September 30, 2010
Happy Birthday Fred Flintstone: “Yabba Dabba Doo!”
The key to The Flintstones was its surfeit of hate. Fred, if truth be told, hated Wilma, who hated Fred, who hated his job, where he was hated by Mr. Slate. Barney didn’t hate anyone, but everyone treated Barney like a flesh piñata.
Hate was the key. And lies. Every single episode of The Flintstones hinged on some sort of untruth someone told someone else, prompting shenanigans. Modern research shows that Faces of Death had a less deleterious effect on childhood delinquency than just 10 minutes exposure to The Flintstones.
If you took Fred and Wilma as your marriage role models, you’re divorced now. You might be in prison. Depends if your plan to plant subliminal messages in your husband’s brain while he slept actually worked, coercing him to commit robbery on your behalf.
It was nasty stuff. When we were kids, the reruns were on during the lunch hour so, what the hell, what else were we going to watch? The news?
Kids really only loved one character on The Flintstones. Dino. Dino was pure. His brand of love was
unhindered by malice or greed. Dino was also purple, which kids love.
We also liked the Great Gazoo, but only because he tormented Fred, who really was an awful fake human being.
The Flintstones turns 50 years old on Thursday. The show first aired September 30, 1960. The series lasted six seasons. Just long enough to warp many, many young minds. Here are some of the things The Flintstones taught us:
• That a man can make a living wage and support his family doing a job he despises, which also happens to be environmentally unsustainable.
• If you are caught in a lie (as Fred inevitably was in minute 7 of every show), tell a more outrageous lie. This is how Mussolini got into power.
• It’s all right for a man to wear a leopard-skin dress. As long as he also wears a tie.
• That if your household appliances were living creatures and could talk, they would tell people how awful you are.
• Time spent with your family is wasted time. Time spent golfing, bowling or carousing with a bunch of idiots in buffalo-skin toques revives the flagging spirit.
• You have a best friend for a reason. And that reason is to bully him mercilessly.
• Red meat, consumed in huge portions, makes you fat. Fat men attract women far above their station in terms of attractiveness, but they’ll never let you forget it.
• You should appreciate your wife. But only after you fall asleep (drunk?) at a picnic and have a terribly realistic nightmare in which everyone has moved on without you. Coincidentally, they’re all happier.
If you construct every episode of a TV show around the premise that, “(Blank) wants to go (blanking) with his friend (Blank), but his meddlesome wife (Blank) has planned a dinner for that night,” you will be a god in America. Or Jim Belushi. It’s a crapshoot.
Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. (pronounced /ˌhænə bɑrˈbɛrə/) (formerly Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc., and originally H-B Enterprises, Inc.) was an American animation studio that dominated North American television animation during the second half of the 20th century. The company was originally formed in 1957 by former Metro Goldwyn Mayer animation directors William Hanna and Joseph Barbera in partnership with Columbia Pictures‘ Screen Gems television division, as H-B Enterprises, Inc..
Established after MGM shut down its animation studio in 1957, H-B Enterprises, Inc. was renamed Hanna-Barbera Productions, Inc. in 1959. Over the next three decades, the studio produced many successful cartoon shows including The Flintstones, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Jonny Quest, The Yogi Bear Show, The Jetsons, The Huckleberry Hound Show, Top Cat, Wacky Races, The Quick Draw McGraw Show, Snagglepuss, Pixie & Dixie and Mr. Jinx, Space Ghost, The Smurfs and The Magilla Gorilla Show. In addition to their animated projects, the studio also made live-action productions (with or without animation) for television and film as well. Hanna-Barbera’s television productions have earned the company eight Emmy Awards . In the mid-1980s, the company’s fortunes declined somewhat after the profitability of Saturday morning cartoons was eclipsed by weekday afternoon syndication. In 1991, the company was purchased by Turner Broadcasting System, who began using much of the H-B back catalog to program the Cartoon Network the following year. 
Both Hanna and Barbera went into semi-retirement, continuing to serve as ceremonial figureheads for and sporadic artistic contributors to the studio. In 1994, the company was renamed Hanna-Barbera Cartoons and in 1996, Turner merged with Time Warner. By the time of the merger, Turner had turned Hanna-Barbera towards primarily producing new material for Cartoon Network, including successful Cartoon Cartoons shows such as Dexter’s Laboratory, Johnny Bravo, Cow and Chicken, and The Powerpuff Girls.
With William Hanna’s death in 2001, Hanna-Barbera was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation, and Cartoon Network Studios assumed production of Cartoon Network output. Joseph Barbera remained with Warner Bros. Animation until his death in 2006. The Hanna-Barbera name and studio is today used only to market properties and productions associated with Hanna-Barbera’s “classic” works such as The Flintstones and Yogi Bear.