Pebbles was the beginning of the ruination of The Flintstones, but there are some episodes where she appears that are enjoyable. Daddies Anonymous immediately comes to mind. And I’ve always liked the running gag in Pebbles’ Birthday Party where the Boulderettes high-step their way through the cartoon. There’s a pretty funny scene—it looks like Carlo Vinci’s work—where Fred just can’t get rid of the dancers while trying to restore some kind of normality to the party at his home.
An auction house has some storyboard drawings from the cartoon for sale and you know I’ll use any excuse to post story panels. This isn’t the complete board but you can get an idea of the basics of how the scenes were set up. Fred looks a little overweight in some of these drawings, doesn’t he?
The story was by Tony Benedict. Tony was a more-than-capable and funny artist, but I was surprised when he told me he didn’t draw these. They were done by Alex Lovy, who was the story director on the cartoon. Tony was kind enough to e-mail me an explanation of what happened.
I asked Alex why he re drew my board. Staging for minimum production cost was something he excelled at I had to learn. My boards began sailing through with minimum changes after my chat with Alex.
Lovy had been around since the ‘30s and had directed at Lantz during World War Two, while Tony’s animation career was in its relatively early stages at this time.
A nice gag in the cartoon is where Fred tries to get the kids to play games and they start a round of poker. One of the kids is named Harvey and I note one of the layout artists is the kid of Harvey Eisenberg named Jerry.
The cartoon revolves around a standard plot where a caterer gets Fred’s order for the Water Buffalo Lodge party (where the dancing girls are supposed to be) with his order for his little series-wrecker’s birthday party. The caterer is a sarcastic lippy type, just like the floorwalker Jack Benny used to meet up with on his radio and TV show. I asked Tony about that.
...you are quite correct about the Frank Nelson character. I often wondered why we didn’t use the actors we had in mind when we wrote their parts. They in effect helped to create the characters. Perhaps labor agreements permitted one actor to do additional voices with no additional compensation. But I can't quite imagine money playing such a role.
What it may have boiled down to was versatility. Frank Nelson was a good dramatic actor, but when it came to comedy, he really could only do one voice. Doug Young was doing supporting voices in this cartoon so it was easy to add another character to his list, though Nelson did appear in the show’s first season.