Saturday, 1 September 2018

Modern Stone Age Designs

Isn’t it enjoyable to stumble across production artwork from cartoon shows? There seems to be a fair bit of it from early Hanna-Barbera cartoons. A good thing, too, considering a lot of the archives (from what I understand) didn’t survive the closure of the studio on Cahuenga after the company was purchased by Turner then merged with Time-Warner.

I’d like to assume the drawings below were from the mind of Ed Benedict. As you may know, he had been Tex Avery’s and Mike Lah’s designer at MGM. He was hired at Hanna-Barbera when it was set up in 1957 after the closure of MGM’s cartoon operations.

Whether these were for The Flintstones or Ruff and Reddy, I can’t say. There was a story adventure involving a cave boy named Ubble Ubble (animated by Carlo Vinci) who looks like the drawing you see below. But the design was re-used when The Flintstones was in early development as The Flagstones. Fred had a son who looked like Ubble Ubble. The only difference I can see in publicity art that made it into newspapers is Fred Junior’s ears stuck out from the outside of the head instead of being drawn on the head as below. Incidentally, these were found on the Heritage Auctions website some time ago.

What you see below is definitely from The Flintstones. These are, I presume, layout drawings and were made for episode P-13, “The Girls Night Out” (animated by Don Patterson). Walt Clinton definitely provided layouts for most, if not all, of the cartoon. This was Warren Foster’s satire on fleeting fame in the rock music industry due to fickle teenagers.

Compare them to what appeared in the actual cartoon. I think, and it’s just a guess, Bob Gentle did these. I’m judging by the tan-coloured sky and the lack of Monty-like flatness. The chiselled letter effect is by Art Goble.

Perhaps I should do a post on the many different Flintstones caves (which aren’t really caves at all, even though that’s what Wilma calls her house in this cartoon). No one cared if the homes or cars or whatever were different from cartoon to cartoon (the cars eventually fell into a standard design). Now you have continuity freaks who will screech if the corn cobs on the curtains in the Simpsons’ kitchen are facing in the “wrong” direction). Give me the simpler times any day, especially when it comes to the great work of Ed Benedict.


  1. Ubble Ubble may have morphed into the "Junior" character in the first Flintstones Little Golden Book. There appears to be partial sketches of Reddy's ears and "hair" to the right.

  2. ...And, while we're speculating on origins, could "Ubble Ubble" have evolved into "Rubble"?

  3. Yes please for doing a post on the caves.
    Thanks for all your posting - there is just so much that I wouldn't otherwise know or have the time too look for online. Keep up the great work.