HTF REVIEW: The Flintstones - The Complete Third Season (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED).

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Herb Kane, Mar 23, 2005.

  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

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    [​IMG]
    The Flintstones
    The Complete Third Season





    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1962-1963
    Rated: Not Rated
    Film Length: 724 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Standard
    Audio: DD Monaural
    Color/B&W: Color
    Languages: English, French & Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
    MSRP: $44.98
    Package: 4 discs in a 5 panel Digipak with a plastic slipcover.





    The Feature:
    It would seem the press releases for the The Flintstones serve as a testament for my appreciation and love of the show. The first three seasons have been among my most anticipated releases into the format. As much as I love Looney Tunes (and make no mistake about it, I LOVE WB LT/MM animation), there’s just a special place in my heart for The Flintstones. Whether the show was that good or if I'm simply caught in the middle of nostalgia is hard to say, but one thing is for sure, I'm still extremely fond of this show. Although I’m not quite old enough to have remembered their original prime time airings, I grew up watching The Flintstones in syndication and certainly treasure many fond memories racing home from school to watch them during the lunch break from 12:30 – 1:00 p.m. and then racing back to school so as not to be late. I suspect the majority of members here in their late 30's or early 40's, as I am, will have vivid memories of this series.

    The show was created by the legendary William Hanna and Joseph Barbera who are responsible for molding Saturday mornings as we now know them. They were also responsible for the creation of Yogi Bear, The Jetsons, Tom & Jerry and Jonny Quest among many other favorites. Speaking of which, I suspect there'll be an announcement for Yogi Bear very soon.

    For those of you actually living in a cave… The Flintstones takes place in a small prehistoric town known as Bedrock located in Cobblestone County where the currency is known as “clams”. Fred Flintstone (voiced by Alan Reed) and his wife Wilma (Jean Vander Pyl) are best friends and neighbors to Barney Rubble (Mel Blanc) and his wife Betty (Bea Benaderet – who was replaced in 1964 by Gerry Johnson). Poor Fred is a hard working guy (well, caveman really) just trying to get by with ideas of grandeur but with an execution similar to a modern day Al Bundy. Other notable voice regulars who appeared throughout the years were June Foray, Harvey Korman, Verna Felton who rendered the husky voice for Wilma’s mother and also appeared in Dumbo and Marilyn Monroe’s, Don’t Bother To Knock as the busybody neighbor and Frank Nelson who played the always smart-alecky sales clerk.

    The Flintstones was the first animated series ever broadcast during prime time network television with an obvious focus for adults in mind. In 1960-1961, the show aired on Friday nights on ABC at 8:30 p.m. and during the entire six year run of the series, there were a total of 166 original episodes produced. The original name of the series was to be "The Flagstones". It’s believed that due to similarities to the "Hi and Lois" characters' surname being “Flagston”, the name was changed to The Flintstones. The name "Gladstones" was also considered but soon dismissed. There's no doubt the show was modeled after the TV show, The Honeymooners as the two couples and neighbors are best friends. In fact you’ll notice many similarities to the I Love Lucy show, particularly during the birth of Pebbles episode, “Dress Rehearsal”. A number of similarities and parallels appear frequently throughout the show, however, while Ralph Kramden is suspended in technological hell, Fred lives the lap of luxury - even if it is in the stone age. The show was nominated for an Emmy in 1961 for "Outstanding Program Achievement in the Field of Humor", but lost to "The Jack Benny Show", however the show did win a Golden Globe Award in the category of “Outstanding Achievement In International Programming”.

    The first two seasons contain the original opening sequence entitled “Rise and Shine” which features Fred driving home from work, racing through the streets of Bedrock, crashing his car into the garage and then goes in the house to sit down and watch TV, accompanied by music eerily reminiscent to the I Love Lucy theme song. In the original closing sequence, Fred turns off the TV, covers the bird cage, and attempts to put the cat out. These sequences were only used for the first two seasons, but they do appear on Season Three for the first two episodes. I would assume the inclusion of this sequence is accurate considering they only appear briefly. The more familiar opening and closing themes which were commonly used for all episodes during syndication (which certainly was the case when they were broadcast locally) debuts here starting with "Barney The Invisible" episode on disc one.

    The common opening and closing sequences, "Meet the Flintstones" theme song shows Fred sliding down the tail of his dino crane at the quarry, then Wilma, Dino and the cat pile in the car where they head to the drive-in. The closing sequence shows them driving from the movies to a drive-in restaurant where Fred orders ribs which tips the car over, then Fred attempts to put the cat out. This was the opening sequence I was familiar with.

    Over the years certain characters changed in physical appearance as does Fred’s car which changes in virtually every episode as well as his house and surroundings. Who’s Fred’s real boss…? Is it Mr. Boulder, J. J. Granite, Joe Rockhead or Mr. Slate? It’s all of them. And Barney? Who really knows what he does…? It’s hard to say if the show was just never concerned or conscious of the continuity aspect or if it was the Hanna - Barbera attempt at simply creating an impulsive, yet satirical theme for each episode. And in the end it never really matters, it always works.

    The set is comprised of four discs which consist of 28 episodes on three single sided discs and the remaining episodes on the fourth disc. The set is housed in a 5 panel gatefold Digipak but has a very unique cover. It is a plastic see-through animated like cel (similar to the Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Usual Suspects SE packaging). According to the WB press release, the package is touted as being a “Special Limited Edition”, so I would assume that eventually the case will revert back to the typical cardboard slipcover which is now the norm for these box sets. These covers are very cool.

    [​IMG]

    For Season Three, the following episodes are included:


    Disc One:

    (Continued from S2)

    61. DINO GOES HOLLYROCK (P-62)
    Written by Harvey Bullock, Rec 1-30-62, Air 9-14-62

    62. FRED'S NEW BOSS (P-61)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 2-1-62, Air 9-21-62

    63. INVISIBLE BARNEY (P-64)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 3-24-62, Air 9-28-62

    64. BOWLING BALLET (P-65)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 4-3-62, Air 10-5-62

    65. THE TWITCH (P-63)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Rec 2-14-62, Air 10-12-62

    66. HERE'S SNOW IN YOUR EYES (P-68)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Rec 5-2-62, Air 10-19-62


    Disc Two:

    67. THE BUFFALO CONVENTION (P-67)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 4-12-62, Air 10-26-62

    68. THE LITTLE STRANGER (P-69)
    Written by Herb Finn, Rec 5-9-62, Air 11-2-62

    69. BABY BARNEY (P-66)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 5-23-62, Air 11-9-62

    70. HAWAIIAN ESCAPADE (P-71)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Rec 6-21-62, Air 11-16-62

    71. LADIES' DAY (P-70)
    Written by Harvey Bullock, Rec 5-25-62, Air 11-23-62

    72. NUTHIN' BUT THE TOOTH (P-72)
    Written by Tony Benedict, Rec 6-29-62, Air 11-30-62


    Disc Three:

    73. HIGH SCHOOL FRED (P-73)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 7-5-62, Air 12-7-62

    74. DIAL S FOR SUSPICION (P-74)
    Written by Herb Finn, Rec 7-9-62, Air 12-14-62

    75. FLASH GUN FREDDIE (P-75)
    Written by Jack Raymond, Rec 7-16-62, Air 12-21-62

    76. THE KISSING BURGLAR (P-76)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Rec 7-27-62 and 8-10-62, Air 1-4-63

    77. WILMA, THE MAID (P-78)
    Written by Harvey Bullock and R. Saffian, Rec 8-13-62, Air 1-11-63

    78. THE HERO (P-79)
    Written by Herb Finn, Rec 8-15-62, Air 1-18-63


    Disc Four:
    Side One:

    79. THE SURPRISE (P-81)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 9-4-62, Air 1-25-63

    80. MOTHER-IN-LAW'S VISIT (P-82)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 9-7-62, Air 2-1-63

    81. FOXY GRANDMA (P-80)
    Written by Herb Finn, Rec 8-30-62, Air 2-8-63

    82. FRED'S NEW JOB (P-83)
    Written by Warren Foster, Rec 9-11-62, Air 2-15-63

    83. THE BLESSED EVENT (aka... DRESS REHEARSAL) (P-84)
    Written by Harvey Bullock and R. Saffian, Rec 9-20-62, Air 2-22-63


    Side Two:

    84. CARRY ON, NURSE FRED (P-85)
    Written by Mike Maltese (teleplay by Joanna Lee), Rec 9-27-62, Air 3-1-63

    85. VENTRILOQUIST BARNEY (P-86)
    Written by Mike Maltese (teleplay by Herb Finn), Rec 10-2-62, Air 3-8-63

    86. THE BIG MOVE (P-87)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Rec 10-16-62, Air 3-22-63

    87. SWEDISH VISITORS (P-88)
    Written by Harvey Bullock and R. Saffian, Rec 10-23-62, Air 3-29-63

    88. THE BIRTHDAY PARTY (P-77)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Rec 8-10-62, Air 4-5-63

    The Feature: 4.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Video:
    I compared S3 to the first two seasons and there are virtually (and thankfully), no differences. Similar to S1 & S2, some dirt and cell dust is visible, particularly during scenes on solid light colors or during close-ups of flesh tone scenes, but it does seem to be slightly cleaner than S1. Thankfully, most of the animated backgrounds in the series are patterned or textured which helps so as not to make it so prevalent. Keeping in mind, I’m watching on a 96” screen, I suspect the problem won’t be nearly as noticeable on a smaller RPTV. Again, keep in mind these elements are 40+ years old. Other than some dust and dirt, they look quite good and overall I am quite pleased with the results.

    Colors, as you can imagine almost jumped off the screen - looking only slightly faded on a few episodes. They were mostly beautiful and vibrant. Blacks couldn’t have been any darker and whites were nicely contrasted although the show always seemed to have a bluish tint to it. The amount of grain was minimal.

    The image was rock solid and never suffered from any jitter or shimmer. Compression seemed to be handled perfectly and there were no signs of any sharpening or haloing.

    Other than some slight dust/dirt, these episodes have never looked better. Another great job WB.

    Video: 4.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Audio:
    Clearly, nobody here is going to use these sets for demo purposes, but for the most part these are more than effective. Thankfully, there is virtually no hiss to speak of and the overall tonal fidelity of the mono track sounds natural and untampered with.

    Dialogue was always crystal clear and intelligible. The laugh track is rather subtle and subdued and never becomes annoying or intrusive.

    As we might expect in terms of dynamics from a mono track of the 60’s, (aside from the limitations of mono itself), the track is somewhat limited. In particular, the newer opening and closing sequence, "Meet The Flintstones", sounds terrific and robust.

    A very nice job indeed.

    Audio: 3.5/5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Special Features:
    There are only a couple of special features that appear throughout this set spread out on three of the four discs. The set looks like this:

    Disc One:
    [*] Bedrock Collectables features animator/aficionado Scott Shaw who shows off and offers some historical background relating to his extensive collection of Flintstones memorabilia. Duration: 6:42 minutes.

    Disc Two:
    [*] First Families Of The Stone Age Several WB/HB experts appear including former Hanna-Barbera executive Mark Young, WB Animation producer Scott Jeralds, WB Animation VP of Creative Design Iwao Takamoto and animator/artist Scott Shaw. This is a brief discussion regarding the female characters of the series and the introduction of Pebbles. Interesting to learn that the time leading up to Pebbles' birth, apparently several contests were held and sponsored by Hanna Barbera such as the guessing of Pebbles weight and identifying babies that were born during the airing of the episode - interesting but far too brief. Duration: 7:02 minutes.

    Disc Three:
    [*] The only feature on this disc is merely a collection of Trailers for The Flintstones: S1 & S2, The new Scooby-Doo Movies, Scooby-Doo Where Are You? S1 & S2, Top Cat: The Complete Series and Wacky Races: The Complete Series.

    Disc Four:

    There are no special features on disc four, however, there is also a mini collectible litho cel included in the set.


    This is my only real source of disappointment as far as S3 is concerned. I thought S1 & S2 were fairly meager in terms of supplements but S3 is exceptionally thin and as Wilma would say, "that's the only thing that's exceptionally thin"... Obviously very little time or effort went into these features.

    I realize we have three more releases to look forward to, but I really can't stress enough the importance of including substantial bios on the voice actors of this wonderful series. The Flintstones had, arguably, the greatest ensemble of voice actors - ever. Not only were the leads superb, but many of the supporters - a veritable collection of the who’s who at the time, were certainly the foundation of the show. Needless to say Mel Blanc's participation as Barney throughout the series, seals the deal. Please Warner, bios on these contributors would be most welcome and appreciated.

    Special Features: 1/5
    [​IMG]

    **Special Features rated for the quality of supplements, not the quantity**



    Final Thoughts:
    There's no doubt that by the time Season Two concluded, the show had its legs and was well on its way. When S3 rolled around, the show was in full groove. The addition of Pebbles was a first for animation and was a nationwide event as fans were fixed to their tubes weeks leading up to the monumental event. Season Three solidifies the cohesiveness of the show in terms of consistency (well, as much as the series could) and demonstrates the brilliance of the show's writing and the sharp verbal jousting. The Flintstones: The Complete Third Season should bring back many great memories particularly if you happened to grow up watching the show.

    If you're happy with the first two installments, you should be as pleased with the latest addition to the series. The presentation is virtually identical to S1 & S2 - and that's a good thing. Admittedly, the special features are downright disappointing. Given the regularity with which these seasons have been released, one can only assume that these have sold quite well. Let's hope Warner adds some substantive special features to complement Season Four. That said, the presentation of this brilliant show is terrific and easily earns my recommendation.

    Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (not an average)
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Highly Recommended...!!




    Release Date: March 22nd, 2005
     
  2. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the review, Herb.

    I have fond memories of the show, but I'm not sure I want to commit the dollars for the entire series run. I know if I break down and buy season one, I'll end up buying them all.

    I'm thinking about picking up Jonny Quest, though... shorter series, and another of my childhood favorites.

    -Scott
     
  3. ChrisPearson

    ChrisPearson Second Unit

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    Great review, Herb – much appreciated. I especially enjoyed your observations on Fred's boss and Barney's job – [​IMG].

    And a justified rap on the knuckles for Warner regarding the supplements – the play's the thing, but Warner really should know better.
     
  4. Greg Chenoweth

    Greg Chenoweth Supporting Actor

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    Good review on the Flintstones. I've enjoyed the first two immensely. I am looking forward to receiving my Flintstones Season 3 set soon from Amazon.com.

    I like your little tease about an announcement coming soon on a Yogi Bear DVD set. I am ecstatic about that. Perhaps Huckleberry Hound will also be coming soon? Curious minds want to know.
     
  5. Paul Pro

    Paul Pro Stunt Coordinator

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    Great review as usual Herb.

    Just a couple of questions regarding the show's openning if anyone knows:

    -I remember seeing a version of "Meet The Flintsones" which features Fred running into the house and picking up Pebbles (who was playing on floor I beleive). Did that openning appear right after "Dress Rehearsal" or early in season 4? Because I didn't see it in this collection.

    -Also some episodes have a sync problem. You here the sound effect of Dino poping out of the top the car too early. Is that an error on the DVD or something that plagued the show originally?
     
  6. Paul Pro

    Paul Pro Stunt Coordinator

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    Double post sorry. please disregard
     
  7. ChrisPearson

    ChrisPearson Second Unit

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  8. Alex-A

    Alex-A Stunt Coordinator

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    I've just watched disc 3 of this set. Anyone else notice the first episode on this disc uses the wrong opening sequence that already has the additions of Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, and the rubbles? The bird at the start also sounds like a whistle. From my understanding, this sequence isn't supposed to show up until much later. What gives?
     
  9. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

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    Has anyone else noticed that all the episodes are about 25:30 long except for the episode "The Big Move", which is only about 22:30? That's about 3 minutes shorter than the rest. Does anyone know if this is the syndication cut of this episode, or if it originally aired this short? Also, I wonder if the complete episode still exists somewhere, and if it does, why it wasn't included on this set.
     
  10. Jeff Willis

    Jeff Willis Producer

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    Thanks for the review. I have the 1st 3 Season packs. I'm in the middle of S1 pack viewing. This one has always been one of my favorite cartoon shows.



    Scott, I have JOnny Q S1. You'll love it. It's stood the test of time, at least for me [​IMG]
     

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