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…
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).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.
“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.”