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The Flintstones cartoon, scene of the two families in a taxi
The Flintstones addressed modern everyday concerns in a Stone Age settingImage: Hanna Barbera/Ronald Grant Arc/Mary Evans Picture Library/picture-alliance
Media

New 'Flintstones' sequel series in the works

Dagmar Breitenbach | Elizabeth Grenier
April 28, 2021

Fred Flintstone is about to retire and Pebbles is an adult: "Bedrock" is set 20 years after the events of the classic series. A look back at what made the original so popular.

https://p.dw.com/p/3jADj

A sequel to The Flintstones is officially being developed by Fox Entertainment.

Titled Bedrock, the new animated series will revisit the Flintstone family two decades after the events of the original show. The Stone Age is about to be replaced by an enlightened new Bronze Age. Fred Flintstone faces retirement, while his daughter, Pebbles, is now a 20-year-old embarking on her own career. 

Elizabeth Banks, star and director of Charlie's Angels (2019), is an executive producer of the show and will star as Pebbles' voice.

"Long before the Simpsons and Springfield, the Griffins and Quahog or even when the Belchers started serving burgers on Ocean Avenue, there were the Flintstones and Bedrock," said Michael Thorn, president of entertainment for Fox Entertainment, in a statement. "Their imprint on the animation universe is undeniable and the idea of adapting it for today's audience is a challenge." 

"No pressure whatsoever, really," he quipped, in reference to the original series' iconic status.

Well aware of the pressure on her shoulders, Lindsay Kerns, the series screenwriter who also scripted Netflix's Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous series, reacted on Twitter to Thorn's comment with a crying laughing emoji. It's "been a yabba dabba delight to write, and I can't wait to share it with the world," she added. 


Modern Stone Age family

Set in a quirky cartoon-style Stone Age, the original 1960s animated TV series centered on the Flintstone family, with Fred, a typical blue-collar worker, his stylish wife Wilma, their baby daughter Pebbles and pet dinosaur Dino.

They drove cars made of logs, went to prehistoric drive-in movies and picked up take-out dinners — huge brontosaurus ribs — at their neighborhood drive-in burger place.

Always joining in on the fun were their neighbors (and best friends) Barney and Betty Rubble, with their supernaturally strong son, Bamm-Bamm.

The character reads a woman's magazine carved into stone and drinks coffee as various animals wash dishes: a turtle, a monkey and a wolly mammoth
Wilma, waiting for her 'dishwasher' to finish upImage: Hanna Barbera/Ronald Grant Arc/Mary Evans Picture Library/picture-alliance

The sitcom-style series created by the Hanna-Barbera cartoon studios was originally broadcast on the ABC television network from September 30, 1960 to April 1, 1966, followed by decades of reruns. It premiered on prime time TV, and the stories about the Flintstone and the Rubble families were an instant hit.

Most successful animated TV series for decades

Some Flintstones trivia: The series is seen as a riff on The Honeymooners, a classic American TV sitcom from the 1950s about two couples, created by and starring American actor and comedian Jackie Gleason. Unthinkable today: The main male character in The Honeymooners would regularly threaten to beat up his wife; in The Flintstones, Fred would rant and rave, but it was Wilma who would actually beat her husband over the head with a rolling pin.

The Simpsons cartoon scene, the family sitting on the couch from the episode
The Simpsons on the couchImage: picture-alliance/Everett Collection/20th Century Fox Film Corp.

The Flintstones was the most financially successful and longest-running network animated television series until Matt Groening's The Simpsons debuted in late 1989; new episodes have been produced ever since.

Beethoven-inspired melody

"Flintstones, meet the Flintstones, they're the modern Stone Age family..." Beginning in Season 3, Meet the Flintstones was the show's cheerful opening and closing theme. The tune, recorded with a big band, was inspired by the second movement of Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No 17 from 1802.

Originally aimed at a family audience, The Flintstones was the first American animated cartoon to show a couple (Fred and Wilma or Barney and Betty) sleeping in the same bed.

Fred has hooked an angry dinosaur on his fishing line while Barney runs for help
Sticking together through thick and thin: Fred Flintstone and Barney RubbleImage: Hanna Barbera/Ronald Grant Arc/Mary Evans Picture Library/picture-alliance

The show was co-sponsored by the US cigarette brand Winston for the first two seasons, which meant Barney and Fred would light up in a kind of integrated ad at the end of an episode.

In 1961, The Flintstones was the first animated series to be nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Fred was first meant to yell a trademark "Yahoo!", but legend has it the actor who was his voice, Alan Reed, came up with something much better by integrating the slogan "a little dab'll do ya" — sources ascribe it to either the actor's mom, or to an ad tune for a brand of hair grease.

The cartoon series was also translated into French, Chinese, Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, German and other languages, presenting the various production teams with the challenge of coming up with a local version of the iconic "Yabba-dabba-doo!"

Entertainment for generations

The wildly popular series about the cartoon Stone Age family soon had a futuristic counterpart, a much shorter-lived series about a family in the Space Age. With their dog, Astro, the Jetsons zipped around a world full of gadgets: robots, flying cars, jetpacks and smart watches in Orbit City.

A woman sits on the couch watching television as a machine does her manicure. A bulky robot dressed as a maid sits next to her, with snacks ready. Meanwhile, a robot vacuums the floor
The household aids in 'The Jetsons' are more hi-techImage: picture-alliance/United Archives/IFTN

The 1960s had a wealth of cartoon characters that often had their own animated comedy shows, short episodes or spin-offs — not to mention the multi-million dollar merchandising that went with all the favorite cartoon characters — including Bullwinkle, Caspar the Friendly Ghost, Mighty Mouse, Beany & Cecil, Bugs Bunny, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, Scooby Doo, Yogi Bear and Tom and Jerry.

As for The Flintstones themselves, the show has already generated numerous spinoffs in the past, including short-lived series like The New Fred and Barney Show and The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show. Two live-action films were also released. Despite negative reviews, the 1994 film starring John Goodman was a huge box office hit, while The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, which came out in 2000, absolutely bombed. 

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