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Flintstones: Season One

The Flintstones: Season One

5.0 2

Cast: Bern Bennett, Bob Hopkins, Daws Butler, Don Messick

Warner Home Video's four-disc set The Flintstones: The Complete First Season delivers 28 half-hour episodes, all of which originally aired on ABC from 1960-1961. Television's first half-hour prime-time cartoon series, The Flintstones was created, produced, and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who had previously made seven-minute cartoons shorts


Warner Home Video's four-disc set The Flintstones: The Complete First Season delivers 28 half-hour episodes, all of which originally aired on ABC from 1960-1961. Television's first half-hour prime-time cartoon series, The Flintstones was created, produced, and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, who had previously made seven-minute cartoons shorts such as Huckleberry Hound and Yogi Bear for Saturday morning television (and before that had worked for MGM doing Tom and Jerry cartoons). The Flintstones was a superb take-off/satire/homage to Jackie Gleason's series The Honeymooners, its characters (essentially two neighboring families -- boisterous, overweight excitable Fred Flintstone and his patient, logical wife, Wilma, and goofy yet clever Barney Rubble and his wife, Betty) and setting shifted to the Stone Age suburb of Bedrock. Watching the very first episode, it's easy to see how the show's appeal worked on three distinct yet overlapping and complimentary levels: younger kids and free-spirited adults could laugh at Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble's nutsy antics with Barney's flying machine invention, while older kids and the parents of the youngest viewers appreciated the plot, a delightful variation on the standard sitcom notion (which goes back at least to Laurel and Hardy's movie Sons of the Desert) of a pair of husbands trying to get out of going out with their wives and sneak in a night of bowling -- and everyone could laugh at the prehistoric, Rube Goldberg-influenced inventions used by these two Stone Age families. The images (transferred in full-screen, 1.33:1) are brighter and crisper than its original or syndicated versions, with rich, deep colors and surprisingly engrossing animation, despite the makers' use of limited-animation techniques. They may be limited, but there's often a lot going on in those frames; the sources have held up well, with the occasional stained or damaged frame on the 44-year-old film elements showing up, almost exclusively in one or two transition segments, at edit points or dissolves. The sound is mastered cleanly, if at a slightly low level (easily compensated for on the viewer's end), and it's interesting to hear the players -- especially Alan Reed Sr. and Mel Blanc -- slowly grow into their roles and develop their characters from relatively restrained beginnings. Reed, especially, sounds stiff and distinctly hemmed in on these early shows; the women, by contrast, especially Jean van der Pyl as Wilma, were all there, fully developed as characters, from the very beginning. Among the highlights of the early shows is the episode "The Girls Night Out, in which Fred Flintstone cuts a record that accidentally turns him into the rock & roll-singing star "Hi-Fye." This was the first of several episodes of the cartoon series in which rock & roll would figure big in the plot; others included Fred's stint as the Stone Age Elvis Presley-type singer Rock Roll and shows involving the group the Way Outs and the Beau Brummelstones, who, of course, were voiced by the Beau Brummels (perhaps it was fitting that there was at least one early '60s U.K. rock & roll band called "The Flintstones"). The second side of disc four is loaded up with the set's special features. Among the best of the extras is the late '50s Hanna-Barbera pilot short The Flagstones, which sold the series and features a very crude Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty, with voice actors who didn't star in the subsequent series. There's a short history of The Flintstones built around interviews with Hanna and Barbera, glimpses of the voice actors chosen -- though full bios would have been nice -- and even a clip of the two creators singing The Flintstones' theme song. There are also shots of the Flintstones-related toys, records, and other memorabilia that grew out of the series' success. Finally, the producers have included a few minutes of Flintstones television commercials (some without sound), endorsing One-A-Day Vitamins and other sponsor products, and the tie-in product Pebbles Cereal. Curiously, none of the commercials featuring Fred and Barney plugging Winston cigarettes (which shows how much of the program's audience was comprised of adults) are present, but perhaps those will be on a later volume. Each episode here gets a single chapter number and was structured in such a way that we get a short excerpt of the show in a pre-credit sequence. As with the Flintstones laserdisc box of the early '90s (which cost more than double what this set does), the original opening and closing credits have been restored to the episodes, along with the wraparound and generic show-closing segments. Each disc opens on a very simple and easy-to-use menu, which includes selections for English, French, and Spanish subtitles, and mono French and Spanish audio tracks.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Here's a page right out of television history: Joseph Hanna and William Barbera took animation out of the Saturday-morning Stone Age and into prime time, where The Flintstones reigned as animation’s first family (until a Neanderthal named Homer Simpson and his brood came along). This four-disc set contains all 28 episodes from the inaugural season, as well as such retro-nuggets as original series promos and commercial plugs. While the battle of the sexes that has been a sitcom staple since Don Ameche and Frances Langford had at it as The Bickersons during radio’s golden age, The Flintstones was built on that formidable chunk of TV bedrock known as The Honeymooners. The Flintstones added a fun prehistoric slant on modern life, complete with clever, crude forebears of now-common appliances (you've got to feel for those poor overworked birds whose beaks served as washing machines, sewing needles, and record players). Fan favorite episodes include "The Monster from the Tar Pits," in which Fred stands in for Hollyrock idol Gary Granite (name-plays were always the show’s strong suit); "The Tycoon," with Fred in a dual role as industrialist doppelgänger J. L. Gotrocks; "In the Dough," in which Fred and Barney stand in for their wives on a television bake-off; and "Fred Flintstone: Before and After," in which Fred must lose 25 pounds in a month. Flintstones fans will lament the absence of the classic theme song, which debuted in Season 2. Pebbles and Bam-Bam are likewise in the future, as is that alien shark-jumper the Great Gazoo. Dino doesn't even arrive until Episode 18, "The Snorkasaurus Hunter." But it's fun to go back to the dawn of Fred and see how this groundbreaking series evolved.

Product Details

Release Date:
Turner Home Ent
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; "All About the Flintstones" chronicles the history of the series; "Wacky Inventions" featurette; "The Flagstones": The lost pilot; Early TV commercials; Network promo spots; Languages & subtitles: English, Français (Dubbed in Quebec), & Español

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Bern Bennett Speaker
Bob Hopkins Sandstone,Gary Granite
Daws Butler Cop,Joe Rockhead,88 Fingers Looie,Sergeant
Don Messick Emcee
Frank Nelson Clerk,Rocky Boulder
Hal Smith Announcer,Colonel,Butcher,Charlie,PA Announcer,Radio Announcer
Howard McNear Doctor
Jerry Mann Boss,Dino Snorkasaurus,Hot Lips Hannigan,J.B., movie producer,Mesmo,Sergeant,Movie Director
John Stephenson Chairman,Fingers,Harlie,Joe Rockhead,Narrator,Perry Gunite,Charlie,F.M.,General,Old Man,Sarge,Al,Stonehead,Frank
Lucille Bliss Hugo
Mel Blanc Voice Only
Nancy Wible Gwen
Alan Reed Voice Only
Bill Thompson Mr. Slate
Mark Rosenbloom Crook
Michael Rye Charlie
Jean Vander Pyl Voice Only
Paul H. Frees Mr. Granite,TV Announcer

Technical Credits
Hanna-Barbera Director

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The Flintstones: Season One 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cartoon is an all time favorite that never grows old. It gets better with time. I am 44 yrs old and still love watching this show especially when I want to get away from the real world. I love some Fred Flintstone, but the the whole crew had great chemistry together. This DVD is a must have!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago