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Case Number 06828

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The Flintstones: The Complete Third Season

Warner Bros. // 1962 // 705 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Paul Corupe (Retired) // May 19th, 2005

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All Rise...

Judge Paul Corupe firmly believes that feet-powered cars are the answer to our reliance on foreign oil.

Editor's Note

Our reviews of The Flintstones: The Complete First Season (published April 27th, 2004), The Flintstones: The Complete Second Season (published February 16th, 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

It's a girl!

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 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. This season, Wilma and Fred welcome a new addition to the show as well—their baby daughter Pebbles.

All 28 half-hour episodes from The Flintstones's third season are here in broadcast order, spread over four discs—three single-sided, and one flipper. Here's what you get:

• Dino Goes to Hollyrock
Dino gets a role on his favorite TV show, "The Adventures of Sassie," but he finds that the happy family on his screen at home is nothing like the real behind-the-scenes drama. 7/10

• Fred's New Boss
After he loses his job, Barney goes to talk to Fred's boss, Mr. Slate, and is hired over Fred's head as a junior vice-president. 8/10

• Barney the Invisible
In this classic episode, Fred's experimental soda pop not only cures Barney's hiccups, but it also turns him invisible. They head straight for the doctor—after a stop at the bowling alley for a fixed game against Fred's ten pin nemesis. 10/10

• The Bowling Ballet
The Bedrock Dance Academy: how Fred got his bowling groove back. 7/10

• The Twitch
Fred convinces popular musician Rock Roll to perform his hit song "The Twitch" for Wilma's benefit show—only when Rock shows up to play, he has lost his singing voice. 9/10

• Here's Snow in Your Eyes
Fred and Barney are sent to a Water Buffalo convention at Stone Mountain Ski Resort, but Wilma and Betty have to stay at home. When they discover that there's a beauty contest at the resort, however, they decide to follow their husbands and catch them in the act. 7/10

• The Buffalo Convention
Fred gives Wilma a talking dodo bird for her birthday, but when they try to sneak away to yet another Water Buffalo Convention in Frantic City, the bird threatens to give them away. 8/10

• The Little Stranger
Fred overhears a conversation that makes him think Wilma is pregnant, but it turns out that their "visitor" is only Arnold the paperboy. 7/10

• Baby Barney
Fred told his rich Uncle Tex that he has named his child after him, so when Tex comes to visit, Barney agrees to don a diaper to keep Fred in the will. 7/10

• Hawaiian Escapade
Wilma and Betty enter their husbands in a contest to guest star on their favorite television show, "Hawaiian Spy." Fred wins, but the producers try to make him their stunt man. 8/10

• Ladies' Day
Barney has only one ticket to the baseball game, so they try to sneak Fred in as a woman in drag for Ladies' Day, causing Betty to suspect her husband is cheating. 9/10

• Nothing but the Tooth
Betty gives Barney ten dollars to get his toothache fixed, but Fred convinces him to spend it on tickets to the fights instead. 8/10

• High School Fred
Fred goes back to high school to earn his diploma and keep his job. Derivative of the second season episode, "Flintstone of Prinstone," but also better. 8/10

• Dial "S" for Suspicion
Wilma convinces Fred to take out a life insurance policy, but after reading a mystery novel, he suspects it's all part of a plot to kill him. 8/10

• Flashgun Freddie
Fred and Barney try to earn some money as photographers, but they end up spending all the girls' money on equipment. 8/10

• The Kissing Burglar
Fred tries to prove he isn't a cheapskate by pretending to rob Wilma as the Kissing Burglar, a criminal who leaves flowers and a kiss for his female victims. 10/10

• Wilma, the Maid
Fred chases away the Flintstones' new Italian maid with his wretched singing the same night that Mr. Slate is coming over for dinner. 8/10

• The Hero
Barney rescues a runaway baby carriage, but Fred takes the credit. Finally, Fred's ghostly conscience sets him—and the record—straight. 8/10

• The Surprise
Fred is disgusted by Barney's devotion to his newborn baby nephew, until Wilma tells him that they are going to have their own bundle of joy. 9/10

• Mother-In-Law's Visit
Fred's efforts to be more selfless are put to the test when his brash mother-in-law visits to help pregnant Wilma. 9/10

• Foxy Grandma
Fred's hires Grandma Dynamite to help out during Wilma's pregnancy, but it turns out that she's more than just a babysitter. 8/10

• Fred's New Job
With a baby coming, Fred tries to wheedle a raise out of thick-skinned Mr. Slate. 9/10

• Dress Rehearsal
While the Rubbles and the Flintstones run through a rehearsal for Wilma's trip to the hospital, she goes into labor. 10/10

• Carry On, Nurse Fred
Fred's mother-in-law hires tough Nurse Frightenshale to take care of Pebbles, but she spends more time fighting with Fred. 8/10

• Ventriloquist Barney
Barney uses his talent at ventriloquism to trick Fred into thinking Pebbles has learned how to talk. 9/10

• The Big Move
Fred tries to ankle his neighbors and raise Pebbles in a new posh neighborhood, much to Barney's chagrin. 7/10

• Swedish Visitors
In this episode that features guest stars Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, Wilma tries to make some extra money by taking in Swedish borders. 8/10

• The Birthday Party
Barney's efforts to keep Fred busy while Wilma plans his party work so well that they both miss the event. 7/10

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 milk and cereal set. When Fred, Barney, Wilma, and Betty returned for a third season in 1962, however, Hanna-Barbera planned a special television event to help maintain the popularity of The Flintstones, and push the show in a whole new direction.

By the third season, The Flintstones had almost exhausted its usual array of time-tested, classic sitcom plots—overplayed misunderstandings, embarrassing turns of fate, and pratfalls—and its no surprise that many of the episodes on this set, such as "High School Fred" and "Dino Goes to Hollyrock," are essentially retreads from earlier seasons. Although one of the main advantages of animated prime time shows is that characters aren't required to age or grow in any visible way, starting with "The Surprise," Hanna-Barbera introduced a five-episode story arc that fundamentally changed the very dynamic of the show. The birth of Wilma and Fred's baby, Pebbles, in "Dress Rehearsal" became a much hyped television event in 1962, a crafty move that not only guaranteed a big audience for the blessed event, but also helped break The Flintstones a little further away from just an animated knock-off of The Honeymooners to become a cultural phenomenon in its own right.

Of course, astute viewers would have known about Pebbles's impending arrival all season long, with many episodes cleverly foreshadowing her birth. Starting with the seventh episode, "The Little Stranger," viewers are bombarded with a bassinet-full of infant insanity in episodes like "Baby Barney," "Flashgun Freddie," and "The Hero" even before the five famous episodes. The most noticeable effect that Pebbles's arrival had on the show was a fundamental shift in Fred's character, as now he had to become a mature dad—loudmouth blowhard just didn't cut it anymore. Although some episodes like "Mother-In-Law's Visit" and "Carry On, Nurse Fred" hint at the change to come, because the season ended with this arc, the truly proud prehistoric pappy isn't really explored at great length until next season.

What does become apparent this season, however, is that the show has begun incorporating fantastic elements into the plot. Particularly noteworthy are "Barney the Invisible," in which Barney turns invisible for almost the entire episode, and "The Hero," which has Fred's identical twin conscience pull out of his body and steal his dinners. These particular episodes build on the pop culture parodies of the second season, and look forward to the more implausible and over-the-top storylines yet to come, including season six's controversial alien addition, The Great Gazoo.

The shows presented on this DVD look about as good as they do on other Hanna-Barbera releases: good, but not great. 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 Brothers has at least presented them clearly, with minimal distortion. Those that have the first two sets of The Flintstones will find Season Three much on par with the earlier releases. This season is also notable as the point in the series when the last familiar piece fell into place: In "Barney the Invisible," the now-famous "Meet the Flintstones" song finally becomes the show's main theme.

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 were a distinct improvement over the Season One set, but on this release, the quality remains, but the quantity dips severely. First up is "Bedrock Collectibles: Collecting All Things Flintstone," a featurette with cartoonist Scott Shaw showing off his Flintstones paraphernalia. It's a fun, informative piece. This is followed by "First Families of the Stone Age: Spotlight on the Bedrock Wives." I assumed this was going to be a typical fluffy extra, but Jerry Eisenberg, Iwao Takamoto, Earl Kress, and Scott Shaw all return to give well thought out opinions on Betty and Wilma. Last and certainly least is a "limited edition" animation cel that falls out of the digipak and onto the floor pretty much every time I open it.

Closing Statement

Season Three of The Flintstones manages to maintain the sitcom dynamics that made the show popular in the first place while expanding the family dynamic with the addition of Pebbles. Despite stumbling a bit over the special features, Warner Brothers has put together yet another well-packaged set here, highly recommended to fans of the show.

The Verdict

Innocent. This set is definitely a dabba-do time, a gay old time.

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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: 1962
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Genres:
• Animation
• Classic
• Comedy
• Television

Distinguishing Marks

• First Families of the Stone Age: Spotlight on the Bedrock Wives
• Bedrock Collectibles: Collecting All Things Flintstone
• Animation Cel








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