Remember This?

By Dorri Partain

The “modern stone age family” appeared on numerous products following their television debut in 1960.

As created by William Hanna (1911-2006) and Joseph Barbera (1910- 2001), “The Flintstones” was the first animated sitcom created for primetime television. Founded in 1957, Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, Inc. had already created “The Ruff and Ready Show” and “The Huckleberry Hound Show” which were developed as children’s cartoons.

In developing the characters of Fred and Wilma Flintsone, and their neighbors Barney and Betty Rubble, Hanna-Barbera was inspired by the now-classic live action television program, “The Honeymooners.”

Airing on the ABC network, the program ran from 1960 through 1966, with the first two seasons drawn in black and white. Aimed more toward adults, Winston brand cigarettes sponsored the show and featured a commercial at the end of the program in which Fred and Wilma smoked Winstons.

By the third season in 1962, the program became one of the first to be aired in color. That season would also be the year that the Flintstones experienced the birth of their daughter Pebbles. Sponsorship of the program switched from Winston to Welch’s, with commercials where Fred would offer nutritious grape juice to Pebbles.

After the addition of Pebbles, the following season had the Rubbles adopting son Bamm-Bamm, and the show’s storylines were more geared toward children. The show aired in primetime until 1966, after 166 episodes had been produced.

The Flintstones have appeared on numerous products, including this bedside lamp featuring Fred sitting on a rock, dated 1961. The lampshade features all the cast members at that time: Fred, Wilma, Barney, Betty, and pets Dino and Baby Puss (a saber-tooth cat). There is no manufacturer’s mark but the owner recalls it was purchased new at W.T. Grant, a local department store.

Looking to retire, Hanna-Barbera sold its licensed characters to Warner Brothers Animation/ Cartoon Network Studios in 2001. The Flintstones, specifically Fred and Barney, continue to be spokespersons for Flintstones vitamins and Fruity/Cocoa Pebbles cereals.

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