Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rein-Toon-Ation: Flintstone Kids (1986)

The popularity of CBS' Jim Henson's Muppet Babies prompted ABC & Hanna-Barbera to try to duplicate the formula, using familiar characters rebooted as children. Unfortunately, H-B went to the well a couple of times too many in the course of a 5 year period (1986-91).

The first of these was The Flintstone Kids, which spent 2 seasons on ABC (1986-8) before being shunted off into the syndicated Funtastic World package. Fred, Wilma, Betty, & Barney were all reimagined as kids, growing up together in Bedrock. Henry Corden, who had taken over as the voice of the adult Fred a few years earlier, voiced Fred's father and mother (!). However, young Freddy had two actors essay the part. Len Weinrib returned to H-B for the first season, but left again, and Scott Menville took over in season 2.

There were a trio of backup features that rotated, including solo stories starring Dino, and the return of Captain Caveman (Mel Blanc), who now had a son, Cavey, Jr. (Frank Welker), which all but killed Cavey's appeal as he neared his 10th anniversary. The other backup had the kids engaging in some Walter Mitty-like fantasies,  not quite unlike the Magnificent Muttley backups from Dastardly & Muttley.

Here's the show open & close:

Right now, the series sits in Cartoon Network's vaults. Maybe just as well.

Rating: C.


magicdog said...

I was never crazy about the "baby-fication" of classic adult characters. It worked for Muppet Babies, but it was just wrong for many HB characters (Flintstones, et al).

The original Flintstones series already explained how Wilma & Fred & Betty & Barney met, so it was hard to buy this show's premise. I DID however appreciate Fred's parents appearing and (surprise!) takes his looks from his mother!

hobbyfan said...

That would be filed under whodathunk.