Friday, December 7

Animated Association

How come ~

it always made Papa mad,

“Naah, I am not!” he said,

whenever we watched The Flintstones,

and told him he was just like Fred ~ ?

* “The Flintstones”, a prehistoric caveman spoof based on the successful 50’s show “The Honeymooners”, was one of the first prime time animated shows on television, premiering September 30, 1960 on ABC every Friday night at 8:30pm. Fred was the gruff and blustery working class every man whose booming voice and perpetual 5 o’clock shadow so perfectly personified our equally disposed dad no matter the volume of his protests. This truly was a family gathering time around the television for the fun of lovable, flustered Fred and his wife Wilma, their baby girl Pebble, the family pet Dino and their next door neighbors, the Rubbles. I didn’t realize until years later how ALL the personal and place names were variations on geological and Jurassic terminology.

As for our own family environs - it seemed nothing if not uncanny how much we had in common with the Hana Barbera characters. Our family room was called the 'den'; it was a brand new addition to the home completed in 1961. The walls were a deeply stained pine paneling up to a semi-vaulted ceiling and a massive exposed support beam that gave you the feeling of being in a cabin. The fire place was all natural stone, and the hearth (extending the full length of the room for extra seating) was comprised of small, smooth river rocks. The carpet mimicked traditional braided rug variety, except it was wall t0 wall. Pine bookcases, a desk and a matching gun case lined the opposite wall. Later, a beautiful Pronghorn Antelope bust and an 11 point Elk rack would grace the walls and freak out my sleep-over friends. In this room, it really felt like our big, loud dad had indeed crafted a comfortable lair for himself - into which we were invited. He was about as hairy as I imagined a caveman to be, and certainly strong enough to work at a rock quarry like Fred did. Our mom was a mild-tempered housewife who always wore a dress like Wilma. Not like Wilma; that was short and sexy and held up by only one shoulder strap. Kids notice things like this.

At the close of each episode, it was always the same. A crescent moon is in the sky. Fred opens the door and boots Dino out for the night. The mini-tornado resulting from the reptile’s happy rush to get back inside spins Fred around and slams the front door shut. Dazed and stranded, Fred blinks at the camera - and then pounds on the door with both meaty fists bellowing, “Wil-ma! Wil-ma!” I always, always wished I could run to the door and let him in.

The final episode aired on April 1, 1966.

1 comment:

Cynthia said...

I was an adult when I gave some thought to the Flintstones . . . It really isn't a kids program, the humor isn't even directed towards kids. But because it was a "cartoon" we faithfully watched.
Yeah, good times.