Fifty years ago today, the world was introduced to The Flintstones characters, most notably Fred, Wilma, Barney, and Betty. The cartoon was the first animated series to air in prime time, and adults and children alike couldn’t wait for the show’s premiere. The series, which was created by Hanna Barbara, ran for six seasons. It was the longest running animated prime time show up until the Simpsons came along.
The Flintstones was made to imitate modern time situations, but set in the prehistoric era. The Flintstones characters were even inspired by real life actors and actresses. It’s no secret that the show was modeled after The Honeymooners, with Fred being reminiscent of Jackie Gleason’s character, Ralph Cramden. Fred Flintstone’s neighbor and friend, Barney Rubble, was made to resemble Art Carney’s character, Ed Norton. Wilma and Betty took on the personalities of the wives on The Honeymooners.
The association was so apparent, that Jackie Gleason himself even threatened to sue Hanna Barbera. He supposedly decided not to go through with it, because he didn’t want to be known as “the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air.”
Other Flinstones guest characters were also inspired by real life actors. For example:
“Cary Granite” – Cary Grant
“Stony Curtis” – Tony Curtis
“Ed Sulleyrock” – Ed Sullivan
“Rock Hudstone” – Rock Hudson
“Ann Margrock” – Ann Margaret
The Flintstones and its characters continue to delight kids to this day…especially in the form of Flintstone vitamins. Happy Anniversary to the Flintstones!