Alan Reed's son said that Fred Flintstone's trademark ''Yabba Dabba Doo'' was his father's idea
This "Yabba Dabba Doo" was almost a "Yabba Dabba Don't."
Just as iconic as a name or an outfit, a character’s catchphrase is iconic in its own right. It’s what sticks in a viewer’s mind long after the television has turned off, or even after the show has left the airwaves of television.
Such is the case for Fred Flintstone and his famous catchphrase “Yabba Dabba Doo!” If you yell that into a crowded supermarket, sure, they’ll probably be a little frightened, but they’ll also definitely know that you’re quoting Fred Flintstone. Well, it might surprise you to know that the famous catchphrase was actually an improvisational choice by none other than Alan Reed, the voice of Fred Flintstone himself.
In an interview with Tinseltown Talks for the Fayette Tribune, Reed’s son, Alan Reed Jr., recounted the story. He said, “It called for Fred to yell ‘Yahoo!’ but Dad felt it didn’t have the exuberance that was needed.” He continued, “So he spontaneously came up with ‘Yabba Dabba Doo!’ during a recording session and Joe (Barbera) liked it.”
Reed Jr. also claimed that the series stood on the shoulders of another well-known program. He said, “The show was inspired by Jackie Gleason’s The Honeymooners. Fred Flintstone apparently took the place of Ralph Kramden, played by Jackie Gleason.
Reed Jr. also revealed that while it may be difficult to picture, his father wasn’t actually the first choice to voice the main Flintstone character. He revealed, “There was a short pilot called ‘The Flagstones’ with Daws Butler as the voice of Fred. He was a great voice actor for Hanna-Barbera, but just didn’t come up with the sound the producers had in mind for Fred.” By contrast, Reed Jr. said, “Dad had that natural gruff, heavy tone that could be excitable and funny, but with a warm twinkle about it at the same time.”