This Flintstones special aired once and hasn't been seen since

Do you remember the lost 2001 TV movie 'Flintstones: On the Rocks'?

Image Credit: Warner Bros. / Cartoon Network Studios

The Flintstones has no lack of spin-offs, specials, and adaptations. There have been crossovers, live-action movies, comic books, and even a Flintstones Kids show. But there's one TV special that has mysteriously vanished from history.

The Flintstones: On The Rocks was a 2001 made-for-TV movie that aired on Cartoon Network on November 3, 2001. It was aired just one more time in 2002 in Japan — and then it went underground. As of this writing, there still hasn't been a home release of the film. The only way to see it is to track down a bootleg version somewhere.

So why did it vanish? Was it a bad film?

Well, not technically. The animation style is a little different than we're used to. Many of the people who worked on it also worked on other acclaimed shows at Cartoon Network at the time, including the creator of Dexter's Labratory and a key player of The Powerpuff Girls. The art is more like the exaggerated, bouncy style of the latter shows more than the quasi-realism of the original Flintstones.

Cartoon Network Studios

The voice actors aren't bad either. In fact, this was the last Flintstones product to have one of the original voice cast. John Stephenson returned a final time to voice Mr. Slate. Other voice actors included Tom Kenny (of Spongebob fame), Frank Welker (the original voice of Fred Jones and the current voice of Scooby-Doo), Jeff Bergman (the first replacement as the voice of Bugs Bunny after Mel Blanc's death), and Wil Wheaton. Yes, Wesley.

If the animation wasn't bad, and the voices were fine, then why hasn't it been shown again? The most likely reason is the tone. On The Rocks tried to bring a more realistic, adult edge to the Stone Age family. It was in tribute to the mature, primetime origins of the characters.

As a result, we end up watching a movie about how Fred and Wilma's marriage is crumbling. After trying to go to couple's counseling, they even physically attack each other. Eesh.

They take a vacation to Rockapulco to try and rekindle the spark, which is where things get even more uncomfortable. Wilma puts on lingerie and tries to seduce Fred. Later, Fred sees a beautiful woman and has a fantasy about having an affair with her. Wilma, frustrated by Fred's wandering eye, takes up with an attractive young man.

The young man turns out to be a jewel thief trying to steal Wilma's necklace, which takes the special back to the zany adventures we're more familiar with. 

Still, the end chase to get the jewel back couldn't outweigh the discomfort of the central plot. We're watching Fred and Wilma, a couple we've all grown up with, argue bitterly with each other, come alarmingly close to divorce, and consider affairs. That's some heavy stuff for a kid's channel.

Apparently Cartoon Network agreed, since the special hasn't seen the light of day since. Still, it's a fascinating piece of animation history. Maybe one day it will get a home release, and you can judge for yourself.

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16 Comments

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papajohn 7 days ago
Well im 55 been a fan of the Flintstones for as long as i can remember. Glad to see not the only one. I messed up on welmas last name and little old lady dressed up. But i still watch
TomRuegger 1 month ago
The article above states: "The art (in 'Flintstones: On the Rocks') is more like the exaggerated, bouncy style of the latter shows ('Dexter's Lab,' 'Powerpuff Girls') than the quasi-realism of the original 'Flintstones.'"

The quasi-realism of the original "Flintstones?" No. Not a realistic design. Fred has a nose like a casaba. His hair is like black cutlery. He is shaped like a bubble-bath bottle. Barney has the design of a garbage can with a banana nose and handful of yellow hay on top. Quasi-realism this is not. Perhaps "Dexter" and "Powerpuff" have simpler and more graphic lines, but the original "Flintstones" never veered into realism, quasi- or otherwise.
AndrewMorrice 1 month ago
It's been shown in the UK Cartoon network a few times. I remember catching it at least twice in the early 2000s.
HerbF 1 month ago
You know, maybe MeTV could go to Warners Brothers Television Syndication (or whatever they are called this week) and ask them if they'd lease the rights for you folks air the special...
ken 1 month ago
https://archive.org/details/TheFlintstonesOnTheRocks
RobCertSDSCascap ken 1 month ago
Good. I did not post it because this site can be fussy about links.
RobCertSDSCascap 1 month ago
Turns out it has been seen. More than 13,000 times on an Internet Archive.
RobCertSDSCascap 1 month ago
I tried to watch it, but just COULDN'T.
Like trying to finish a horrible movie remake or an unspeakable
cover of an 80s hit.
:30 TONE DEAF! TOO SLOW!
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Not sure if I want to see it or not.
Andy 1 month ago
I liked this because it WASN'T like the original series. The jokes were rapid fire and the tone much more mature/adult (Barney's secret that Betty lets slip in the final scene is hilarious!) I've been looking for it and keep turning up empty handed.
RobCertSDSCascap Andy 1 month ago
Internet Archive.
Mato1970 1 month ago
I remember seeing it. The writer of the article forgot to mention the part where Fred and Barney wore thong swimming trunks, and frightened everyone on the beach with them. Yes, seriously!
Dave Mato1970 1 month ago
Unfortunately, it seems that body-shaming men is perfectly acceptable, and it is only "body-shaming" (and therefore unacceptable) when done to women. Women and girls are allowed to wear skimpy bathing suits, and no one thinks there's anything wrong with that, but men doing so is joke material.
RobCertSDSCascap Dave 1 month ago
"and no one thinks there's anything wrong with that"
There are hundreds of pounds of exceptions.
JERRY6 1 month ago
get a hold of it ME TV inever saw that movie
Corporal07 1 month ago
I'm glad I finally checked out metv.com!
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