Jean Vander Pyl Remembers The Flinstones. From the Asbury Park Press newspaper May 15, 1994 in a series of columns by Mark Voger, voice actress Jean Vander Pyl shared the following:
“I was never very bold about telling directors what I wanted. You just didn’t do that in those days. But there were two times that I did.
“When Bea Benaderet, an old friend, and I were reading for Joe Barbera (for The Flintstones), it was the funniest thing. We read back and forth, this way and that way. Finally, Joe said ‘Who wants to be Wilma and who wants to be Betty?’ it was so informal in those days, so much more relaxed. Today, they would never do such a thing. So I said, ‘Oh, I want to be Wilma!’ I felt a real closeness to that character. Bea said, ‘That’s fine with me’. So that was actually the way it was cast.“When we heard there was going to be a baby on the show, we were all excited. The minute I heard that, I thought, ‘Oh, I want to do that baby’. Sure enough, the first time it was in the script, Barbera said, ‘Now, who’s going to do the baby here?’ The minute those words were out of his mouth, I said, ‘I want to do the baby!’ She’s Wilma’s baby and she should sound like Wilma.
“I worked in radio for twenty years. For radio people, if you couldn’t do more than one character in a show, you didn’t work. So cartoons were a natural for radio people. My first role for Hanna-Barbera was as Mrs. Creply in a Snooper and Blabbermouth episode. She looked very much like the mother in The Addams Family. So I thought, ‘What can I do?’ I fiddled with it and came up with in my own way of thinking, as actors do, half Katherine Hepburn and half Tallulah Bankhead if you can imagine.
“They (Hanna and Barbera) showed us the drawing (of the Flintstones cast) and Mr. Barbera explained to us what it was like. He said, ‘It’s sort of like The Honeymooners. And that was the tip-off to what type of voices they wanted. So, all four of us had a pattern that we were lead into. I did sort of an impression of Audrey Meadows who played the wife on The Honeymooners which was that New York nasal kind of thing. All up in the nose.
“So when we all first started we all ended up doing almost impressions of those four. But then, after we got the parts and the show was on, I remember Joe saying to me ‘Jean that’s a little too nasal. Let’s cut down on the nasal’. But I would slip into it, because we had done several shows that way. So it became half me and half the original Wilma.”
Hanna on the The Flintstones. In February 1993, Bill Hanna who was then 82 years old was interviewed in USA Today by Jefferson Graham about the latest The Flintstones special where Pebbles gets married. Hanna said, “Fred, Wilma and Barney went on the air in 1960 and they’ve stayed on, constantly, ever since. They’re still running today because the basic concept (a Stone Age family) afforded a lot of gags. Using your feet to start your car, using an elephant’s trunk to take a shower. My favorite is Fred because he’s explosive; he yells and hollers yet he’s also tender and funny.”
Walworth at MGM. John C. “Wally” Walworth Jr. is perhaps best known for creating memorable premiums (sometimes in cereal boxes) for a variety of characters and firms. However, he got his start in animation including a short stint at MGM in 1938 after two weeks working as an in-betweener on the Oswald the Rabbit series for Walter Lantz.
“I had been living in Hollywood and now MGM was in Culver City. First, I had to figure where the hell that was and second, how I was going to get there since I didn’t have a car. I ran into a friend who told me if I stood out in front of the Mark Twain Hotel, I could probably catch a ride with some of the guys from Terrytoons.
“It was an animation outfit from New Rochelle out in California working for MGM. It was owned by Paul Terry of whom it was said that he had more money than God – he owned half of New Rochelle. Anyway, that morning, I bummed a ride with Joe Barbera, later of Hanna-Barbera fame.
“I was one of three assistant to animator Leonard Sebring. I was making $22.50 a week. In the spring of 1938, Fleischer offered me a job at $35.00 a week. When they added transportation back to New York, I tendered my resignation at MGM.”
Animated Aquino. In 1994, Ruben Aquino, the key animator for the adult Simba in Disney’s The Lion King (1994) said in a publicity interview, “I approach every scene as any live action actor would. I meet with the director and ask, ‘What’s my attitude in this scene? What do I want, hope fear?’ Then I draw quick thumbnail sketches of major poses that help me capture the basic emotions of the scene. I discuss the sketches with the director, then it’s ‘back to the drawing board’.”
Chuck Jones on Cartoon Violence. In US magazine for November 1992, animation legend Chuck Jones said, “Our cartoons have aired since 1957 (on television). I’d like to see a study done of people who grew up watching a half hour of uncut Warner cartoons every week. I don’t think you’ll find any psychopaths.”
The Fleischer Victory Newsreel. In May 1932, singer Helen Kane filed a $250,000 infringement lawsuit against Max Fleischer and Paramount Publix Corporation for the “deliberate caricature” that produced “unfair competition”. She lost when it was determined she had borrowed her character and “boop boop a doop” from other performers.
Kane had witnessed an African American performer, Baby Esther using a similar vocal style in an act at the Cotton Club in Harlem, some years earlier. An early test sound film was also discovered, which featured Baby Esther performing in this style.
The Fleischer Studios Victory Newsreel which runs thirteen seconds features Little Ann Little, Bonnie Poe, Mae Questel (standing in the center) and Margie Hines and Kate Wright with a triumphant Max Fleischer sitting in front. These five performers had done Betty Boop.