Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Flintstones Comics, September 1965

Did the Modern Stone Age Family wear out their welcome in the Windy City? The Chicago Tribune bare farewell to Flintstones comics. The last daily was on September 11, 1965. The paper stopped running the Sunday comics (as well as the Yogi Bear colour weekenders) earlier. More and more papers, at least the ones I have had access to on the internet, started dropping the strip.

It’s no wonder. Unlike The Simpsons, which doesn’t know when to quit, the Flintstones ran out of gas before the fifth season ended. ABC sacrificed Jonny Quest to keep it on the schedule for a sixth year in 1965-66. That season opened on September 17th with the nadir in the original series’ run—the episode where Pebbles and Bamm Bamm sing an insipid song over and over and over again, and climaxes with a lame and cop-out ending that it was all a dream. Admittedly, they tried new ideas, but as much as I love Harvey Korman, Gazoo was too far-fetched even for me, age 9.

In a way, it’s too bad, as the daily comics were just fine. Plenty of variety in plot. Attractively laid out. The characters looked fine. One familiar gag even gets borrowed from the cartoon series when a poor toiling as a golf ball retriever tells us “It’s a living” (Sept. 11).

This means I’ve had to hunt around for a source of semi-readable dailies of the Flintstones. What you see below isn’t great, but it’s the best I could find.

Update: Originally, this post had no weekend comics because I couldn’t find readable versions. I’ve discovered some, so they’ve been added to this post without much commentary. Enjoy them.


September 5, 1965. Did Wilma ever call Fred “sweetie”?


September 12, 1965. Mr. Rockhead is the boss here. Lots of animal inventions. Mel Blanc, er, talking bird, in opening panel. Dino is out of frame, first panel, second row.


September 19, 1965. I love how Dino is slurping Fred’s drink without him knowing (first panel, middle row). Pebbles is groovin’ to a band with the Bedrock beat (first panel, middle row). Fred joins her (last panel). Dino sneaks a look from behind a truck (opening panel).


September 26, 1965. A fun cuckoo clock in the bottom row.

Now, on to the dailies.



One the writers of the comics decided to do a series (Sept. 27-29) about Wilma’s motion visiting. She looks decidedly slimmer than on the TV show. Aw. There’s a little heart between Wilma and Little Pebbly-Poo in the Sept. 30th comic. In the month of September, Pebbles drove the plot in 10 of 26 comics, while Fred was featured or at least part of the gag 12 times. Betty appears three times (Sept. 6, 7, 28), Dino once (Sept. 1), Bamm Bamm once (Sept. 6), and Baby Puss none-ce.

We get two used car salesmen (Aug. 30, Sept. 15), TV gags (Sept. 8, 16) a huge creature (Sept. 14), trumpet-beaked bugs (Sept. 12) the old husband-vs-wife (Sept. 2, 7, 21, 24) and the postman returns for another go-around with Pebbles over free cookies (Sept. 3). Fred’s drawn with an awful lot of teeth on Sept. 24th. And in the second panel of Sept. 25th, the half-drawing of Barney looks more like George Jetson.

So tune in next month for more comics. And remember: smilers never lose and frowners never win.

18 comments:

  1. Once 'The Flintstones' was pigeonholed into the slot of being predominantly for kids, as happened starting sometime in Season 3, it was pretty much the beginning of the end, since the show basically closed the door on many of the story lines they had done in the first 2 1/2 seasons. The strip didn't suffer from the same problems, but was subservient to the ratings of the TV show, and as interest in that lagged, so did interest in the comics.

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  2. I agree, "Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sunshine In" (originally recorded by the "Cowboy Church Sunday School"...ugh) was insipid and treacly.

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    1. With all djue respect I find it quite catchy. Now "Sammantha", or "Christmas Flintstone" with ITS songs on the other hand...

      The episode is called "No Biz Like Show Biz" and the cop-out ending was a kind of quite a twist ending..(cop out..a pun there as Fred's grabbed by cops before he wakes up.)

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    2. ..and I think it's Mothers never lose, Fathers never win.,

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  3. 9/16/15
    RobGems.ca Wrote:
    The sixth and final season of The original ABC TV "Flintstones" on September 17, 1965. Four days earlier, (fifty years ago this month on September 13th, 1965) Screen Gems, their distributor, introduced the (self-proclaimed) infamous "S From Hell/Film Reel Spiral logo (except in Canada, which put up for one more year of dancing sticks as it's logo until September 1966) on it's episodes. At least a handful of episodes had the Pebbles & Bam-Bam singing "Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In" (composed by C&W star Stuart Hamblen, best known for also composing "This Ole' House") as their closing credits. The final season on ABC-TV wasn't the best, but the final episode from April 1966, "My Fair Freddy" had some decent gags, including the scene of an embarrassed Fred shrinking to the size of a mouse when his friends laughed at him trying out ballet, complete with a tutu. after that final episode, "The Flintstones" appeared in Living Color on NBC's Saturday morning lineup in September 1966, and later in 1967, on many syndicated stations across the US. Michigan had "The Flintstones" on UHF-WKBD TV 50 in Detroit, and WHYT-TV UHF Channel 25 (a former CBS outlet, now NBC owned) in Flint, Saginaw, and Bay City locations. Around the same time, Columbia Pictures was about to unleash the theatrical release of "The Man Called Flintstone" during Summer 1966, a month after ABC dropped "The Flintstones" from it's prime time TV schedule. There would be many more re-boots of The Flintstones ever since, starting with a rare 1967 Busch beer promo advertisement, then in 1971, a return to new episodes on Saturday mornings on CBS with "The Pebbles and Bam-Bam Show". H-B would even briefly re-unite with Screen Gems/Columbia's music publishing division for musical interludes on that show and the 1972 musical interludes on "The Flintstones Comedy Hour" TV show .

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    1. The "My Fair Freddy" gag you mentioned was quite funny, though as a kid I found it somewhat disturbing..I mean..all those guys suddenly at Fred's garage laughing at him and him shrinking..LOL! Gazoo gets to go home (but too bad Barney's not there to see it..):)

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  4. The writers were probably getting hard-pressed for ways to keep the show fresh by the sixth season. You have to give them credit, though, for putting Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm in the spotlight so often. Compared to kids in live-action sitcoms they got much more air time. In "I Love Lucy" Little Ricky was often relegated to napping in the bedroom, and on "Bewitched" Tabitha and Adam were frequently referred to as being upstairs playing in their room, and in both cases the homes were always immaculate with no toys scattered around. Richie in the "Dick Van Dyke" show was also frequently sent to his room and not too much in evidence except when the plot called for him. By contrast, the Flintstones were always tripping over Pebbles' toys and the kids were often playing in full view while the other characters interacted. In that respect, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were much more viable characters than their live-action counterparts.

    As a kid, I loved the "Sunshine" episode, but then I was only 6 when it aired.

    In re-watching the entire Flintstones series, which I did recently, I note that by the 5th season there was a definite shift. The tone of the series became much more akin to the cartoon shorts that were being cranked out by the H-B Studio at the same time, even with many of the same sound cues and underscoring. (Similar gags, too.)

    Don't get me wrong...I love the whole series, but it's evident that there was a shift from emulating adult sitcoms to emulating Saturday morning cartoons. This may have been a calculated move, however...it's possible that in looking ahead Hanna and Barbera were already planning to prolong the life of the series after its initial run--by marketing it as programming for kids.

    The scans of these comics are actually pretty decent as far as I can see. Thanks again, Yowp, for this great monthly treat.

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    1. "This may have been a calculated move, however...it's possible that in looking ahead Hanna and Barbera were already planning to prolong the life of the series after its initial run--by marketing it as programming for kids."

      That's quite possible. After all, as J Lee notes, by season 3 "The Flintstones" was already seen as being mainly for kids. That season, Welch's Grape Juice replaced Winston cigarettes as the show's sponsor.

      "Winston takes good, like a cigarette should."

      (Well, actually, no, not really!! But you have to admit, it's a catchy jingle.)

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  5. Hi Yowp. Been reading your blog for a while and have enjoyed it. "My Fair Freddy" has that horrible duck walk song which is far worse than "Let The Sunshine In." But at the beginning of the episode as Fred and Barney were flipping through the channels you get a snippet of "Roses and Rainbows" which was a minor hit for Danny Hutton...then at HB Records and later Three Dog Night.

    "Shinrock-A-Go-Go" was always a Season 6 favorite of mine, maybe just because no one could yell like Alan Reed.

    Thanks for your work, Yowp.

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  6. Oops. Should have said that the Roses song was at the beginning of the Sunshine episode.

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  7. "ABC sacrificed Jonny Quest to keep it on the schedule for a sixth year in 1965-66."

    What a mistake... what a tremendous mistake. In my opinion, "Jonny Quest" was worth more than everything else H-B was producing in 1965 combined.

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    1. I have to agree with you on that point Sergio.

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  8. 9/17/15
    RobGems.ca Wrote:
    I loved the "Shinrock-A-Go-Go" episode too. It proved that not every sixth season episode of "The Flintstones" was a dud. It has been later stated during the decade of 2000 that Sal Valentino of The Beau Brummels finally saw the episode in question in late 1965 and stated in an interview that he and the other members of The Beau Brummels initially didn't know that their hit record "Laugh Laugh" was used as musical interlude snippets in the "Shinrock" episode until they were informed by ABC TV and their record label; and boss at the time Tom Donahue and Autumn Records gave permission to use the song in the Flintstones episode without their knowledge. ABC wanted a "Shindig" like hit song, they also managed to get permission to use the late Jimmy O' Neil to perform in caricature as "Jimmy O' Neilstone" specifically for the episode, but instead of asking The Beau Brummels permission for the hit song, instead they went to Donahue & Autumn Records. Valentino stated that a lawsuit with ABC TV later intervened. The Beau Brummels themselves were having problems as one of their early members (guitarist Dec Mulligan) had Visa problems as well as a short temper with the band's future directions and had to re-locate back to his birthplace in Ireland, leaving just four members left for the second Autumn LP. (apparently the band came to fruition with ABC TV and allowed Hanna Barbera to sketch the Flintstone caricatures of them as "The Beau Brummelstones on the back cover, minus Dec Mulligan, who was in the "Shinrock" episode.) I like the musical interlude of Danny Hutton's "Rainbows and Roses" on The "Let The Sunshine In" episode too. That exposure was enough to propel the Hutton single on HBR Records to chart at #52 on Billboard's Top 100. The Three Dog Night project came later in 1968 when they originally named the group Redwood at first (and did a failed demo of Brian Wilson's song "Darlin" before Mike Love took the song away from them and made The Beach Boys record it themselves-Mike's selfishness was more notorious than you know-he thought Brian was all washed up at the time with the failure tos issue the "Smile" album to the public.) Disappointed, but undaunted, Redwood changed their name to Three Dog Night and signed on with ABC records for local success at first (with "Nobody", their first Dunhill single, then massive success with Harry Nilsson's composition "One.") "My Fair Freddy" I just mentioned earlier because it happened to be the final ABC TV episode of The Flintstones before ABC TV dropped them from their schedule. By September 1966 they were on NBC's Saturday morning schedule in re-runs. (The original opening theme of "Rise And Shine" was notoriously replaced by 1962's opening "Meet The Flintstones" for those re-runs. The Screen Gems "Dancing Sticks" logo was also inserted into seasons 1-3 where previously they weren't originally in those episodes (in Black And White at the time) on ABC's prime time schedule. The Screen Gems "S From Hell/Spiral S Logo" remained in the 6th season on NBC repeats. All NBC airings were shown in Living Color as well, something that seasons 1-3 originally didn't appear at the time on ABC TV until ABC got a color transfer in 1962. Even then, not every ABC program appeared in color until September 1965, except for certain shows (like "Donna Reed" and "Ozzie And Harriet". Even "Shindig" appeared only in Black and White.)

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  9. I could notice how come Wilma's mother seems different in these Flintstones daily strips from September 1965.
    At these daily strips drawn by Gene Hazelton, she seems more an old lady than as she could use to be in the TV series (as also in the comic books [inclusive in the stories drawn by Harvey Eisenberg]), where she looked more fatter.
    This same version of the Wilma's mother (as seen in the TV series) also was seen in the Karen Machette's period of the Flintstones daily strip, where the Wilma's mother did her appearances in a more frequent way.

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  10. And one more detail to ponderate: the Flintstones Sunday pages from September 1965 (which are frequently drawn by Dick "Bick" Bickenbach) aren't included on this topic.

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  11. "You're watching the Bedrock's channel 10.
    And now, the Bedrock's channel 10 presents: NEWS. Brought to you by Reckitt Benckiser's Super Cito saponaceum."

    (Inspired in the Flintstones daily strip from September 16, 1965 [drawn by Gene Hazelton].)

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  12. Have you noticed that Homer, the Fred's refined neighbor (in the Flintstones daily strip from September 15, 1965 [drawn by Gene Hazelton]), looks like Dick Sargent (the second Darrin Stephens from the Bewitched series [Ashmont Productions/Columbia Pictures, 1964-72])?
    Give a peek on his smile.

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