|The characters of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm.|
With The Flintstones doing well in syndicated reruns—particularly on Saturdays—CBS executive Fred Silverman approached Hanna-Barbera in 1970 about doing a revival. However, he wanted to make it a teen-oriented and musical series to try and duplicate the successes of Filmation’s Archie series and their own Josie and the Pussycats. Joe Ruby and Ken Spears were assigned the task of making the modern Stone Age family even more modern. They radically aged the children of their principle characters to teenagers, and gave them a gang of friends that could play together as a band whenever the story required it. The result was The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show.
|Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and their gang cruising around Bedrock.|
The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show debuted on CBS on September 11, 1971. It focused on the wacky misadventures of teenaged Pebbles Flintstone (Sally Struthers), her neighbor and boyfriend Bamm-Bamm Rubble (Jay North), and their friends: Moonrock Crater (Lenny Weinrib), a genius inventor; Penny Pillar (Mitzi McCall), an overweight girl obsessed with being thin; and Wiggy Rockstone (Gay Hartwig), a girl who lived by the daily horoscopes. Often, they would find themselves in sticky situations made even stickier by Pebbles’ schemes to get them out of trouble, which often backfired (a callback to the schemes of her father in the original series). Other times, they were at odds with Pebbles’ rival, snobbish Cindy Curbstone (Hartwig), and a biker gang called The Bronto Bunch. The elder Flintstones and Rubbles made the occasional appearances on the show, but they were no longer the focus. Another thing of note is that while Bamm-Bamm did seem to pull off the occasional impossible feat here and there, the super strength he was originally depicted with as a baby was significantly played down.
|Groovin' to the beat.|
As The Flintstones focused on the juxtaposition of the modern world set amongst a Stone Age backdrop, so too did Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm. Along with everything viewers had come to expect of the franchise, the show was heavily influenced by its time period. Lingo, teen idols, drag racing and various activities the kids did for fun were taken from the trends of the 1970s. The series was written by Neal Barbera, Walter Black, Larz Bourne, Tom Dagenais, Bob Ogle, Larry Rhine and Dick Robbins, with story direction by Brad Case, Carl Fallberg, Cullen Houghtaling, Alex Lovy, Lew Marshall, Paul Sommer and Irv Spector. The music was composed by Hoyt Curtin and Ted Nichols. It was one of the first Hanna-Barbera productions to utilize their new limited laugh track.
Proving successful, CBS decided to expand their Flintstones franchise with the creation of The Flintstone Comedy Hour. Along with new adventures featuring the elder characters, the Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm characters were given new shorts and a band called “The Bedrock Rockers” that performed during the show in between segments. Reruns of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm aired as the second half-hour of the Comedy Hour. As Struthers had become committed to her role on the sitcom All in the Family before the original first episode ever even aired, Mickey Stevens replaced her for all the new material produced for the Comedy Hour. When the show was renamed The Flintstone Comedy Show, The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm reruns were dropped from its format and later aired as part of the weekday syndicated Fred Flintstone and Friends. It would make the rounds later on cable channel Boomerang.
Charlton Comics published 36 issues of a tie-in comic series from 1972-76. A three-issue revival series and a one-shot were published in 1993 by Harvey Comics. Several styles of lunchboxes were released by Aladdin Industries featuring the show’s characters. In 2008, Warner Home Video released the complete series to DVD as part of their Hanna-Barbera Classics Collection. It was re-released in 2017 as part of the Hanna-Barbera Diamond Collection.
Originally published in 2014. Updated in 2020.