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Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: February 17, 1961
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★

Love Letters on the Rocks © Hanna-BarberaThe plot of this episode gets in motion when Wilma discovers an old love letter from Fred in a box full of memories. When Fred discovers his own poem in the drawer, he thinks it’s by somebody else, and suspects that Wilma has a secret lover.

What follows is a classic comedy of errors, also involving roller skates, a watch, and a private eye with a funny walk and the voice reminiscent of that of Tony Curtis as a millionaire in ‘Some Like It Hot’ (1959). Fred’s dramatic stances are priceless.

The episode is further uplifted by some amusing prehistory gags: a giant dinosaur from ‘Mastodon Motor Inc.’ full of cars on its back, a photo camera with a little bird drawing a picture in it, and a taxi you have to walk yourself. We also discover that Fred’s job, which already had been depicted in ‘The Snorkasaurus Hunter’, is being a “dino-operator”.

Watch ‘Love Letters on the Rocks’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 21
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Hypnotist
To the next Flintstones episode: The Tycoon

‘Love Letters on the Rocks’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: February 10, 1961
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★

The Hypnotist © Hanna-Barbera‘The Hypnotist’ is one of the silliest of the Flintstones episodes. The nonsense starts when Fred brags about being able to hypnotize himself after seeing one Mesmo on the television.

Betty and Wilma play along, but Fred really manages to hypnotize Barney, making him think he’s a dog. Unfortunately, Fred cannot make his friend snap out of it, and seeks the assistance of Mesmo. This leads to several slapstick gags, ending in a dog pound. In the end Mesmo turns Barney into human again, and two dogs, as well…

‘The Hypnotist’ is pretty gag rich, but few of the gags come off, due to poor timing and trite dialogue. Worse, in many scenes Fred’s designs are quite off, and the animation often is subpar. Most interesting may be the cash desk at the supermarket and the crazy veterinarian. This fellow is designed more stylistically than the other characters, recalling classic UPA modernism.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Hypnotist’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 20
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Hot Piano
To the next Flintstones episode: Love Letters on the Rocks

‘The Hypnotist’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: February 3, 1961
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★½

The Hot Piano © Hanna-BarberaIt’s Fred an Wilma’s tenth anniversary, and Wilma thinks Fred has forgotten the day, as usual.

On the contrary, Fred is buying a piano for her, at least he was until he discovers a piano costs $1500 instead of his $50. Yet, Fred manages to buy a ‘hot piano’ from a sleazy guy on the corner for just that sum.

A lot of screen time of this episode is devoted to Fred and Barney trying to get the piano in Fred’s house at night. This is a long string of slapstick gags, ending with Fred riding the piano on the street. Like ‘The Sweepstakes Ticket‘, this part has some throwback gags to Tex Avery’s ‘Deputy Droopy’ (1955) with Barney running to a mailbox to yell in it.

Much better though is the scene in which Barney and the shop owner play an elaborate, quasi-classical improvisation on the 1880 song ‘The Fountain at the Park’ at the Stoneway piano. This is one of the most delightful scenes within the complete series, greatly enhanced by the genuinely delightful music. Almost as good is the short’s finale, in which Barney and a quartet of policemen sing ‘Happy anniversary’ to the tune of Gioachino Rossini’s overture to William Tell over and over again, much to Fred’s chagrin.

Watch the anniversary song from ‘The Hot Piano’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 19
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Snorkasaurus Hunter
To the next Flintstones episode: The Hypnotist

‘The Hot Piano’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: January 27, 1961
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★

The Snorkasaurus Hunter © Hanna-BarberaThe story of this episode is set in when Fred gets angry about meat prices in a supermarket. So he decides to use his vacation to hunt the meat himself.

Thus the four neighbors are off with a trailer to the mountains where Fred and Barney try to clobber a ‘Snorkasaurus’ to death, while their wives experience all kinds of camping annoyances, like mosquitoes and ants. The Snorkasaurus turns out to be a wise-cracking, refined talking animal with a suave voice (according to Wikipedia imitating comedian Phil Sivers).

In the end the episode turns out to give us the origin of Dino, Fred and Wilma’s pet. This is a weird turn of events, as Dino has been seen before as a four-legged yelping dinosaur, behaving like a dog, not the two-legged suave and talkative animal as shown here. Indeed, this is this the only episode in which Dino talks.

‘The Snorkasaurus Hunters’ is the first episode to show Fred working as an excavator machinist at ‘Rockhead and Quarry’s Cave Construction Company’. In ‘Love Letters on the Rocks‘ Fred says he’s a ‘dino-operator’. Both his work and the supermarket lead to several prehistoric gags. The camping episode is particularly slapstick rich, and has surprisingly much in common with earlier Warner Bros. cartoons. For example, Barney chops an enormous redwood tree, which crashes on Fred’s car and trailer. Later, Barney goes fishing, but gets swallowed by a large fish himself. The best gag, however, is when the four dream what they could do with the money they save by hunting their meat themselves. Barney’s dream in particular is a delight.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Snorkasaurus Hunter’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 18
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Big Bank Robbery
To the next Flintstones episode: The Hot Piano

‘The Snorkasaurus Hunter’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: January 20, 1961
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★

The Big Bank Robbery © Hanna-BarberaThis episode starts with two bank robbers (voiced by Mel Blanc and Stan Freberg) followed by a police car.

The robbers get rid of the loot, which lands on Fred’s head. When the wives convince Fred and Barney to return the money to the police, the boys are quickly seen as the robbers themselves. Fred and Barney flee into the wild Meanwhile, Wilma thinks of a rather unhealthy way to attract the real bank robbers, posing as sleazy gals (“Shirl” and “Myrt”) with too much dough on their hands. It remains a wonder that they only attract the original bank robbers to their house, and not the complete criminal scene of Bedrock with their act.

Anyway, in the end Fred accidentally knocks out the real crooks, earning the reward. But his bragging about it makes him all too vulnerable to blackmail, and in the end it’s the other three who spend all the money, leaving Fred only with his story as a conquering hero.

This episode features a gas station using a mastodon, but the best gag may be the police sketch, which is much more inspired than the tiring and completely superfluous scene in which Barney ends up in a pterodactyl nest. Moreover, this pterodactyl looks more like a bird than the real thing.

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 17
To the previous Flintstones episode: Arthur Quarry’s Dance Class
To the next Flintstones episode: The Snorkasaurus Hunter

‘The Big Bank Robbery’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: January 13, 1961
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★

Arthur Quarry's Dance Class © Hanna-BarberaWilma gets four free tickets for a big charity dance, but Fred and Barney refuse to go.

It turns out they can’t dance, and they are too ashamed to tell this to their wives. Thus they join ‘Joe Rockhead’s Fire Department’, a scam for husbands who want to go out each night, so they can go out and take dance lessons at ‘Arthur Quarry’s Dance School’.

Like many other Flintstones episodes ‘Arthur Quarry Dance School’ leans heavily on Fred and Barney’s rather depressing tendency to keep things secret from their wives, but this time it’s all for the good, and this is one of the rare episodes with a happy ending, even though Barney and Fred still can hardly dance in the end.

Highlight of the episode is the scene in which Fred and Barney meet their dancing partners at the school, two beautiful young ladies. The prehistoric gag department is limited to the mailman who uses a small Ceratopsian as a mail cart, and the bird as a record player, which by now has become a staple gag.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Arthur Quarry’s Dance Class’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 16
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Girl’s Night Out
To the next Flintstones episode: The Big Bank Robbery

‘Arthur Quarry’s Dance Class’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: January 6, 1961
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★★½

The Girl's Night Out © Hanna-BarberaThe wives are complaining that the boys never take them out, so Fred and Barney take them to an amusement park, much to Betty’s and Wilma’s dismay.

At the amusement park Fred records a song for Wilma, which he leaves behind, as Wilma clearly isn’t interested. But Fred’s record is picked up by teenagers, and even makes it to the radio. Soon, Fred becomes the bespectacled teenage idol Hi-Fye.

In his new career as a pop star, Fred is managed by a colonel, who keeps rambling about a boy from Georgia ad nauseam in a rather lame running gag. The Georgia reference is a rare occasion of a real contemporary reference within the series instead of a phony one (like ‘Hollyrock’), and belies the supposed stone age setting of the series.

Anyway, Barney, Wilma and Betty accompany Fred, alias Hi-Fye on a tiring tour, until the wives are so fed up, they spread a rumor that Hi-Fye is in fact a square, thus ending the teen idol’s career within seconds.

This episode is a nice satire on the pop music industry of the late 1950s and early 1960s with its rapid turnover of pop stars. The period between the end of rock-‘n-roll (ca. 1958) and the advent of The Beatles in 1963 was particularly depressing in that respect, with teen idols with shallow hit songs and a short product live span flocking the jukebox.

Fred Flintstone seems to be the epitome of such stardom, having only one hit: his updated version of the age old song ‘Listen to the Mocking Bird’, the origins of which go way back to 1855. Nevertheless, watching Fred doing his ridiculous ‘gimmick’ as Hi-Fye is a sheer delight. The episode also contains a short reference to Hot Lips Hannigan (the star of the episode of the same name) as being way out.

Apart from the pop music scene of the early 1960s, this episode unwillingly gives us a little insight in the depressing life of housewives of the era, who never go out of their homes and whose reason of existence seems to be to serve their husbands. True, more episodes of The Flintstones display this sobering fact, but in ‘The Girl’s Night Out’ this pre-feminist life is made the main subject of the episode.

Watch ‘The Girl’s Night Out’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 15
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Prowler
To the next Flintstones episode: Arthur Quarry’s Dance Class

‘The Girl’s Night Out’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: December 30, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★½

The Prowler © Hanna-BarberaThere’s a prowler in town and Betty and Wilma are taking judo lessons to protect themselves.

Fred doesn’t approve and to prove that this self-defense is all nonsense he dresses up like a burglar himself to scare the wives. When he and the real prowler turn up at the same time, this causes a lot of misunderstandings.

This is a particularly slapstick-rich episode, with Fred and Barney trying to get Fred through Barney’s window, Fred repeatedly running into the real prowler, and Fred getting a beating from Betty, Wilma and the prowler.

There are also two nice prehistoric gags: Fred uses a bee in a shell for a razor, and a dinosaur lawn mower.

Unfortunately, the episode is hampered by the backward depiction of judo professor Rockimoto, a foul caricature of a Japanese, with the obligatory round glasses, big teeth, and phony accent.

Barney’s voice wavers a little during the episode.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Prowler’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 14
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Drive-in
To the next Flintstones episode: The Girl’s Night Out

‘The Prowler’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: December 23, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★

The Drive-in © Hanna-BarberaTired of their jobs, Fred and Barney decide to open their own restaurant. So they quit their jobs to obtain a drive-in so lousy, they can even buy without the necessary cash.

Fred’s and Barney’s only mistake is not telling their wives, but of course, Wilma and Betty soon find out, thus ending the business. The running gag of this episode features two annoying waitresses who sing a particularly irritating drive-in song, which is also featured in the episode’s finale.

‘The Drive-in’ is one of the least inspired of all Flintstones episodes. The all too predictable story moves at a surprisingly slow speed, and even contains a completely superfluous scene with a bird stealing Barney’s flapjacks. The only prehistory gags in this episode are the giant ribs and eggs Barney and Fred serve at the drive in.

The designs of the characters are quite unsteady in this episode, especially Fred’s.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Drive-in’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 13
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Sweepstakes Ticket
To the next Flintstones episode: The Prowler

‘The Drive-in’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: December 16, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★

The Sweepstakes Ticket © Hanna-BarberaBoth Fred and Barney and Betty and Wilma buy a sweepstakes ticket. They hide from each other, which leads to a small comedy of errors.

‘The Sweepstakes Ticket’ is not the most inspired of the Flintstones episodes: it relies heavily on tried and tested formulas. Most prominent is the ancient trope of devilish and angelic sides (typical examples include ‘Mickey’s Pal Pluto‘ from 1933 and ‘Donald’s Better Self‘ from 1938), which this time come to visit Fred. Then there is a W.C. Fields-like beggar, and Fred’s rather atypical asides to the audience.

Moreover, the episode reuses a gag from ‘The Engagement Ring’, aired only a few weeks before. At one point the story even reverts to the comedy of Tex Avery’s ‘The Legend of Rockabye Point‘ and ‘Deputy Droopy’ (both 1955) with Fred running away to a far away place to scream out his pain, and quickly singing a lullaby to the awakening Barney.

Fred’s behavior is highly questionable in this episode, burgling his very own neighbor, and it’s amazing to see his crime being unpunished.

Watch ‘The Sweepstakes Ticket’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 12
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Golf Champion
To the next Flintstones episode: The Drive-in

‘The Sweepstakes Ticket’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: December 9, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★

The Golf Champion © Hanna-BarberaThis episode starts with a golf tournament, but turns out to be a story about a feud between Barney and Fred.

Part of the story is told as a flashback: Barney is chosen president of ‘The Loyal Order of Dinosaurs’ (first introduced in ‘Hot Lips Hannigan‘) and promises to collect overdue contributions. Because Fred is one of the late payers, this leads to a heavy and childish feud between the to neighbors, reminiscent of the one in ‘The Swimming Pool‘.

Barney even buys a vicious watchdog, with a laugh that sounds like that of Muttley from Hanna-Barbera’s future series ‘Wacky Races’ (1968). The low point is reached when Fred throws a party with people he doesn’t even like, only to provoke Barney (who turns out not to be home). In the end it’s up to the wives to settle the argument.

‘The Golf Champion’ is one of the duller Flintstones episodes. It contains some repetitive gags of Barney stealing his own stuff back from Fred’s yard. The sound of effect of Barney tiptoeing in these scenes, however, is a delight, as is the surprisingly inspired background music, which e.g. features a military version of the Flintstones theme music. Nevertheless, the opening scenes are arguably the best, with Fred having to deal with no less than two large dinosaurs occupying the golf course.

There are two stone age gags: a bird as a can opener, which informs us that he likes the food at the Rubble’s house better, and a record player, featuring a monkey and a bird.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Golf Champion’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 11
To the previous Flintstones episode: Hollyrock, Here I Come
To the next Flintstones episode: The Sweepstakes Ticket

‘The Golf Champion’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: December 2, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★½

Hollyrock, Here I Come © Hanna-BarberaThe wives win a trip to Hollyrock with their slogan ‘Mother McGuire’s Meatballs don’t bounce’. Within two days Fred and Barney miss their wives so much they decide to follow them.

Before soon, both Wilma and Fred are asked to star in a new television series called ‘The Frogmouth’. But within a day Fred is overdoing it, and the producer makes him nervous to get rid of him.

‘Hollyrock, Here I Come’ plays on the American myth that anybody can become a star. The best gag of this only moderately funny episode comes from the guy on TV announcing the winning slogan. The timing of this gag is surprisingly sharp for the series, which is generally does not display any fast gags. Another highlight is the great wild-eyed take on Fred when Wilma tells him she won a trip to Hollyrock, and he thinks he can go.

As always the concept of a stone age television is rather puzzling, a mystery that is pushed further by the animated commercial.

Watch ‘Hollyrock, Here I Come’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 10
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Engagement Ring
To the next Flintstones episode: The Golf Champion

‘Hollyrock, Here I Come’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: November 25, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★★½

The Engagement Ring © Hanna-BarberaBarney has bought an engagement ring for Betty and he asks Fred to keep it from him.

By chance, Wilma discovers the ring and thinks Fred had bought it for her. So Fred has to buy one himself. Unfortunately the jeweler doesn’t allow him any credit, so Fred makes Barney try to fight a boxing champ for three minutes to earn the necessary 500 bucks… All the time, the wives are way ahead of the boys.

‘The Engagement Ring’ is one the best written, most inspired and funniest Flintstones episodes, even if it doesn’t contain any prehistory gag. Especially, the cake bake scene accounts for some great slapstick, with Fred being covered in flour as a highlight.

At the same time this is also one of the sweetest of the Flintstones episodes. All four protagonists act lovingly this time. There’s none of Fred’s usual grumbling, save for one short early scene. And, for once the episode has a rare happy ending, celebrating the neighbors’ marriages. At the same time, the episode retains the basic idea of the husbands habitually lying to their wives.

The animation is funnier than usual, with more extreme poses. For example, when Barney realizes he has to fight the champ, we for once see the whites of his eyes. This episode contains a guest appearance by Bill Thompson (the voice of Droopy) as a poor bloke who finally made his 600th payment, and gets his children back.

Watch ‘The Engagement Ring’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 9
To the previous Flintstones episode: At the Races
To the next Flintstones episode: Hollyrock, Here I Come

‘The Engagement Ring’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: November 18, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★★

At the Races © Hanna-BarberaThis episode starts with Fred and Barney playing pool in ‘Boulder Dan’s Billiard’. When they hear Dan wants to sell the place for 2 grand, Fred smells an opportunity.

Unfortunately, neither of them can raise the two grand in cash – they don’t even have the fifty bucks to bet on a horse (er… dinosaur) at one to forty to raise the big money. So Fred decides to use his pay, and to fool Wilma they think up a fake stick up. But as it goes in comedies like this, later a real stick up takes place…

‘At the Races’ is a fun episode, with Fred’s lies and over-confidence coming back upon him with a vengeance. Most painful in this respect is Fred’s rough treatment of his own boss, Mr. Gravelpuss, even before he has won the two grand that would make him independent. Strangely enough, Fred’s subsequent unemployment is not mentioned again during the rest of the episode.

This short contains a rare classic cartoon gag in which Fred makes the eight ball go through his skull: we can watch the ball rolling behind his eyes. A gag like this makes Fred suddenly akin to Hanna and Barbera’s earlier creation, Tom Cat. Also featured is a small elephant which Wilma uses as a vacuum cleaner, and a rather lame bus gag.

The designs of the characters vary a lot during this episode. Especially the drawings of Barney often seems rather off, giving him a huge nose in several scenes. Mel Blanc also voices a crackpot doctor with a strange accent.

Watch an excerpt from ‘At the Races’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 8
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Baby Sitters
To the next Flintstones episode: The Engagement Ring

‘At the Races’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: November 11, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating:

The Baby Sitters © Hanna-Barbera

This episode starts with Barney getting tickets to a big fight in town.

Meanwhile, their wives promise one Edna Boulder to make Fred and Barney babysit her little son Egbert, so they can go to the bridge tournament together. So, Fred and Barney stay home to watch the fight on television. Unfortunately, their area is blackened out (the replacement is a recital by Alice Blue Jean and her Magic Banjo), thus Fred decides to watch it at Joe Rockhead’s place, who lives outside the blackened era.

Yet, Joe is not home, and in the least convincing of the story twists, Fred busts in Joe’s door to watch the fight anyway. In another unlikely event little Egbert puts his clothes on Joe’s pooch (a little brontosaur), which promptly jumps out of the window, making Fred and Barney think it’s the baby.

The story of this episode rambles, to say the least, and contains an Irish policeman trope. Worse, the designs of the characters are pretty weird. Fred’s design in particular is very inconsistent and off model. On the upside, there’s a nice primitive elevator, and a bird functioning as a car horn. This bird is the first animal talking to the camera, a Flintstones trope that would occur throughout the series.

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 7
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Monster from the Tarpits
To the next Flintstones episode: At the Races

‘The Baby Sitters’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: November 4, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★

The Monster from the Tarpits © Hanna-Barbera“Hollyrock” company ‘Miracle Pictures’ is going to shoot a low-budget one-day quicky monster movie called ‘The Monster of the Tar Pits’.

The producers randomly choose Bedrock as a location, because they cannot spend the money on a prop set. The whole town gets excited, because Hollyrock actors Gary Granite, Rock Pile and Tuesday Wednesday are in it.

Gary Granite is clearly a parody of Cary Grant, not really in looks, but certainly in voice. Wilma and Betty even go auditioning, but it’s Fred, who gets hired as Gary Granite’s stunt double. The look on Fred’s face when the director says he’d be perfect [as an actor] is priceless, and one of the best facial expressions in the entire series. Of course, Fred mainly gets hit by rocks and clubs, which are all too real, as the company cannot afford props for those, either.

The Movie Company’s slogan, “If it’s a good picture, it’s a miracle”, is a variation on similar slogans in ‘Daffy Duck in Hollywood‘ (1938), which uses the word Wonder, and the Popeye cartoon ‘Doing Impossikible Stunts‘ (1940) with the word Mystery.

The episode is only mildly funny, but contains a few stone age gags: Fred and Barney eating a huge brontosaur steak and pterodactyl drumstick, respectively, and Wilma doing the laundry using a pelican, and handling a little mastodon as a vacuum cleaner.

Watch ‘The Monster from the Tarpits’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 6
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Split Personality
To the next Flintstones episode: The Baby Sitters

‘The Monster from the Tarpits’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: October 28, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★½

The Split Personality © Hanna-BarberaIn this episode Fred accidently knocks himself out with a bottle. When he wakes up he has turned into a suave gentleman who loves opera and poetry.

Wilma, Barney and all other husbands soon get really fed up with this new ‘Frederick’ character, so Barney thinks up a scheme to get the old Fred back.

This is one of the more inspired Flintstones episodes, especially the scene in which Fred comes home, growling is a delight. Moreover, this episode finally features no less than three stone age gags: some birdlike creature is Wilma’s waste disposal, Betty’s shower is a mammoth, and Fred’s pick-up is a little bird with a will of his own.

Nevertheless, the episode’s message is rather dubious: one of Frederick’s new habits is his willingness to do some of the house cleaning himself. Such progressive, feminist ideas were clearly out of the question in this era…

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Split Personality’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 5
To the previous Flintstones episode: No Help Wanted
To the next Flintstones episode: The Monster from the Tarpits

‘The Split Personality’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: October 21, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★½

No Help Wanted © Hanna-BarberaThis episode starts with a conversation between Fred and Wilma providing the back story: due to a stupid action by Fred, Barney got fired. So, Fred helps his neighbor out by making him the caddie of his rich and influential golf partner, Mr. Boulder.

Barney’s authentic instructions makes the big shot win for once, so Barney gets a job as a  debt collector, with his first victim happening to be Fred…

This episode is just one another example of Fred’s tendencies to deceive his wife, refusing to tell Wilma he has gambled the money away, necessary to pay the television bill. The story progresses at an even, rather slow speed, and is only moderately funny. The best scenes are the golf scene and the chase between Fred and Barney, with the latter looking like a television set with legs.

This episode is the first to feature Dino (although he has been in the titles since the beginning). Nevertheless, Dino’s appearance is restricted to the first scene, and no mentioning of him occurs during the rest of the episode.

Watch an excerpt from ‘No Help Wanted’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 4
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Swimming Pool
To the next Flintstones episode: The Split Personality

‘No Help Wanted’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: October 14, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★

The Swimming Pool © Hanna-Barbera‘The Swimming Pool’ was the very first Flintstones episode made, and it shows: Barney, Fred and Wilma all look different from later episodes, and Barney sounds quite different, too. Nevertheless, the episode introduces the visual style of the series: pleasant color schemes with olive skies, thick character lines, and limited animation.

This first episode of the Flintstones also establishes the Flintstones formula: although set in the stone age, it clearly portraits modern suburban neighbors, with telephones, television sets and such. Already in this episode Fred and Barney are portrayed as quarreling, but loving neighbors and friends, and there’s also a short shot of Fred working at the excavation.

In this episode Barney digs a swimming pool in his own backyard, and Fred talks him into sharing a pool with him, spanning both backyards. Nevertheless, it’s still Barney doing all the digging. Unfortunately the shared pool tests Fred’s neighborly attitude, and he even ends up in jail.

The humor in this episode is a little bit slow, with more room for slapstick than later episodes.

Watch an excerpt from ‘The Swimming Pool’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 3
To the previous Flintstones episode: Hot Lips Hannigan
To the next Flintstones episode: No Help Wanted

‘The Swimming Pool’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

Directors: William Hanna & Joseph Barbera
Airing Date: October 7, 1960
Stars: The Flintstones
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Hot Lips Hannigan © Hanna-BarberaThis episode opens with another feature borrowed from The Honeymooners, the series that served as the example for The Flintstones: the idea of the boys being member of an all-male society.

In this episode Fred and and Barney are members of The Loyal Order of Dinosaurs”. This club is also featured in the episode ‘The Golf Champion‘, but later the two neighbors would join the ‘Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes’.

The story starts with the two having to perform at the annual meeting. Barney practices a trampoline act, while Fred tries his luck at magic, with stuff borrowed from ‘Rockstone the Great’. In a demonstration he thinks he made the wives disappear and he and Barney take advantage of the situation to go to the Rockland Dance Hall to see Hot Lips Lannigan, an old acquaintance of Fred. Fred and Barney join in at his concert with Fred singing ‘When the Saints Go Marchin’ In’, bebop style, and Barney beating the drums. Their act impresses the young hep cats, much to Wilma’s and Betty’s bewilderment, who have dressed up like hep cats themselves to catch their husbands red-handed.

‘Hot Lips Hannigan’ is one of the more inspired Flintstone episodes, even though there’s absolutely no reference to prehistoric times, at all. Highlights are the intoxicating jazz number at the dance hall, and Betty’s and Wilma’s ‘hep’ alter egos. The name Hot Lips Hannigan is modeled on that of trumpeter Hot Lips Page, but the character looks more like a white version of Dizzy Gillespie, with his beret and goatee, and he plays the latter’s iconic upright trumpet.

Hot Lips Page had already died in 1954, and bebop arguably died with the death of Charlie Parker in 1955, making this episode strangely anachronistic. Moreover, Hannigan appears to be a square in disguise (for example ‘When the Saints Go Marchin’ was a staple of the conservative dixieland bands of the time), and it’s clear the writers’ sympathies are with the conservative middle-aged, not with the more advanced music-loving youngsters. This is a rather painful conclusion in an era in which even rock-‘n-roll was already past its prime, and hard bop (the follow-up to bebop) already started to make place for post-bop and free jazz…

Watch ‘Hot Lips Hannigan’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Flintstones Season One Episode 2
To the previous Flintstones episode: The Flintstone Flyer
To the next Flintstones episode: The Swimming Pool

‘Hot Lips Hannigan’ is available on the DVD-set ‘The Flintstones: The Complete First Season’

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