ANIMATION SPIN
March 17, 2015 posted by

“The Man Called Flintstone” on Records

The first and only theatrical Flintstones animated feature resulted in a highly prized — and slightly bogus — Hanna-Barbera soundtrack album.

ManFlintstone-600

Hanna-Barbera Presents
THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE

A Columbia Pictures Release Starring The Flintstones
Hanna-Barbera Records Cartoon Series HLP-2055 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP).

Released in 1966. Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Album Producer: Charles Shows. Arranger/Conductor: Ted Nichols. Recording Engineer: Tony Milch. Art Direction: Harvard Pennington. Cover Art: Paul Julian, Dick Bickenbach, Bruce Bushman. Running Time: 29 minutes.

Voices: Henry Corden (Fred Flintstone); Mel Blanc (Barney Rubble); Leo DeLyon (Lead Vocalist); Children’s Chorus (Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm), The Hanna-Barbera Singers.

Songs: “Spy Type Guy,” The Happy Sounds of Paree”, “Pensate Amore (Think Love”, “Tickle Toddle” by Doug Goodwin; “Team Mates”, “(Someday) When I Am Grown Up”, “The Man Called Flintstone (End Title)” by John McCarthy.

Instrumentals: “The Man Called Flintstone” by John McCarthy and Ted Nichols, “Spy Chief”, “Bobo and Ali”, “Paris Bound”, “Scooter Scootin’” by Ted Nichols.

There’s a lot to like about the first Flintstones feature film (which was Hanna-Barbera’s second). Whenever H-B tried to do something “bigger” than their TV work, it was always exciting. This film gets the adrenaline up from the moment the opening titles begins and keeps the songs, gags and imaginative graphics coming. Yes, it sags here and there, the budget seams sometimes show, Barney’s role was too small and we don’t get much of the “sitcom” Flintstones (kitchen squabbles are replaced by assumptions of infidelity), but wow—seeing this on the big screen was a big thrill back in the days of kiddie matinees.

man-flintstone-postIt’s makes me happy to see that the film is so accessible on DVD in Target and through other retailers, making it part of the current world rather than just a memory for those of us who loved it (and loved the Flintstone merchandise that used to abound) in the past. It was also great to see references to The Man Called Flintstone in the recent direct-to-video The Flintstones & WWE: Stone Age Smackdown, like the mask worn by “Rey Mysteriopal” that was a nod to the one worn by the Green Goose.

In their efforts to take their company as far as it could go as an entertainment entity (addition to dominating Saturday Morning) Hanna and Barbera were trying to establish a popular song library and a record company. There were famous Disney songs, why couldn’t there be long-remembered Hanna-Barbera hits? Actually there were; the theme songs have outlasted some of the cartoons.

The songs in The Man Called Flintstone were written by two separate songsmiths and have almost opposite styles. The songs by John McCarthy (who also wrote songs for the LP, The Flintstones Meet the Orchestra Family) are more contemporary of their era, while those by Doug Goodwin (who, along with Dean Elliott, was a regular musical director for DePatie-Freleng) are more classic and timeless. No reflection on their quality, mind you.

The record album cover claims that it offers “Music from the Original Motion Picture Soundtrack”, but the only genuine soundtrack material consists of five vocals: Fred and Barney in “Team Mates”, the chorus in “The Man Called Flintstone”, Leo DeLyon in “The Sounds of Paree”, and the children in “(Someday) When I Am Grown Up” and “Tickle Toddle”. For the album, Louis Prima’s vocal of “Pensate Amore” has been replaced by an uncredited singer (perhaps DeLyon as well).

All the musical backing for the songs and the incidental scores are completely re-created—and in many cases, re-arranged—for the HBR record with a smaller orchestra devoid of strings. It’s not as dramatic a difference as in the re-created song beds for HBR’s The New Alice in Wonderland, but it’s not at all like the Marty Paich accompaniments you heard in the movie. Expense in compensation and licensing was probably the reason.

ModerStoneAgeCD-225The good news is that Ted Nichols did wonders with the songs anyway, adding delightful flourishes that compensate beautifully. The arrangement for “The Sounds of Paree” in particular, is just as good if not better. But it would have been great to have captured on record the immense Goldfinger-ish flair Marty Paich brought to the title song. The HBR release was only available in mono, even though by this time Hanna-Barbera was producing and releasing stereophonic recordings. Even some of Ted Nichols and Hoyt Curtin’s TV background music was done in stereo, but it was hardly ever presented as such. There is a short stereo TV music clip near the end of the Gene Kelly Jack and the Beanstalk that’s right out of The Herculoids and lots of other H-B action shows.

Thanks to the late, great Earl Kress, some of the stereo tracks for H-B projects were located and made available, including the title track from this LP, included on his Modern Stone Age Melodies album for Rhino. This is as good a time as any to thank our friend Earl for making it his legacy to share the H-B legacy with us.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
“Pensate Amore”
Though Louis Prima did release a Golden Hits album on Hanna-Barbera Records, the label was not able to use his vocal on The Man Called Flintstone LP. The two versions are presented below to illustrated the difference in the musical arrangments:

Movie Version (Marty Paich)

LP Record (Ted Nichols):


Hoppy Contest & Man Called Flintstone Theatrical Trailer (courtesy stusshow.com)

23 Comments

  • Fans owe an awful lot to Earl Kress, who loved and knew these cartoons and cared enough to dig through the archives to find stuff that I don’t think the studio’s new ownership even knew it had.

    • I still cry thinking of what else he could be doing right now.

  • I appreciate your positive take on this unusual and remarkable movie. I myself have been enthralled with it since I first got my chance to see it in the early 80’s (yes, I was around when it was first released, but the movie never played close enough for my parents to take me–when I finally saw it in my 20’s I was not disappointed). We seem to be in the minority, however–as most reviewers tend to disapprove of it. A common criticism is that it is too much of a “kiddie show” as opposed to the original series, which was more aimed at adults–but since I first came to this film as an adult, I have been amused (and amazed) at the “adult” themes that are presented. There is even a very “adult” remark by Barney that was on the DVD but which was edited out of most earlier versions. From the movie’s opening Columbia logo featuring Wilma to the end credits which look like cave painting versions of the characters–this film is one enthralling ride! It has long been my contention that this film would look very good on a double bill paired with a James Bond film.

    It has lots of interesting touches–the slight alteration to Wilma’s usual wardrobe, the huge stone age airplane carried by large prehistoric birds, the parody of “first class” treatment as opposed to regular passengers, the stone age rats in the sewers of Paris, the bird inside Wilma’s camera, the heroics of the recorder bird (a nice variation as most of the “helper” animals never interacted with the main characters). There are some oddities as well–Fred’s hair grows back instantaneously after getting shaved off by the flying knife, and Fred’s tie suddenly gets restored after it had been destroyed while he and Barney were trying to escape. (I figure he grabbed another piece of cloth to make a new one while they were tying up the watchdog.)

    As for the album version, there are several things missing which would have added greatly to it–first, there are no dialogue scenes reproduced on the album (there was no “story” version as with the “Alice” album–a made-for-records version of this story featuring the original cast would have been dynamite) and the only time you hear Fred and Barney is in the song “Team Mates.” Also, while I vastly prefer Louis Prima’s rendition of “Pensate Amore,” the vocalist on the album does a good job of delivering–but what is missing is an instrumental version of the song. The instrumentals play at various moments throughout the film, and this is such a dreamy, romantic melody that it would be nice to hear it instrumentally. I also think the vocal version of the title song should have been the first track on the album rather than the last, and the instrumental version should have been the final track. (When I created my CD version of it, I reversed these two tracks and arranged the others so that they fit the story sequence.) Overall, though, the album is a good representation of a bold and daring departure for the Flintstones.

    If you have any more information about the album or the film, I would love to read it. I consider “The Man Called Flintstone” a classic!

    • There are some oddities as well–Fred’s hair grows back instantaneously after getting shaved off by the flying knife, and Fred’s tie suddenly gets restored after it had been destroyed while he and Barney were trying to escape. (I figure he grabbed another piece of cloth to make a new one while they were tying up the watchdog.)

      A good combined case of a of plot armour and classic cartoon logic!

      As for the album version, there are several things missing which would have added greatly to it–first, there are no dialogue scenes reproduced on the album (there was no “story” version as with the “Alice” album–a made-for-records version of this story featuring the original cast would have been dynamite)

      It certainly would’ve helped first-timers who hadn’t seen the movie yet (especially is this was one of those garage sale/thrift store finds and in those pre-VCR days, you had to wait until that movie either came on TV or got played at a theater).

    • I’ve always had a fondness for this movie too. I think it would look great on a double bill of another movie version of an unusual 60s sitcom family. That movie being Munster Go Home.

  • I love the soundtrack of The Man Called Flintstone especially the theme (both the vocal.and instrumental version) song. I wish there’s a way if they can reissue the entire soundtrack and have it available on iTunes.

    • There’s plenty Warner Bros. could do with this material but they choose not to.

  • Though Mel was heard only on the “Team Mates” track of the entire lp, I remembered to include the disc when compiling the Mel Blanc discography section of Ben Ohmart’s huge book, MEL BLANC: MAN OF A THOUSAND VOICES.

  • wellllll, damn u, how many hops CAN a Hoppero hop!??

  • Yes, it sags here and there, the budget seams sometimes show,

    The scene of the rocket taking off towards the end does it for me with the way they simply change its size between the clouds that passed by. I guess they couldn’t get their xeroxer to work fast enough on shrinking it down for every frame (which would’ve been a cool effect but it wasn’t done here)!

    • As kids we used to imitate the Green Goose’s silly walk as he goes away from the rocket, before Fred tempts him with the necklace. There were also some interesting animation choices in the film. When the doctor is using the suture, he says “That’s enough” and actually mouths a consonant with his upper teeth on his bottom lip! And I love when the redhead approaches Fred in the restaurant courtyard; her animation is gorgeous as she throws her arms around him, but when she walks away, it’s typical H-B.

      Yes, I have pretty much memorized this movie. And the music.

  • When Leo deLyon was on “Stu’s Show” it was
    mentioned that Robert Clary of Hogan’s Heroes was to sing “The Happy Sounds of Paree” but
    instead Leo,the voice actor who gave us Top Cat’s slow-witted Brain and hepcat Spook got to do it. The French accent done by an American beat out that of an actual Frenchman!

  • Sad that no dialogue, either original or second cast is used…:) Thanks!

  • A friend has, in one of his scrapbooks, a newspaper article published around the time “The Man Called Flintstone” came out, in which Hanna-Barbera talk about their plans to transition to feature animation animation. They’d still be doing some television work, but eventually the studio’s focus would be animated theatrical feature films.

    I’m assuming that neither “The Man Called Flintstone” nor “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” did well enough to justify further theatrical features.

    • Outside of a couple of future TV tie-in to live action shows, where Bill and Joe licensed the characters, “The Man Called Flintstone” was pretty much Hanna-Barbera’s swan song for their nine-year relationship with Columbia Pictures. Not being directly tied in with a studio to release their features could have been a reason why there weren’t any more features until the early 70s (and “Charlotte’s Web” was released through Paramount due to the studio’s relationship with Hanna-Barbera’s by-then owner, Taft Broadcasting).

  • I saw the film when it came out and loved it! There is a snap shot I found of me sleeping with THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE coloring book on my nightstand. Despite the bugdet and it’s flaws…I still have a lot of fondness for the film.

  • I saw the film twice in the theaters, first when it premiered (I still remember seeing that promo on television) and second when it was double-billed with “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear”.

  • I still have the poster and lobby cards I bought from this movie ages ago. I’ll bet I still have the cassette I recorded of all the songs from one of its many TV airings when I was a kid, too. I love it. Paul Frees was especially good in this one. I just wish the non-Columbia reissues had kept Wilma’s Columbia torch lady opening.

    • I also wish Warner had kept the Wilma as Columbia Logo! Fortunately I have the Laserdisc which does have Wilma as Columbia. Warner goes to great lengths to restore the Paramount logos to the old Popeye cartoons on DVD, then they remove Wilma as Columbia!

      Where is the logic?

  • 3/24/15
    RobGems.ca Wrote:
    No Wilma Flintstone as the Columbia “torch lady” logo is very disappointing. It’s obviously a typical corporate move held between two stubborn movie corporations in this case, Columbia/Sony and Warner Brothers who currently owns the rights to the H-B product. Somehow, the “W-B shield” doesn’t pack as much punch for a substitute for Wilma the torch lady.

  • Both DVDs of A Man Called Flintstone & Hey There,It’s Yogi Bear have been showing up at Big Lots for $5,but dig around the displays and you may find one for $3.

  • 3/27/15
    RobGems.ca
    To anyone who is frustrated or disappointed that Wilma has been plastered by Warner Brothers as the Columbia torch lady,I know how it feels. Life can be unfair to those who watch and enjoy old movies and TV shows who get interfered by giant movie corporations,especially that Columbia pictures continues to use the character of Eleanor of the lousy movie “Eight Crazy Nights” as their Columbia torch lady logo. It’s cute, even if it’s not really glamorous as past Columbia torch lady logos,but the movie that follows is a real stinkeroo; “A Man Called Flintstone” is an Acadany award winner compared to Adam Sandler’s animated borefest (and gross-fest.) The fact that torch lady Wilma is no longer used makes the situation even more grim. A pox on Warner Brothers for this injustice.

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