"Yabba-dabba-doo!" The Flintstones became the first cartoon made for grown-ups when it premiered in prime-time on September 30, 1960 on ABC. The cartoon depicted Fred Flintstone and his buddy Barney Rubble, along with their wives, Wilma and Betty, respectively. The Flintstones was modeled after the popular sitcom of that era, The Honeymooners; Fred and Barney even look a bit like The Honeymooners' Ralph Kramden (Jackie Gleason) and Ed Norton (Art Carney).
The Flintstones storylines usually followed loud-mouth Fred, who partnered with his prankster neighbor, Barney, and the trouble the two of them caused. Originally, the cartoon was titled The Flagstones and featured the voice talents of legendary Daws Butler, who provided the voices for both Fred and Barney in the pilot. Later, Fred Flintstone was played by Alan Reed and Barney Rubble was played by Mel Blanc, with Daws Butler and Hal Smith covering for Blanc during an illness.
Prior to The Simpsons, The Flintstones held the record for being the longest running prime-time animated series. The cartoon aired 166 episodes before it finished in 1966.
The Flintstones was nominated in 1961 for an Emmy in Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor.
A handful of spin-off cartoons were created after the cartoon finished, such as The Flintstone Kids (1986) the Flintstones Comedy Hour (1972) Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm (1971) The Flintstones Comedy Show (1980) as well as several stand-alone specials.
The Flintstones inspired two live-action movies, as well. The Flintstones movie was released in 1994, starring John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Rosie O'Donnell and Elizabeth Perkins. In 2000 another live-action movie, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, starring Mark Addy, Stephen Baldwin, Kristen Johnston and Jane Krakowski.
A re-imagining of the cartoon series nearly took place in 2012. Seth MacFarlane, creator of Family Guy, almost updated the cartoon for FOX, but plans were scrapped after executives at FOX weren't thrilled with the script.
Cast and Characters
Fred Flintstone played by Alan Reed
Barney Rubble played by Mel Blanc (Looney Tunes)
Wilma Flintstone played by Jean Vander Pyl (Rosie the Robot on The Jetsons)
Betty Rubble played by Bea Benaderet (Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Petticoat Junction)
Pebbles played by Jean Vander Pyl
Bamm Bamm played by Don Messick (Papa Smurf on The Smurfs, Scooby-Doo on Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?)
Mr. Slate played by John Stephenson ( Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Fraggle Rock)
Dino played by Chips Spam The Great Gazoo played by Harvey Korman (The Carol Burnett Show, Blazing Saddles)
- See a trailer for Season 2
- See a trailer for Season 3
- See a trailer for Season 4
- See a trailer for Season 6
- See a trailer for The Flintstones Movie
- See a trailer for Viva Rock Vegas
My Two Cents
The Flintstones is most likely the first cartoon that introduced kids from the '70s to an animated comedy that didn't really solely on sight gags or vaudevillian humor. The Flintstones was a sitcom, structured with the family unit at the center of the stories and even camera angles to mimic the multiple camera angles of a sitcom. Sure, they dug quarries on the backs of dinosaurs and lived in a rock hut, but the basics were the same as The Honeymooners.
Like typical patriarchs on sitcoms today, Fred Flintstone had grandiose ideas that got him into trouble, and he was married to a very attractive wife. The Simpsons, now the longest running comedy on TV today, as well as Family Guy, owe their concepts to The Flintstones, though each has its own style of humor. (No wonder Seth MacFarlane was looking to re-invent The Flintstones.)
The Flintstones is the epitome of the classic cartoon, with snappy dialogue, clever sight gags and a fun premise. (Modern Stone Age family, get it?) The cartoon series holds up today, even against edgier animated comedies, and will always remain popular.