Sunday, 25 July 2010

I Wanna Be a Flintstone

The Flintstones has overcome a green space alien, a Shmoo-laden sequel, a kiddie version and a live-action feature movie aimed at the “remember when” crowd (do those EVER work?) to remain beloved even today. The show has even overcome me, as the focus on this blog is supposed to be on the comparatively-neglected short cartoons that preceded Hanna-Barbera’s gamble on a half-hour animated sitcom.

However, the 50th anniversary of The Flintstones is only weeks away (September 30) so I’ll empty the Yowp clipping file of a few stories and surprises now and then until we get there.

It’s always a pleasure to do a search of internet news stories and spot things from the past that are not only not forgotten, but still loved. Such is the case with those folks from Cobblestone County. The first stop in making our case is the Sixth Annual Bedrock Cruise-In which has wrapped up for another year today in Windham Township, Pennsylvania. You can read a little squib about the event here.

It sounds like the kind of small-town, family get-together that I keep hearing doesn’t exist in America any more. And it’s one appropriate for a cartoon like The Flintstones where even the satire was fairly gentle and parents didn’t worry if their kids were watching it. It also shows you how things have changed in the world of television animation. Can you picture an event with a chicken barbeque and a corn-eating contest centred around South Park?

Alas, I not only missed that event, but another one a Pterodactyl Airlines Flight away from Bedrock a weekend ago. For it was there that residents of Castleblayney, Ireland, set a Guinness Record for the number of people dressed as the Flintstones in one place. Perhaps they have an affinity for Hanna-Barbera cartoons because of all the Irish cops in them. Or maybe they wanted to emulate the lyrics of the theme song in having “a gay old time.” I suspect the word “Guinness” prompted them to celebrate their newly-won bragging perch with something a little stronger than Cactus Cola. You can read more here.

Almost 50 years after their creation, Fred and Wilma, Barney and Betty, Dino and Arnold the Paper Boy (okay, maybe not the last one) still inspire the innocent fun that was part of the old TV show. Considering how fast “stars” rise and fall these days (quick—name the winner of American Idol this year), the longevity of the modern stone-age family is something of modern miracle.

Oh, from the folk at the website Cartoon Scrapbook, here are a couple of .wav files.

RISE AND SHINE [Original theme]


  1. There actually is a Flintstone, Mayrland on Interstate 68. Drove through there two weeks ago. Didn't use my feet (at least, once I had the cruise control set...)

  2. Wow! I can't believe the 50th Anniversary is upon us and there seems to be no marketing campaign behind it. Remember all the stuff with the 30th Anniversary!?!

  3. There's no marketing campaign because there's nothing new to sell. Either that or the people at Warners can't figure out how long the cartoon's been on the air. Aren't they the same people who think this is Tom and Jerry's 75th anniversary?

  4. I'll be damned, JL. Thanks for the link. I can spend forever on Google Maps. I love the old houses (more Woodrow Wilson Age than Stone Age) and that General Store with a Pepsi machine out front.

  5. Don't forget these -

  6. Wow. Warner Bros. is pathetic. They're not going to celebrate one of their most popular cartoon franchises? That's ridiculous, yet they're making that new Looney Tunes show without even airing the original cartoons on TV! I swear the animation industry as a whole is becoming more and more bizarre every year, and especially with the treatment of classic animation. Thanks for keeping The Flintstones and other H-B series alive with your blow, Yowp. I think the 50th anniversaries for Top Cat and The Jetsons are coming up in about two years. Am I correct right there?

  7. Roberto, they may celebrate it. I don't know. But I agree with Ed there's no marketing campaign I know of right now. Using corporate logic, there's not much of a reason to mount one because Warners has little to gain in doing so. What's new to market?
    However, I predict you'll see newspapers and TV entertainment shows doing one of those "50-year look back at a cultural phenomenon" on Sept. 30. Jerry Beck should prepare by blocking off time for interviews. :)

    H-B's other network night show debuts:
    Top Cat - Sept. 27, 1961.
    Jetsons - Sept. 23, 1962.
    Jonny Quest - Sept. 18, 1964.

    As mentioned last year on the blog, Top Cat is so far down on the food chain, no one seems to know which show aired first.

  8. Wow..50 Years!! and I remember watching it on ABC in primetime at night. Where are my pills?...You always hear actors talking about how they loved a show as it moved on because there was more character developement, expansion, nailing down a character,etc. But, I unapologetically loved for lack of a better term..the unrefined era of " The Flintstones ". 1960 certainly was a different time. Their sponsor wasn't grape jelly in that first year. They made no bones about that fact that these were a stone aged " Honeymooners ". The boys bowled, played pool, attended lodge meetings, Cactus Cola wasn't grape juice-Ha!, that backyard pool party( Did Wilma and Betty make Fred and Barney fill in the pool after that fiasco?), and the girls usually wounded up outsmarting the boys in the end. Hat's off the the big 5-0 for " The Flintstones ".

  9. Great Carlo Vinci Flintstone! Love those thick black lines!

  10. Newspapers only run what they already know. There needs to be something pushing the idea of the Flintstones are 50 to them for them to do anything about it. A story in a major national magazine or show (not some niche animation magazine) would give them a good story to steal, for instance (and with a constant hunger for entertainment stories, those larger entertainment based media might have an anniversary calendar, if it hasn't been replaced by even cheaper celebrity sighting allocations). Or a PR campaign. But just expecting newspapers to know it is unlikely to result in much of anything.

  11. Couldn't say it better myself than any of the comments about the publicity for the 50th.

  12. I was wondering why there was no bally-hoo for the Flintstones’ fiftieth. Then, I remembered… Warner Bros. Yeah! Scooby-Doo, Tom and Jerry, and Batman! That’s all that matters over there.

    I like all those properties too… but when you have the greatest cumulative cartoon library under your corporate umbrella, you should do MORE than just those!

    Oddly, I also loved the “Unrefined Era” of The Flintstones – AND the later adventure shows like the World’s Fair and Jay Bondrock. My favorite seasons were 1 and 5. Wonder how many folks could say that!

    Here’s an exerpt from my Blog review of an “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” DVD review, citing one of my most favorite Flintstone moments – from the “Unrefined Era” (albeit Season Two)

    “So much a staple of our popular culture did this program – and its host – become that it was often lovingly parodied in the media of its time. Hanna-Barbera Productions created not one but TWO Hitchcock parody characters: Alfy Gator, an alligator sophisticate and gourmet out to ingest little duck Yakky Doodle, and the memorable one-shot “Alvin Brickrock” on The Flintstones. “

    ”The latter did Hitchcock to a “T”, right through the coda that leaves one with the impression that Brickrock actually got away with murder.”


  13. The voice of Hitchcok is ELLIOTT FIELD, who did a few others, according to some references.


  14. "David said...

    Great Carlo Vinci Flintstone! Love those thick black lines!