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Case Number 06197

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The Flintstones: The Complete Second Season

Warner Bros. // 1961 // 705 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // February 16th, 2005

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All Rise...

Obvious joke alert: Will Judge Paul Corupe say this set is a yabba-dabba-do, or a yabba-dabba-don't?

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Flintstones: The Complete First Season (published April 27th, 2004), The Flintstones: The Complete Third Season (published May 19th, 2005), The Flintstones: The Complete Fourth Season (published December 14th, 2005), The Flintstones: The Complete Fifth Season (published May 17th, 2006), The Flintstones: The Complete Sixth Season (published October 11th, 2006), and The Flintstones: Prime-Time Specials Collection, Volume 1 (published November 1st, 2012) are also available.

The Charge

They're a modern stone-age family!

Opening Statement

Animation? In prime-time? It's hard to believe there was a period when this very concept was considered radical, a time before The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Family Guy made cartoons not only acceptable, but also highly successful weeknight rituals. Without The Flintstones, however, none of these shows would have been possible. In 1960, Hanna-Barbera's The Flintstones became the first cartoon to break free from the Saturday morning ghetto, proof positive to skeptical network executives that animated programs were indeed capable of drawing an adult audience.

Hanna-Barbera frequently borrowed the personalities of famous comedians for their cartoons, from Doggie Daddy's obvious resemblance to Jimmy Durante to the Phil Silvers-inspired Top Cat, but The Flintstones ambitiously mimicked an entire show, the popular Jackie Gleason sitcom The Honeymooners. Combining familiar sitcom conventions with slapstick antics and goofy caveman gags for the kids, The Flintstones became a huge success—an innovative cartoon show that changed the face of the industry.

Facts of the Case

With a heart almost as big as his mouth, stone-age construction worker Fred Flintstone (Alan Reed, Breakfast at Tiffany's) lives in the town of Bedrock with his patient, understanding wife Wilma (Jean Vander Pyl, The Jetsons). They spend much of their time with their next door neighbors, Fred's best friend, the affable Barney Rubble (Mel Blanc, The Jack Benny Program, and Daws Butler, The Yogi Bear Show, who handles six episodes voiced after Blanc was in a car accident this season) and his demure wife Betty (Bea Benaderet, The Beverly Hillbillies). Fred and Barney's schemes to make a little extra money on the side or to sneak out for an extra game of bowling invariably go wrong, often through comic misunderstandings, and when the boys are up to their stubble in deep dinosaur doo-doo, it's usually up to Wilma and Betty to scoop them out.

All 32 episodes from The Flintstones' second season are here in broadcast order, spread over four discs—three single-sided, and one flipper. Here's what you get:

• The Hit Song Writers
Fred and Barney try their hand at songwriting, but even guest star Hoagy Carmichael can't help them succeed. 7/10

• Droop Along Flintstone
Derivative of the first season episode "The Monster from the Tar Pits," Fred and Barney find themselves on the run from cowboys when they are unknowingly cast as villains in a western film. 7/10

• The Missing Bus
Fred takes a job as a bus driver, but the hectic job proves too much for his nerves. 9/10

• Alvin Brickrock Presents
A prehistoric riff on Rear Window has Fred convinced his creepy neighbor has killed his wife. 10/10

• Fred Flintstone Woos Again
While on vacation, Wilma and Fred discover that their marriage was performed by an unlicensed Judge. To teach Fred to be more romantic, Wilma makes him court her again before she agrees to a second wedding. 7/10

• The Rock Quarry Story
Fred gets in a car accident with Rock Quarry, a movie star attempting to escape his Hollyrock lifestyle. He invites Rock over for dinner, where Wilma keeps insisting that she knows their guest from somewhere. 7/10

• The Soft Touchables
Fred and Barney start a private detective agency, but they are hired for their first job by a pair of bank robbers looking for someone to frame. 9/10

• Flintstone of Prinstone
In a bid for self-improvement, Fred enrolls in night classes at Prinstone University, but ends up on the football team, leaving him thoroughly exhausted. 8/10

• The Little White Lie
Fred creates a complicated web of lies in an attempt to keep the $200 he won at poker when he was supposed to be taking Wilma out. 9/10

• Social Climbers
Wilma is given four tickets to the snooty Ambassador's Reception, but the party doesn't live up the Flintstones' expectations. 7/10

• The Beauty Contest
Suckered into being judges for the Loyal Order of Water Buffalo's beauty contest, Fred and Barney are accosted by friends and family who want to sway their vote. 10/10

• The Masquerade Ball
Fred's plan to butter up his boss at a masquerade party backfires with a last-minute costume switch. 8/10

• The Picnic
Fred dumps Barney to team up with natural born athlete Joe Rockhead at the Lodge's picnic sports competition, causing friction between friends. 8/10

• The House Guest
Betty and Barney are forced to move in with the Flintstones while their plumbing is being fixed, putting stress on their friendship. 8/10

• The X-Ray Story
When Dino's x-rays are mistaken for Fred's, Wilma is told Fred is dying. The cure? She must keep her husband awake for 72 hours, all without telling him why. 9/10

• The Gambler
Whenever Fred hears the word "bet," he goes into a frenzy, and soon loses all his furniture to the paperboy. 10/10

• A Star is Almost Born
Wilma lands a role on a TV show, but when Fred quits to help her with her career, he manages her right out of a job. 8/10

• The Entertainer
When Wilma is away, Fred reluctantly entertains a female client at a hot nightclub. Of course, Wilma returns early, and heads out to the same club with Barney and Betty in tow. 9/10

• Wilma's Vanishing Money
Fred takes Wilma's hidden stash of money and buys a bowling ball. When he learns the cash was intended for his birthday present, he devises a plan to sneak it back. 10/10

• Fuedin' and Fussin'
The Rubbles move out of Bedrock? Fred must apologize to Barney to save their friendship, or at least be able to scare off prospective buyers of their house. 7/10

• Impractical Joker
To cure Fred of his practical joking, Barney convinces his friend that he is running a counterfeiting ring out of his basement. Betty and Wilma have the last laugh, though. 10/10

• Operation Barney
Barney finds himself on the wrong end of scalpel when Fred tries to get them out of work for a day at the ballpark. 9/10

• The Happy Household
Wilma gets a job as the hostess of the "Happy Housewife Show," which makes Fred far from pleased. 8/10

• Fred Strikes Out
Instead of choosing between an anniversary date at the drive-in and a bowling tournament on the same night, Fred tries to sneak both in. 9/10

• This is Your Lifesaver
Fred is tricked into taking in a confidence man, and is unable to get rid of him. 6/10

• Trouble-In-Law
Fred tries to set his mother-in-law up with a rich Texan to get her out of his hair, but Wilma suspects the slimy oil tycoon may be a crook. 8/10

• The Mailman Cometh
Fred mails an insulting letter to his boss before he has time to think, and must get it back before Mr. Slate reads it. 9/10

• The Rock Vegas Story
While on vacation, Fred gambles away his savings in a slot machine, and must work off his bill. 7/10

• Divided We Sail
Fred and Barney win a houseboat, but when it comes to sharing, they're completely sunk. 7/10

• Kleptomaniac Caper
After his football jersey goes missing, Fred thinks Barney might be a kleptomaniac. 8/10

• Latin Lover
Wilma makes Fred over as a smooth Casanova, but when it goes to his head, she decides she likes him better the way he was. 9/10

• Take Me Out to the Ball Game
As an umpire, Fred makes a controversial call at a little-league baseball game, and is shunned by the town. 9/10

The Evidence

Even after the first successful season of The Flintstones, few figured that the prime-time animation trend would last. Of course, it didn't—following up their groundbreaking show proved to be impossible for Hanna-Barbera, and subsequent attempts to create another "adult" hit—Top Cat, Jonny Quest, and even the The Jetsons—made bigger splashes when they were scaled back to Saturday morning for the Sugar Smacks set. When Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty returned for a second season in 1961, however, Hanna-Barbera was riding high on The Flintstones' trailblazing first season, and they began to expand the show past its Honeymooners roots to become a pop culture phenomenon in its own right.

The collision of modern convenience with prehistoric practicality had always produced some of the best gags in the show, and The Flintstones' clever dinosaur/appliance amalgams were fan favorites. Knowing this, Hanna-Barbera began to tailor some of the show's stories as crude, caveman parodies of then-popular films and TV programs. While almost all of the plots in the second season are time-tested, classic sitcom fare—overplayed misunderstandings, embarrassing turns of fate, and pratfalls—a few episodes like "Alvin Brickrock Presents" and "The Soft Touchables" broke with the conventions relied upon so heavily in the first season to herald a more satirical future for the show.

To this end, the second season also saw the introduction of guest stars into the fold, starting with famed songwriter Hoagy Carmichael (who amazingly gets to keep his own name). Carmichael was followed in subsequent seasons by luminaries including Ann Margrock (Ann Margaret) and Stony Curtis (Tony Curtis). Fans of the show will also be pleased to find several recurring secondary personalities were added this season, including paperboy Arnold and Fred's nosy mother-in-law. Other characters are locked into their final incarnations, including Dino, Fred's boss Mr. Slate, and Fred and Barney's ubiquitous second choice for best friend, Joe Rockhead.

The episodes presented on this DVD look about as good as they do on other Hanna-Barbera releases: good, but not great. By this time, it's starting to become obvious that this is probably as clean as these old animated shows are going to look on DVD, so get used to the noticeable layer of grain, as well as dirt, scratches, and other source artifacts that frequently show up throughout the set. Color, though, is excellent. Much like the picture quality, the sound is unremarkable but reliable. As a mono TV soundtrack from the 1960s, there are no dynamics to speak of and the music and dialogue occasionally seem a little flat, but Warner Bros. has at least presented them clearly, with minimal distortion. Those that have the first set of The Flintstones will find Season Two much on par with the earlier release.

We've seen an evolution in the quality of the extras presented on these Hanna-Barbera box sets since they first started coming out about a year ago, from throwaway bits meant for kids to commentaries and documentaries on more recent releases. The stone-age extras presented on The Flintstones: Season Two are a distinct improvement over the Season One set, but I can't help feeling they still have a little work to do to push these sets to the very top of the slag heap. Warner Bros. seems to have finally figured out the appropriate types of extras that fans want to see here, but the quality just isn't consistent.

Headlining this set is "Carved in Stone: The Flintstones Phenomena," a twenty-minute documentary about the series, with a little extra focus given to the second season. Featuring interviews with artists like Jerry Eisenberg and Iwao Takamoto along with bona fide historians Earl Kress and Scott Shaw, it's quite simply the informative documentary that was glaringly omitted from the first season set. "The Hit Songwriter," "The Beauty Contest," and "The Happy Household" episodes also feature commentary tracks with Eisenberg, Kress, and Shaw, but they're kind of a mixed bag. Unlike with the documentary, the guys initially seem unsure of what to talk about, but eventually they settle down, sharing a wealth of anecdotes.

"Songs of the Flintstones" presents a vintage 1960s novelty album of skits and songs, featuring the original voice actors. This probably won't get too many spins in your DVD player, but it's a nice addition that helps illustrate how big The Flintstones phenomenon really was. As with the first season, this set features another batch of old black and white TV commercials that have the Flintstones and the Rubbles shilling One-A-Day Vitamins, Welch's Grape Jelly, Kitchen Rich Cookies, and Carnation Evaporated Milk. The most inconsequential piece here is "How to Draw Fred Flintstone," an absurd featurette leftover from Hanna-Barbera's VHS release days that's supposed to teach kids how to emulate their favorite cartoon artists. Likewise, the unessential "Flintstones Art" shows off a few heavily notated test drawings and production sketches that are worth one look, but nothing more.

Closing Statement

Season Two of The Flintstones manages to maintain the sitcom dynamics that made the show popular in the first place while expanding the prehistoric humor into new territory. In the show's subsequent four seasons, The Flintstones imitated its sitcom forefathers perhaps a little too much by introducing character and story arcs—wholly unnecessary changes that went against the main advantage of animated prime time shows, that characters aren't required to age or grow in any visible way. Thankfully, these episodes are definitely vintage Flintstones material, long before the addition of increasingly silly characters had Fred and Wilma finally jump the snorkasaurus. Warner Brothers has put together another well-packaged set here, and they've made a much better effort in offering special features that will actually appeal to fans of the show.

The Verdict

Not guilty, but Wilma is hereby ordered to leave a house key outside for Fred for when he puts the cat out each night.

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Scales of Justice

Video: 82
Audio: 85
Extras: 72
Acting: 94
Story: 91
Judgment: 88

Perp Profile

Studio: Warner Bros.
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (English)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (French)
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono (Spanish)
Subtitles:
• English
• French
• Spanish
Running Time: 705 Minutes
Release Year: 1961
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Animation
• Classic
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• Commentaries
• "Carved in Stone: The Flintstones Phenomena" Documentary
• "How to Draw Fred Flintstone" Featurette
• "Songs of the Flintstones" Album
• Flintstone Art
• Classic Commercials

Accomplices

• IMDb
• Flintstones Season One Review








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