Ann-Margret's TV debut came on The Flintstones

She came a long way to become a superstar: from living in a funeral home to singing "Bye, Bye Birdie" to babysitting Pebbles.

After The Flintstones became the first animated show to be nominated for an Emmy for Best Comedy Series, it really didn't matter that Fred didn't take home the prize. The impact was made just by the nomination, and Hollywood understood that The Flintstones wasn't just a cartoon, but a prestige vehicle for stars at the height of their careers.

So when The Flintstones was looking for a wow moment to kick off its fourth season in 1963, the show likely had its choice of guest stars. But there was only one rising superstar The Flintstones wanted to sign: Ann-Margret.

In 1963, Ann-Margret went from winning the Emmy for Best Newcomer to stealing the show from Dick Van Dyke in Bye, Bye Birdie. Her performance pushed her to become an A-list star, and her managers, scheming to make the most of the moment, knew The Flintstones would be a perfect complement to the array of roles and singing gigs she'd taken on next.

For "Ann-Margrock Presents," Ann-Margret sang two songs, one a lullaby and the other a bouncy pop number, and the song she sings for Pebbles likely moved the hearts of parents watching, who were probably about to sing their own kids to sleep.

Next time you watch, you should know that Ann-Margret had just as tender feelings of care about her own family. She said they were willing to do anything to help her achieve fame, and she told The Progress-Bulletin in Pomona, California, in 1963 that the only reason she was driven to become a star was to provide a better life for them.

"I want to make up to my parents for all the sacrifices they made for me,” Ann-Margret said.

On The Flintstones, the Gruesomes would be introduced the next year after Ann Margrock appeared. They're a cartoon family that lives in a Munsters-like house called "Tombstone Manor."

Well, if you thought Tombstone Manor sounded like a creepy place to dwell, wait until you find out where Ann-Margret spent a chunk of her youth.

She told The Progress-Bulletin that at one point things got dire when her dad became injured and then couldn't find work. To support the whole family, her mother took work as a funeral home receptionist, in part because her entire family could move into the funeral home as part of her pay.

Ann-Margret said she didn't mind living in the funeral home, except for the teasing kids doled out at school. "It really didn't bother me until the kids at school began to heckle me about sleeping next to a dead body!" she said.

The kids weren't exaggerating either. Ann-Margret confirmed her living room was indeed part of the funeral parlor.

"Some nights they would use the front room for wakes until one o'clock in the morning," she said. "After everybody left, Mother would tidy things up, then close the sliding door that led from our side of the living room to the part of the funeral parlor where they kept the casket."

Shortly after leaving behind the funeral home, Ann-Margret started doing shows in Vegas, which led to her first movie role and her first Emmy. After that, Bye, Bye Birdie came along and the world said hello to Ann-Margret. Her family believed in her the whole way.

Most times, history remembers Ann-Margret as the female version of Elvis Presley. (Or perhaps, the woman who dumped Elvis Presley.) But in 1963, cradling Pebbles as a cartoon version of the mega-star she'd just become, Ann-Margret was just a girl who was grateful she could afford to give back to her family.

"I want everything that I can possibly get for them — their own house, their own gardener, their own car," Ann-Margret said. "My mother has to go to the laundromat twice a week!"

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shado 16 months ago
You are WRONG! While a teenager:
c. 1954 Ann-Margret appears on “The Morris B. Sack Amateur Hour” on a local Chicago TV station, winning first prize of $75 for singing “Make Love to Me”
c. 1956 sings on Don McNeill’s “Breakfast Club” show
c. 1957-58 sings on Ted Mack’s “Amateur Hour” at age 16
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A04cQjIejrw
She later appeared in George Burns' Las Vegas show; then on the Jack Benny Show 04-02-1961.
Jack Benny show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N8g__bDUTg
She didn't "appear" on the Flintstones until 1963.
JamesSkaggs 20 months ago
You’re wrong! Ann Margret’s TV debut was on the Jack Benny Program in 1961! She was discovered by George Burns!
dmagoon 20 months ago
Was Ann-Margret considered for an appearance for Married...with Children?; Oprah Winfrey's (Peg Bundy's idol) face was put on Ann-Margret's body on a TV Guide cover.
Melfins 20 months ago
If anyone remembers the original Hollywood squares game show I have a story. Charlie Weaver, (Cliff Arquette) was asked by Peter Marshall: Chuck, ( Peter occasionally referenced Charlie as Chuck) "they say when you die you see your whole life flash before your eyes, true or false." And Charlie replies: "that's true, but when I die I want to see Ann Margaret's life flash before my eyes."
BrittReid 20 months ago
One of the most beautiful women to walk the Earth.
FMAMACAT 20 months ago
I forgot AM was on the Flintstones. I like that song she sang to Pebbles. Am, should have stayed with Elvis. She is a lot better than the woman he did marry.
JHP 20 months ago
all I want to say is YUMMMMMMMMMMMO! :)
MrsPhilHarris 20 months ago
Loved her on The Flintstones singing “This little lamb...”. 🐑
Andybandit 20 months ago
I liked her on the flintstones. Can Metv put something else on at 5pm mountain. The flintstones have been on at 5pm for so long. This will be the sixth time once the show has the series finale, that I have seen the pilot episode.
Maybe The Addams Family?
Andybandit 20 months ago
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Wiseguy LittleMissNoName 20 months ago
Even if that were possible, there are fewer episodes of Addams Family so the series would repeat that much more often.
cperrynaples 20 months ago
The headline is wrong, AM first appeared on Ted Mack's Original Amateur Hour! I will say that she considered The Flintstones a highlight! She even appeared in the second live-action film, appro titled Viva Rock Vegas!
CSkeggs60120 cperrynaples 20 months ago
Ann-Margret was also on the Jack Benny show in April 1961. https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0613759/
cperrynaples CSkeggs60120 20 months ago
Yes she was and Benny used to argue with George Burns over who made her a star!
JamesSkaggs cperrynaples 20 months ago
Her IMDb says nothing about Ted Mack’s but does show show that her TV debut was The Jack Benny Program.
shado cperrynaples 16 months ago
While a teenager:
c. 1954 Ann-Margret appears on “The Morris B. Sack Amateur Hour” on a local Chicago TV station, winning first prize of $75 for singing “Make Love to Me”
c. 1956 sings on Don McNeill’s “Breakfast Club” show
c. 1957-58 sings on Ted Mack’s “Amateur Hour” at age 16
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A04cQjIejrw
She later appeared in George Burns' Las Vegas show; then on the Jack Benny Show 04-02-1961.
Jack Benny show
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5N8g__bDUTg
She didn't "appear" on the Flintstones until 1963.
shado JamesSkaggs 16 months ago
IMDB like Wiki, isn't infallible and has lots of errors. :)
Deleted 20 months ago
This comment has been removed.
harlow1313 20 months ago
Interesting and unusual remembrance.
daDoctah 20 months ago
Sabre tooth kitten with a whip?
texasluva 20 months ago
Talented and More! Oh yeah
MrsPhilHarris texasluva 20 months ago
He wasn’t too bad either. 😎
texasluva MrsPhilHarris 20 months ago
Yep. Proves we are both human 😁. That's a good deal 😊
JHP texasluva 20 months ago
Looking at that still - I am going thru puberty all over again!
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