Yabba Dabba Doo, Meet The Flintstones!
Back in September of 1960, The Flintstones premiered on primetime TV as the first animated sitcom by the team of Hanna-Barbera. This cartoon was almost called, “The Flagstones” but thankfully wasn’t!
Joseph Barbera pitched this show for 8 weeks and at the last minute ABC decided to take a chance on the prehistoric animated sitcom. Originally, Fred and Wilma had a son, but the creators decided to stick with the two neighboring couples who were all best friends that live in the prehistoric town of Bedrock instead.
The show’s character resemblance and voices bear a certain similarity to the characters on The Honeymooners. With Fred having a Jackie Gleason-esque quality along with Mel Blanc’s voice work as Barney Rubble, which grew more similar to Art Carney’s ‘Ed Norton’ character through the years.
By profession, Fred was a bronto-crane operator at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company and a member of the "Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes" with Barney. Wilma Flintstone and Betty Rubble are cavewives, who love to shop and charge their goodies on their husbands credit cards. Dino is the Flintstone’s adorable pet dinosaur who acts just like a dog.
During the third season, Hanna and Barbera decided that Fred and Wilma would have a baby. It was intended for the Flintstones to have a baby boy, but the head of the marketing department convinced them to change it to a girl instead, because "girl dolls sell a lot better than boy dolls."
In the fourth season, the Rubbles were depressed because they were unable to have children of their own, so they adopt Bamm-Bamm (the world’s strongest kid). This made The Flintstones the first animated series in history to address the issue of infertility. It was also the first American cartoon to have two people of the opposite sex (Fred and Wilma or Barney and Betty) sleeping together in the same bed. Although Fred and Wilma do sleep in separate beds in some of the episodes.
Who can forget the stone-age characters in the series with names like Joe Rockhead, The Great Gazoo (an alien with Harvey Korman’s voice), Arnold the paperboy, Mr. Slate (Fred’s boss), the Grand Poobah or Pearl Slaghoople (Wilma’s mother who despises Fred and vice versa). Over 100 characters appeared on the program. Hoppy was the Rubbles' pet ‘hopparoo’ (a kangaroo/dinosaur-combined creature), that they also adopt in the beginning of the fifth season.
The program ended up succeeding beyond anyone’s wildest dreams, running for six seasons and 166 episodes, also getting nominated for an Outstanding Comedy Series Emmy in the first season. Producing feature films and spin-offs, two amusement parks, TV specials, toys and merchandise, chewable vitamins and breakfast cereals. Yabba Dabba Doo!
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