Wednesday, January 16, 2013

See Fred Split

One of Carlo Vinci’s most well-known pieces of animation at Hanna-Barbera is his tippy-toe bowling steps for Fred Flintstone in “The Flintstone Flyer” (1960). Carlo animated the entire cartoon; his style is all over it. Some of the drawing looks downright crude (I’m sure that’s one reasons critics panned the show) but it’s sure a lot more interesting than what the series looked like toward the end of its run six years later.

Anyway, here’s part of the famous walk. It’s as animated as any Disney cartoon—seven drawings, one for each frame of animation. We watch Fred release the ball (which then splits in half and knocks down the 7 and 10 pins). It takes up a little over a quarter of a second so you can’t appreciate watching the cartoon how Carlo gives Fred all kinds of angular shapes while he tosses the ball. The movement looks perfectly natural with Fred maintaining his balance.



By the time the show ended its run, it’s really tough to tell Carlo’s footage from anyone else’s, other than he had some tics in the way he animated dialogue. I suppose because more than one person animated on a cartoon, Hanna and Barbera wanted the characters to look consistent, so individuality went out the window. It’s too bad because Carlo could come up with some funny drawings, even within the budgetary confines of television animation. He did on the early Huckleberry Hound shows and he did when “The Flintstones” began.

8 comments:

  1. Hi Yowp. I always liked the rough, unrefined look of The Flintstones in the first season.The way Fred would slump in his car,slightly bouncing up and down to and from work. Looking sloppy. I dunno..just something about it. When I watched it in syndication back in the 60's, I always liked it when they circled back the the first season.

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  2. Exactly the reason I love the early episodes. They're crude but in a good way. Which is appropriate considering they're about cavepeople.

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  3. In a way, the early made-for-TV cartoon were like the early talkies in that it was not a brand-new, but a modified new situation and there was no 'right' way to do things, so as a result, things were looser as far as allowing different styles and options to flourish.

    The difference was in the early 30s, everyone was looking for a way to do their cartoons better; in the early 60s, the goal was to make them cheaper. H-B's product still looked far better than what, say Larry Harmon or Sam Singer were churning out for TV, circa 1960s, but there was no question by 1962 you were starting to see the 'streamlining' of the process and the loss of individuality.

    Being just old enough to remember Seasons 3-6 on ABC, it was surprising to see how off-model Fred and Barney looked in some of the Season 1 shows when they went to NBC's Saturday morning lineup in 1966. But after a while you begin to notice that there's more effort in the early episodes to get personality into the characters, while by Seasons 5-6, the characters and their designs are rigidly locked into place, and what new personality efforts there were involved more gimmicky characters and situations (and even as a single-digit-aged yute, I still had a 'WTF?' attitude when Gazoo or some of the other Season 5-6 story lines showed up on ABC. The show by 1965 may have been targeted more towards kids, but that didn't mean kids were going to enjoy the show more).

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  4. Coincidently enough, I watched the "The Flintstone Flyer" the nite before last and I remember thinking how crude it looked but it was perfect for what they were - cavemen. Too me, that was the appeal of the early H-B stuff, especially The Flintstones. Sadly, Hanna-Barbera was a victim of it's own success. Due to enormous demand to create product for Saturday morning their shows truly became streamlined and lacking in any creativity. By 1968 (Though I liked the look of Wacky Races) most of their shows lost their edge, graphically speaking. Though I continued to watch H-B cartoons well into the 1970's, most of the product from that period is virtually unwatchable now save for a few. By the way, Carlos Vinci ROCKED!!!!

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  5. Going point,all, and Wayne, right on aboutt he shows losing their their edge (1968-), b ut of course, at least for ME, not only graphically, but conceptually and in the format..borrowing movie fran chises, the Archies type shows from Filmation...actually an excellent idea stuff like that but the writing and the art work showed that the execution was, well, ready for the executioner.(Ah, say, that's a JOKE son!)Of course the thirty minute (includes ads for Flintmobiles..:)) allowed more than animator, as seen in the credits.Steve

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  6. YOWP, why is there no article on Jerry Mann, Howard Morris, Geraldine Johnson, also what was the name of the voice actress that did the voice of Jane's friend on Dude Planet of the Jetsons episode

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  7. "Yowp-Yowp" Dodsworth and HB-fans from the whole world,

    This bowling sequence from the Flintstones first episode (animated by Carlo Vinci) is very, very anthological!
    Alias, this sequence is shown at the John Kricfalusi's blog (http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com), on the topic I want you to love Carlo Vinci, which's located on the following link: http://johnkstuff.blogspot.com/2006/09/i-want-you-to-love-carlo-vinci.html. Enjoy to give a peek on this topic!

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  8. Great background, great character design, great color and great limited animation. These are some of the things that make HB cartoons, well, excellent!

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