ANIMATION SPIN
May 13, 2014 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Flintstone Bedtime Stories

The entire TV cast of The Flintstones made just a few Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series albums together, but each was top of the line—superbly written, edited and voiced.

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THE FLINTSTONES: FLIP FABLES
Hanna-Barbera Records HLP-2021 (Mono) (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1965)
Edited 7” 45 RPM Version: Hanna-Barbera CS-7032 (1965)
Reissues of 45 RPM Version on 12” 33 1/3 RPM LPs: Columbia Special Products P-13855, P5-13934 (1977).

Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Producer/Writer/Director: Charles Shows. Music: Hoyt Curtin. Cover Design: Willie Ito. Cover Art: Ron Dias. Running Time: 31 minutes.
Voices: Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone, Papa Bear, Mama Bear, Baby Bear, Goldi-Rocks, Goldi’s Mother); Mel Blanc (Barney Rubble, Chubby, Tubby, Stubby, Landlord, Beowolfe); Jean Vander Pyl (Pebbles), The Hanna-Barbera Singers (Danny Hutton, Al Capps, Ron Hicklin).

Songs: “F-L-I-N-T-S-T-O-N-E-S,” “Three Little Pigs,” “Beowolfe, the Big Bad Wolf,” “F-L-I-N-T-S-T-O-N-E-S (Reprise)” by Lynn Bryson, Larry Goldberg and Peggy Shows.

The premise is simple; Fred and Barney can’t go bowling unless Pebbles is asleep (though leaving her alone is questionable—would Dino watch over her?). Wilma is probably out helping Betty with her “Mrs. O’Lady” adventure or something. Though Wilma may not be home, Jean Vander Pyl is on hand to “goo-goo” as Pebbles, along with Mel Blanc as Barney and Alan Reed as Fred.

Reed, who only voiced Fred in cameos on two other Hanna-Barbera records, offers a tour de force here as he narrates “Goldi-Rocks and the Three Bearosauruses.” He plays all the roles in his story, voicing Goldi a feminine variation of his Dum-Dum characterization in the Touché Turtle cartoons.

“Goldi-Rocks” is a goldmine of great gags and one-liners, executed to perfection. One example comes near the end: “When she found herself staring into the big brown eyes of an irate Papa Bearosaurus, GOLDI EXCLAIMED! “…. eek.” Both Reed’s delivery and the music cue sell the comedy. Since this is one of the first in the HBR cartoon series catalog, I have to wonder if it was the sample Hanna-Barbera’s sales people used to hand out to impress potential retailers.

Like virtually all Hanna-Barbera Records, Flip Fables does not include the TV theme song. Instead, there’s a groovy ditty called “F-L-I-N-T-S-T-O-N-E-S” with a falsetto “Yabba Dabba” hook reminiscent of Lou Christie’s hit, “Lightning Strikes” or any number of the Four Seasons’ tunes.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Goldi-Rocks and the Three Bearosauruses”

With a few revisions here and there, I got a lot of mileage out of this script in elementary and junior high school as a skit and a speech (stand-up routine). In the eighth grade speech competition, the judges couldn’t figure out how to categorize me (story of my life) and I still have their handwritten certificate for “audience appeal.” Louie C.K. would be proud.

At the end of Fred’s story, Barney has fallen asleep but Pebbles is still awake. Barney tells the story of The Three Little Pigosaurs (that’s the title as spoken by Barney himself, even though the record cover and label leave off the “osaurs”).

No other Hanna-Barbera record integrates the original songs into the story as much as “Three Little Pigosaurs” (The New Alice in Wonderland was already a “book’ musical). The pitched-up “Three Little Pigs” song not only suggests “Hi-Diddle-Dee-Dee” from Pinocchio, it also has a similar melody to “F-L-I-N-T-S-T-O-N-E-S,” perhaps by design. It’s sung three times as needed for the story. The other tune, “Beowolfe, the Big Bad Wolf,” is very much in the style of the novelty hit, “Little Red Riding Hood” by Sam the Sham and the Pharaohs.

It’s a joy to hear Mel Blanc do all the voices in this story. He actually ends up using a few too many, because the pigs’ voices vary along the way. Chubby is a Porky Pig cousin and the most consistent of the three. Stubby is whatever occurs to Blanc at the time. And Tubby starts out sounding like Foghorn Leghorn and turns into Charlie the Dog. By the time all three pigs make it into the house of bricks, they have somehow gone from Atlanta to Brooklyn, all probably due to Blanc’s getting only a few takes on the session. Who cares? It’s Mel Blanc and he pays off every line with his usual brilliance.

Three Little Pigs initiates the HBR tradition of mentioning H-B television shows in comedic ways: “I’m the man from Neilsen. I’m making the survey. What TV program are you watching?” says the wolf. “What else?” replies the Pig. “The Flintstones.”

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“The Three Little Pigosaurs”
All three of these clips are from Hanna-Barbera’s 45 RPM series, so they are edited slightly but convey the essence of the full versions. For some reason, they left out the sound effect after the word “plump,” so I added it back in from the LP. It was conspicuous by its absence. This was one of the very few HBR 45’s to combine story with songs rather than release them separately.



FlintstoneHansel600

THE FLINTSTONES: HANSEL AND GRETEL
Hanna-Barbera Records HLP-2038 (Mono) (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1965)
Edited 7” 45 RPM Version: Hanna-Barbera CS-7031 (1965)
Reissues of 45 RPM Version on 33 1/3 RPM LPs: Columbia Special Products P-13831, P5-13934 (1977).

Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Producer/Writer/Director: Charles Shows. Music: Hoyt Curtin, Ted Nichols. Sound Effects and Underscore Editing: Milton Krear. Recording Engineer: Richard Olson. Mastering: Joe Leahy, Dave Diller. Art Direction: Harvard Pennington. Cover Art: Don Shepard, Bob Gentle. Hand Lettering: Robert Schaefer. Running Time: 28 minutes.

Voices: Mel Blanc (Barney Rubble, Hansel, Gretel, Strudelmeyer, Fang, Witch, Reporter); Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone); Jean Vander Pyl (Pebbles), The Hanna-Barbera Singers (Al Capps, Rebecca Page, Stan Farber, Ron Hicklin).
Songs: “The Flintstones (Bedrock Rock)” by Lynn Bryson, Peggy Shows and Larry Goldberg; “Pebbles,” “Candy Cane Lane,” “Hansel and Gretel” by Stan Farber and Peggy Shows.

A sequel of sorts to Flip Fables, Hansel and Gretel finds Fred and Barney still telling bedtime stories to Pebbles, minus the predicament of getting to the bowling alley. Again, Mel Blanc takes on all the roles in the story.

Flintstone_Hansel_250A fairly faithful but jaunty retelling of the Grimm fairy tale, this adaptation has “Fang,” the stepmother, sending the children on a “snipe hunt” before the attempt to ditch them in the forest. Blanc’s Hansel has a Bugs Bunny tone, while his Gretel sounds like Bugs in drag (“Got a quarter for the jukebox machine? Thanks just all to pieces.”) Both Fang and the Witch are so gravelly that it must have been a bit of a strain.

1960s TV commercials are referenced in the script, including Winston cigarettes (“This house tastes good like a candy house should.”) and Alka-Seltzer (“No matter what the shape he’s in”). And the story concludes with fame and fortune for Hansel and Gretel, which means appearances on The Flintstones, The Yogi Bear Show and The Huckleberry Hound Show, as well as a Candy House theme park.

The album cover, a stunning work by Don Shepard and Bob Gentle, is an example of how detached the art department was from the recording division. I would not be surprised if the artists simply dreamed up the art from nothing more than the record titles alone. In this case, Fred and Barney appear to participate in the story on the cover, but that’s not the way it plays on the record. No matter, it’s a fine disc and a great cover.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Barney Rubble’s Hansel & Gretel”
Of special note in this recording is the music you hear when Hansel and Gretel approach the witch’s house. Very familiar to Hanna-Barbera fans, it was also heard in Yogi Bear’s anti-smoking PSA. This music uses the same kind of Thomas organ heard on Hanna-Barbera’s Merry Christmas album.


9 Comments

  • I have owned FLINTSTONES FLIP FABLES since I was a child, about 1966. I remember taking it to first grade to share with my class because I thought it would be great for show and tell. However, the teacher didn’t care much for the stone age family but we did listen to part of it at the end of class one day. I still enjoy this record as an adult and I have the whole digitized on my computer and iPod. I loved all the voices that Alan Reed and Mel Blanc came up with. It’s funny, though, that I originally wanted the record with Huckleberry Hound telling the stories of Uncle Remus but my mom wouldn’t let me have it because she didn’t like the Brer Rabbit stories, so she got me this one instead. My other favorite is DOGGIE DADDY TELLS AUGIE DOGGIE THE STORY OF PINOCCHIO. The voices are all done by Daws Butler and Janet Waldo and it is as much of a treasure as the FLINTSTONES FLIP FABLES.

    • Dick Beals as Pinoke,though..I used to have that, too. KInd of odd that Mel Blanc’s playing the kids (instead of Jean VanderPyl).

  • The Flip Fables album is possibly the best produced of the entire HBR series. Not only does it feature the authentic voices of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, as well as Pebbles, it gives both Alan Reed and Mel Blanc a real vocal workout wherein they each get to shine. It has a slightly bittersweet ending, reminiscent of the tone of the TV series, and the music is used to excellent effect. This is one of the few albums where the character theme plays at the beginning and at the end. I also love the echo effect which is used twice–once at the end of the “Three Little Pigs” story, and again at the very end of the album. The music starts to play in underscore as Barney’s narration comes to a close, and when Barney gets to the words “Big Bad Wolf” there is an echo effect to his voice, and the music stops for a moment, then resumes in a full version of the “Three Little Pigs” song. Similarly, when Fred utters the last line, “So who goes bowlin’ at dawn, rockhead?” the last word “rockhead” is done with an echo effect, while the F-L-I-N-T-S-T-O-N-E-S theme plays in the background. After the echo, there is a second or two of silence, then the theme music resumes with full vocals. Using the theme at the end gives this album a sense of closure that few of the other HBR albums have.

    I also notice that while Fred’s Three Bearosauruses tale has plenty of stone age references, the Three Little Pigs is pretty much a modern story. The pigs are referred to as “Pigosaurs” for a line or two, and then any stone age references are dropped

    The beauty of this one is that an adult can listen and enjoy the tales at one level, and kids can enjoy them at another level. The sophistication of the humor and style really made these HBR albums stand out.

    The Hansel and Gretel album is another tour-de-force, this time with Mel Blanc in the driver’s seat from start to finish. The modern humor is again used to excellent effect–Smokey the Bear even makes a cameo appearance! The running gag about “Central Standard Time” is hilarious!

    The songs are incorporated into the stories in these albums in ways that they are not on some of the others. On most of the HBR albums, the songs seem like an afterthought. Here, they seem part of the whole concept.

    One does wonder why Wilma and Betty were not used in these albums. Wilma, of course, had her own album when she told the Bambi story, but poor Betty had no vocal representation at all on these HBR albums–although Barney does mention her by name once in the time travel story.

    Also strange that they never used the theme music from the TV shows on these albums, except occasionally in the underscoring.

    Great post! Keep these coming! The HBR albums “rock”! (pun intended)

  • Going a little off-topic, I got a question about Hanna-Barbera Records. Did they ever released a Jonny Quest record? I would fint that interesting on how they would do a record based on an adventure show like that.

    • Thanks, Tom, Nick and Greg,

      Yes, HBR did release a Jonny Quest album, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea,” which I will review in the future, along with the Huckleberry Hound LP. The Quest album does have the theme song, but it’s a “James Bond” sort of version, much slower in tempo. Music licensing was the likely reason for the absence of theme songs, since so many were Screen Gems Music. These albums had low budgets, as many children’s records did.

    • Oh for gosh sakes! I meant Greg, Nic and Frederick! Where did I get “Tom?”

  • If these albums were low-budget, it didn’t show. They featured top-notch voice artists, if not always the correct ones, such as Paul Frees, June Foray, Allan Melvin, Henry Cordon, Mel Blanc, Alan Reed, Jean Van Der Pyl, Janet Waldo, and of course Daws Butler and Don Messick. The music was very cutting edge for its day. The underscoring was very rich. The scripts were frequently hysterically funny, on levels that kids and adults could appreciate.

    I gravitated toward the Disney albums after the HBR records pretty much vanished from the marketplace, and those by comparison seemed tamer and lower-budget, often consisting of one voice artist and a few soundtrack clips…and they were aimed squarely at kids, rather than having a sprinkling of more sophisticated humor. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Disney stuff…but it truly came in second to the HBR stuff as far as kid-me was concerned.

    Oh, yeah–that Jonny Quest album was also very well done, Jonny’s voice having matured in the interim since the TV series had aired…but where was Hadji?

  • Hadji is absent on a lot of official merch, especially in oversea merch. Despite showing up on the “Character Square” trademark. You can see some examples at classicjonnyquest.com. I’m not sure what the reasoning was for his absence on the HBR album, other than budget.

    • I never knew what to call those things Matt, thanks for ID’ing those trademark squares we’ve often seen in the end credits for these shows (I guess it lasted from the mid 60′s up to the time Turner purchased the studio, at least I don’t recall seeing them much during the 90′s).

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