Warner Bros. // 1978 // 99 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Patrick Naugle // November 1st, 2012
Made for television more than a decade after the series concluded its original broadcast run, The Flintstones: Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1 spotlights two tales stretched to forty five minutes in length. One offers a Halloween theme, the other a baseball theme.
The first special, "The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone," is a 1979 Halloween movie. Essentially, the animated version of Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, the Flintstones and Rubbles go to Rocksylvania where they meet Count Rockula and Frankenstone. Obviously hijinks ensue, wherein Frankenstone revives Rockula and Wilma is mistaken for the Bride of Frankenstone. The general tone of the film is puns and silliness. Jokes revolve around replacing names and phrases with the words "rock," "slate," "stone," and "granite". The vocal talent is all decent (Henry Corden took over the role of Fred from Alan Reed following his death in 1977), and features Casey Kasem (Scooby-Doo, Where are You!) as Monty Marble, a game show host who gets the ball (or stone, har-har) rolling for our heroes by awarding them with a trip to Rocksylvania. If you're a fan of classic horror movies..."The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone" still won't be up your alley.
The second special, "The Flintstones Little Big League," actually aired first in 1978 and features Fred and Barney as opposing coaches on two different little league baseball teams. This special is far less interesting. At least "The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone" was spoofing something (classic horror films), even if it was doing so poorly. This one is just anemic animated silliness, as Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles (the Rubble's and the Flintstone's progeny) show off their skills on the pitcher's mound and with the bat. There really isn't much to recommend here; the Hanna-Barbera animation is as stiff and boring as ever (was anyone even trying at that studio?) and the script exists solely to get our heroes from Point A to Point B.
As most television historians know, The Flintstones was based on Jackie Gleason's classic sitcom The Honeymooners. Unfortunately, that's where the comparisons end. Whereas the far superior live-action series was a sharply written heartfelt comedy, their prehistoric animated ancestors are nothing more than flaccid, pun-soaked animated nonsense.
Presented in standard def 1.33:1 full frame, the transfers for these prime-time specials are not hugely impressive. In fact, the quality is only a few notches above VHS. While the image appears to have been cleaned up a bit, there are imperfections and graininess that permeate the frame. The Dolby 1.0 Mono tracks are a good representation of how the movies were presented in their original broadcast; front heavy void of any directional effects. No alternate language tracks or subtitles are available. And since this is a Warner Archives MOD (Made on Demand) release, there are no bonus features, and a chance the DVD-R will not play on all devices.
The Flintstones: Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1 is only for those who feel nostalgia for the original series, and I'm not one of those people. My love for all things Flintstones goes about as far as Fruity and Coco Pebbles. And since this is neither chocolaty or sweet, my advice is to pass on these bottom-of-the-barrel animated adventures.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)
Running Time: 99 Minutes
Release Year: 1978
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* IMDb: The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone
* IMDb: The Flintstones Little Big League