Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Jimmy Dean Meets the Stone Age

TV cartoons characters don’t make too many guest appearances on other television shows. It isn’t like you can call up Hokey Wolf and say “Can you be a guest on Jimmy Kimmel tomorrow night?” After all, someone has to draw Hokey (and, somehow, I don’t think the Kimmel audience even knows who Hokey Wolf is anyway).

But it did happen on a rare occasion. Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear appeared on the 1961 Emmy telecast. And Fred Flintstone showed up on the season opener of Jimmy Dean’s variety show in 1963.

That friend of lovers of old animation, Mark Kausler, came across someone selling a print of the show and sent along these three screen grabs.

Mark points out the animation is by Ken Muse.

Here’s an animation drawing from the cartoon. It looks pretty snazzy.

Variety reviewed the show (broadcast September 19, 1963). It wasn’t impressed with what it saw.

Another bit of teaming the cartoon character of Fred Flintstone with Dean was sloppily handled with two separate introes and ran off as a familiar piece of trick photography.
Rick Du Brow of UPI wasn’t impressed, and said why:
A trick scene in which Dean dueted with the cartoon character Fred Flintstone was only fair, with the sound not perfectly pitched.
And Alan Patereau of Newsday snorted:
But technical achievement or no, who needs Freddy Flintstone, the cartoon neanderthal, paired with Dean in a song and dance of “Yabba-Dabba-Do”? I say pooh.
Frank Peppiatt’s book When Variety Was King talks a little about the origin of the sketch:
The Flintsones [sic] was also a big hit ABC show that year, so John [Aylesworth, a writer] came up with the idea of featuring Fred Flintstone as the guest on our first show. We wrote a sketch and a duet for Jimmy and Fred. The song was “Yabba Dabba Doo,” the catchphrase on The Flintstones. We sent the sketch and the music to Hollywood so they could get to work on the animation, which took care of at least six or seven minutes.
The Flintstones’ season premiere was 90 minutes before the Dean show aired. It featured a musical guest as well—Ann-Margrock.

My thanks to Mark for sending the frames for this post.


  1. Hey! I remember when Fred appeared on Jimmy Dean’s variety show. ABC had promos advertising the special appearance of the animated character the whole week. Of course we tuned in, but then we usually watched Dean’s show anyway. My favorite weekly segment featured Rowlf the Dog.

    1. We also watched " The Jimmy Dean Show ". I'm sad to say we missed this one. My biggest memories every week were of Rowlf. The unrefined days of Jim Henson. When other than Rowlf, he basically would stick eyes on a sock and pass them off as puppets.

  2. A la Homer Simpson: "Mmm...grape juice and sausage patties!"

  3. How about that? A piece of Flintstones trivia that I never knew about before! This is fantastic--regardless of how the animation was or how it was received. I'm fascinated to learn about this guest appearance of my favorite (well among my top 10 anyway) cartoon character!

    Thanks, Yowp! All I can say is (all together now) "Yabba Dabba Doo!"

    1. Interesting piece.

      BTW I'm not in the minority on saying that I'm not very fond of the Ann-Margrock one due to overemphasis on Pebbles but that's for another time.

      Back to the article:
      The Gravelberry Pie King meets the later Sausage King!

  4. Peppiatt and Aylesworth were creator/producers of "Hee Haw" (their company was Yonge Street Productions, named for the main drag of Toronto, Aylesworth's hometown).

  5. It should be noted that very little videotape from that era was ever saved, as it was expensive and frequently reused. Only special events got archived. So I'm guessing this episode of an otherwise forgotten show exists today only because Fred Flintstone is in it. Right up there with Sinatra.

  6. Nice post

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