Synopsis of Saturday Morning Show
"Flintstones, meet the Flintstones,
They're a modern Stone Age family..."
Originally envisioned as an animated version of The Honeymooners set in prehistoric times, The Flintstones became one of the longest-running and most beloved cartoon shows ever.
Fred and Wilma Flintstone played the jurassic ancestors of Ralph and Alice Kramden, echoing that pair's famous husband-and-wife confrontations every time the short-tempered Fred returned from his job at Mr. Slate’s quarry to face Wilma, a housewife.
Their neighbors on Cobblestone Lane were Barney and Betty Rubble, with Barney acting as the goofy and cowardly Ed Norton to Fred’s loudmouth Kramden. Betty and Wilma, on the other hand, were more like-minded, with Wilma being a tad more stern than her higher-voiced gal pal.
Life in Bedrock would usually liven up when Fred and Barney brought out the worst in each other, causing enough trouble that even Wilma and Betty would get upset. But by episode’s end, the girls always forgave them and all was well, echoing shades of I Love Lucy.
The most distinctive—and often most humorous—aspects of the show were its clever anachronisms. Bedrock was essentially straight out of 1960's suburbia, but with rocks as the essential resource, dinosaurs as the favored pets (including yapping purple Flintstone dinosaur Dino and the Rubble's green jurassic kangaroo Hoppy), and technology that was crude at best. Fred had a car, but it operated on foot power, not gasoline. And Wilma used a dishwasher, but it was a woolly mammoth, whose nozzle-like trunk was quite effective at getting off that stubborn grease.
Puns were another ubiquitous part of the show, with almost everyone’s last name—from Flintstone to Rubble to Slately—reflecting the low-tech world in which they lived. Even celebrities weren’t above this treatment. Tony Curtis, for instance, twice voiced his prehistoric alter ego as (you guessed it) Stony Curtis.
The show once again echoed I Love Lucy when Wilma and Fred brought a new bundle of joy into the home. On February 22, 1963, Pebbles Flintstone was born, and as with all proud poppas, Fred revealed his softer side when interacting with his baby girl. Certainly, it was cause for him to shout his trademark expression of glee, “Yabba-dabba-doo!”
The next season brought Pebbles a playmate when the Rubbles adopted the energetic Bamm Bamm, whose favorite activity was hitting things with a club while repeatedly shouting his name. Luckily, he was also adorable, so the Rubbles never returned him.
The show ran from 1960 to 1966, for years the longest-running cartoon on primetime. Only the 90's reign of The Simpsons was enough to top the record. In 1967, The Flintstones moved to Saturday mornings, where it remained a staple well into the 80's.
The Flintstones have left their bare-footprints not only on television, but also in movies (1965's A Man Called Flintstone and the live-action The Flintstones in 1994), merchandising, and even in the supermarket, with those delicious Flintstones vitamins.
New variations of the show have been produced in every decade since the 60's, everything from Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo to The Flintstone Kids. Some have fared better than others, but the fact that they were even made is proof that Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, Pebbles, and Bamm Bamm will never go out of style.
See also: Pebbles and Bamm Bamm, The New Fred and Barney Show, Fred and Barney Meet The Thing, Fred and Barney Meet The Shmoo, The Flintstones Comedy Show, The Flintstone Kids
Release History9/30/60 - 9/5/70 ABC/NBC
TV Sub Categoriesanimated
Television CastFred Flintstone Alan Reed
Wilma Flintstone Jean VanderPyl
Pebbles Flintstone Jean VanderPyl
Barney Rubble Mel Blanc
Barney Rubble Daws Butler
Dino Mel Blanc (as Chips Spam)
Dino Jerry Mann (one episode only)
Dino Daws Butler (one episode only)
Betty Jean McBricker Rubble Bea Benaderet (1960-64)
Betty Rubble Gerry Johnson (1964-66)
Bamm Bamm Don Messick
Mr. Slate John Stephenson
The Great Gazoo Harvey Korman
Wilma's Mother Verna Felton
Arnold the Newsboy Don Messick
Various Howard Morris
Various Doug Young