Hanna-Barberaís Flintstones started life as the first adult prime-time television cartoon, went on to become the longest running such animated series in TV history (until The Simpsons came along) and spawned numerous reruns, specials, spinoffs and adaptations--as well as a merchandising bonanza. The Flintstones premiered on ABC in September 1960 and ran uninterrupted for six years, was rebroadcast on NBC Saturday mornings from 1967 to 1970 and has been around in one form or another ever since. Critics and fans alike agree that the show was an animated imitation of The Honeymooners with rock puns thrown in. It aired during an era when color television was becoming popular in America. Its popularity rested heavily on its juxtaposition of modern-day concerns in the Stone Age setting
A major film starring John Goodman was released in 1994. Another movie with a different cast, Viva Rock Vegas, was released in 2000. The most recent animated feature, this time from the Cartoon Network, was titled The Flintstones: On the Rocks and debuted in 2001. The co-directors were Chris Savino and David Smith, with the characters based on the original designs of Ed Benedict.
Fred and Wilma Flintstone and their friends Barney and Betty Rubble are a prehistoric parody of the Kramdens and Nortons of The Honeymooners, complete with marital bickering, get-rich-quick schemes, bowling nights out and lodge membership. Voice actors Alan Reed (1907-1977) and Henry Corden (1920-2005) provided Fredís voice. As added attractions, Dino, their pet dinosaur, was joined in 1963 by a baby daughter, Pebbles and by the Rubblesí adopted son, Bamm-Bamm. Gene Hazelton (1919-2005) is credited with the creation of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm and was also the main writer and artist on the Flintstones comic strip from the early 1960s until 1988. The kids spun off on their own show in 1971.
Comic book appearances began in 1961 and continued into the 1990s. The characters have been merchandised extensively, with several thousand tie-in items licensed. Postís Pebbles cereal and Flintstones chewable vitamins were promotional successes.