Tuesday, 4 July 2017

They Made The Flintstones?

Were you one of those kids who read the credits at the end of Hanna-Barbera cartoons to learn who made them? I did, particularly on the Flintstones, so I could see and guess who the guest voices were. I learned fairly quickly that a bunch of the cartoons were incorrect. They listed “Additional Voices: Hal Smith, John Stephenson”, and I could tell what both sounded like. It wasn’t until the series DVDs came out years later did I learn that the show originally aired in the first two seasons with different opening and closing animation, and it had been replaced with for syndication in the ‘60s (with one episode’s closing credits edited onto two full seasons’ worth of cartoons).

So here’s something for you credits fans spotted by reader Kerry Cisneroz on eBay. They’re file cards listing who worked on three different productions of The Flintstones in Season 3. The cartoons exist with credits but they don’t match what’s on these cards.

“Flash Gun Freddie” (evidently originally titled “Flash Gun Fred”) aired December 21, 1962. Unfortunately, the bottom is cut off, but it gives the time line of when each aspect of the cartoon was completed, although there are discrepancies in the recording dates. It came out of story on June 29, 1962. The other elements are RECORDING, TRACK READING, DETAIL, LAYOUT, ANIMATION, ASSISTANT ANIMATION, a step that’s unviewable, BACKGROUND, INK, PAINT, CAMERA, LAB., CUTTING, DUBBING, CUT NEGATIVE, VIEW, COMPLETION DATE. Where the end-title cards with the credits fit into this, I don’t know.

The card reveals some interesting information. First, in story, Tony Benedict’s name is written in. Tony recalls how he had to punch up scripts with visual gags because the sitcom writers hired by Hanna-Barbera didn’t think in those terms.

Evidently the cartoon needed extra artwork. You’ll see Dan Noonan and Lance Nolley’s names written next to “Inserts.” Both were layout artists. Neither were credited on screen.

If you look at the layout line, you’ll see “McCabe” crossed out. That can’t be anyone else but Norm McCabe, the veteran Warner Bros. animator and director. He never received any screen credit at Hanna-Barbera around this time and the following year begun working on Pink Panther shorts at DePatie-Freleng. Dick Bickenbach isn’t on the card, but he received screen credit with Willie Ito and Irv Spector.

The animators listed are Carlo Vinci, Hugh Fraser, with Chuck Harriton typed in later, Ed Love written in and Ed Parks in brackets. Harriton didn’t receive screen credit. The animation took 13 working days.

Listed in brackets below is what I believe are the assistant animators on this cartoon. Bill Hutten was an animator for many years and was employed by Fred Crippen on Roger Ramjet. Bill Hajee spent part of his career at Filmation. I couldn’t tell you who McCormick is.

Neenah Maxwell and Fernando Montealegre both get screen credit for backgrounds. The camera operators listed are Ted Bemiller, Hal Shiffman, Roy Wade and Charles Flekal. The first two never got screen credit; Frank Paiker and Norm Stainbeck did. And the credits add Greg Watson’s name as a Film Editor next to Don Douglas’. And the checker is Natalie Yates, though I believe Janet Gusdavidson’s name is written in.

There was a problem with “The Birthday Party” (previously titled “Fred’s Birthday Party”). The studio got it out of story on July 13, 1962, recorded the voice track on August 10th, got it through animation and then realised the cartoon was 500 feet short (by my calculation, that’s almost six minutes of animation). So Jean Vander Pyl, Bea Benadaret and Doug Young (who hadn’t been in the first voice session) came in October 2nd and recorded dialogue for an insert. It would appear the insert is the sequence involving the construction worker, the car salesman on the air, and the little old ladies. In fact, there’s a written note that says “Insert A – Walt” and if you look at the design of the construction worker, it has the lower ear that Walt Clinton liked in his designs.

Ed Love began animating this on August 15 and finished all but the insert in nine days.

Vic Shank gets the sole camera mention but the screen credits add Wayne Smith, Jerry Smith and Joe Nasta. Larry Cowan, Don Douglas and Warner Leighton are written in as the film editors but Cowan and Greg Watson got the screen credit. The animation checker is Merle Welton. She had been employed at Disney.

Note that Paul Sommer received the story director credit, not Alex Lovy as per the card.

It aired April 5, 1963.

Tony Benedict added gags to Joanna Lee’s teleplay for “The Big Move,” which came out of the story department on September 21, 1962. It aired March 22, 1963.

The card gives Walt Clinton sole layout responsibility but he and Bick appear on screen.

The animators are even more interesting. Ed Aardal, Ralph Somerville and Allen Wilzbach’s names are typed with Chuck Harriton added. But Wilzbach’s name has been rubbed off and Ed Love’s written in. Wilzbach has been pencilled in with the assistant animators who consist of Jack Parr, Bob Carr and someone named Howard (Howard Baldwin?). But on screen, Wilzbach gets a credit. So do Love, Aardal and Harriton. Regardless, the animators began work on October 21st and were done in 12 days.

Charles Flekal and Frank Parrish were the assigned cameramen with Ted Bemiller, Frank Paiker and Hal Shiffman pencilled in. Flekal, Paiker, Roy Wade and Norm Stainback got the credits, as did Don Douglas and Greg Watson for film editing (sorry Larry Cowan). Among the checkers are Natalie Yates, Evelyn Sherwood and Maggi Raymond.

So which credits are accurate, the ones on the card or the ones on the actual cartoon? Well, when they both match up, I don’t think there’s any dispute. For what it’s worth background artist Art Lozzi once said that he saw his name on screen for cartoons he didn’t work on, so we may never know the answer.

One thing is certain—all the voice credits are accurate. We can only hope more of these cards come to light.


  1. Who knew? I missed a lot while
    being there. So much I missed going on all around me. I did get a big rush, however, out of watching my first Flintstones episode. I was 23 years old. Credits were shorter,less cluttered and fewer. They could be read easily. That meant something.

  2. Your knowledge on this subject is amazing and invaluable. Thank you!

  3. These cards are so valuable. I am surprised the're not on sale for millions on ebay! Now we can find out who animated the episodes.
    YOWP, since we were talking about voice actor articles the other day, do you have any information on Bob Hopkins who voiced Mr. Sandstone and Gary Granite on ''The Flintstones'' episode ''The Monster from the Tar Pits''?-http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0580271/?ref_=tt_ep_nx I would also like o ask about Naomi Lewis "Mrs. Gruesome", but I will leave that for another time.

  4. Am I the only one amazed about the fact they were animating episodes in 9 to 13 days?

  5. I'd rather not have you try to drag these posts off topic constantly.
    There were several different Bob Hopkins in Los Angeles and I can't figure out which one he was. One died of leukaemia in 1962 at age 44. He was an impressionist/actor/songwriter. There was a Bob Hopkins who was a disc jockey and KNBH-TV host (he was fired at KNX for being too drunk to go on the air). They may be the same guy but neither the LA Times nor Variety mention it. There was one who was Peter Lind Hayes' step-father who was an actor and wrote for MGM.

  6. I knew and worked with Ed Love, Bob Carr, Allen Wilbach, Bill Hutten, Hugh Fraser. They were all great guys. Bill Hutten is the only one still around from that group. Oh the stories I could tell. I really miss Ed and his son Tony.

  7. Some FLINTSTONE episodes could have seven or eight animators- especially in Season 3- but there was apparently only room to list four on the credits. Sometimes guest voices weren't credited, either. Henry Corden wasn't credited in any of the Season 6 episodes he was in. Maybe it was by his request.

    The Season 3 finale, "The Birthday Party", always baffled me. Pebbles had been born by this time, with the previous dozen or so episodes prominently chronicling Wilma's pregnancy and their adjustment to being parents. But this episode makes no mention of Pebbles, which means it must have been scripted before "The Surprise"- the episode in which we learn Wilma is expecting. It seems 'new' by Season 3 standards, with a lot more JETSON underscore than in most episodes from that season.

    That Ed Love was the only animator on it (Seasons 1 and 2 had many episodes with just one animator) implies its production was postponed and then rushed to air as the last episode of the season- continuity be darned. The episode that immediately preceded it ("Swedish Visitors"), and the one following (The Season 4 premiere, "Ann Margrock Presents") each had eight or nine animators. Predictably, only four received credit for each.

  8. These are great, Yowp! We rarely see something like this. All the animators and voice actors. You are right, I remember the first season in syndication didn't have the " Rise and Shine " opening we remembered from it's first run. But, in the market were I grew up, from season two and up, the final credits were correct. Different " additional voices " every on every episode. When Turner acquired the masters, things got lazy. They would run one set of credits from the end of each season. That was such a shame, cutting corners like that. The last season had Howard Morris and Harvey Korman as the " Additional Voices " at the end of every episode. We knew that certainly wasn't correct. That's why cards like this are such an incredible find. I hope more do show up.

  9. "The Big Move" was certainly written by Joanna Lee, but she wasn't a "gag writer". Tony probably added some "sight gags" to "punch up" the script on Joe Barbera's suggestion.