1 9 6 0 – 1 9 6 6 (USA)
166 x 30 minute episodes
Fred and Wilma Flintstone lived on Cobblestone Lane in a prehistoric Stone Age town called Bedrock, next door to their best friends, Barney and Betty Rubble.
Fred and Barn worked for Mr Slate at Rock Head & Quarry Cave Construction Company and “Stone Age” jokes abounded (for example, Wilma played a ‘Stoneway’ piano). Even celebrities weren’t above this treatment. Tony Curtis, for instance, twice voiced his prehistoric alter ego as (you guessed it) Stony Curtis.
Both the Flintstones and the Rubbles ultimately had children. Daughter Pebbles in the case of the Flintstones, and (adopted) son Bamm-Bamm to the Rubbles.
The Flintstones (the family were originally to be called the Flagstones) was the first animated series made as a weekly half-hour comedy for Prime Time TV.
Reviews of the opening episodes were largely critical (the New York Times dubbed it ‘an inked disaster’) but the show was awarded a Golden Globe and, by season two, had become an essential fixture in the American TV watcher’s schedule.
Hanna-Barbera deliberately parodied popular live-action sitcoms – most specifically Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners. Accordingly, the series also found an adult audience who enjoyed it for its satire of suburban life.
Among the most notable storylines was the appearance of The Great Gazoo (pictured below right), a being from the planet Zetox who had been exiled for inventing a weapon that could destroy the whole universe.
Unfortunately, Gazoo could only be seen by Fred and Barney (and animals and kids).
Although the series only ran for six seasons, it has been aired almost continuously ever since.
There have been a number of spin-off series designed for children – including Pebbles and Bamm Bamm (1971 – 1972 and 1975 – 1976), The Flintstones Comedy Hour (1972 – 1974) and The Flintstones Kids (1986 – 1990). There have also been many made-for-TV specials, revivals and movies (most recently with real human actors).
Henry Corden, the voice of Fred Flintstone for more than two decades, died in May 2005, aged 85. Corden took over as the lovable loudmouth when original voice Alan Reed died in 1977. Reed had been doing Flintstone since the character debuted in 1960. Corden died of emphysema at AMI Encino Hospital.
After a near-fatal car accident on 24 January 1961, Mel Blanc did the voices of Barney Rubble, Dino and other assorted characters for 65 episodes while flat on his back with a microphone hanging over his bed.
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
Have a yabba-dabba-doo time
A dabba-doo time
You’ll have a gay old time
Alan Reed (1)
Henry Corden (2)
Jean Vander Pyl
Mel Blanc (1)
Daws Butler (2)
Bea Benaderet (1)
Gerry Johnson (2)
Jean Vander Pyl
Bamm Bamm Rubble
The Great Gazoo