Friday 12 October 2012

Before the Flintstones

What does this…

…Have in common with this?

Other than they’ve about cavemen who wear orange leopard skins, the correct answer is that they were both designed by Ed Benedict.

The top drawing is, of course, of Fred Flintstone. The bottom is from the Tex Avery cartoon “The First Bad Man” (1955). The writers on “The Flintstones” came up with household item/Stone Age transposition gags. Avery and writer Heck Allen tried a bit of a different approach. A couple of these are classic Avery gags; the “long distance” one goes back to Avery’s days at Warners.

The animators are Walt Clinton, Ray Patterson, Mike Lah and Grant Simmons, and Johnny Johnsen drew the backgrounds. Clinton worked on the original Flintstones series as a layout artist. June Foray provides an uncreditted voice.

And if you wondered where all those clothes came from, Avery and Allen provide the answer.


  1. Seeing First Bad Man again not too long ago, I was paying attention to how much it looked like the Flintstones (both those outfits and all the "modern stone age" gags), and knowing it came first, figured the Flintstones must have ripped off of this film.
    Didn't think the same artists would be behind both. It figures, because the pretty redhead who clubs the guy looks so much like Wilma. Another one that sort of prefigured the Flintstones was WB's "Prehysterical Hare", where Elmer's last name becomes "Fuddstone".

  2. The Fleischers had produced their "Stone Age" series fifteen years before TFBM, so the theme of prehistoric times/modern era juxtaposition was not exactly original in 1955.

  3. Frank Paiker would have been with the Fleischers in Miami at the time the Stone Age cartoons were done, but given the MGM connection and Hanna-Barbera's frequent borrowing from the Avery unit for some of their TV ideas, if anything influenced The Flintstones that wasn't connected to Jackie Gleason, it was probably this (the 'caveman' attitude towards women in Tex's short and elsewhere meshes pretty well with Ralph's normal attitude toward Alice on The Honeymoners, so 'Ralph Kramden as a caveman' no doubt seemed like a natural fit to Bill, Joe and the ABC executives).

  4. Well, Dan Gordon even wrote one of the Stone Age cartoons at Fleischer's and he gets a fair amount of credit for the early Flintstones development 20 years later, so there's a stronger connection than Paiker.
    But the idea behind the post was to see how Tex handled the same general concept with the same designer.

  5. And of course Tex Ritter's the CREDITED narrator!Steve C