You may have missed this sneaky marketing moment in the Christmas episode of The Flintstones
'Tis the season for clever product-placement, even in the '60s!
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Department stores carry toys around the holidays, and in the animated Stone Age world of The Flintstones, their stores are no exception. In "Christmas Flintstone," Fred Flintstone finds himself working at Macyrocks, a department store that functions an awful lot like a modern-day Macy’s.
After he’s given the job as the store's Santa, Fred is then tasked with filling for the real Santa Claus, dispensing toys to the children of the world. There’s one toy in particular that can be seen all over the episode that may have hinted at a timely toy release.
Did you notice those Pebbles dolls hanging around the store?
The Pebbles doll was released by Ideal Toys in 1964, which only came to fruition because of some in-depth marketing done in the toy industry.
The Flintstone family was meant to originally consist of Fred, Wilma and… Fred Jr.? The kid was ditched when the series began, as the show instead focused on the two adult couples. In season three, the creators decided to give the Flintstones a child.
The writers and creators were set to introduce a young Flintstones male — until Ideal Toys pointed out that they would sell a lot more merchandise if they made the baby a girl. Baby girl dolls sell. Little boy dolls did not in 1963. You can see the original Pebbles doll packaging below.
The doll made its debut in 1964, sporting the same leopard-print shirtdress and tiny bone barrette that the baby Flintstone wears. You can see the doll clearly depicted when Fred enters the toy department, hiding on the shelves in the background.
Not only that, but you can also see a small Bamm-Bamm doll on the shelves as well! The Bamm-Bamm toy came only after the initial success of his next-door neighbor.
"Christmas Flintstone" aired on December 25, 1964, so the show missed the pre-holiday shopping rush. But, really, when are kids not asking for new toys?