Fred and Wilma, you look so great we’d never know you’re ancient.
Yes, The Flintstones turns the big 5-0 today, but, to us, the stone-age comedy will always be timeless. Here’s why:
1. It Made the World Safe for The Simpsons. And Family Guy. And…: On Sept. 30, 1960, The Flintstones became TV’s first prime-time animated series (courtesy ABC, if you’re wondering what ran on Friday nights before the dawn of Better With You reruns). A Nielsen hit from the start, the domestic comedy (or, if you prefer, The Honeymooners) proved toons weren’t just for kids zonked out on sugary breakfast cereal.
2. Speaking of Sugary Breakfast Cereals…: The next time you sit down to enjoy a bowl of vitamins and minerals and Fruity Pebbles, please give proper thanks to your meal’s tie-in show. The same goes for that chewable Dino you down daily. And those Winston cigarettes you, um, er… Well, OK, not everything the Flintstones have hawked has been a winner (or approved by the Surgeon General), but they are trailblazing marketers nonetheless.
3. If We Say, “Have a Yabba-Dabba-Doo Time,” You Say, “A-Dabba-Doo Time:” In fact, if we know “(Meet) The Flintstones,” you’re singing the rest of the catchy lyric right now. We are. (Trivia: The song wasn’t introduced as the theme until the third season. This nifty instrumental was the original opener.)
4. For a Bunch of Cavemen (and Cavewomen), They Were Pretty Forward-Thinking: So, Lady Gaga wore a meat dress. Big deal, Fred and Barney wore pelt dresses long before she was born. So, Modern Family is all hip and today. Big deal, the Rubbles were an adoptive family long before Angelina Jolie was born. Also, was Fred’s gas-free, foot-powered Flintstones-mobile not the world’s first Smart car? (Or, make that, smartest car?)
5. Ann-Margrock. The Great Gazoo. The Gruesomes. We could go on and on about all the little things that make the show great, but we won’t. Except to add that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm make some mighty fine music for a pair of toddlers.