March 18, 2014 posted by Greg Ehrbar

Saving Mr. Flintstone

Hanna-Barbera produced quite a few oddball vinyl records in the ‘60s, but look at this one-of-a-kind wonder—it has Disney songs and HB characters all in one!



Presented by Hanna-Barbera
Hanna-Barbera Records / Cartoon Series HLP- (12” Vinyl 33 rpm / Mono / 1965)

Executive Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Writer/Director: Charles Shows. Song Arrangers: Al Capps, Stan Farber. Background Music: Hoyt Curtin. Underscore and Sound Effects Editor: Milton Krear. Mastering: Joe Leahy, Dave Diller. Engineer: Richard Olson. Art Direction: Harvard Pennington. Cover Art: Jerry Eisenberg, Paul Julian. Hand Lettering: Robert Schaefer. Running Time: 32 minutes.
Voices: Henry Corden (Fred Flintstone); Daws Butler (Barney Rubble, Opening Narrator, Policeman, Ed Sullivan); Danny Hutton, Rebecca Page, Ron Hicklin, Al Capps (The Hanna-Barbera Singers).
Songs: “Bedrock Rock (The Flintstones),” “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “A Jolly Holiday,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim Chim Cheree” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman.

Cheers to the absolute incongruity of this record album! It’s a testimony to just how huge a hit Mary Poppins was, as a movie and a musical score—so much so that even HBR would do an album of songs—but how could they reconcile the two disparate properties?

flintstones-drive-inOne has to give Charles Shows credit for cobbling together a story that incorporates the Disney songs without actually making Fred and Barney part of the Disney universe. How? By having the story result from the Flintstones and the Rubbles seeing Mary Poppins “in real life” at their neighborhood drive-in (no doubt the same one that showed “The Monster” and served giant, car-toppling ribs).

Fred talks Barney into quitting the rock pile with him (did they both work there in the 1960’s episodes? I seem to recall that not being the case until the ‘70s). Fred yells his resignation to the “boss,” not identified as Mr. Slate, for some reason.

In a rare moment of HBR public service, Fred is dismayed to find that most jobs require degrees, saying, “Boy, you can’t get very far these days without an education.” Fred does what dozens of characters on sitcoms have done: he decides to become a songwriter. Barney buys a kerosene guitar (also referenced on HBR’s Pixie and Dixie Cinderella album). Fred proceeds to “strum” up four songs, but forgets that he had already heard them at the drive-in. The one with the ribs.

To prevent Fred from getting into a “My Sweet Lord”/”He’s So Fine” lawsuit, Barney keeps running home to get Mary Poppins records. When he plays them for Fred, he does it in a non-confrontational manner, so as to avoid getting Fred any more steamed than necessary (it’s so much fun getting this “deep” into favorite characters!) The “Hanna-Barbera” studio singers, as featured on other HBR albums, are “heard” on Barney’s records.

Barney is correct when he says, “This record’s been out a long time already.” When Mary Poppins was first released, there weren’t that many cover versions of the songs (Ray Conniff’s Columbia LP was among the first). By 1965, when this HBR album was made, the score was a full-fledged smash. Many artists and labels released their own renditions.

poppins275Most likely for budget reasons, we hear Henry Corden in place of Alan Reed as Fred, and Daws Butler instead of Mel Blanc as Barney. Unlike some of HBR’s voice stand-ins, Corden and Butler actually voiced them in various instances. Corden sang for most of Reed’s songs and replaced Reed when he passed away. Butler filled in for Blanc for a handful of Flintstone episodes after Blanc’s auto accident.

Corden did a very different Fred than Reed, more blustery and Gleason-like; Butler’s Barney sound like Yogi Bear on the surface (both had roots in Art Carney’s Ed Norton), but his Barney has less guile and more joviality that his Yogi (at least at the time, since Yogi got nicer over the ensuing decades). And of course, Yogi and Barney have different laughs.

Though repetitious, the script is pretty good. The only lapse in taste comes after Fred sings his first “creation” and a policeman visits—because the neighbors thought he was beating his wife! That wasn’t funny even back then, before political correctness, especially for a children’s record. Shows might have come up with something else to compare with Fred’s singing.

Pebbles appears on the cover but is not heard on this record. As mentioned in earlier Animation Spins, it’s usually due to the disconnect between creation of the recordings and the printed materials (and the rapid production pace). Pebbles does have an indirect presence on the album, though, as Julie Andrews’ song sections are sung by Rebecca Page, who also sang for Pebbles with a slightly sped-up voice. As to the cover art itself, Jerry Eisenberg, Paul Julian and Robert Schaefer created nothing less than a breathtaking masterpiece.

A few other notes: the words “twine and twig” are reversed in “A Spoonful of Sugar;” Corden mispronounces “SupercaliFRAGilistic” as “SupercaliFLAGistic” twice (maybe it was misspelled in the script); Fred sings “It’s a jolly holiday with Wilma” but of course, Ron Hicklin sings it as “With Mary;” and also in “Jolly Holiday,” the “raspberry ice” verse is included, which seldom—if ever—appeared on records back then, even on the Disney vinyl soundtrack.

“Fred is Finally Convinced”
This conclusion sequence exemplifies the overall format of this album, with Fred realizing beyond a doubt that he has been “writing” existing songs. I can’t get enough of Butler’s Ed Sullivan and particularly enjoy the amusing way Corden says, “I’ve had a rough day.”

Walt Disney Pictures’ SAVING MR. BANKS
2-Disc Deluxe Edition Soundtrack
Walt Disney Records D001931102 (Compact Discs or Download / Stereo / December 10, 2013)

Disc One:
Executive Producer: Mitchell Leib. Producers: Thomas Newman, Bill Bernstein. Conductor: Thomas Newman. Music Consultant: Richard M. Sherman. Music Supervisor: Matt Sullivan. Recorded and Mixed By: Tommy Vicar. Orchestra Recorded by: Armen Steiner. Running Time: 47 minutes.

Instrumentals: “Travers Goff,” “Walking Bus,” “Uncle Albert,” “Jollification,” “The Mouse,” Leisurely Stroll,” “Mr. Disney,” “Celtic Soul,” “A Foul Fowl,” “Mrs. P.L. Travers,” Laying Eggs,” “Worn to Tissue,” “Whiskey,” “Impertinent Man,” “To My Mother,” “Westerly Weather,” “Spit Spot!” “Beverly Hills Hotel,” “Penguins,” “Pears,” Maypole,” “Forgiveness,” “The Magic Kingdom,” “Ginty My Love,” “Saving Mr. Banks (End Title)” by Thomas Newman; “Chim Chim Cheree (East Wind),” by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman.

Dialogue/Singing Excerpts: “Chim Chim Cheree (Responstable);” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious;” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman. Featuring: Colin Farrell, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Emma Thompson, Melanie Lawson.
Archive Music: “One Mint Julep” (Rudolph Toombs) Performed by Ray Charles; “Heigh-Ho” (Larry Morey / Frank Churchill) Performed by The Dave Brubeck Quartet

Disc Two:
Restoration and Compilation Producer:
Randy Thornton. Restoration and Mastering: Jeff Sheridan. Music and Lyrics: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman. Mary Poppins Soundtrack Arranger/Conductor: Irwin Kostal. Running Time: 24 minutes.

Performers: Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Karen Dotrice, Matthew Garber, David Tomlinson.
Mary Poppins Pre-Demo Recordings: “The Pearly Song (Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious),” “Chim Chim Cheree,” “Tuppence a Bag (Feed the Birds),” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”
Mary Poppins Soundtrack Songs: “A Spoonful of Sugar,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Chim Chim Cheree,” “Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag),” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.”

saving_soundtrack280Coming up with a score for a contemporary feature film that takes place over 50 years ago—with continuous shifts between drama and whimsy, the near past and the long past—must have been daunting. But Thomas Newman (whose many Oscar nominated scores include Finding Nemo, Skyfall, WALL-E and The Shawshank Redemption) rose to the task.

To give an idea of the variety heard throughout the Saving Mr. Banks score—also Oscar-nominated—there are suggestions of the sophisticated jazz of Mad Men without the darkness, a mystical Celtic quality, some Vince Guaraldi and even a little accordion that harkens back to when “Feed the Birds” was heard at a crucial moment in Mary Poppins as Mr. Banks looked at the tuppence his children had given him.

This deluxe CD package includes the score of the first disc, with short dialogue highlights. The second disc comes from “protector of the wondrous golden Disney audio stuff,” Randy Thornton at Walt Disney Records. It’s a collection of Sherman demos and key songs from the film. You may have some of this material already, but it’s nice to have it all in this package.

Mary Poppins Radio Spot – Original Release

This isn’t on the Saving Mr. Banks soundtrack (every fan should have that or plan to get it anyway). For a special treat, here’s one of several radio spots for the original Mary Poppins theatrical release. This spot is wonderfully silly – it’s obvious that frequent Disney announcer (and Lost in Space Robot voice) Dick Tufeld is nowhere near the real movie set and that he’s also playing the assistant director.


  • Barney only worked with Fred once in the original series where we discovered Barney was Mr. Slate’s nephew (“Fred’s New Boss” ep 62). It was never referred to again, of course.

    • I seem to recall that they both worked for Slate on the “New Fred and Barney Show” in the late ’70s.

    • There’s also the internal Busch Beer promotional film from where the guys quit Mr. Slate’s quarry to try another line of work.

    • It was an industrial film technically but that Flintstones-for-Busch-beer film in ’67 or so
      has Mr Slate talking to Fred and Barney in disguise, working at a bar after the bartender took a break, and saying he’d like to get his employees, Fred and Barney, back
      SLATE: My two men quit on me yesterday,,,would you help me get my men back, bartender?
      FRED: Sure! What are their names?
      SLATE: Their names are Fred Flintstone and Barney, er…
      BARNEY: Rubble!
      SLATE: Tell ’em they’ll get their raise… (later) goodnight, Fred and Barney, and don’t be late!

      At 1:04: Sloppy; we see Fred but he speaks with Barney’s voice.

  • what, they didn’t go to see mary popROCKS?

  • I have the soundtrack to “Saving Mr. Banks.”

  • I used to own that album when it was out..and Saving Mr.Banks itself came out today on video…”Yeah….Barney….*I* HEARD THAT SONG BEFORE..”.! LOL And I remember the cop..and the theme NOT being the Flintstones theme, just like on other HBR records, for whatever reason. It didn’t bother or faze me on the Top Cat/Robin Hood record of 1965, due to TC not being rerun for so long..

  • If memory serves, the original ’64 soundtrack album was a monster – stayed on the charts forever. And Julie Andrews’ next album Sound of Music was on the charts to infinity.

  • Nerd alert: The car-toppling ribs were not at the drive-in theater, but at a drive-in eatery with a carhop after they left the theater.

    Always intrigued by the main “Mary Poppins” advertising art: Big “electric light” letters and closeups of Andrews and Van Dyke, with that smaller image of Van Dyke airborne and Andrews displaying a lot of leg — more evocative of a Gene Kelly romantic comedy. It’s as if they wanted to minimize or conceal the fantasy/period elements, although those elements were obviously stressed to the hilt in all other aspects of the advertising.

    • I was always intrigued by the MARY POPPINS “key art” as well… it seems it was a deliberate attempt to sell it like a Broadway show – perhaps a jab at Warner’s MY FAIR LADY snub of Julie Andrews, but more likely to play towards adults. As “all-ages” as Walt’s features (live and animated) had been to this point, the reality is that the name “Walt Disney” meant “children-skewing” to most serious movie-goers then. This “adult” ad campaign signaled that this was a major film – and it was.

    • They certainly knew what they had to do here Jerry, and it worked.

      Of course I sorta dig the poster to Pete’s Dragon that also had a similar vibe going for it as well.

  • Alan Reed could NOT sing; Henry Corden COULD.

  • Fred does what dozens of characters on sitcoms have done: he decides to become a songwriter.

    Including his OWN sitcom, with the second season opener, “The Hit Songwriters”.

    • One of several recorded when Mel Blanc was in the hospital due to that accident he had, so Daws Butler played Barney just as he did on these HBR records. Hoagy Carmical is the other notable voice here, playing himself (Butler impersonates Lawrence Welk there.)

  • “Corden did a very different Fred than Reed, more blustery and Gleason-like”

    It was Corden who re-looped all of Jackie Gleason’s outrageous curse-laden dialogue for the bizarre TV-version of “Smokey and the Bandit” (where “Sum-bitch!” became “Scum-bum!”).

  • My grade school music teacher had that Flintstones cover Mary Poppins record.

    IIRC, wasn’t Pebbles mentioned on the second side? After Fred and Barney explained some of the workings of an orchestra, Pebbles gets carried off by a pterodactyl. Fred and Barney then ride the soaring waves of music from the orchestra up to save her.

    • The album you remember is “The Flintstones Meet the Orchestra Family.” I’ll definitely cover it here soon. The first side was basically a primer of the instruments of the orchestra. Side two took place at the circus, where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm float into the sky because of helium balloons. Wonderful orchestrations.

  • Reading about this album brought another incongruous album to mind: “The Chipmunks See Dr. Dolittle”. Anyone remember that one?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *