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The Flintstones

Posted on Jul 19, 2013 by in Blog | 0 comments

The Flintstones

The Flintstones

The Flintstones was Hanna Barbera’s foray into prime time. This was the first half hour cartoon/comedy series. The show was loosely based on “The Honeymooners” with Fred as Ralph and Barney as Ed (the second time they based a character on Art Carney, the first being Yogi Bear). The setting was a stone-age town named Bedrock. Fred is a working class man working at the local rock quarry. The show was so popular it proved to be the most commercially successful network cartoon series for three decades until the Simpsons stole this claim to fame.

In this make-believe version of ancient times, dinosaurs and other extinct animals co-exist with cavemen. Like their modern equivalents, these Stone Age people live in modern style homes, eat at restaurants, go to the drive-in and listen to records. Of course the technology is made up of mostly rock and wood structures and the like. Their clothing is fashioned from animal skins. And everything is powered by animal power. Like the theme song suggests the cars are powered by Fred’s two feet.

The concept for the Flintstones came from the idea that Hanna Barbera had success with Huckleberry Hound and Quick Draw McGraw but they realized that they had not reached their potential as they did with the theatrical productions they created for MGM such as Tom & Jerry which appealed to audiences of all ages. So they decided to create the first animated sit-com.

They experimented with a few ideas including Pilgrims, Indians, Romans and Hillbillies as the setting for the two families based on the Honeymooners. Finally they decided that by using a Stone Age family they could transform basics such as wood, stones and animals into an industrial age feel. Under the working title of The Flagstones they pitched the idea of a modern stone-age family consisting of Fred, Wilma and Fred Jr. their son. They created a 90 second pitch to entice sponsors on the idea.

Besides the obvious Honeymooners influence which they denied animation historians point to a 1955 cartoon directed by fellow MGM director Tex Avery about a bank robber in stone-age Dallas which was entitled The First Bad Man. Many of the sight gags showed up years later in the Flintstones.

Tex Avery's First Bad Man

Tex Avery’s First Bad Man

Joe Barbera explained that selling the show to a network and sponsors was not an easy task.

“Here we were with a brand new thing that had never been done before, an animated prime-time animated show. So we developed two storyboards; one was they had a helicopter of some kind and they went to the opera or whatever, and the other was Fred and Barney fighting over a swimming pool. So I go back to New York with a portfolio and two half-hour boards. And no one would even believe that you’d dare to suggest a thing like that, I mean they looked at you and they’d think you’re crazy, but slowly the word got out, and I used to the presentation which took almost an hour and a half. I would go other the two boards and tell them what they did, and do all the voices and the sounds and so-on, and I’d stagger back to the hotel and I’d collapse. The phone would ring like crazy, like one time I did Bristol-Myers, the whole company was there. When I got through I’d go back to the hotel the phone would ring and say “the president wasn’t at that meeting, could you come back and do it for him.” So I had many of those, one time I had two agencies, they’d fill the room I mean God about 40 people, and I did this whole show. I got to know where the laughs were, and where to hit it, nothing; dead, dead, dead. So one of the people at Screen Gems said “This is the worst, those guys….” he was so angry at them. What it was, was that there were two agencies there, and neither one was going to let the other one now they were enjoying it. But I pitched it for eight straight weeks and nobody bought it. So after sitting in New York just wearing out, you know really wearing out, pitch, pitch, pitch, sometimes five a day. So finally on the very last day I pitched it to ABC, which was a young daring network willing to try new things, and bought the show in 15 minutes. Thank goodness, because this was the very last day and if they hadn’t bought it I would have taken everything down, put it in the archives and never pitched it again. Sometimes I wake up in a cold-sweat thinking this is how close you get to disaster.”

Fred and Wilma Smoke Winstons

Fred and Wilma Smoke Winstons

As a sign of the times seasons one and two were sponsored by Winston cigarettes. Check out this video of Fred and Barney smoking cigarettes in a Winston television ad.

During the third season the Flintstones gave birth to Pebbles. This lead to a decline in the popularity for adults and the show took on more of a children’s feel. Then came the birth of Bam Bam whom the Rubbles adopted bringing the show down even further.

The show went off the air on April 1, 1966 after cancellation.


Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They’re the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They’re a page right out of history.

Let’s ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred’s two feet.

When you’re with the Flintstones
you’ll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You’ll have a gay old time.

Filmography with Links
The Flintstone Flyer
Hot Lips Hannigan
The Swimming Pool
No Help Wanted
The Split Personality
The Monster from the Tar Pits
The Babysitters
At the Races
The Engagement Ring
Hollyrock, Here I Come
The Golf Champion
The Sweepstakes Ticket
The Drive-in
The Prowler
The Girls Night Out
Arthur Quarry’s Dance Class
The Big Bank Robbery
The Snorkasaurus Hunter
The Hot Piano
The Hypnotist
Love Letters on the Rocks
The Tycoon
The Astra’ Nuts
The Long, Long Weekend
In the Dough
The Good Scout
Rooms for Rent
Fred Flintstone: Before and After
The Hit Songwriters
Droop-Along Flintstone
The Missing Bus
Alvin Brickrock Presents
Fred Flintstone Woos Again
The Rock Quarry Story
The Soft Touchables
Flintstone of Prinstone
The Little White Lie
Social Climbers
The Beauty Contest
The Masquerade Ball
The Picnic
The House Guest
The X-Ray Story
The Gambler
A Star is Almost Born
The Entertainer
Wilma’s Vanishing Money
Feudin’ and Fussin‘”
Impractical Joker
Operation: Barney
The Happy Household
Fred Strikes Out
This is Your Lifesaver
The Mailman Cometh
The Rock Vegas Story
Divided We Sail
Kleptomaniac Caper
Latin Lover
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
Dino Goes Hollyrock
Fred’s New Boss
Invisible Barney (aka Barney the Invisible)
Bowling Ballet (aka Rush-in Ballet)
The Twitch
Here’s Snow in Your Eyes (aka Here’s Snow in Your Face)
The Buffalo Convention
The Little Stranger (aka The Little Visitor)
Baby Barney
Hawaiian Escapade
Ladies Day
Nuthin’ But the Tooth
High School Fred
Dial S for Suspicion
Flashgun Freddie
The Kissing Burglar
Wilma the Maid
The Hero
The Surprise
Mother-in-Law’s Visit
Foxy Grandma
Fred’s New Job
The Dress Rehearsal (aka Blessed Event)
Carry on, Nurse Fred
Ventriloquist Barney
The Big Move
Swedish Visitors
The Birthday Party
Ann-Margrock Presents
Groom Gloom
Little Bamm Bamm
Dino Disappears
Fred’s Monkeyshines
The Flintstone Canaries
Glue for Two
Big League Freddie
Old Lady Betty
Sleep on Sweet Fred
Kleptomaniac Pebbles
Daddy’s Little Beauty
Daddies Anonymous
Peek-a-Boo Camera
Once Upon a Coward
Ten Little Flintstones
Fred El Terrifico
The Bedrock Hillbillies (aka The Hatrocks)
Flintstone and the Lion
Cave Scout Jamboree
Room for Two
Ladies Night at the Lodge
Reel Trouble
Son of Rockzilla
Bachelor Daze
Operation Switchover
Hop Happy
Monster Fred
Itty Bitty Fred
Pebbles’ Birthday Party
Bedrock Rodeo Round-Up
A Haunted House is Not a Home
Doctor Sinister
The Gruesomes
The Most Beautiful Baby in Bedrock
Dino and Juliet
King for a Night
Indianrockolis 500
Adobe Dick
Christmas Flintstone
Fred’s Flying Lesson
Fred’s Second Car
The Time Machine
The Hatrocks and the Gruesomes
Moonlight and Maintenance
Sheriff for a Day
Deep in the Heart of Texarock
The Rolls Rock Caper
Fred Meets Hercurock
Surfin’ Fred
No Biz Like Show Biz
The House That Fred Built
The Stony Curtis Story (aka The Return of Stony Curtis)
Disorder in the Court
Circus Business
The Great Gazoo
Rip Van Flintstone
The Gravelberry Pie King
The Stonefinger Caper
The Masquerade Party
Shinrock a Go-Go
Royal Rubble
Seeing Doubles
How to Pick a Fight with Your Wife Without Really Trying
Fred Goes Ape
The Long, Long, Long Weekend
Two Men on a Dinosaur
The Treasure of Sierra Madrock
Curtain Call at Bedrock
Boss for a Day
Fred’s Island
My Fair Freddy
The Story of Rocky’s Raiders
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