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.