I was surprised, one day last week, to open Google and find a picture of the Flintstones. One of their famous “doodles,” this was their recognition of the fiftieth anniversary of the first Flintstones show, aired September 30, 1960. So I had to put off looking up whatever it was I had planned to search for, and do some nostalgic reading of articles about one of my favorite TV shows as a girl.
I used to watch The Flintstones every day after school. To me it was undeniably a kids show; I knew that I was watching reruns, but it never occurred to me that it had originally been a prime time TV sitcom that entertained adults. Whatever social commentary there may have been went over my head – I simply enjoyed it as a fun show (though I wished Fred wouldn’t lie to Wilma so much).
I also had never heard of The Man Called Flintstone, a feature-length movie based on the Flintstones, made shortly after the series finished its six-year run on prime-time TV. But when I read about this cartoon spoof of James Bond movies, I logged into our library’s online catalog to see if the DVD was available. It was, through interlibrary loan, so I promptly put it on hold. And today I picked it up, and watched it with Al.
It’s a fun movie. Not great, but decently entertaining. It didn’t make me want to rush out and find some DVDs of the TV show to watch with Al, but it was nice to share with him a small piece of my childhood. (He thought it was very funny.)
I couldn’t help noticing differences from the Flintstones I remembered, though (aside from the fact that it was in color, and I only saw it in black-and-white growing up because that’s what kind of TV we had). The movie includes songs, with some rather creative animation to go with them. As one review puts it, these were music videos before there were music videos – but they don’t seem to belong in The Flintstones.
The Flintstones was always very down to earth. The problems Fred and Wilma dealt with were everyday problems related to jobs, their relationship, how to spend leisure time, how to spend money, getting along with neighbors, etc. This business of going to Europe (excuse me, Eurock), being followed by bumbling minions of the evil Green Goose, trying to catch the bad guys without being caught by them – that goes with some of Hanna-Barbera‘s other shows, such as Scooby Doo.
Of course, if you’re going to do a spoof of James Bond movies, you have to have all the exotic locations, beautiful women, and chase scenes. Yet if you’re doing that, what’s with the romantic song with Fred and Wilma or the two songs about children and their future (one imagined by Fred, the other by Pebbles and Boom-Boom Bam-Bam)?
Still, if you’re going to try to mix bumbling but well-meaning Fred Flintstone with the spy scene, this movie is a pretty good result. And it doesn’t take itself too seriously, as too many movies seem to do these days.