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

Discussion in 'TV on DVD and Blu-ray' started by Herb Kane, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. Herb Kane

    Herb Kane Screenwriter

    May 7, 2001
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    The Flintstones
    The Complete Second Season

    Studio: Warner Brothers
    Year: 1961-1962
    Rated: Not Rated
    Film Length: 832 Minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 Standard TV
    Audio: DD Monaural
    Color/B&W: Color
    Languages: English, French & Spanish
    Subtitles: English, French & Spanish
    MSRP: $44.98
    Package: 4 disc set in a 5 panel Digipak with a clear plastic slipcover case.

    The Feature:
    Similar to the announcement earlier this year, Season Two of The Flintstones was one of my most anticipated sets of the year and the wait was worth it. In fact Season Three is on the way, but we’ll get to that later. After having been involved with this wonderful format from day one, I can tell you unequivocally, that there hasn’t yet been a release announcement more anticipated by me than The Flintstones. 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. Although I’m not quite old enough to have remembered their original prime time releases, 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.

    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.

    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 on PT 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. In fact one of the special features discusses this. 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”.

    This set (as well as S1) contains 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. The more familiar opening and closing themes were usually used for all episodes during syndication, which certainly was the case when they were broadcast here. Those wondering where Wilma’s lips went during that closing sequence will have their questions answered in one of the commentaries as well as why all the extra empty screen space throughout the closing credits.

    During the third season, the opening and closing sequences, the "Meet the Flintstones" theme song debuted. This opening 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 most noticeable difference you’ll hear in Season Two is the obvious and distinct change in Barney’s voice. Mel Blanc is absent for the first 5 or 6 episodes due to having been involved in a serious car accident and was replaced by long time HB voice actor Daws Butler while Mel recuperated. Apparently, many of the episodes from Season Two were recorded in hospital at Blanc’s bedside due to his incapacitation.

    The set is comprised of four discs which consist of 32 episodes on three single sided discs and the remaining episodes on the fourth disc which also houses some of the special features located on the other side. 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.

    For Season Two, the following episodes are included:

    Disc One:

    (Continued from S1)

    29. THE HIT SONG WRITERS (P-31) **Commentary**
    Written by Jack Raymond, Recorded 2-7-61, Air date 9-15-61

    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 1-30-61, Air date 9-22-61

    31. THE MISSING BUS (P-37)
    Written by Larry Markes, Recorded 4-24-61, Air date 9-29-61

    Written by Larry Markes, Recorded 5-21-61, Air date 10-6-61

    Written by Jack Raymond, Recorded 2-7-61, Air date 10-13-61

    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 2-24-61, Air date 10-20-61

    Disc Two:

    Written by Sydney Zelinka and Arthur Phillips, Recorded 4-9-61, Air date 10-27-61

    Written by Larry Markes, Recorded 4-10-61, Air date 11-3-61

    Written by Herb Finn, Recorded 3-23-61, Air date 11-10-61

    38. SOCIAL CLIMBERS (P-38)
    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 5-10-61, Air date 11-17-61

    39. THE BEAUTY CONTEST (P-36) **Commentary**
    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 4-27-61, Air date 12-1-61

    Written by Jack Raymond, Recorded 6-12-61, Air date 12-8-61

    Disc Three:

    41. THE PICNIC (P-41)
    Written by Jack Raymond, Recorded 5-20-61, Air date 12-15-61

    42. THE HOUSE GUEST (P-39)
    Written by Sydney Zelinka, Recorded 5-15-61, Air date 12-22-61

    43. THE X-RAY STORY (P-43)
    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 6-15-61, Air date 12-29-61

    44. THE GAMBLER (P-45)
    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 6-20-61, Air date 1-5-62

    45. A STAR IS ALMOST BORN (P-47)
    Written by Arthur Phillips, Recorded 7-10-61, Air date 1-12-62

    46. THE ENTERTAINER (P-44)
    Written by Arthur Phillips, Recorded 6-19-61, Air date 1-19-62

    Disc Four – Side “A”:

    Written by Harvey Bullock, Recorded 7-5-61, Air date 1-26-62

    48. FEUDIN' AND FUSSIN' (P-50)
    Written by Arthur Phillips, Recorded 7-31-61, Air date 2-2-62

    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 7-24-61, Air date 2-9-62

    Written by Tony Benedict, Rec 8-16-61, Air date 2-16-62

    51. THE HAPPY HOUSEHOLD (P-51) **Commentary**
    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 8-21-61, Air date 2-23-62

    52. FRED STRIKES OUT (P-53)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Recorded 9-7-61, Air date 3-2-62

    Written by Larry Markers, Recorded 9-1-61, Air date 3-9-62

    Disc Four – Side “B”:

    54. TROUBLE-IN-LAW (P-56)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Recorded 11-6-61, Air date 3-16-62

    Written by Arthur Phillips, Recorded 9-25-61, Air date 3-23-62

    56. THE ROCK VEGAS CAPER (P-54) (titled incorrectly in the set as “STORY”)
    Written by Warren Foster, Recorded 9-21-61, Air date 3-30-62

    57. DIVIDED WE SAIL (P-57)
    Written by Larry Markes, Recorded 12-13-61, Air date 4-6-62

    58. KLEPTOMANIA CAPER (P-58) (titled incorrectly in the set as “KLEPTOMANIAC”)
    Written by Joanna Lee, Recorded 1-3-62, Air date 4-13-62

    59. LATIN LOVER (P-59)
    Written by Harvey Bullock, Recorded 1-5-62, Air date 4-20-62

    Written by Larry Markes, Recorded 1-15-62, Air date 4-27-62

    I’ve listed the production numbers as well as the airdates in case there are those who prefer to watch theses episodes in that order.

    The Feature: 5/5

    As I compared this season to the previous one, there is very little that is different, and by and large, that’s a good thing. Similar to S1, 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. They were extremely 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.

    Save for some slight dust/dirt issues, these episodes have never looked better. Great job WB.

    Video: 4.5/5

    Not so much to talk about here but it is all positive. 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. However, similar to S1, volume is a tad on the low side, so keep your remote handy. 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 from the 60’s, (aside from the limitations of mono itself), it serves the needs of the material, but offers little beyond the essentials.

    All in all a very solid job.

    Audio: 3.5/5

    Special Features:
    I felt the majority of the supplemental features on S1 were rather insignificant in terms of content, just barely surpassing “fluff” status. However, S2 offers up a healthier serving of substantive special features to complement the set. They are spread out over the four discs starting on:

    Disc One:
    [*] Carved In Stone is perhaps the best of the supplements which features Jerry Beck, Earl Kress, Jerry Eisenberg, Iwao Takamoto and Scott Shaw. A number of Flintstones related trivia and anecdotes are discussed including the original names of the show starting with The Flagstones to The Gladstones and then finally The Flintstones as well as the style of the animation which took place over the years. Also welcomingly discussed is the difference between the “Rise and Shine” and “Meet The Flintstones” (the one most of us are familiar with, with Fred sliding down the neck of the dinosaur at quitting time) opening theme songs and what happened to the original. Also included are a number of personal recollections from those who worked for the renowned animation duo. Rather hokey in design but informative. Duration: 20:40 minutes.
    [*] The Hit Songwriter Commentary which features the following participants: Earl Kress, Jerry Eisenberg and Scott Shaw.
    [*] And Now A Word From Our Sponsor is a B&W commercial for One A Day Vitamins which is great but is in less than ideal condition. Duration: 1:02 minutes.

    Disc Two:
    [*] The Beauty Contest Commentary which features the following participants: Earl Kress, Jerry Eisenberg and Scott Shaw.
    [*] And Now A Word From Our Sponsor is B&W commercial which features Welch’s Grape Jelly and is in excellent condition - especially compared to the One A Day commercial from Disc One. Duration: 1:02 minutes.
    [*] Songs Of The Flintstone Album is a collection of songs from the original cast members which is played to a series of stills. Included is Meet The Flintstones, Dum Tot Song, Dino The Dino, Split Level Cave, Rise & Shine, Bowling Alley Blues, I Flipped, The Car Hop Song. Duration: 27:55 minutes.

    Disc Three:
    [*] How To Draw Fred Flintstone is a short featurette from 1991 where in six easy steps you’ll learn to draw Fred. Duration: 6:46 minutes.
    [*] Flintstone Art contains dozens of great original sketches with animation notes played to some of the common scoring songs that were used frequently throughout the series – this is very interesting. Duration: 4:27 minutes.
    [*] And Now A Word From Our Sponsor contains two B&W commercials the first is a very short ad for Kitchen Rich Cookies and the second is an ad for Carnation Evaporated Milk Duration: 00:17 and 00:32 seconds.

    Disc Four:
    [*] The Happy Housewife Commentary which features the following participants: Earl Kress, Jerry Eisenberg and Scott Shaw. All of the commentaries are worthwhile. Admittedly, they are slow at times but if you stick with them, there is information to be gleaned.
    [*] The final supplement is a collection of Trailers featuring various WB properties that have been recently released such as: The Flintstones S1, The Jetsons, Wacky Races: The Complete Series, Tom and Jerry: The Spotlight Collection, Top Cat: The Complete Series, Looney Tunes Golden Collection Volume #2, Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection Volume #2.

    I much preferred these special features to those that were included on S1. My only gripe and admittedly this is trivial (and perhaps I’m in the minority here), but I’d much prefer to see the special features assigned to one disc (the last disc..?) and allot the other discs for just the episodes, rather than hunting all over for them. Otherwise, a nice grouping of special features. We still have four more sets to go, so lots of time for other inclusions, but I’d really like to see the Winston "tastes good like a cigarette should" ads as well as some extensive bios on the voice actors who participated in this great series.

    Special Features: 4/5

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

    Final Thoughts:
    As much as I enjoyed The Complete First Season of The Flintstones, Season Two is heads and shoulders better than the original season. It’s this season when the show starts to hit its stride. Unlike many of the inconsistencies through evolution of S1 in terms of the animation, music and even the repartee, Season Two seems much more cohesive in terms of being constant and the one-liners are as sharp as daggers. This is brilliant stuff.

    I am really impressed with what WB has been doing with their animated properties (WB LT/MM animation as well as the HB properties) and this installment of S2 is yet another must purchase for fans of Freddie and company. The episodes are hilarious, the presentations are terrific and the special features are much better than what was included in the initial season. And for Flintstone fans, just when you think it can’t get any better, as I type this, I just learned of WB’s plans to release Season Three on March 22nd, 2005 - great news indeed.

    Overall Rating: 4.5/5 (not an average)

    Highly Recommended…!!!

    Release Date: December 7th, 2004
  2. Randy Korstick

    Randy Korstick Producer

    Feb 24, 2000
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    Thanks Herb fora great review. I'm loving this set as well and I agree this set as well as the show is better than Season One. I can't wait for Season Three.
  3. Steve_L_B

    Steve_L_B Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 26, 2002
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    Great review. I just got the Flintstones seasons 1 and 2 along with the Jetsons season 1 for Christmas. I grew up in the sixties and these along with the Looney Tunes were my favorites. I'm really looking forward to a rainy weekend so I can sit down and enjoy these.

  4. Phil Dally

    Phil Dally Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 9, 2003
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    I remember one episode where the Flintstones and the Rubbles go on vacation together. On the way to their destination they swing by the Grand Canyon. Lo and behold, it nothing but a little creek barely cutting its way through the dirt. Fred exclaims "It may not be much now, but someday it will be." I love that line and after all this time it has stuck with me. Does anyone know what season that is from?
  5. StacyV

    StacyV Second Unit

    Oct 13, 2003
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    Disc one of season 2: "Droop Along Flintstone"
  6. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

    Mar 17, 2001
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    The commercial supplement on Disc 3 is in Spanish.

    So far this has been a very well-presented series. Unlike other H-B shows, "Flintstones" in this packaging really does feel more like assembling a traditional prime-time sitcom series.
  7. Carlos Garcia

    Carlos Garcia Screenwriter

    Mar 11, 2004
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    Still missing extra...the classic Flintstones "Winston cigarettes" commercials.
  8. Eric Paddon

    Eric Paddon Screenwriter

    Mar 17, 2001
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    They've got four more chances to give us those.
  9. Jonny_L

    Jonny_L Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 6, 2004
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    Great Review Herb! I still have to get the first season. Gotta love The Flintstones, Hanna Barbera at its best.

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