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.
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.
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.
A 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.