Sunday, August 23, 2015

Rein-Toon-Ation: The Flintstone Comedy Show, aka Flintstone Frolics (1980)

In 1980, NBC rebooted The New Fred & Barney Show as The Flintstone Comedy Show, recycling the title of the 1972 series that aired on CBS, except this time it was 90 minutes, with new segments, and some lifted from other Hanna-Barbera entries.

For example, there were craft lessons, like on Super Friends over on ABC. In this video, Moonrock (Don Messick) and Captain Caveman (Mel Blanc) teach how to build a birdhouse out of milk cartons. As for the other segments:

Dino & Cavemouse (not included in this sample video): The late Tex Avery directed these chase shorts, trying to recapture the magic of Tom & Jerry.

Pebbles & Dino & Bamm-Bamm (not shown): The Stone Age sweethearts (Russi Taylor & Michael Sheehan) turn detective, aided by their pals, Moonrock, Penny, & Wiggy, along with Dino, in a riff on Scooby-Doo, who never appeared on NBC. Basically, they rebooted the 1971 series to retrofit the Scooby Formula.

The Bedrock Cops (not shown): Fred (Henry Corden) & Barney (Blanc) are part-time Bedrock police officers, aided by the time-tossed Shmoo (Frank Welker).

The Frankenstones (not shown): Introduced in a primetime special some months earlier, Bedrock's new family of monsters lives next door to the Flintstones. Chaos ensues. Charles Nelson Reilly (Match Game, ex-Uncle Croc's Block, Lidsville) replaces John Stephenson as Frank.

Captain Caveman: Prequel to the 1977 series, and more of an outright parody of Superman, with Cavey adopting the alter-ego of Chester, copy boy at the Daily Granite, where Wilma (Jean VanderPyl) & Betty (Gay Autterson) are reporters, under the supervision of Lou Granite (Kenneth Mars, ex-Fernwood/America 2Night).

The Flintstone Family Adventures: The Flintstones & Rubbles go off on some comic misadventures, much like the original 1960-6 series.

Unfortunately, episodes have been jumbled together in 30 minute increments, rather than the complete 90 minute format. The series suffered from what I like to call "late start syndrome", in that it didn't premiere until mid-November 1980, and that proved to be ultimately costly, as the show was cut to an hour in season 2.

Here's the intro:



Outside the US, the series went under the name, Flintstone Frolics, but used the same theme song, with slightly altered lyrics. Hopefully, we'll have more stuff down the road, provided this doesn't get taken down.

Rating: B.

Edit: 9/18/15: Turns out I'd reviewed this once before. Oops, I did it again.

2 comments:

Goldstar said...

"The Flintstone Comedy Show" was, in my opinion, kind of a mish-mash. Likewise, many of the individual segments on the show were hit-and-miss. Captain Caveman wasn't really a good fit for the Flintstones Bedrock universe, as hard as Hanna-Barbera tried to ingratiate him there, and the Shmoo just plain stuck out like a sore thumb in Bedrock. The less said about the "Frankenstones" segments, the better.

One recurring bit from this show that I remember was a segment that ran between shorts about fitness tips with "O.K. Simpstone", a caricature of O.J. Simpson. It's a safe bet that those segments will never see the light of day again!

hobbyfan said...

In all probability, yeah. Never did see those, though they may be part of some of the other compilation clips. The Cavey shorts were, as noted, a prequel to the 1977 series, as H-B tried to retrofit him into the Flintstone universe, but this time as more of a parody of Superman. Talk about biting a hand feeding you.