It’s rare for a TV show that turns 50 years old to be remembered, yet alone to make the front page on Google, but that’s what happened to the Flinstones.
The show began in 1960 on ABC and has spawned numerous TV spinoffs, movies, and one-shot TV specials. Some of these efforts have been of dubious quality, but what keeps the remakes and spinoffs coming is that the show has so many fans that anything with the Flinstones in it will have an instant appeal.
The 1960-66 original TV run remains the bedrock (pun intended) for the Flinstones franchise. The show is in the same style of other classic “everyman” sitcoms such as The Life of Riley and The Honeymooners. The show was lead by veteran radio and cartoon actors Alan Reed and Mel Blanc. It was strengthened by good writing that took advantage of the show’s fantastic setting and the opportunities presented by cartoon physics.
What has made the show so popular for so long?
The first key is animation. Parents introduce their kids to cartoons such as Looney Tunes and Disney’s gigantic cartoon collection. They’re the type of shows that parents have no problem introducing their kids to. And the grown up nature of the Flintstones helps to keep kids fans after they’ve grown up, even if they don’t advertise it. They just buy the DVDs for the kids.
The second thing is the fantastic stone age setting. With pet dinosaurs instead of pet dogs, cars that move by the passengers and driver running, stone-age Television, and all the conveniences of living in Bedrock make the setting timeless, and help make the show as enjoyable and accessible today as when it first aired.
The Jetsons, which launched two years after the Flintstones, has endured, but with far fewer spin-offs and less prominence. The reason The Jetsons has enjoyed a lesser success is that it’s set in the future and its vision of the future often seems dated. After all, 2062 is only 50 years away and its unlikely to be the world the creators of the Jetsons imagined.
The other advantage that The Flintstones has is the relationship between the Rubbles and the Flintstones. The friendship and love between the classic characters makes the show speak to every generation.
Shows about the present and the future become dated far more easily than shows about a fantastic past, and shows that feature great friendships will last the longest of all.