I was crazy about The Flintstones from the moment Hanna-Barbera introduced them to American children in 1960. They stayed on the air for six years and were a loose interpretation of The Honeymooners. Jackie Gleason contemplated suing the production company for stealing his story but reconsidered after realizing that he would be held responsible for the demise of a beloved cartoon classic loved by children and parents alike. The Flintstones popularity was a springboard for The Jetsons two years later.
I remember all the anticipation over the birth of Fred and Wilma’s first child, Pebbles. My sister got a Pebbles doll that Christmas with a bone instead of a bow in her hair. It was like the birth of little Ricky from I Love Lucy. The adoption of Bam-Bam was anticlimactic. Poor Betty and Barney were always second best. Fred was the blowhard and Barney was the voice of reason, unlike Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners.
A Flintstone’s Christmas Carol was introduced to a whole new audience in November of 1994 in syndication, the same year the movie premiered starring John Goodman. There wasn’t as much focus on pre-historic details in this special because of the focus on the story. Fred is cast as Ebeneezer Scrooge in a local production, and in his usual bone headed (sorry, couldn’t help myself) manner ticks every one off with his usual self-indulgence. He has Wilma majorly steamed when he forgets to pick up Pebbles at the “cavecare” center and hasn’t done his Christmas shopping.
This is the last performance of Jean Vander Pyl as the original voice of Wilma, who died in 1999. Wilma finds herself playing multiple roles and holding everything together during the play, as the cast comes down with the Bedrock Bug, while wanting to beat Fred senseless. Fred wakes up from his Ebeneezer ego trip just in time to celebrate Christmas, but gets a surprise of his own. It won’t have the same impact if you don’t love The Flintstones, but I have a date with this every year.