that so many kids love, and so many parents love, too?”

Henry Corden handled the voice responsibilities of Fred after Reed's death in 1977. Corden had previously provided Fred's singing voice in The Man Called Flintstone and later on Flintstones' children's records. After 1999, Jeff Bergman performed the voice of Fred. Since Mel Blanc's death in 1989, Barney has been voiced by both Frank Welker and Kevin Richardson. Various additional character voices were created by Hal Smith, Allan Melvin, Janet Waldo, Daws Butler, Howard Morris, among others.

Voice cast



Music

The opening and closing credits theme during the first two seasons was called "Rise and Shine", a lively instrumental underscore accompanying Fred on his drive home from work.

For the third season and beyond, the opening and closing credits theme was the familiar vocal, "Meet the Flintstones".

Production history

Originally, the series was to have been titled The Flagstones, and a brief demonstration film was created to sell the idea of a "modern stone age family" to sponsors and the network. When the series itself was commissioned, the title was changed, possibly to avoid confusion with the Flagstons, characters in the comic strip Hi and Lois. After spending a brief period in development as The Gladstones (GLadstone being a Los Angeles telephone exchange at the time), Hanna-Barbera settled upon The Flintstones. Aside from the animation and fantasy setting, the show's scripts and format are typical of 1950s and 1960s Americanmarker situation comedies, with the usual family issues resolved with a laugh at the end of each episode.

Although most Flintstones episodes are stand-alone storylines, the series did have a few story arcs. The most notable example was a series of episodes surrounding the birth of Pebbles. Beginning with the episode "The Surprise", aired midway through the third season (1/25/63), in which Wilma reveals her pregnancy to Fred, the arc continued through the trials and tribulations leading up to Pebbles' birth in the episode "Dress Rehearsal" (2/22/63), and then continued with several episodes showing Fred and Wilma adjusting to the world of parenthood. The Flintstones also became the first primetime animated series to last more than two seasons; this record wasn't surpassed by another primetime animated tv series until the third season of The Simpsons in 1992.

A postscript to the arc occurred in the third episode of the fourth season, in which the Rubbles, depressed over being unable to have children of their own (making The Flintstones the first animated series in history to address the issue of infertility, though subtly), adopt Bamm-Bamm. The 100th episode made (but the 90th to air), Little Bamm-Bamm (10/3/63), established how Bamm-Bamm was adopted. About nine episodes were made before it, but shown after, which explains why Bamm-Bamm would not be seen again until episode 101 Daddy's Anonymous (Bamm-Bamm was in a teaser on episode 98 Kleptomaniac Pebbles). Another story arc, occurring in the final season, centered on Fred and Barney's dealings with The Great Gazoo (voiced by Harvey Korman).

Fred and Wilma advertising Winston Cigarettes at the closing credits.


The series was initially aimed at adult audiences; the first two seasons were co-sponsored by Winston cigarettes and the characters appeared in several black and white television commercials for Winston (dictated by the custom, at that time, that the star{s} of a TV series often "pitched" their sponsor's product in an "integrated commercial" at the end of the episode).

The Flintstones was the first American animated show to depict two people of the opposite sex (Fred and Wilma; Barney and Betty) sleeping together in one bed, although Fred and Wilma are sometimes depicted as sleeping in separate beds. For comparison, the first live-action depiction of this in American TV history was in television's first-ever sitcom: 1947's Mary Kay and Johnny.

The show also contained a laugh track, common to most other sitcoms of the period. In the mid-1990s, when Turner Networks remastered the episodes, the original laugh track was removed. Currently, the shows airing on Boomerang and the DVD releases have the original laugh track restored to most episodes (a number of episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 still lack them). Some episodes, however, have a newer laugh track dubbed in, apparently replacing the old one. Because of this practice, the only episode to originally air without a laugh track ("Sheriff For a Day" in 1965) now has one.

Reception

In January 2009, IGN named The Flintstones as the ninth best in its "Top 100 Animated TV Shows".

Nielsen Ratings

The show was a top 30 hit for its first three seasons according to ClassicTVHits.com .
1960-1961: #18 (24.3 rating)
1961-1962: #21 (22.9 rating)
1962-1963: #30 (20.5 rating)




Films and subsequent TV series

Following the show's cancellation in 1966, a film based upon the series was created. The Man Called Flintstone was a musical spy caper that parodied James Bond and other secret agents. The movie was released to theaters on August 3, 1966 by Columbia Pictures. It was released on DVD in Canadamarker in March 2005 and in United Statesmarker in December 2008.

The show was revived in the 1970s with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm having grown into teenagers, and several different series and made-for-TV movies — including a series depicting Fred and Barney as police officers, another depicting the characters as children, and yet others featuring Fred and Barney encountering Marvel Comics superhero The Thing and comic strip character The Shmoo — have appeared over the years. The original show also was adapted into a live-action film in 1994, and a prequel The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, which followed in 2000.

Theme parks

At least two Flintstones-themed amusement parks exist in the United Statesmarker, one in Custer, South Dakotamarker and another in Arizonamarker. Both have been in operation for decades. One did previously exist in Australia at Sydney's Wonderland as a Hanna Barbera theme, dominated by small children's rides, from 1985 up until the late 90's.

A stage production opened at Universal Studios Hollywoodmarker in 1994 (the year the live action film was released), developed by Universal and Hanna-Barbera Productions. It opened at the Panasonic Theatre replacing the Star Trek Show. The story consists of Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty heading for "Hollyrock". The show ran until January 2, 1997.

Broadcast history





















































Production Credits

  • Produced and Directed: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera
  • Written by: Warren Foster, Michael Maltese, Arthur Phillips
  • Story Director: Dan Gordon, Alex Lovy, Art Davis
  • Associate Producer: Alan Dinehart
  • Voices: Alan Reed, Jean Vanderpyl, Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, John Stephenson, Daws Butler, Don Messick, Jerry Mann, Hal Smith
  • Musical Diector: Hoyt Curtin
  • Animation: Kenneth Muse, Carlo Vinci, George Nicholas, Ed Love, Don Patterson, Dick Lundy, William Keil
  • Layout: Dick Bickenbach, Walt Clinton
  • Production Supervision: Howard Hanson
  • Backgrounds: Art Lozzi, Montealegre, Robert Gentle, Dick Thomas
  • Titles: Lawrence Goble
  • Camera: Roy Wade, Norman Stainback, Frank Paiker, Charles Flekal
  • Film Editing: Greg Watson, Warner Leighton, Donald A. Douglas, Joseph Ruby, Kenneth Muse
  • Co-Film Editing: Iwao Takamoto,George Warner,Stephen Hillenburg,Jayne Barbera,Dayne Hanna,Rico Hanna,Shanti Barbera
  • THE FLINTSTONES
    • Copyright 1960 Hanna-Barbera Productions,A Distributed By WARNER BROS. ANIMATION 2007
  • A HANNA-BARBERA PRODUCTION
  • A SCREEN GEMS FILM PRESENTATION
    • Television Subsidiary: Columbia Pictures Corporation
    • Distributed: WARNER BROS. ANIMATION


Note: There were many more that worked on the episodes, including (for voices) Doug Young, Elliott Field, Mike Rye, Maxie Rosenbloom, Frank Nelson, Ginny Tyler, Nancy White, Howard McNear, Nancy Russell, Bob Hopkins, Willard, Lucille Bliss, Bern Bennett, Sandra Gould, Leo de Lyon, Pattee Chapman, Paula Winslow, Alan Dinehart, Herschel Bernardi, Paul Frees, Walker Edmiston, Herb Vigran, Howard Morris, June Foray, Janet Waldo, Henry Hoople, Jerry Hauser, Allen Melvin, Dick Beals, Gerry Johnson, Naomi Lewis, Nancy Wible, Henry Corden, Mike Road, Sam Edwards, and Bernard Fox, as well as countless others ; the list is a collection of artists that worked the most often on The Flintstones.

Flintstones series and spin-offs

Television series



Theatrical animated feature



Television specials



Television movies



Live action films



Other media

For a list of DVDs, video games, comic books, and VHS releases, see List of The Flintstones media.


Awards for The Flintstones

"The Flintstones" was nominated for an Emmy in 1961 for "Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor." They lost to "The Jack Benny Show."

In 2006, "The Flintstones" was again nominated for TV Land Awards for "Greatest TV Dance Craze: The Twitch."

Popular culture

Although possibly a coincidence, it may be noteworthy that in the "Kay Tracey Mystery Stories," Kay's best friends were named Wilma and Betty, the names of the two wives in the Flintstones series.

In the 1960s the series had strong ties to a sponsor, Winston cigarettes, with the characters shown smoking the product during commercial breaks. This approach was not unusual for television at that time, either with tobacco or any other product. In one memorable advertisement, Fred and Barney relaxed while their wives did housework, smoking Winstons and reciting Winston's jingle, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should!" In 1963, Winston pulled their sponsorship from the show when Wilma became pregnant; after that point, the main sponsor was Welch's Grape Juice.

Welch's advertised their product with animated commercials featuring the cartoon cast and they were often pictured in print ads and on grape juice containers. In a few episodes, Pebbles is given grape juice as a treat.

The characters from the series were used in an industrial film designed to promote the 1967 beer advertising campaigns for Anheuser-Buschmarker. This film was released to the Anheuser-Busch distributors, and it was not seen by the general public until years later when bootleg copies began to circulate.

The series spawned three breakfast cereals: Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles, and the discontinued Dino Pebbles (later revived as "Marshmallow Mania Pebbles").

An enduring license has been a line of children's multivitamins called "Flintstones Complete" (more popularly known as Flintstones Vitamins); the first seasons of the series were, in part, sponsored by Miles Laboratories. Miles' corporate successor, Bayer Corporation, continues to market Flintstones vitamins.

More recently, the Flintstones have been seen in commercials for GEICO automotive insurance and Midas auto repair shops.

Fred Flintstone's exclamation 'Yabba Dabba Dooo!', shouted in the opening credits as well as any time Fred became happy or excited, is widely known and repeated.

In the film "Planes, Trains and Automobiles," Del Griffith, played by John Candy, sings The Flintstones themes song while on a bus in an attempt to generate comaraderie under unpleasant circumstances.

The Screaming Blue Messiahs had a song called I Wanna Be a Flintstone on their album Bikini Red. It was later rereleased on the soundtrack album of the 1994 live action film The Flintstones.

"Weird Al" Yankovic paid homage to the Flintstones in his song "Bedrock Anthem", a combined parody of "Under the Bridge" and "Give it Away", both by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, that even featured Flintstones voices and sound effects. It also was rereleased on the soundtrack album of the 1994 live action film The Flintstones.

See also



References

External links




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