1 9 7 9 – 1 9 8 4 (USA)
Five years after leaving CBS, Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and the rest of the Bedrock gang returned to Saturday mornings on NBC under an array of titles and different formats.
First up was The New Fred and Barney Show (3 February – 15 September 1979) which was basically a rehash of The Flintstones.
From September to December, the show became Fred and Barney Meet the Thing, in which the character from The Fantastic Four became a separate instalment alongside the Bedrock group (despite the title, Fred and Barney did not, in fact, meet the Thing on the show).
Here the Thing’s “normal” high school alter ego Benjy hung out with his buddies Kelly, Betty and Ronald at Centerville High School but was ready to transform himself at any time into the Thing by connecting two halves of a ring together and saying, “Thing Ring, do your thing!”
The sight of the Thing usually kept the Yancey Street Gang – a mean chopper-riding group comprising Spike the leader and Turkey and Stretch – at bay.
In mid-December 1979 came Fred and Barney Meet the Schmoo, in which cartoons from The New Schmoo joined the existing show to form a 90-minute extravaganza (and Fred and Barney did not meet the Schmoo, either).
On 22 November 1980, the Thing and Schmoo segments vanished and the show became The Flintstone Comedy Show. The show retained its 90-minute length for the first season, with several new elements added: Dino now had his own adventures, and Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm became sleuths with Dino in another segment.
The biggest transformation came for Betty and Wilma, who in a new segment became reporters for the Bedrock Daily News under publisher Lou Granite and found themselves involved in predicaments requiring the help of Captain Caveman and the paper’s bespectacled copyboy Chester.
All new to the cast were Fred and Barney’s monstrous neighbours the Frankenstones, with their children Atrocia and Freaky, and their tough pet Rockjaw.
By the second season, the show had shrunk by 60 minutes down to a half-hour presentation.
The Flintstone Funnies was the September 1982 incarnation of the show, with the main four characters dealing with outer space creatures in new adventures.
This format lasted the longest of any tried by NBC during the Flintstones’ nearly six-year run at the network. The characters returned yet again two years later as The Flintstone Kids.
Wilma Flintstone/Pebbles Flintstone
Barney Rubble/Dino/Captain Caveman/Chester
Don Messick (1)
Michael Sheehan (2)
Benjamin “Benjy” Grimm
Charles Nelson Reilly