Mel Blanc: ''[Joseph Barbera] was certainly talented, but he drove me nuts sometimes.''

The beginning of The Flintstones was not without its challenges.

Warner Brothers

Even the best of friends can grate on each other's nerves sometimes. Once you add a working relationship into the mix, things can get complicated, to say the least.

When Mel Blanc agreed to take on the voice role of Barney Rubble of The Flintstones, he certainly was venturing out of his comfort zone, with much of his experience in voice acting coming from Warner Brothers and playing Looney Tunes characters. 

The beginning of Blanc's relationship with Hanna-Barbera co-founder Joseph Barbera was not without its misgivings. Because Blanc had a history of working with Warner Brothers directors, there was a familiarity between them that lent itself well to the work Blanc did. With a new director like Joseph Barbera, the new relationship led to some communications issues, at first.

In Blanc's memoir, That's Not All Folks!, the actor wrote, "Barbera was certainly talented, but he drove me nuts sometimes, not always being able to get across what he wanted. And he had this irritating habit of starting from the top every time an actor made a mistake. Recording sessions dragged on interminably, unlike at Warner's."

Luckily, Blanc's experience as a voice actor meant that he was as knowledgeable about the editing process of animation as he was about voicing characters, and he was able to offer Barbera a less time-consuming solution.

"I suggested to him that we repeat only the misread line." In Blanc's scenario, it would then be the editor's job to cut the correct line over the misspoke one, ensuring that takes wouldn't have to be recorded all over again in the strive for perfection.

This was a minor pebble in the shoe of what Blanc described as otherwise a very amicable relationship between himself and Hanna-Barbera. Moreover, working on The Flintstones still meant that Blanc was never far away from his friends at Warner Brothers.

"That beef aside," Blanc said, "Hanna and Barbera were wonderful to work for: both creative professionals and marvelous guys. Plus, they surrounded themselves with some of the industry's brightest talents, including my former Warner Bros. colleagues Warren Foster and Michael Maltese, who had left the studio for greener pastures. The first time I sat in on a Hanna-Barbera story meeting, it seemed just like old times."

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13 Comments

Avie 29 days ago
"In Blanc's scenario, it would then be the editor's job to cut the correct line over the misspoke one..."

MisspokEN one.
djw1120 29 days ago
One of these days I am going to have to get Mel's book and read it.
Hollie 29 days ago
i met mel once it was the late 70 i was a jr in high school i went to a performing arts high school he eas a nice guy and did all kinds of voices there were only about 12 of us in the private area were he chatted to the drama kids , and then the whole school ill never forget that im 65 now and still watch the flintstones with my grandkids 4 and 5yo
top_cat_james_1 30 days ago
I seem to recall reading that Blanc also found it stifling that Joe B. discouraged ad-libbing during recording sessions, at least on the prime-time series. "I paid a lot of money for this script, stick to the written lines" or some similar quote.
justjeff 1 month ago
"... in the strife for perfection." Wrong... you may *get* strife in seeking perfection, but you **strive** for it nonetheless... One of these days, MeTV writers...POW! Right in the kisser! 🤣🤣🤣
Wiseguy70005 justjeff 29 days ago
If you can strive for perfection then the act of striving Is the strife for perfection. Strive Is a verb, strife Is a noun. Different way of saying the same thing.
Avie justjeff 29 days ago
It says "strive," not "strife," but the article's writer, and you, are both wrong. The sentence SHOULD read: the strivING for perfection.
justjeff Avie 28 days ago
You are most correct! I was simply having my usual fun with the writers for making their missteps and typos and based my zings on the "strife' and "strive" wording, rather than the full sentence structure. Good Catch! ...😉
justjeff Wiseguy70005 28 days ago
Right... but didn't I 'kinda sorta' say that in my zinger to MeTV?🙄
Coldnorth justjeff 26 days ago
To the moon Alice
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Glad they were able to sort everything out for the sake of the cartoons and those enjoying the entertainment they provided (-:
McGillahooala 1 month ago
Great story. It is interesting to hear about some of the things that were going on behind the scenes.
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