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September 16, 2014

'The Flintstones' 50th Anniversary: Celebrate With 8 Fun Facts

by Rich Keller, posted Sep 30th 2010 11:00AM
The Flintstones and the Rubbles -- celebrating 50 years togetherToday marks the 50th anniversary of 'The Flintstones' (that's why you may have seen them on the Google Doodle). The Hanna-Barbera classic premiered on Sept. 30, 1960 at 8:30 in the evening on ABC and became a hit that lasted six seasons and spawned numerous spin-offs and television specials.

Tonight, Boomerang will celebrate this high-water mark by airing the show's first episode at the same time ABC aired the premiere. While you wait for that moment, here are 8 fun facts that may make you put down your brontosaurus burger.

1. Flagstones, Meet the Flagstones
'The Flintstones' wasn't always named 'The Flintstones.' In the demonstration pilot pitched to ABC, Fred and Wilma had the last name of Flagstone. After the series was commissioned by the network, the title of the show was changed to 'The Gladstones' for a short period of time to avoid confusion with the Flagstons of 'Hi and Lois' fame.


2. The First Theme
When 'The Flintstones' premiered in late September 1960, it didn't start with the opening sequence millions of viewers have gotten used to seeing over the last half century. Instead, the opening showed a solo Fred running a few errands in Bedrock on his way home to watch TV. Even the theme song and color of pet dinosaur Dino were different in this opening.


3. Fred and Barney Light Up
'The Flintstones' wasn't always a family-friendly show. For the first two years it skewed to a more adult audience with its portrayal of marriage (the first animated program to show two members of the opposite sex sleeping together in one bed), work and friendship. Because of that, the show's sponsorship was more adult in nature as well, including advertisements for Winston cigarettes that showed Fred, Barney and Wilma lighting up and praising the tobacco's great taste.

Once Pebbles was born the show leaned towards a more family-friendly format and the sponsorship followed with a switch to Welch's juices and jellies.


Mel Blanc was the voice of Barney Rubble for over two decades4. The Changing Voice of Barney Rubble
Almost up until his death in 1989, Mel Blanc provided the voice for Barney Rubble. However, during the first two seasons of the show, Barney's voice wasn't the recognizable, deep one everyone recalls. When the show began Barney had a higher, more nasal pitch. After returning from a near-fatal auto accident in 1961, Blanc went with a lower tone, which connected more with the character's unique laugh.


5. Celebrity Voices
'The Simpsons' wasn't the first animated series to use famous folks as guests voices on their show. 'The Flintstones' started the trend nearly three decades prior with appearances by Ann-Margaret, Tony Curtis, Dick Clark, pop group The Beau Brummels, as well as Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York as their 'Bewitched' characters Samantha and Darrin. Of course, being 'The Flintstones' these folks had a Stone Age name like Ann-Margrock and Stony Curtis.


6. The Great Gazoo
While viewers believe that the big-headed alien known as The Great Gazoo appeared on 'The Flintstones' for a few years, his first appearance was actually in the middle of the show's sixth and last season and he only appeared in a half-dozen episodes, including an installment where he transports the Flintstones and Rubbles into a future very similar to the one of the Jetsons. Still, many consider his appearance as a "Jump the Shark" moment for the cartoon.


7. Fred Flintstone: Movie Star
Just as 'The Flintstones' was ending its run in 1966, Columbia Pictures released the musical comedy 'The Man Called Flintstone' to movie theaters. A parody of the spy films of that time, 'Man Called Flintstone' focused on Fred as he is recruited by a spy organization to replace their top agent, who looks just like him. Besides receiving positive response from critics and fans, the movie is notable for the last appearance of Gerry Johnson, voice of Betty Rubble, who died four months prior to the movie's premiere.


8. The Spin-Offs
While not as prolific as Scooby-Doo when it came to spin-off series, Fred and Barney had their share. The most famous of these were the 1971 'The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show,' which focused on the Flintstone and Rubble children as teenagers, and the 1980s 'The Flintstone Kids,' which transformed the older Flintstones and Rubbles into kids themselves.

In total, there were seven spin-off series, 10 specials, and 5 made-for-TV movies. This includes 'The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones' and two movies focusing on the married life of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm -- 'I Yabba-Dabba Do!' and 'Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby.'

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ted

Dino was found while fred was hunting in the forest. At first Dino could talk. (season 1 episode 18)
Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm can sing as babies,yes. (season 6 episode 1),I think.

October 01 2010 at 11:12 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nchamlong2

Regarding Fact #4: Six of the earliest episodes in Season 2 were actually voiced by Daws Butler
during the worst of Mel Blanc's incapacitation - why explains why he sounds more like Yogi
Bear in those episodes!

October 01 2010 at 1:45 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ralph

Sunday is the 50th Anniversary of the Ã…ndy Griffith Show!

September 30 2010 at 9:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
John F.C. Taylor

50th for The Flintstones and 40th for the Partridge Family. Any other milestone TV anniversaries in the offing?

September 30 2010 at 1:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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