How old is 50 in Stone Age?
Last Thursday, the only cartoon to feature a man wearing an animal carcass and tie turned fifty.
On September 30, 1960, the world was first invited to meet the Flintstones. Featuring a Stone Age working-class man, his beautiful wife, their irrepressible canine friend, and a cat who was only seen in the opening credits, the Flintstones soon became the first family of cartoons.
With five decades behind them, it’s one aspect of today’s society that parents can share with their children. Nearly all of the population has grown up with Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty.
Long time Flintstones fan Kathy Howlett thinks the wide generational appeal lies in the writing.
“It really appealed to children. It was kind of silly, but the comedy really relates to their type of humour.”
Perhaps beyond the actual content of the show, its strength lies in the memories it invokes.
“I remember, when I was in kindergarten, coming home on my lunch break from school and watching The Flintstones before the news at 12:30,” Howlett remembers. “If I pissed my dad off, he’d watch news for the full hour and I wouldn’t get to watch.”
And so The Flintstones became like a babysitter. It made catchphrases like “Yabba-dabba-doo,” “Wilma!” and “BAM-BAM” instantly recognizable, and it made the town of Bedrock a household name.
“My favourite episode was when Fred was very protective over Pebbles,” says Kathy. “He falls asleep and has a dream. He sees Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm become really famous. In the end, all Fred wanted was for her not to grow up.”
In a world where The Simpsons have been on the air for over 20 years, the accomplishment of a cartoon making its mark on history seems small. At the time, this wasn’t the case. The Flintstones was the first animated television show to last for over two seasons. In many ways, it set the bar for what television looks like today. The Simpsons, Family Guy, Ren and Stimpy, South Park, and hundreds more owe their existence to the modern Stone Age family.
Most grew up on their vitamins, and all have a favourite character.
“Pebbles,” Howlett says definitively, “but not until Bamm-Bamm was on. They had a good chemistry.”
Weird Flintstone Flintfacts!
Before settling on the classic “Bedrock”, the Stone Age family lived in a town called “Rockville”.
Jackie Gleason thought about suing the program for ripping off his show The Honeymooners. He allegedly decided against it because he didn’t want children to know him as the man who pulled The Flintstones off the air.
Everyone knows Dino. Can anyone name the Rubbles’ pet kangaroo? With a strangely pun-free name, it’s Hoppy.
It was the first animated program to show two members of the opposite sex, Wilma and Fred, sleeping in the same bed.