The Flintstones Return

I made this drawing of Fred Flintstone even before my morning coffee. Pretty impressive, eh? Not the drawing. It’s the fact that I was able to do it before I had my morning coffee. This is Fred Flintstone, but you probably already knew that. He’s well known to millions but I remember way back in 1960 when the famous caveman was about to make his television debut. I remember reading about the upcoming Hanna-Barbera television show while still in the military. At the time I was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina and eagerly looking forward to one day returning to the cartoon business. News of the upcoming Hanna-Barbera television show only made me want to return to animation as quickly as possible.

Oddly enough, I never worked on “The Flintstones.” I watched the show on television like so many others. The show was unique in that it was marketed as an adult show. It was even aired in prime time and believe it or not, featured cigarette commercials. This was clearly not a show for children although I’ve no doubt the famous caveman had his share of kiddies watching the animated television show. I wonder how many kids begged their parents to allow them to stay up late to watch the cartoon show? I’m sure many parents gave in to their kids because “The Flintstones” was a cartoon show. After all, how bad could it be? They might have given it a second thought if they knew Fred and Barney would be sneaking out back to light up a couple of ciggies from a pack of Winstons.

Eventually, I did work on “The Flintstones,” only by the early seventies the show was given a brand new name. I’m guessing there must have been a legal reason for the name change. In any case, I was a new arrival at Hanna Barbera having been sacked from the Walt Disney Studio. I looked forward to a reboot of the famous caveman television show and was delighted to be a part of it. My new job was in Hanna-Barbera’s layout department and I was teamed with a talented young artist named, Scott Shaw! No, I’m not shouting at you. That’s the way Scott spells his name. Scott Shaw! and I began preparing for a new season of “The Flintstones” by seeking out the art created from the previous incarnation. Boy, were we surprised to find that most of the original Flintstone art had been tossed in the dumpster. That’s correct, boys and girls. All that original art for the first season of “The Flintstones” was pretty much nonexistent. You see, back in the early days of animation nobody saved anything. That went double for television animation. After all, who would want this junk?

Luckily, we were able to salvage a few sketches from layout artist and designer, Bob Singer. Had Bob not put aside a few drawings from the early sixties we would have been out of luck. Thankfully, Singer provided enough ruff sketches and layouts to get us going and in a few weeks we were ready for production. This was the seventies and over a decade since the original television show had been on the air. “The New Fred & Barney Show” was a delight to work on back in the go-go seventies. We were lucky enough to have the talented, Bob Ogle as our Story Editor and a host of Hanna-Barbera’s finest animation artists. I don’t think “The Fred & Barney Show” ever captivated audiences like the original show, but what the heck. It was pretty cool to have the Flintstones back on television, and since that time they’ve returned to center stage in a number of incarnations. It all makes for a pretty impressive story and a book that should be written. If there are any publishers out there looking for pretty terrific book material, I’d advise you to consider “The Flintstones.” And, if you’re truly savvy and knowledable you’ll get Scott Shaw! to author the book.

Fred Flintstone. After all these years the famous caveman is still fun to draw.

Fred Flintstone. After all these years the famous caveman is still fun to draw.