June 27, 2020

THE NEW FRED AND BARNEY SHOW


THE NEW FRED AND BARNEY SHOW
(NBC, February 3-October 20, 1979)

Hanna-Barbera Productions


MAIN CAST:
Henry Corden – Fred Flintstone
Mel Blanc – Barney Rubble, Dino
Jean Vander Pyl – Wilma Flintstone, Pebbles Flintstone
Gay Autterson – Betty Rubble
Don Messick – Bamm-Bamm Rubble, various
John Stephenson – Mr. Slate, various


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


            As part of Fred Silverman’s efforts to revitalize the last-place NBC, he decided to bring back some old favorites. One of them was the return to the classic Stone Age sitcom, The Flintstones.

Fred and Barney out for a round of golf.

            The New Fred and Barney Show was a direct continuation of the 1960s series. Pebbles (Jean Vander Pyl) and Bamm-Bamm (Don Messick) were reverted to their toddler forms, after having been depicted as teenagers in The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, although newer characters like the Rubbles’ pet hopparoo, Hoppy (outside of the intro), and the powerful alien visitor The Great Gazoo were nowhere to be found. Instead of dealing purely with the slice of life stuff that was the foundation of sitcoms, Fred and Barney often started off in seemingly mundane situations while ending up in increasingly fantastical ones. For instance, Fred (Henry Corden) and Barney (Mel Blanc) head out for an evening of bowling only to end up in the house of an evil witch. Frank Frankenstone and Count Rockula (both John Stephenson) were based on Frankenstein’s monster and Count Dracula, respectively, replacing The Gruesomes as the Flintstones’ spooky neighbors.  Original comparisons to The Honeymooners were also further reinforced with episodes of Fred and Barney that shared similar plots; such as Fred gaining an inheritance from a rich person he was nice to and it ending up being a bird (“Ralph Kramden, Inc.”), or finding a suitcase full of money and having to deal with the crooks who want it back (“Funny Money”).

Betty and Wilma ready for a night on the town.

            The New Fred and Barney Show debuted mid-season on NBC on February 3, 1979. The series’ theme was a reworking of the original written by producer Joe Barbera and composed by Hoyt Curtin, emphasizing the newness of the series and the return to classic Flintstones. Notably, it was the first time Corden would voice Fred for a regular series as original actor Alan Reed had died in 1977 (Corden previously provided Fred’s singing voice in place of Reed). The series was written by Doug Booth, Andy Heyward, Len Janson, Glenn Leopold, Chuck Menville, Bob Ogle, Ray Parker, Dave Stone and Chip Yaras, with Larz Bourne serving as story editor.


            Fred and Barney ran for two short seasons for a total of 17 episodes. For the second season, Fred and Barney was combined with one of Hanna-Barbera’s latest offerings, The Thing (loosely based on the Marvel Comics character), in the package program Fred and Barney Meet the Thing. Despite the misleading title, the two sets of characters never interacted outside of the package’s intro and commercial bumpers. Beginning on December 8th, the package was expanded to 90 minutes to include The New Shmoo and was retitled Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo. The package show continued on in reruns through 1980, when it was replaced by The Flintstone Comedy Show. Different versions of Frankenstone, his family and Count Rockula would appear in two prime-time Flintstones specials: The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone and The Flintstones’ New NeighborsThe series has been made available to stream on Amazon Prime.


EPISODE GUIDE:
Season 1:
“Sand-Witch” (2/3/79) – Car trouble leads Fred and Barney to seek a telephone in a house that belongs to a man-eating witch.

“Haunted Inheritance” (2/10/79) – Because he was kind to an aristocrat disguised as a quarry worker, Fred gets entered into a competition for an inheritance.

“Roughin’ It” (2/17/79) – Feeling modern living is making life easy and boring, Fred tries to go back to old-fashioned caveman living.

“C.B. Buddies” (2/24/79) – Fred and Barney cause trouble when they overpower their new CB radios.

“Bedrock Rocks” (3/3/79) – Fred tries to hook the Slates up with members of a rock band Mrs. Slate wants to see on her birthday, but failing that he and Barney impersonate them.

“Blood Brothers” (3/10/79) – Fred and Barney end up saving a reformed Count Rockula from a car accident, and he does his best to befriend them and make them his “blood brothers”.

“Barney’s Chickens” (3/17/79) – Barney ends up accidentally hypnotizing a bunch of people into believing they’re chickens.

“The Butler Did It…and Did It Better” (3/24/79) – Fred is happy with his new robot butler, until the robot proves to be better than him at everything.

“It’s Not Their Bag” (3/31/79) – Fred and Barney find a bag of stolen money while playing golf and must evade the crooks looking for it.

“Barney’s Luck” (4/7/79) – Fred tries to prove that a coin Barney found isn’t responsible for his string of extraordinary good luck.

Season 2:
“Stone Age Werewolf” (9/8/79) – Fred and Barney head out in search of a werewolf, but a storm forces them to take shelter in the cabin of a friendly old man.

“Fred & Barney Meet the Frankenstones” (9/15/79) – Needing a break, Fred and Barney head to a spa they discover is run by Frank Frankenstone.

“Physical Fitness Fred” (9/22/79) – Jealous over his wife’s fawning over a celebrity, Fred decides to get fit to turn her head.

“Moonlighters” (9/29/79) – Fred and Barney try to compensate for rising prices by taking various part-time jobs.

“Fred Goes to the Houndasaurs” (10/6/79) – Wilma adopts a new Houndasaur that causes trouble for both Fred and Dino.

“The Bad Luck Genie” (10/13/79) – Fred finds a genie while fishing whose wish-granting ends up causing more trouble than they’re worth.

“Dinosaur Country Safari” (10/20/79) – Fred and Barney take their wives on a safari which ends up with their landing in a pterodactyl’s nest.

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