I Saw That!

One woman's opinions about popular entertainment.

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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Amateur boxing coach, Christian (but not so heavenly-minded that I'm no earthly good) singer, writer, self-defense advocate, childfree. feminist www.smartwomenboxingtraining.org

Sunday, October 30, 2005

"The Flintstones" (1960-1966)

"The Flintstones" remains one of the most popular cartoons among the many the duo of Hanna-Barbera produced. Look closely at it, and you'll see that it is an animated version of "The Honeymooners" set back in the pre-historic era.

The series follows the mishaps of one Fred Flinstone, an everyman who works in a quarry run by Mr. Slate. His long-suffering but understanding wife, Wilma, puts up with his schemes. Fred's partner in crime is next door neighbor Barney Rubble, a short guy who's never without a quip about Fred's weight or personality. Barney's wife is Betty, a woman with a bubbly giggle. Fred and Wilma eventually give birth to daughter Pebbles, a cute little girl who looked exactly like Wilma. Barney and Betty adopted Bam Bam, a powerful baby who had been left on their doorstep.

One of the series running gags was the use of animals to power things. Wilma would use a porcupine to clean the house, dinosaurs helped moved the rocks at Fred's job, a bird's long beak served as the needle on a record player. Sometimes, the animals would comment on their jobs.

Guest stars were put to good use on the show. One of the series' most famous episodes features Ann-Margaret voicing a character named "Ann-Margrock" whom Fred and Barney mistake for a nanny. They put her to work babysitting Pebbles. Singer James Darren voiced a character similar to himself in another episode that also featured the popular 1960s group The Beau Brummels singing their hit "Laugh, Laugh".

Episodes also made comments on things that were happening in the pop culture of the day. Fred was turned into a rock star by a southern gent who kept making references to a "Georgia boy" he had as a former client. Obviously it was a funny made a the expense of Col. Tom Parker, who was managing Elvis Presley. In a nod to the spy craze of the day, Fred and Barney found themselves embroiled in a James Bond-type adventure, which their wives did not believe. The Flintstones and the Rubbles ended up with a set of weird neighbors called the Gruesomes, who were similar to "The Addams Family", who were also on TV at that time.

One of the low points of the series in my opinion was the set of episodes that featured the Great Gazoo, an alien who appeared to Fred and Barney (Pebbles and Bam Bam could see him, too). Maybe the series were trying to keep up with other series that featured magic and otherwordly things (i.e. "Bewitched", "I Dream Of Jeannie"), but it didn't add anything to the show.

After its initial run, "The Flinstones" like "Scooby Doo", continued on TV in various forms including "Flinstones Kids" which featured the main characters as grade schoolers, and "The Pebbles and Bam Bam Show" which followed the teenaged antics of Fred and Barney's kids. There was even a movie, The Man Called Flinstone in 1964.


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