Meet the Flintstones!
“The Flintstones” was prehistoric by design when it premiered Sept. 30, 1960. Sixty years later, primetime TV’s first animated series seems even older in some ways, surprisingly contemporary in others and still gets callbacks in today’s popular culture.
The classic TV gem (likely still in carbon form at the time), a takeoff of Jackie Gleason’s “The Honeymooners” and the longest-running primetime cartoon until overtaken by “The Simpsons,” centered on Fred and Wilma Flintstone, a suburban Bedrock couple with mid-20th Century sensibilities living in 10,000 B.C.
For six seasons, Fred, who operated a Brontosaurus-powered steam shovel at Mr. Slate’s quarry, and neighbor Barney Rubble got into and out of rock-headed scrapes, as Wilma and Barney’s wife, Betty, both smarter than their husbands, rolled their eyes. Babies Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble showed up later to this chronologically incorrect world of dinosaurs, mastodons and a mother lode of geological puns.
More than a half-century since “The Flintstones” ended its original run on ABC, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Better Things” and “Young Sheldon” make references to Bedrock’s favorite family; Fred’s Yabba Dabba Doo remains a universally recognized exclamation; and various products still carry the Stone Age seal of approval.
So, Happy anniversary, Fred and friends! To celebrate 60 years of punny rock references (Fred played for Prinstone in a Poison Ivy League football game against Shale), here are six stone-cold cool things about “The Flintstones” (MeTV, weekdays, 6 EDT/PDT; streaming on HBO Max) :
Enjoy a theme song for the ages
“Flintstones, Meet the Flintstones/They’re a modern Stone Age family/From the town of Bedrock/They’re a page right out of history.” Come on. You know you’re humming along right now to the show’s brassy, classic theme.
The visual images are indelible, too: the quarry foreman pulling a bird air horn at the end of a shift, Fred sliding along a dinosaur’s tail to his foot-powered Flintmobile and Wilma, Pebbles, dinosaur dog Dino and the Rubbles joining him for a trip to the drive-in. During the closing credits, the family’s saber-toothed cat locks not-too-sharp Fred out of the house, leaving him banging on the door and yelling, “Wilma!”