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