15 yabba dabba true facts about 'The Flintstones'

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Top image: The Everett Collection

Yabba-dabba-doo! It's time to clock out at the quarry, slide down the dinosaur and relax with your favorite animated family.

When The Flintstones premiered in the fall of 1960, it shook up television like a slab of dinosaur ribs slapped on the side of a car. Never before had there been a primetime, cartoon sitcom. Today, the Flintstones are global icons and the, er, bedrock of the Hanna-Barbera empire. However, 59 years ago, the show was a risky proposition. After six seasons, the show spawned spin-offs, movies, toys, comic books, merchandise and more.

Let's celebrate Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty with 15 things you might not know about The Flintstones.

1. Hanna-Barbera considered making the show about a hillbilly family, a Roman family and a pilgrim family.

When Hanna-Barbera set forth to make television's first primetime animated sitcom, many concepts were spitballed. Joseph Barbera revealed much about the origin of the series in an essential interview with Leonard Maltin in 1997. The cartoon legend explained that his studio considered a hillbilly family, a pilgrim family, a Native American family and a Roman family. Years after the success of The Flintstones, the latter idea would eventually come to fruition when Hanna-Barbera launched The Roman Holidays in 1972, about a family living in the year 63 CE.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros. Television Distribution

2. They were originally called the Flagstones.

A short pilot of "The Flagstones," seen here, introduced Fred lounging in a pool. The name was perhaps changed to avoid confusion with the Flagstons, the family from the daily comic strip Hi and Lois introduced to newspapers in 1954.

Image: Hanna-Barbera

3. Joseph Barbera pitched the show for eight weeks before anyone bought it.

Barbera, pictured standing here, spent eight weeks in Manhattan, living in a hotel, pitching the sitcom to potential sponsors and networks. Nobody was biting. Finally, on his last day in the city, he presented the show to ABC, who took a chance.

Image: The Everett Collection

4. The Flintstones were originally going to have a son, not a daughter.

The family originally consisted of Fred, Wilma, and Fred Jr., seen here in a concept sketch. However, the tyke was ditched when the series began, as the show instead focused on the two adult couples. In season three, the creators decided to give the Flintstones a child. Again, the baby was going to be a boy, until a toy company explained there was much more money to be had selling a girl doll. Thus, Pebbles was born.

Image: The Everett Collection

5. "Yabba-Dabba-Doo" was inspired by a Brylcreem slogan.

Alan Reed, the voice of Fred, was not thrilled with the script's prompt to holler, "Yahoo!" Instead, he came up with the immortal "Yabba-dabba-doo!" Remembering a 1950s advertising campaign for the hair product Brylcreem, which proclaimed, "A little dab'll do ya," Reed came up with Fred's familiar catchphrase.

Image: Gentleman's Gazette

6. A different actor voiced Barney for five episodes in season two.

Cartoon voice legend Mel Blanc gave life to Barney Rubble. In 1961, Blanc nearly died in a head-on car crash, suffering a fractured skull that led him to slip into a coma. As Blanc recovered, Daws Butler provided the voice of Barney for a handful of episodes.

Image: The Everett Collection

7. "Meet the Flintstones" was inspired by Beethoven.

It is said that the melody for the show's theme was derived from the second "Tempest" movement of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 17, Op. 31. No wonder it became an immediate classic.

Image: Cold Cuts Records / Discogs

8. "Meet the Flintstones" was not used until season three.

However, that familiar refrain of "Meet the Flintstones" was not heard until the third season of the show. For the first two seasons, the opening used an instrumental piece of music titled "Rise and Shine."

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros. Television Distribution

9. Winston cigarettes sponsored the show.

Now here is something you will never see again. As with most shows of the era, the characters were shown pitching their sponsor's products. Fred and Barney would light up Winston cigarettes in early seasons.

Image: Hanna-Barbera

10. Jackie Gleason considered suing Hanna-Barbera.

Since the show's inception, people have noted the similarities between The Flintstones and The Honeymooners. Years later, in a Playboy interview, Jackie Gleason admitted he considered taking legal action, but decided against it as he didn't want to be seen as the man who took Fred off the air. Barbera, meanwhile, took the comparison as a compliment: "Well, if you compare Flintstones to Honeymooners, that's the biggest compliment you can give me."

Image: AP Photo/John Rooney

11. The show briefly hired writers from 'The Honeymooners.'

Hanna and Barbera hired experienced writers from the live-action world to whip up scripts for The Flintstones. Two of them, Herbert Finn and Sydney Zelinka, came from The Honeymooners. "I brought in a writer from the Honeymooners," Barbera recalled. "I paid him three thousand bucks and he was terrible." The boss thought the scripts were too wordy and not action-driven enough for animation.

12. It was the first American animated show to depict two people of the opposite sex sleeping in the same bed.

The first sitcom to show a married couple sharing the same bed was, well, the very first sitcom, Mary Kay and Johnny, way back in 1947.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros. Television Distribution

13. It was the first animated series nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series

Alas, it lost to The Jack Benny Show in 1961.

Image: The Everett Collection

14. Bea Benaderet of 'Petticoat Junction' was the second voice of Betty Rubble.

June Foray provided the voice of Betty in "The Flagstones." However, when the series kicked off, the supremely talented Bea Benaderet took over the role. And here's where it gets interesting! Benaderet had previously voiced Granny in Looney Tunes cartoons. She was replaced by — you guessed it — June Foray. Benaderet (pictured here on the right with Jean Vander Pyl, the voice of Wilma) was also Lucille Ball's original choice to play Ethel on I Love Lucy. After Benaderet left The Flintstones, Gerry Johnston would assume the role of Betty in seasons five and six. Benaderet sadly passed away in 1968.

Image: The Everett Collection

15. There was a crossover with 'Bewitched.'

In "Samantha," the sixth episode of season six (how witchy!), Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York show up as their Bewitched characters Samantha and Darrin Stephens. This was a little bit of company synergy, as Hanna-Barbera produced the animated opening to Bewitched.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / IMDB

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JoeSHill 11 days ago
"THE FLINTSTONES" was pure pay dirt for William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, especially when many of their Primetime cartoon series were mostly distributed through Screen Gems, the then TV subsidiary of Columbia Pictures, decades before the sellout to SONY in 1989. throughout the animated show's ABC-TV run from 1960 to 1966, they were that popular for Hanna-Barbera that a full length animated movie, "THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE" was released by Columbia Pictures on August 3, 1966. NBC later reran "THE FLINTSTONES" on their Saturday Morning lineup in 1967. in Fall 1971, CBS returned The Flintstones back to TV in "THE PEBBLES & BAMM BAMM SHOW", which featured the voices of "ALL IN THE FAMILY"s Sally Struthers and "DENNIS THE MENACE" star Jay North. the success later led to "THE FLINTSTONE COMEDY HOUR" in Fall 1972 also on CBS. by the mid/late 1970s, The Flintstones returned to Primetime on the NBC Network and in Fall 1979, they landed back onto Saturday Mornings in various formats, while Post cereals capitalized on the characters over the lengthy decades. with Hanna-Barbera now owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, there are plans to revive the animated series, but if they're smart, they'll reconsider that idea since "THE SIMPSONS" and "FAMILY GUY" have totally bastardized animated Primetime, even with past FOX shows like "KING OF THE HILL" and "FUTURAMA", "THE FLINTSTONES" was still the most iconic and family-friendly Primetime animated series that came way before the likes of Bart Simpson or Stewie Griffith and all the dysfunctional adult-oriented flotsam that came out in the 90s and the early 2000s. and with Bill & Joe gone, the thought of seeing Warner Bros. Animation trying to continue "THE FLINTSTONES" is totally absurd and creatively Insane-they'd screw it up, big time, just like the recent and offensive remaking of "THE BANANA SPLITS", an NBC Saturday Morning series that Hanna-Barbera produced in 1968. Warners recently released a horror movie that exploited the characters from this vintage series and turned them into unsavory psycho characters in a violent adult setting. Bill & Joe's creations were not meant to be in the hands of tasteless, no-talent hacks who do not know their material and who would pervert their creations-such is the fate of remaking The Flintstones and ruining their family-friendly image under the pretense of a franchise. in short, remaking this show, or any other of Hanna-Barbera's iconic cartoon shows would be a total waste of their time and ours! the original ABC series from the 1960s is still the superior, and even though "THE SIMPSONS" beat their track record, "THE FLINSTONES" is still the better of the Primetime cartoon shows!
Mydoglucky9 12 days ago
Maybe after Pebbles was born they stopped selling Winstons and began selling Welch's grape juice and jams and jellies. And I think I've seen some bread and peanut butter commercials on You Tube too. And I grew up eating Pebbles Cereal and I took Flintstones Vitamins. I still love Fruity Pebbles.
RedSamRackham 12 days ago
Saddest & perhaps least liked HONEYMOONERS episode was when Alice & Ralph had to give back their adopted daughter. But Flinstones kept their natural born daughter Pebbles & Rubbles kept adopted boy Bam Bam. ☺
jamiahsh 13 days ago
Good eeeevening... Alvin Brickrock
Perry Masonary
Peek-a-boo Camera
So many “of the time” nods
stephaniestavropoulos 13 days ago
FYI METV failed to mention: For a season or two Bea Benaderet was moonlighting, pulling double duty. She was voicing Betty, while playing ate Bradley. After a while, it just became too much and she had to quit being Betty
Lantern 13 days ago
Remember when the "Meet the Flintstones" opening was used in a Simpsons episode:

"Simpson
Homer Simpson
He's the greatest guy in history!
From the
Town of Springfield
He's about to hit a chestnut tree" - CRASH!
Last line reminds me of George Of The Jungle: "Watch out for that tree...CRASH!
harlow1313 13 days ago
16. The (Flint) Stones featured cool rock bands like The Way Outs and the Beau Brummelstones.
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