Thursday, 27 November 2014

Longnecked Longhorns

You know how “The Flintstones” worked—things from the Stone Age were transposed into mid-20th Century suburbia. The basic idea wasn’t all that original, but the Hanna-Barbera did borrow a little, now and then.

In “The Flintstones,” a dinosaur was a pet dog. In Tex Avery’s “The First Bad Man,” a dinosaur is a horse being ridden by the title character.

“He rustled all our cattle,” says narrator Tex Ritter. Pan over to the cattle. They’re dinosaurs. But they’re cattle, too.

Incidentally, the designs are by Ed Benedict, who later worked on “The Flintstones.” However, this updated-stone-age idea didn’t originate with Avery, Benedict or writer Heck Allen. Dan Gordon directed a series of “Stone Age Cartoons” at Fleischer in 1940. And Gordon was part of “The Flintstones” development team (among other things, he drew the storyboard for the first episode).

The cartoon was released on September 30, 1955. It took a while to get to screens. Variety announced on August 26, 1952, more than three years earlier:

Fred Quimby Returns
Metro cartoon producer Fred Quimby returns today from a Hawaiian vacation. He'll immediately put into production two shorties, “The First Bad Man” and “Pup On a Picnic”
[a Tom and Jerry cartoon also released in 1955].

Avery’s unit was let go in March 1953, almost 2 1/2 years before this cartoon appeared in theatres.

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