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Friday, October 26, 2012

'The Flintstones' Prime-Time Specials Collection V1: Yabba Dabba Good

The awesome Warner Brothers Archive Collection's release of "The Flintsones Prime-time Specials Collection" Volumes 1 and 2 came at a time that watching the recently released made-for-TV movie "Big Top Scooby-Doo" got me wondering why The Flintsones had not inspired nearly as many spin-off series and specials as everyone's favorite animated great dane and his meddling kids.

I deeply hope that the upcoming Seth "potty mouth" MacFarlane version of "The Flintstones" does not prove to be a case in which I should be sorry for what I wished.

"The Flintsones" was the notable early '60s show that was the first prime-time animated series. It essentially transported the two working-class married couples from "The Honeymooners" to a very 60s-inspired version of the stone age in which humans and dinosaurs peacefully co-habitated.

Transforming the names of celebrities du jour and cities into "rock" this or "stone" that and using stone age animals for appliances and other "modern" conveniences added to the fun. The wooly mammoth shower was a personal favorite.

So far, I have only seen "The Flintsones" V1. This consisted of two hour-long 1979 prime-specials. The first one, which was entitled "The Flinstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone" had our quartet battling those versions of the legendary monsters after winning a trip to Rocksylvania.

The hilarity got fully underway when Fred Flintstone and his sidekick Barney Rubble inadvertently awaken the long dormant Rockula and his Frankenstone monster, who are more Grandpa and Herman Munster than the classic movie monsters from the '30s.

The highly moral Rockula soon gets a thing for Fred's wife Wilma but will not marry her until he kills her current husband; such a solution seems to be divorce Rocksylvania style.

The entertaining story is fairly typical Flintsones fare with not quite as many stone age references. I also would have liked to have seen more characters, such as the Great Gazoo and Hoppy the pre-historic kangaroo, from the original series. However, I smiled often and laughed out loud a few times.

The second V1 story is entitled "Flintstones Little Big League" and is more typical of the original series. Fred and Barney start out as BFFs, they greatly distrust each other and argue on becoming coaches of competing little league teams, and make up by the end of the show. We get the bonus of a peppy musical number about the importance of being a good sport at the very end.

Seeing roughly 12-year-old version of Fred's daughter Pebbles and Barney's son Bam-Bam is a particularly fun aspect of the special. These offspring were infants and toddlers in the original series, and Pebbles was showing the beginning stages of being a Valley Tom Boy and Bam-Bam was a very polite eager cave boy.

If I had to choose a favorite among the two specials, I would pick ""Little Big League" but think that current and new fans of the series will enjoy both presentations.

I would like to mention as well that the complete series set, which includes a plethora of great special features and comes in a sturdy plastic case that resembles the Flintsones television set, of "The Flintstones" was a "Black Friday List" favorite a few years ago and remains in the Top 10 of my all-time favorite complete series sets.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding any incarnation of "The Flintstones" is welcome to email me.

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