Saturday, 1 December 2018

What's in a Name-Rock?

The writers of the The Flintstones could come up with clever puns on names. Eventually, they got lame, just arbitrarily adding “stone” or “rock” to a name. I mean, “Jimmy O’Neillstone?” “Shinrock”? I was nine at the time and could do better than that.

Here are a couple of stories about Flintstone names. They’re not bylined, so my guess is they came right from the office of publicity mogul Arnie Carr at Hanna-Barbera. They use some of the same wording. That line about “butcher, baker and pizza-pie maker” shows up yet again. The first story was printed in the Montgomery Alabama Journal of July 14, 1961 and the second in the Boston Globe of the following October 22nd.
Note the credit given to Mike Maltese and Warren Foster.

Funny Names Dreamed Up For Flintstone People
Whoever dreams up the names on "The Flintstones," the animated cartoon series on ABC-TV Friday nights, has a delightful sense of whimsy. Various characters bear the tags of familiar people and places with just enough of a twist to make it amusing.
For instance, what better name for a movie actor from the community of Hollyrock than Gary Granite. Or a dance instructor who answers to Arthur Quarry. Both of those citizens are as solid as a rock.
In various "Flintstone" episodes viewers also get to meet such people (?) as Pebble Bleach, an attractive blonde; Rock Pile, a way-out actor on thespian if you prefer. Then there's Boulder Dan, who owns a poolroom, and Perry Masontry, an attorney.
Still others include Professor Rockymoto, a judo instructor; Perry Gunnite, a private eye; Rocky Gibralter, a prizefighter; Morris Mortar, an insurance agent; Malcolm Quartz, a grocer and Benjamin Boulder, a business executive.
Principal writers of "The Flintstones" are Warren Foster and Mike Maltese. They work very closely with producers Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna and presumably all four fertile minds get the credit for dreaming up the funny names.
When you remember that "The Flintstones" are set in the Stone Age the names take on even more laughable impact.
These characters along with the principals, Fred and Wilma Flintstone and Barney and Betty Rubble have made the series one of the most successful on the television scene. Recently, it was selected by TV editors across the country in Fame's annual poll as "the most unique new program."

Birth of “The Flintstones”
Last year at this time about the biggest hit among the new entries on TV was “The Flintstones,” animated cartoon series seen on Ch 7 Friday nights at 8:30. Its immediate success prompted a rash of similar cartoon programs to be put on the market for this Fall season. And now we have them by the score.
“The Flintstones” give a satirical picture of family life in suburbia as it might have been in prehistoric times. Fred and Wilma Flintstone live at Bedrock in Cobblestone County. Their newspaper is the Daily Slate. They take their laundry to the Rock-O-Mat. They play Stoneway pianos. They live in split-level caves.
Bedrock has its butcher, baker and pizza-pie maker and drive-in restaurant. It has its funny names, too. Various characters bear the tags of familiar people with just enough of a twist to be amusing.
There’s Gary Granite, actor; Perry Masontry, attorney; Rocky Gilbralter, prizefighter; Perry Gunnite, private eye and Professor Rockymoto, a judo instructor, to name a few.
Creators of the series are Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera. They were pleasantly surprised to learn that their characters “Huckleberry Hound” and “Quick Draw McGraw,” primarily children’s shows, had a large adult following.
“We decided to try a cartoon series geared to adult viewers,” said Joe, a youngish man in his 40’s who could easily be taken for a film star. “We started thinking about a family situation comedy cartoon series.
“Bill and I tried out something like six different families, in modern contemporary times and settings, but they somehow didn’t fit the bill. Then one day, sitting around the shop with a group of our animators, we hit on the idea of taking an average, everyday couple, happily married, with the normal trials and tribulations of everyday living, and setting them in a Stone Age era and background.
“We drew our couple in a modern car. No laugh. But when we set the couple in a caveman car (thatched-top convertible with stone wheels and tree branch fins) we all laughed at the drawing.
“Then we tried a regular guy at the piano. No laughs. But when we put the same guy in caveman attire, in a cave dwelling, plunking away at a stone piano, again the whole group roared.
“Before long, we were playing a game with everybody tossing in suggestions. Another example—give a man a telephone to answer. No laugh. But give a caveman in the form of a ram’s horn, and again there’s laughter.”
Joe and Bill approached Screen Gems with the idea and it clicked with them. Joe had to interest advertising agencies in the cartoon, speaking something like five to six times a day. Needless to say, he sold the series.

I always thought the name was “Perry Masonary.” “Cobblestone County” seems to have been mentioned more in publicity than on the show. And was there a “Rock-o-mat”? Or “split-level caves” (all of them seem to be on one level, with the same picture appearing on the wall five or six times, depending on how long Fred is running).

I don’t know if I can pick a favourite pun name; a lot of them make me wince. But perhaps one comes to your mind.


  1. I totally agree that they got lazy in the later years of the series and just started putting Stone at the end of everything. I guess my favorite name of a person was Rock Pile. In later years they probably would have made it Rock Hudsonstone.

  2. Peter Gunn take-off "Perry Gunite," with the funny walk.

  3. My two favorites from the show aren't even particularly "Flintstoney" - The House of Crushing Door from "The Social Climbers", and Wednesday Tuesday / Tuesday Wednesday from "The Monster from the Tar Pits" ("Hey, Tuesday Wednesday, whaddya doin' Saturday?!").

    1. That last quote, from from Fred ("Hey Tuesday Wednesday",etc.) was very funny..) Then in the often maligned "Singing Babies" final season opener - "No Biz Like Show Biz" - EPPY BIRANSTONE - Brian Epstein, Beatles's manager!:) (Despite how lame the show may have gotten later, pretty inpsiired..)

    2. Also "A Haunted House Is Not A Home"'s "Unc;e Giggles"!

  4. My favorite is from the episode "Alvin Brickrock Presents" - Barney: "and that phony name, Alvin Brickrock. You know your real name is Archie Oogly - right here on this book" Alvin: "My dear chap, that's pronounced 'Archeology'."

    From this, I have have called archeology "Archie Oogly" ever since"

  5. Hoagy Carmichael guest-starred under his own name, with no stone or rock variation. Tony Curtis was Stony Curtis. Ann-Margret was Ann-Margrock. One of my favorites was Fred Astone and Ginger Rockers.

  6. Perry Gunite starred in his own comic book stories, as a back-up feature in the Dell/Gold Key Flintstones comics. Then there were the Cave Kids, characters set in the same universe than the Flintstones but who never were animated, who starred in their own Gold Key comic, and whose names seem to follow the same pattern used in the early times of the Flintstones cartoons to christen stone-age people or objects: Sandy and Sally Stone, Sheepy Shale, Suzy Quartz, Buddy Boulder, Gipsy Crystal, Rocky Ranger (a masked do-gooder who rode on his Flap-o-saurus), Small Stuff and Izzy Einstone.

  7. In Pokemon, pokemon cloned (in the video games) from fossils are classified as (at least part) rock-type; isn't that a tip of the hat to prehistoric times being associated with rock (substance), like the subject of this article?; (before the pokemon became fossils, why would they be part rock-type?!).

  8. I'll add one more - a somewhat obscure one - before this topic gets put to bed - The Bedrock Chronicle's gossip columnist / reporter / lost & found editor Daisy Kilgranite (from "The Little White Lie") was a jab at journalist / What's My Line? panelist, Dorothy Kilgallen.

  9. In "The Hot Piano", didn’t Fred and Wilma’s house become an on-again, off-again, “split level cave”, depending on the needs of particular gags? Even in days where there was little or no continuity, this still stuck out!

    1. The bedroom that was not at ground level in one part of the episode? I don't think Mike Maltese worried too much about that one.

    2. When the boys first bring the piano home, they find it's too big for the door so Fred 'tackles' it so it rolls through the house, alarming Wilma. Fred cons her into thinking it was a dream. In the next scene, they're using a rope as a hoist to get the piano into the bedroom, which is now on the 'second floor'. This gives Fred a chance to drop the piano on Barney for a standard 'squashed flat' gag.