ANIMATION SPIN
April 21, 2015 posted by

“Wilma Flintstone Tells the Story of Bambi” (1965)

Back when global warming was still a local issue, the modern Stone Age “Dr. Jane Goodrock” told the story of nature and renewal in the face of human naughtiness. Earth Day soon followed…

WilmaBambiHBR600

WILMA FLINSTONE TELLS THE STORY OF BAMBI
Presented by Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera Records HLP-2027 (Mono) (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Mono / 1965)
Edited 7” 45 RPM Version: Hanna-Barbera CS-7035 / Songs Only CS-7041 (1965)
LP Reissue: Columbia Special Products P-13906
Reissues of 45 RPM Version on 12” 33 1/3 RPM LPs: Columbia Special Products P-13934, P5-13909 (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: Jean Vander Pyl (Wilma, Pebbles); Alan Reed (Fred Flintstone); Dick Beals (Bambi, Various Animals); Danny Hutton (Vocalist); Rebecca Page (Vocalist).
Songs: “Bedrock Rock” by Larry Goldberg, Lynn Bryson and Peggy & Charles Shows; “Why”, “Love is For All”, “Alone”, “Bambi” by Lynn Bryson and Peggy & Charles Shows.

Talk about a “Jean Vander Pyl-tacular”! Hearing this great artist’s sensitive retelling of the “Bambi” story makes one wish she had recorded more such albums. Of all the Hanna-Barbera Cartoon Series albums featuring their characters, this one is the most no-nonsense. The story portion is deadly serious.

Charles Show’s script frames a Flintstones situation around the “Bambi” story: Fred brings home a pet for Pebbles—a dinosaur named Dino. Everyone reading this probably already knows Dino’s back story from season 1, episode 18, “The Snorkasaurus Hunter” (1961), in which a talking Phil Silvers-like dinosaur attaches himself to the Flintstones and Rubbles on a camping trip (it’s even on the Colpix soundtrack album).

Either Shows didn’t see the episodes or didn’t care, because in this scenario, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm innocently hurt Dino. Wilma decides to teach them about compassion for animals and nature by telling the Bambi story. Fred couldn’t be happier (actually, Fred’s rarely been as all-out ebullient as he sounds on this record).

Off Model cover from the Columbia Special Products reissue (click to enlarge - if you dare!)

Off Model cover from the Columbia Special Products reissue (click to enlarge – if you dare!)

From that point, Vander Pyl takes the stage for nearly the entire production, and it’s a wonder to hear; we’re fortunate to have this treasure. Shows’ adaptation pulls no punches; Bambi’s mother is killed on Side Two. Dick Beals plays his roles with full conviction. The only thing that lessens the life-or-death gravitas of Bambi’s adversity is the music, which—as per the Hanna-Barbera Records format—comes from the H-B TV sound library. Much of it is well placed, especially the rarely used violin solo that follows Mrs. Deer’s demise. But we’re thinking “Jetsons” when Wilma begins the story. The action sequences are backed with Jonny Quest cues later used in numerous cartoons like The Herculoids and Space Ghost. When “Man” is chasing the helpless deer, to H-B fans it might as well be Doctor Zin.

The album’s original songs are very good as HBR Cartoon Series songs go. None seem to stop the story; if this were a 1965 film they could easily be accepted as off-screen performances. “Alone” is particularly touching and, along with the “Bambi” ballad, have the same structure and string accompaniment as “The Land of Oz”, a haunting track from the Snagglepuss LP. One curious note: “Love is For All” seems properly placed at the end of Side One, yet there is another instance on the album in which the script clearly provides an intro for the song on Side Two. Maybe putting it on Side One was a better way to bridge the two sides.

GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN
Open and Close from “Wilma Flintstone Tells the Story of BAMBI”
This is how the frame story leads into Wilma’s narration of the Bambi story, followed by the conclusion of the album with the “Bambi” song sung by Rebecca Page in a style reminiscent of Shelley Fabares’ “Johnny Angel”. Note the subtle shift in Jean Vander Pyl’s performance from Wilma the wife and mother to Wilma the storyteller.


GIVE A LITTLE LISTEN – BONUS TRACK
The “Wilma” Song – Owe Thörnqvist

To further showcase the lovely “Frying Pan Eyes” today, here is the recorded version of a song featured in Flintstones season 3, episode #27, “Swedish Visitors” (1963), in which a young group of Swedish musicians move into Fred and Wilma’s house while they’re away.

Not only was I unaware that this was recorded until acclaimed entertainment radio show host Stu Shostak played it for me, I also learned this from the YouTube post by “swedefirebird70”.

Owe Thörnqvist

Owe Thörnqvist

This is the explanation as it appears on the YouTube post:

“Owe was contacted by the lawyers from Hanna Barbera Hollywood, the makers of the popular TV series The Flinstones, because they think that the name and some of the lyrics was taken from them. They where ready to go to court for copyright issues around this song. Owe answered that the name Wilma was very common in sweden and the “jabadabadooo” was an old viking sound when you find a woman so there was no copyright in that. The lawyer at Hanna barbera thought that this man (Owe) was wierd or something, but hanna & barbera find this man very funny and speaked to Owe directly and after some talking the asked him to come over to USA and record this song in English for the The Flintstones show.”

14 Comments

  • In the episode “The Blessed Event” when Pebbles is born, Fred mistakenly takes Dino to the hospital thinking he has brought Wilma–thus it’s clear that Dino’s residency with the Flintstones predates the arrival of Pebbles. In this album we are told that Dino was adopted as a pet for Pebbles some time after her birth. So the continuity is definitely out of whack, making it a bit of a stretch for a Flintstones fan.

    However, that quibble aside, this is an excellent record. I totally agree with your assessment of Jean Van der Pyl’s performance. It is essentially a one-woman show, although the contribution of Dick Beals as the voice of Bambi helps to put it over the top. I like the “seriousness” of this story as opposed to the irreverence of the other HBR albums. It seems to be aimed at a much younger audience–but it is very effectively done. I particularly appreciate the handling of Bambi’s mother’s death. Whereas the Disney version skips over Bambi’s period of grieving and goes right to spring, this retelling delves into the loss and separation that Bambi feels after losing his mother. This is referred to several times in the narrative as Bambi gradually comes to accept the fact that she is gone.

    The framing sequences also provide a nice introduction and conclusion, balancing out the record very nicely. I also appreciate hearing Alan Reed as Fred, where so many of the HBR albums feature Henry Cordon in the role instead. The relationship between Fred and Wilma is loving and mutually supportive as presented here and it has more dimensionality to it than is seen in some of the TV episodes. The closing gag is appropriately gentle and it’s nice that Wilma delivers the punch line. Albums like this as well as songs like “Pensate Amore” show that their relationship is solidly grounded in their mutual love.

    It’s news to me that the “Wilma” song actually predates the “Swedish Visitors” episode–I often wondered why a Swedish group was featured in a sitcom set in the stone age. Now I know.

    Thanks for another great post!

  • I LOVE THE SNORKASARUS STORY!! and for three reasons
    (1) the scene where Wilma “clubs” a giant mosquito who sounded like Jimmy Durante ,
    (2) the scene where the ants come marching in on Hoyt Curtin’s highly spirited arrangement of The Colonel Bogey March from The Bridge on the River Kwai.
    (3) that classic harmonious scream that both Wilma and Betty (Jean Vander Pyl & Bea Benaderet) did when the snorkasarus when into their tent to hide from Fred & Barney which the scene where Wilma & Betty was holding on to each other screaming in harmony was forever immortalise on a Pog as a premium prize for Flinstone Push Pops back in the 1990’s.
    I remember seeing a reissue of HBR’s Bambi at a Tower Records store back in the mid 1980’s.
    Also Wilma (the original version by Owe Thörnqvist) is available on iTunes for purchase.

    • P.S. There a English (listed as “Engelisk”) version of Wilma also available on iTunes as well.

  • Greg:
    Jean did give a bravura performance! I think she was underrated as a voice artist (Wilma,Pebbles,Winnie Witch,Ogee from Magilla Gorillla) Alan Reed did a spledid job,too!

  • Here is a link to the English version of “Wilma”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LilBHK_MAok

  • Did all of the Columbia Special Products reissues of these HBR albums have replacement cover art?

    • Yes, every album that was reissued by Columbia featured new cover artwork. Characters tended to be a little off-model and not as appealing looking as on the original album covers. But I was just grateful to snag a few more of the HBR records that I had missed out on as a kid. The sound quality was pretty good. But the original covers were far superior.

    • Yes, they did.

  • That explains Baby Puss’ absence – he was an earlier victim of Bamm Bamm’s “playful” treatment.

    • There was a scene from The Flintstones episode “Little Bamm Bamm” where Baby Puss was portraying a mean Sabertoothed cat who was ready to menace Pebbles, Bamm Bamm clobbered him with his club and He (Baby Puss) hopped away yelping in pain. And that’s the last we’ve seen Baby Puss in the regular run of The Flinstones

    • In the fifth season episode “Pebbles’ Birthday Party” Baby Puss appears during a sequence when Fred’s snoring is keeping everybody awake. He speaks a few words in an aside to the audience and then takes off to find a quieter place to sleep.

  • For something completely different, a cover of Wilma by Norwegian singer Arne Bendiksen…
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mXGVUjNocM

  • I used to have this..

  • Dick Beals was also the voice of Bamm-Bamm in the album.

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