April 04, 2015

FLINTSTONE KIDS



THE FLINTSTONE KIDS
(ABC, Syndication, September 6, 1986-September 3, 1988)

Hanna-Barbera Productions



MAIN CAST:
Lennie Weinrib – Freddy Flintstone (season 1)
Scott Menville – Freddy Flintstone (season 2)
Hamilton Camp - Barney Rubble, Flab Slab
Mel Blanc – Dino, Captain Caveman, Bob Rubble, Piggy McGrabit
Julie McWhirter – Wilma Slaghoople (season 1), Tarpit Tommy, Mica Slaghoople, Mickey Slaghoople
Elizabeth Lyn Fraser – Wilma Slaghoople (season 2)
B.J. Ward – Betty Jean Bricker, Miss Rockbottom
Frank Welker – Nate Slate, Stalagbite, Fang
Bumper Robinson – Philo Quartz
Charlie Adler – Cavey, Jr.
Henry Corden – Ed Flintstone, Edna Flintstone
Susan Blu – Dreamchip Gemstone, Janet Granite, Victoria Lithonstone-Gemstone
Marilyn Schreffler – Rockford “Rocky” Ratrock, Flo Rubble
Kenneth Mars - Narrator


For the history of the Flintstones, check out the post here.


            With Muppet Babies proving a rousing success, Hanna-Barbera decided to get in on the action by taking their flagship property and de-aging them for a new generation. The result was The Flintstone Kids.


Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty, Philo and Dreamchip leaving Bedrock Elementary.

            The series focused on the daily adventures of friends Freddy Flintstone (Lennie Weinrib & Scott Menville) and Barney Rubble (Hamilton Camp) and their future wives Wilma Slaghoople (Julie McWhirter & Elizabeth Lyn Fraser) and Betty Jean Bricker (B.J. Ward) as modern Stone Age attendees of Bedrock Elementary School. Other familiar faces included Freddy’s dog Dino (Mel Blanc) and future boss Nate Slate (Frank Welker). 


Rocky Ratrock threatens Freddy.

Joining them was a slew of new characters created for the show, giving it the largest supporting cast of any entry in the franchise. There was resident whiz kid, amateur detective and one of the first recurring black characters in the franchise Philo Quartz (Bumper Robinson); his father Officer Bob Quartz (Rene Levant); spoiled rich girl Dreamchip Bluestone (Susan Blu); neighborhood bully Rocky Ratrock (Marilyn Schreffler); his dog Stalagbite (Welker); and his gang Tarpit (McWirter), Flab Slab (Camp) and Janet Granite (Blu). While Wilma’s mother had made appearances on the parent show as a thorn in Fred’s side, this series introduced Freddy’s parents Ed and Edna (both voiced by then-current Fred actor Henry Corden) and Barney’s parents Bob (Blanc in his Barney Rubble voice) and Flo (Schreffler). 


Barney rocks out to his portable radio.

            While a prequel series, the show did ignore the continuity established by its parent series. In The Flintstones, a flashback in the season four episode “Bachelor Daze” revealed that Fred and Barney didn’t meet their future wives until early adulthood. Dino was also introduced in the season one episode “The Snorkasaurus Hunter” (although he was shown earlier) well after Fred and Wilma were married adults. Much like the parent series did with 1960s technology, Kids adapted 1980s technology and gave it a Stone Age twist. For instance, there was the presence of computers; particularly Philo’s advanced one and the fact Wilma’s father owned a computer business. And, even in the intro, Barney is seen rocking out to a prehistoric Walkman.


Princess Wilma and her magic mirror.

            Rather than focus on a single story, each episode was broken up into several segments. Along with the standard story starring the kids, there was a segment called “Flintstone Funnies” in which the kids would use their imaginations to propel themselves into fantastic worlds and adventures. That segment was dropped for the show’s second season. Another segment called “Dino’s Dilemmas” was a shorter one focusing on a day in Dino’s life. 


Cavey, Jr. and Captain Caveman.

The final segment was a show within a show: Captain Caveman and Son. Captain Caveman (Blanc) was the dim-witted bumbling prehistoric superhero that had previously appeared on Scooby’s All-Stars, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels and The Flintstones Comedy Hour. This time he was joined by his much smarter son and sidekick Cavey, Jr. (Charlie Adler) as they haphazardly dealt with threats to Bedrock. The segment straddled the line between being a television program and an actual adventure, and the characters frequently broke the fourth wall to interact with their narrator (Kenneth Mars) or a disruptive member of the viewing audience. Each episode would see the kids hurriedly gather in front of a television with their Captain Caveman spotted capes and clubs to watch the show, chanting his patented “Unga Bunga” when the narrator would ask “Hey, kids, do you know what time it is?”


Ad for the drug prevention special.

The show ran on ABC for two seasons beginning on September 6, 1986. In between the two seasons, the principle voices for both Freddy and Wilma were changed. The episode “Rocky’s Rocky Road” won writers Mary Jo Ludin and Lane Raichert a Humanitas Prize in 1988 for showing “a touching probe of a child’s struggle to grow and affirm himself.” Several days after the end of the series, a primetime special aired on September 15th called The Flintstone Kids Just Say No. It was a 30-minute ant-drug special that focused on Wilma being offered marijuana in order to join the “cool kids” while the others focused on winning tickets to a Michael Jackstone concert. The special featured an introduction by Nancy Reagan and an appearance by the actual La Toya Jackson as La Toya Jackstone, sister to Michael. Original Wilma Jean Vander Pyl portrayed Wilma’s mother. The special was subsequently aired as an episode of ABC Weekend Special. Reruns of the series proper aired as part of the weekday syndicated block The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.

 
Ad for Pizza Hut's Flintstone Kids glasses.

Coleco produced a line of action figures based on the show, including all the principle characters, the playsets Bedrock and Bedrock Elementary School, and three vehicles in a firetruck, a Bedrock Airlines plane and Dreamchip’s chimp limo. A line of puzzles were produced by Golden Press, Illco and Rainbow Works, respectively. From 1987-89 Marvel Comics published 11 issues of a tie-in comic and a special giveaway mini-comic through their Star Comics imprint. Also in 1987, Pizza Hut produced a line of four glasses featuring the main characters for $.49 cents each, as well as four buttons with their faces. In 1988, McDonald’s included five toys in their Happy Meals featuring the main characters in race cars and Dino. In 1989, the kids adorned a Fun-N-Learn carry activity case which featured Flintstone-themed activities. View-Master also produced a 3-reel 3-D set for their viewer. In 2014, Turner Home Entertainment released The Flintstone Kids: Rockin’ in Bedrock on DVD. The set only contained 10 of the regular Kids segments rather than complete episodes. Despite it being titled otherwise, Amazon Instant Video only offered a streaming version of the DVD, rather than the complete first season.


EPISODE GUIDE (currently unavailable):

No comments:

Post a Comment