Quote of the Day: “And so on and so on and scooby dooby dooby…” — “Everyday People” by Sly and the Family Stone
I love cartoons. When I was a kid, those few hours on Saturday morning were a kind of pre-pubescent entertainment haven—nothing was better than eating a big bowl of Apple Jacks or Capn Crunch and being hypnotized while the major networks rolled out their deluxe model cartoon series like Hong Kong Phooey and Josie and the Pussycats, (click those links for theme songs) not to mention ABC’s educationally-aimed Schoolhouse Rock clips. This stuff was mine, I thought, not like the shows on prime-time TV that were either too adult or just simply too boring for my eyes and ears. The elasticity of animation is what did it to me—and to most kids—I think: the fact that fantasy could exist in such a real, candy-colored, action-packed context made everything okay with the world.
Same thing for after school entertainment. Before I was sophisticated enough, say 12 or 13, to truly indulge in the daily doings in Port Charles or Monticello, reruns of old school cartoons like Magilla Gorilla and Tom and Jerry kept me fully occupied before homework called me to the kitchen table where my mother cooked dinner and glanced over my shoulder every few minutes to make sure my fractions were being divided correctly.
But nothing, and I mean nothing, grabbed at my young brain like The Flintstones, that pre-historic family with the loudmouth father and casually sarcastic mother, and the next door neighbors who were always ready for an adventure. I suspect I fell hard for the Bedrock family because I was such a fan of I Love Lucy and The Honeymooners. And not just because The Flintstones abide by the classic and mythical Comedy Rule of Four (four main characters playing out any story with symmetrical hilarity–see Seinfeld, The Golden Girls, Sex and the City et al). The show also mixed the sort of daily domestic dramatics I loved with the eternal comic longings of an ambitious dreamer—Fred, a lot like Lucy Ricardo and Ralph Kramden—who dreamed so hard he often pushed his desire way past the line of nightmarish possibility.
I have favorite episodes: Fred stunt-doubles for Cary Granite (!) in a movie (“The Monster from the Tar Pits”); “The Prowler,” in which Wilma and Betty take judo lessons; the one when Wilma became “The Happy Housewife” (“Keep your hubby happy with Glockenschpeel!”); when the Gruesomes move in next door…way too many to name, really. But nothing did it for me more than the many times music was featured on the show, whether it was “The Bedrock Twist” (“There’s a town I know where the hipsters go called Bedrock! Twist! Twist!”) or when real life singing group The Beau Brummels appeared as themselves singing “Laugh, Laugh” on a Shindig takeoff called Shinrock a Go Go…
Here’s some of my other favorite music-themed Flintstones eps…Hopefully you remember—and love—them too…
“Ann Margrock Presents”—Season 4 opener, in which superstar Ann-Margret gets the Stony Curtis/Cary Granite treatment, appearing as Annie, a shy young babysitter for Pebbles, who is really a celebrity in hiding before her big show. She literally rocks the house with “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Fool.” Watch how at :18 Wilma and Betty are surrounded by friends and onlookers, but by 1:15, there’s no on there except them and Pebbles! Where’d everybody go!?!
“No Biz Like Show Biz”—Season 6 opener, in which Fred dreams that Pebbles and Bam Bam become pop stars after they’re found rocking out in the backyard like a Stone Age toddler version of Sonny and Cher singing the classic and sublime “Open Up Your Heart and Let the Sun Shine In”…Love love love the “frown” on Pebbles’ face at :51, when she sings “Smilers never lose and frowners never win.” She looks like she could rip someone’s heart out—and still keep her bone barrette in place.
“The Masquerade Party”—also Season 6 (actually the episode before the Beau Brummels appear—that was quite a singing season in Bedrock!), in which Bedrock is taken with a new teen pop sensation, The WayOuts.