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neil dandy with cartoon of the flintstones

In this episode of the Dandy Fun House, we’re gonna rock! BED ROCK actually! Because This show’s all about… The FLINTSTONES! How one of the most loved animated series in television was born, interesting history, fun facts, star-studded guest appearances, near death experiences, merchandising fever, reasons to fear the Flintstones Kids, jumping the shark and to top it all off I’m going to conduct a head-to-head taste test of the Flintstones cereals Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles! Are you ready to Bedrock!? Let’s step into the Fun House!

neil dandy with cartoon of the flintstonesneil dandy with the simpsons

The Flintstones ran on ABC television from 1960 to 1966 and holds the distinction of being the first animated series in history to run in prime time. It’s also the first animated series to ever be nominated for a Prime Time Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series in 1961 (They lost to the Jack Benny Show). It also held the record for being the longest-running animated series until 1997 when that record was broken by the Simpsons.

neil dandy with fred and wilma flintstone neil dandy with barney and betty rubble

Produced by Hanna-Barbera, It is of course all about the adventures of the prehistoric middle-class family of Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their neighbors, Barney and Betty Rubble.

neil dandy with fred flintstone hanna barbera logo

Back in the early 60’s, Hanna Barbera were largely known as producers of children’s cartoons but had a desire to expand to adult audiences. They had many ideas for the setting of the show including ancient Rome, American Indians and even hillbillies before eventually setting on the Stone Age.

neil dandy with original flagstones logo

The original working title for the show was THE FLAGSTONES and Hanna Barbera pitched storyboards relentlessly for 8 weeks straight to networks and sponsors, sometimes repeating their 90-minute storyboard presentations for the same companies multiple times because this executive or that prospective sponsor wasn’t at the first or second presentation.

neil dandy with early storyboard picture of the flintstonesneil dandy with abc logo

There were many supposed interested parties but nobody actually pulling the trigger on buying the show until on the final day of the solid 8 weeks of presentations, Hanna Barbera pitched to a young network willing to take risks called ABC who bought the show in the first 15 minutes. If that hadn’t happened, Hanna Barbera were simply going to place their storyboards into the archives and move on to something else. And THIS is how close The Flintstones came to never being made!

neil dandy with fred flintstone and jackie gleason

The show was largely believed to be inspired by film and TV legend, Jackie Gleason’s character, Ralph Cramden from his show THE HONEYMOONERS whose similarities to Fred Flintstone are hard to deny. Hanna Barbera even used a couple of Gleason’s writers in the production of the show!

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Jackie Gleason was reportedly at one time considering a lawsuit over the Flintstones before being talked out of it by his lawyers who asked if he really wanted to be known as the man who killed Fred Flintstone?


neil dandy with picture of alan reed posing with cutout of fred flintstone

Alan Reed as Fred Flintstone

neil dandy with picture of jean vander pyl posing with cutout of wilma flintstone

Jean Vander Pyl as Wilma Flintstone

neil dandy with picture of bea benaderet posing with cutout of betty rubble

Bea Benaderet as Betty Rubble

neil dandy with picture of mel blanc posing with cutout of barney rubble

Mel Blanc as Barney Rubble

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Daws Butler temporarily filled in as Barney Rubble

neil dandy with picture of flintstones voice actors at Mel Blanc's bedside recording

Flinstones cast recording at Mel Blanc’s hospital bed

The original voice cast was comprised of Alan Reed as Fred Flintstone, Jean Vander Pyl as Wilma Flintstone, Bea Benaderet as Betty Rubble and Warner Brothers legend Mel Blanc as Barney Rubble except for a brief hiatus during the second season when he was involved in a near-fatal car crash! Daws Butler filled in for five episodes before a temporary recording studio was set up for the entire Flintstones cast at Mel Blanc’s bedside for the remainder of the season.

neil dandy with tony curtis cartoon neil dandy with ann margret cartoon neil dandy with bewitched cartoon

And over the years The Flintstones hosted an absolute star-studded cast of guest voices such as Tony Curtis, Ann Margret, Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York from Bewitched and many, many more!


neil dandy with cartoon of fred and wilma flintstone smoking

Many of the early episodes were sponsored by Winston cigarettes and as was the custom of the time, Fred and Wilma Flintstone appeared in their advertisements smoking like prehistoric chimneys for the first two seasons of the show until the introduction of…


neil dandy with pebbles and bam bam

The Flintstone and Rubble families didn’t originally have children until the third season when it was decided that Wilma should become pregnant.

neil with picture of pregnant wilma flintstoneneil dandy with fred jr. drawing

The show’s producers originally were considering that they should have a boy. In fact, the original concepts of the show included a character called Fred Jr., but in the interest of merchandising, market research showed that girl dolls vastly outsold boy dolls and the merchandising dollars were calling! And so Pebbles Flintstone was born,

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toys were produced, Winston cigarettes exited the show and Welch’s grape juice became the new head sponsor while the Flintstones altered course onto a more family-oriented path. Welch’s also dove into the merchandising head first and started putting their jellies into jars that featured Flintstones characters that could be reused as drinking glasses once empty. Absolute genius!

neil dandy with fred and wilma flintstone toysneil dandy with flintstones board gameneil dandy with toy flintstones carneil dandy holding flintstones cereals

Oh but the merchandising didn’t stop there! Toys, games, breakfast cereals like Cocoa and Fruity Pebbles which I’m going to do a head-to-head taste test of here in just a moment and of course Flintstones Chewable Vitamins whose chilling anthem WE ARE FLINTSTONES KIDS! A MILLION STRONG AND GROWING! Struck fear into global governments and concerned citizens alike!

neil dandy with flintstones vitamins


The Flintstones theme song we all know and love and which you’re probably humming in your head at this very moment didn’t actually make its debut until the show’s third season!

Previously, the theme music was a number called RISE AND SHINE, but it too closely resembled the theme song for the Bugs Bunny Show. So it was replaced with a new song called MEET THE FLINTSTONES which featured a 22-piece big band and was sung by the Randy Van Horne Singers.

Now for you classical music buffs out there, you might find the tune familiar as it was believed to have been derived from the B section of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 17 Movement 2.

neil dandy with beethoven neil dandy with keyboard music graphic

It took a bit of digging around to find the portion of this piece of music being referred to but I did find it eventually. The composition is over 20 minutes long and the portion that is believed to have inspired the Flintstones theme is about 9 minutes into it and is very brief. It has the tune of the first 2 lines of the song but nothing more. Absolutely nothing more. I find it pretty hard to believe that 2 lines of a classical composition in the middle of a 20 minute selection of music sparked this theme song. I could be wrong but I don’t think I am. I think it’s much more likely that somebody listening to some classical music heard the similarity and then took to the internet to spread bull puckey. Just my opinion.

The previous song RISE AND SHINE was later edited out of the first two seasons and replaced with MEET THE FLINTSTONES before the show entered syndication.

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Another little-known fact is that many of the underscores (the music that plays in the background during the course of the show) were actually reused musical segments from episodes of the Jetsons, Top Cat and Johnny Quest. This was just one of the ways budgets were managed. Another way cartoons saved money, since they were hand-drawn and shot just one frame at a time back in that era was to only move the portions of the characters and scenes that absolutely had to move while the rest of the character and set remained completely motionless.


neil dandy with fonzie jumping the shark

neil dandy with Harvey Korman and the Great Gazoo

Harvey Korman / The Great Gazoo

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Now somewhere towards the later part of the series run, a character name The Great Gazoo, voiced by comic legend Harvey Korman was introduced. The Great Gazoo was a martian with super magical powers that only Fred and Barney could see and interact with. This character removed all limitations from places the characters could go and things they could do and in my opinion was the beginning of the end for the Flintstones as the show’s creativity declined and the scripts became lazy. The Flintstones ultimately succumbed to extinction in 1966 when production concluded for good.


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But the show continued to run in syndication for decades delighting new fans through the generations. In more recent years, The Flintstones actually disappeared for a while until one of my favorite stations MeTV (who are best known for airing classic television as well as their own productions such as Svengoolie the monster movie host and morning cartoon show Toon In With ME featuring Dave the Cartoon Curator and Tooney the Tuna) stepped in and started airing The Flintstones once again! Way to go MeTV!


neil dandy with john goodman as fred flintstone neil dandy with elizabeth perkins neil dandy with rosie o'donnell

And of course there is the Flintstones movie from the mid 90’s that geniously cast John Goodman as Fred Flintstone and Elizabeth Perkins as Wilma, but really screwed up the casting of the Rubbles in my opinion. Rick Moranis and Rosie O’Donell as Barney and Betty!? Really? First off, Barney was a chunky little guy with a voice like Ed Norton from the Honeymooners which Rick Moranis as much as I like many of his characters, just isn’t. And the highly abrasive Rosie O’Donnell as Betty?

neil dandy making a stinky face

WHAT WERE THEY THINKING!!!??? (I’m not even going to mention Viva Rock Vegas…)

There is supposedly a new Flintstones movie currently in development with the script being produced by Will Ferrell. Whether it ever sees the light of day or not remains to be seen as it has been in the development phase for several years now. There is also a Flintstones tv series reboot under development with Elizabeth Banks called BEDROCK. Banks plays a 20-something Pebbles Flintstone with her father Fred approaching retirement. The Stone Age is coming to an end and the Bronze Age is on the horizon and Pebbles is just a girl in a great big world trying to find her way in life! Hmmm. No mention of Bam Bam. I guess Pebbles is single and liberated? Possibly on the back side of a relationship gone bad and now she’s on the rebound? I guess we’ll see!



Alright! Are we ready to do this thing??? Let’s do it!

I have here in my sweaty little hands, a box of Fruity Pebbles and also a box of Cocoa Pebbles. I’m going to break both of them open and do a little head-to-head taste test and tell you my thoughts! Now I haven’t tried either of these since I was a kid and honestly, I don’t remember pretty much anything about them as they were not staples in my home!

I started with the Fruity Pebbles. One big colorful handful and a burst of sugar and fruity flavors. It was pretty dang good!

Once I swallowed it was time to try the Cocoa Pebbles. A big handful down the hatch! Chocolately and crunchy. It had a little bit of a coffee taste on the back end which I rather enjoyed.

But if I had to make a choice between the two… I’d have to go with the Fruity Pebbles. I just thought they had an overall better flavor!

I’ve gotta tell you, after conducting the taste test challenge on-camera, I have a new respect for show hosts that have to taste things on the air and then talk about it with food in their mouths. That’s a skill I need to practice some more. And practice I shall while I enjoy the rest of these Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles!


And speaking of pebbles, if you’d like to throw a few stones our way and support the production of future episodes of the Dandy Fun House, you may simply visit our patronage page at our website

Supporters gain access to exclusive bonus material and super supporters will gain access to that same bonus material, plus I’ll mail you something from right here at the Dandy Fun House studios IF you provide me with your mailing address!

Ok, that’s gonna Yabba Dabba Doo it for now! Slide down your dinosaur and come back soon to the Dandy Fun House where everything is always FUN AND DANDY!

Neil Dandy is the creator of The Dandy Fun House and the alter-ego of Neil Smith, the Big Cheese at Neil Smith Entertainment and Productions, musician, DJ, Emcee and author. Aren’t you impressed?