Did you notice Fred Flintstone's voice changed after the Seventies Christmas special?

After Alan Reed passed away in 1977, Henry Corden took over the caveman character.

Read to Me

The Flintstones first introduced fans to Fred Flintstone as Santa Claus in the 1964 episode "Christmas Flintstones."

In that episode, Santa comes down with the flu, and elves show up to beg Fred to step in for the Jolly Old Elf.

When Fred agrees, we watch him fly over rooftops in a sled, delivering gifts and shouting Christmas greetings to kids in French, Italian, Swedish, etc. It's an extremely sweet special episode, and it also introduced the adorable Christmas song "Christmas Is My Fav'rite Time of Year."

Listen carefully when Fred Flintstone sings the Christmas song in this episode, though, and if you've got a really good ear, you might notice it isn't Alan Reed singing. The story goes that Reed couldn't sing at all, so Hanna-Barbera brought in a different voice actor to sing the songs, Henry Corden.

Henry Corden wasn't one of those voice actors who stuck to doing voice work on cartoons, even though he was exceptional and prolific at it. He was also a dynamic actor who appeared in dozens of onscreen roles in movies and on TV. You might remember him as the landlord on The Monkees. Marcia Brady surely remembers him as her first boss on The Brady Bunch.

He featured in The Ten Commandments, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Hogan's Heroes, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and many more.

That Christmas episode was the only Flintstones holiday special in existence until 1977, which unfortunately is the same year that Alan Reed passed away after a heart attack. The Flintstones needed someone to fill Reed's rather large shoes, and Corden, already doing some of the voicework singing for Reed, became the natural choice.

To get Reed's voice right, Corden listened to tapes and was earnest about doing a sincere imitation of Reed's exact inflections.

So when A Flintstone Christmas aired in 1977, only extremely attentive fans may have noticed a slight change in Fred's voice. We've tried listening to Reed and Corden's voice work and have to commend Corden for making the transition as smooth as possible. He sounds nearly exactly like Reed to us! What do you think?

In later years, Corden felt more comfortable making the voice his own, so if you watch The Flintstones cartoons after 1977, you may be able to pick up more on the shifting voicework.

For A Flintstone Christmas, the plot replicated the original Christmas episode, once again finding Santa coming down with a cold and unable to deliver gifts, with Fred stepping into his suit and his sleigh.

However, instead of just one original Christmas song, the 1977 special gave us five: "Which One Is the Real Santa Claus?," "Sounds of Christmas Day," "Brand New Kind of Christmas Song," "It's My Favorite Time of Year," and "Hope."

"Hope" was such a good one that three years later, Yogi Bear swiped it for Yogi's Christmas Special!

After A Flintstone Christmas, Corden continued voicing Fred Flintstone, with his final appearance on a video game released in 2000 called "The Flintstones: Bedrock Bowling."

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Elvinita 5 months ago
It doesn't feel like Christmas to me if Christmas Flintstone and A Flintstone Christmas Carol does not play at least once. This year my Cable went out and I lost all of my DVR'd Christmas specials. I had to pay for them on streaming services on Christmas eve. Trust me when I say that the Cable company got an earful when I could not get my shows.
MAGronemeyer 6 months ago
I could tell the difference between Alan Reed and Henry Cordin. Henry sounded similar to Alan, but he sounded like he suffered from adenoids or a serious head cold!
OldTVfanatic 7 months ago
A Flintstone Christmas dated itself quickly because of the CB radio in Santa’s sleigh, doubtless used to capitalize on the CB craze exemplified in Smokey and the Bandit.
dmagoon 7 months ago
BTW, when Scott menville replaced Lennie Weinrib as the voice of the pre-teen version Fred Flintstone on "The Flintstone Kids" because Scoot sounded a more believable age, he sounded like a fast-talking version of Charlie Brown; oddly he even replaced Weinrib in some (at least) first season shorts(?); I Wilma's voice actress replacement in Season 2 sounded like Lucy van Pelt.
JoeSHill 7 months ago
Henry Corden was another famous cartoon voiceover and a valuable asset to Hanna-Barbera. even before he took over Alan Reed's role as the voice of "Fred Flintstone", Corden's unmistakable voice was well used and well heard! he voiced Hanna-Barbera's "The Hillbillie Bears" segments of "THE SECRET SQUIRREL SHOW" in 1965, and played numerous villain voices in "JONNY QUEST" with such expert perfection! he also appeared on an episode of Irwin Allen's "LAND OF THE GIANTS", and made some appearances on ABC's "THE FLYING NUN" and NBC's "I DREAM OF JEANNIE", but his Hanna-Barbera history is greatly synonymous in many of their cartoons, but he also did voices at DePatie-Freleng in their 1972 NBC cartoon series, "THE BARKLEYS" almost sounding like "ALL IN THE FAMILY"s Carroll O' Connor, and also played the voice in the studio's animated version of "RETURN TO THE PLANET OF THE APES" as "General Urko" in 1975. taking over Alan Reed's voice wasn't too difficult, in fact, in a singing number of the 1966 Columbia Pictures release, "THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE", Henry Corden took over Fred Flintstone's singing voice in the "Teammates" music number- so Corden's voice history is fully immortalized in the many Hanna-Barbera cartoons that he voiced over the decades, as well as an irreplaceable voice talent who has zero successors!
KevinButler 7 months ago
Henry Corden was a wonderful cartoon vo performer and an equally talented character performer..He was also a talented singer..Where ever you are? Henry? Happy Holidays.
jblues 7 months ago
Jeff Bergman does it now (took over from Henry in the 2000s, when Henry passed - should have been noted above.) I have watched Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs (which is being shown in Canada and the UK) and he does a good job as Fred.
VernCaldwell 7 months ago
I noticed a difference in Wilma, Betty and Fred's voices in A Flintstone Christmas. It was not a favorite of mine. Just didn't feel like they had the same chemistry in it as it did in the 1960s episodes.
PP 7 months ago
Corden also appeared in two classic episodes of Dragnet. "The Fur Job", where he played a furrier who had to train Gannon to get his stolen goods back, and "Homicide: The Cigarette Butt", where he played an obnoxious landlord who happened to be a violinist.
Nadya92129 7 months ago
I hated the Flintstones! Hanna Barbers cartoons were synonymous with schlock. Supposedly based on The Honeymooners, the actor bellowing out "Yabba Dabba Doo" was an obnoxious loudmouth, with none of Jackie Gleason's talent or empathy for his character. I'm not happy with ME-TV's plans for the new year. All viewers are not 5 years old, with below room temperature IQs.
Gomer Pyle, Green Acres and Hogan Heroes are some of ME TV's highest rated programs. So adding a few more animated programs will not be too much of a stretch. Sit back and enjoy. You might even learn something.
JLTitus72 7 months ago
Henry Corden also did the voice of Buford T. Justice in the TV edited version of Smokey and the Bandit. Because back then swearing was not allowed on TV.
Corey 7 months ago
Henry Corden played Fred's nemesis next door neighbor
Pacificsun 7 months ago
Yes, who in the world wouldn't notice that Fred Flintstone's voice changed.
jaelinsmith40652 7 months ago
Henry Corden was a great actor, he was tremendous his voice sound like a different fred flintstone in the 1980's through 2000's. He had a nice charming voice and a nice young look may god rest him and Alan for those wonderful original voices of The Flintstones and other Hanna Barbera shows that I watch when I was a 5 year old kid.
justjeff 7 months ago
There was only one Alan Reed, but he sure did leave big shoes to fill. Corden wasn't the only voice actor to take over the role of Fred Flintstone. According to Wikipedia:

"Alan Reed was the original voice artist of Fred (minus the original short pilot where he was voiced by Daws Butler) until Reed's death in 1977. Henry Corden occasionally voiced Fred on records throughout the 1960s, and also provided the singing voice for Fred in The Man Called Flintstone. Following Reed's death, Corden officially took over the role until his retirement in 2000, although he continued to voice him in Post Pebbles commercials until his death in 2005. Corden voiced Fred's father and mother in The Flintstone Kids. James Arnold Taylor voiced Fred in commercials following Corden's death, up until 2011, as well as his guest appearance in The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Taylor returned to voice Fred in 2016 for a Columbus Zoo commercial. Jeff Bergman started voicing Fred for Cartoon Network bumpers in 2000, and voiced him in The Flintstones: On the Rocks, his guest appearance in Johnny Bravo, some episodes of Family Guy, and more recently The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown!. He has also been voiced in recent years by Maurice LaMarche, Dave Coulier, Stephen Stanton, and Scott Innes."
RonBraun 7 months ago
I think this info is incorrect. Everywhere else online says that Alan Reed sang the songs on the 1964 Christmas episode, not Corden. And it sounds exactly like Reed (who isn’t singing in key). Anyone want to weigh in?
OldTVfanatic RonBraun 7 months ago
It definitely is Alan Reed singing in that 1964 episode.
LittleMissNoName 7 months ago
Hopefully, you can work more animated holiday specials into the schedule for next year. I did enjoy watching The Flintstones Halloween special back in October.
Me too it was very spooky and very scary to me as I hear Ted Cassidy and John Stephenson played Rockula and Frankenstone.
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