The Flintstones is an animated, prime-time American television sitcom that was broadcast from September 30, 1960, to April 1, 1966, on ABC. The show was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The Flintstones was about a working-class Stone Age man's life with his family and his next-door neighbor and best friend. The show's continuing popularity rested heavily on its juxtaposition of modern everyday concerns in the Stone Age setting. The Flintstones was the most financially successful network animated franchise for three decades, until The Simpsons debuted.
The original pilot episode clip was called The Flagstones (which first appeared in 1959 as a 90-second promotion to draw advertisers to the show) and was later reincorporated into the show's first episode (third episode in original air date order). The show's name was changed to The Flintstones shortly thereafter.
The Flintstones follows two Stone Age families, the Flintstones and their neighbors, the Rubbles. Much of the humor was based on its comic portrayals of modern conveniences, reinterpreted using Stone Age 'technology.' Most notably were their cars, complete with absence of floorboards to allow them to be 'foot-powered.' The show is set in the Stone Age town of Bedrock. (In some of the earlier episodes, it was also referred to as "Rockville".) In this fantasy version of the past, dinosaurs, saber-toothed tigers, woolly mammoths, and other long-extinct animals co-exist with cavemen. Like their mid-20th century counterparts, these cavemen listen to records, live in split-level homes, and eat out at restaurants, yet their technology is made entirely from pre-industrial materials and largely powered through the use of animals. For example, the cars are made out of stone, wood, and animal skins, and powered by the passengers' feet (as in the theme song, "Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet").
Often the "prehistoric" analog to a modern machine uses an animal. For example, when a character takes photographs with an instant camera, inside the camera box, a bird carves the picture on a stone tablet with its beak. In a running gag, the animal powering such technology would frequently break the fourth wall, look directly into the camera at the audience and offer a mild complaint about his job. Other commonly seen gadgets in the series include a baby woolly mammoth used as a vacuum cleaner; an adult woolly mammoth acting as a shower by spraying water with its trunk; elevators raised and lowered by ropes around brontosauruses' necks; "automatic" windows powered by monkeys on the outside; birds acting as "car horns", sounded by the driver pulling on their tails or squeezing their bodies; an "electric" razor made from a clam shell, vibrating from a honey-bee inside; a pelican as a washing machine, shown with a beakful of soapy water; and a woodpecker whose beak is used to play a gramophone record. In most cases, "The Man of a Thousand Voices", Mel Blanc, contributed the animals' gag lines, often lowering his voice one to two full octaves, far below the range he used to voice the character of Barney Rubble. In the case of the Flintstones' cuckoo clocks, which varied from mechanical toys to live birds announcing the time, when the hour approached 12:00, the bird inside the clock "cuckooing" usually just ran out of steam and gave up vocally, physically, or both.
- Fred Flintstone – Alan Reed (speaking voice only)
- Wilma Flintstone/Pebbles Flintstone – Jean Vander Pyl
- Barney Rubble – Mel Blanc; Daws Butler (season 2; episodes 1, 2, 5, 6, and 9 only)
- Betty Rubble – Bea Benaderet (seasons 1–4); Gerry Johnson (seasons 5–6)
- Bamm-Bamm Rubble/Hoppy/Arnold – Don Messick
- Dino – Mel Blanc
- Mr. Slate – John Stephenson
- Mrs. Slaghoople – Verna Felton and Janet Waldo
- The Great Gazoo – Harvey Korman
Films & Subsequent Television Series
Following the show's cancellation in 1966, a film based upon the series was created. The Man Called Flintstone was a musical spy caper that parodied James Bond and other secret agents. The movie was released to theaters on August 3, 1966, by Columbia Pictures. It was released on DVD in Canada in March 2005 and in United States in December 2008.
The show was revived in the early 1970s with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm having grown into teenagers, and several different series and made-for-TV movies (broadcast mainly on Saturday mornings, with a few shown in prime time); including a series depicting Fred and Barney as police officers, another depicting the characters as children, and yet others featuring Fred and Barney encountering Marvel Comics superhero The Thing and Al Capp's comic strip character The Shmoo – have appeared over the years. The original show also was adapted into a live-action film in 1994, and a prequel, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, which followed in 2000. Unlike its sister show The Jetsons (the two shows appeared in a made-for-TV crossover movie in 1987), the revival programs were not syndicated or rerun alongside the original series.
It was announced that Family Guy creator (and Hanna-Barbera alumnus) Seth MacFarlane would be reviving The Flintstones for the Fox network, with the first episode airing in 2013. The program was indefinitely delayed from the 2013 date however, due to MacFarlane's schedule.
- The Flintstones (1960–66) (166 episodes) (6 seasons)
- The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show (1971–72) (20 episodes) (1 season)
- The Flintstone Comedy Hour (1972–73) (16 episodes) (1 season)
- Fred Flintstone and Friends (1977–78) (compilation series)
- The New Fred and Barney Show (1979) (17 episodes) (1 season)
- Fred and Barney Meet the Thing (1979) (13 episodes) (1 season)
- Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo (1979–80) (13 episodes) (1 season)
- The Flintstone Comedy Show (1980–82) (18 episodes) (2 seasons)
- The Flintstone Funnies (1982–84) (13 episodes) (1 season)
- The Flintstone Kids (1986–88) (76 episodes) (2 seasons)
- Dino: World Premiere Toons – featuring "Stay Out!" (1995) and "The Great Egg-*Scape" (1997)
- Cave Kids: Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm (1996) (8 episodes) (1 season)
- Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! (2019)
Theatrical Animated Feature
- The Man Called Flintstone (1966, released by Columbia Pictures)
- A Flintstone Christmas (1977)
- The Flintstones: Little Big League (1978)
- The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone (1979)
- The Flintstones' New Neighbors (1980)
- The Flintstones: Fred's Final Fling (1980)
- The Flintstones: Wind-Up Wilma (1981)
- The Flintstones: Jogging Fever (1981)
- The Flintstones' 25th Anniversary Celebration (1986)
- The Flintstone Kids' "Just Say No" Special (1988)
- Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration (1989)
- The Flintstones: A Page Right Out Of History (1991)
- A Flintstone Family Christmas (1993)
- The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones (1987)
- I Yabba-Dabba Do! (1993)
- Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby (1993)
- A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994)
- The Flintstones: On the Rocks (2001)
- The Flintstones (1994)
- The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas (2000)
- The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age SmackDown! (2015)