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Feature Film

Brew Flashback: “The Man Called Flintstone” (1966)

Not The Flinstones finest hour (or more precisely, an hour and twenty-seven minutes), but I thought we’d take a moment to acknowledge the 45th anniversary of the Hanna Barbera feature film, The Man Called Flintstone. I gathered together some material (including several rarely seen newspaper ads, below) to remind us of how the original prime time series (and feature) were initially aimed at adult audiences – so perhaps Seth MacFarlane’s forthcoming revamp won’t be so far off, after all. Or so we would hope.

Anyone have any particularly fond (or painful) memories of this film? Let us know in the comments section below.

  • Tom

    I was just thinking about this the other day!

    As a kid, I had three movies taped off TV that I watched constantly – Felix The Cat: The Movie, Johnny’s Golden Quest, and this. I don’t know if I’d enjoy it today, but I definitely loved it back then! I can even vividly recall several of the scenes now. I’m not sure of my exact age at the time, but I’m sure I hadn’t even started kindergarten yet.

  • Karl Hungus

    I have always had enduring memories of this movie. As a kid, its startling if there is a different tone to something you had grown used to and in this movie Fred and Barnie were somewhat serious(if I remember correctly) and there were real consequences to their shenanigans. It was also was heavy because it didn’t wrap up the story in 11 minutes, it kept going and there was a villain wasn’t there? The green guy with a mask?
    I’m afraid to watch it now and spoil my memories, but it certainly made an impression on me as a kid, so I consider it a success.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      You pretty much described the film perfectly, and yes, it’s certainly one that should say a childhood memory than to subject yourself to it later in life.

    • Craig M

      I saw this movie when it came out, and it scared the Fruity Pebbles out of me. Here were The Flintstones I knew, but everything was slightly off, just enough to be incredibly disconcerting to a 7 year old.

  • I saw this film in the cinema when it was first released, it look terribly coarse. I think I’ve left three quarters into it. I was pleasanly surprised by the title’s sequence though. It had a lot of promise but it never delivered.

  • ferp

    Could this movie really be considered a low point for the flinstones? I reserve that for the teenage Pebbles and Bam Bam show, and the Jetsons meet the Flinstones…

    I actually liked this film a lot. The musical numbers were catchy, and it was nice to see the flinstones with an extended plot with the same spirit as the show. I enjoyed it a lot as a kid at least.

  • Nik

    As a kid, I remember seeing ads for this film in the newspaper when it was originally released. I watched the Flintstones on tv but I was never a big enough fan of the show to want to see this film in the theater. I did like the design of the femme fatale in the ad artwork though.

  • It’s interesting how language changes. The first poster shown here is the only time I have ever heard or seen the phrase “Laugh it up” used in an unironic / non-threatening context. Nowadays, if someone instructs you to laugh it up, it’s a not-so-subtle command to shut up or else get a fat lip.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      See what we do to language over time? It annoys me the phrases I loved that just don’t resonate the same way anymore.

  • I used to save clippings of anything written or printed about animation when I was a kid. I have numerous ads and articles about HEY THERE IT’S YOGI BEAR, but not one ad about this film. I think it might not have opened in NY. I didn’t know about for years after it had been released and still haven’t seen it. I think Columbia knew it was a dud.

  • Karl Wilcox

    I have it on VHS and have watched it several times. I thought it was quite good, for its time. Fred was hired to replace his lookalike, an injured secret agent. Back
    then, spies were the rage in movies and television (James
    Bond, Maxwell Smart, etc.). It was the second theatrical feature-length film made by Hanna-Barbera Productions (“Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear” being the first).

    • tonma

      wasn’t that like the third fred look-alike? the used that cliche a lot back then..

  • THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE and GODZILLA were required viewing on Thanksgiving day when we were growing up!


  • uncle wayne

    Ahhhhhhhhhh, THAT’s why i luv this site!! I have NEVER seen this film, but the vision of Wilma as the Columbia logo was enuff to be glad I got outa bed today. Thanky!

    • Wilma’s Columbia logo is blacked out on the DVD but exists on the VHS versions, of which there were at least two.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        I think the first release was through Worldvision and a second time from Turner Home Entertainment I recall (where it got the cheap EP Mode treatment). Pretty much the only way we knew of that logo existing outside the theaters. Shame they couldn’t keep it for the DVD release which instead pulled 10 seconds from elsewhere in the film to make up the difference (I think I would’ve settled for something cheesy like a blank screen with “Hanna-Barbera Presents” or the current distributor’s logo inserted).

  • I have fond memories of rushing home after school to watch this on WABC’s 4:30 Movie.

  • I had worn out my VHS tape of this film when I was a kid because I had watched it so many times. At least now I have it on DVD, and it doesn’t spoil my memories. Its exactly the way that I remember it. The film is obviously not like the series, but for me that is okay. I am more concerned about MacFarlan’s version of the series than I am with The Man Called Flintstone.

    My fondest memory of the film is the “Someday I’m Gonna Be” song. The animation is completely different in this portion than in the rest of the film, and even as a kid I knew that it was good stuff. Take a minute and check out what I am talking about: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PgOeZm21QQc

    Does anyone have information regarding this sequence in the film?

  • I love that movie! It’s been a few years but last I saw it held up pretty well.

  • I have a sinking feeling “A Man Called Flintstone” has a very similar plot to that of Cars 2.
    Just a hunch.

  • I can’t be the only one who loves this movie, can I?

  • Stephen DeStefano

    Add me to the list of guys that remembers this film fondly from their childhood. Not a good movie, but fun enough to impress little Stephen. And I wasn’t so easily fooled–that Yogi Bear flick from around the same time? I could never be bothered with it.

  • I have no memories of this, but that painting on the sountrack album cover is fantastic!

    • The artwork almost of the short lived but fondly remembered Hanna-Barbera Record label was outstanding — but such artists as Willie Ito and Ron Dias (who actually initialed theirs “WI & RD”), Warren Tufts, Harvard Pennington, Iwao Takamoto and others. It’s one reason the albums are still prized collectibles today.

      • xevo

        Paul Julian (ex-WB background artist and letterer extraordinaire) also did a few HBR album cobers.

  • The Wife did a review of The Man called Flintstone on her blog last year as part of our Thanksgiving Memories post. They’d run it every Thanksgiving in NYC and so it became a tradition for here, one we continue now that we have it on DVD.


  • I remember my dad taping this off from TV! I watched the film DAILY!

  • Brad Constantine

    Fred’s eyes are creeping me out in the top poster..I love the Barney Lobby Card! Thanks fer sharing, Jerry!

  • Bob

    I was too young to catch it first run, but I did see (I’m pretty sure) a theatrical re-issue. I later caught up with in on television. I was a nut for animation and anything about spies, so I loved it. And obviously I still love animation — I’m sitting here, wearing a Fossel Flintstone watch!

  • DonaldC

    I recall it being very dull and slow paced for a kids movie. Perhaps if I watched it now, I’d like it better.

  • Sardonic Tuba

    I saw it as part of a triple-bill on a Saturday afternoon, that included “Valley of Gwangi” and “When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth”. Cartoons, stop-motion dinos, and cavegirls in fur bikinis! Sheer mind-numbing bliss.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      I envy you!

  • I remember this movie, and how I was never able to sit through the whole thing (and if I did I can’t remember).
    I felt the film was a little on the boring side, and the songs really slowed everything down and some of them felt unnecessary (like Pebbles and BamBam’s song).
    That opening is pretty cool though.

  • Dave

    As a child, I vividly remember the TV commercials promoting the film before it’s theatrical release. I remember how COOL I thought it was that Fred was a secret agent, master of disguise, etc., and how disappointed I was to learn *SPOILER*

    that it wasn’t really Fred who was the secret agent. Other than those memories, I don’t actually think I saw the movie in a theater back in the day.

  • Vernon Fistula-Brockton

    1965-1966 was THE timeframe for James Bond-esque spy-themed films and TV series in Hollywood. In addition to “Our Man Flint”, “Get Smart” and “The Wild, Wild West”, that moment also begat Martin and Rossi’s feature “The Last of the Secret Agents” which may be the live action equivalent of “A Man Called Flintstone” in that it promises sparkling espionage arena entertainment and doesn’t deliver if one is over 8 years old. Curious that 2011 will see the release of “Cars 2”, a spiritual heir to “A Man Called Flintstone” if ever there was one. The difference is that the Pixar film will make a ton of money whereas “Flintstone” was a flop. Joe Barbera once said he learned that people won’t buy tickets to see characters they can watch for free on television from making this movie (apparently he didn’t learn it with “Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear”). After 1966 Hanna-Barbera never again starred any of its series characters in a feature film. Didn’t stop them from making flop features, though.

    • They took another shot with The Jetsons in 1990.

    • Andrew Kieswetter

      Let’s not forget ‘The Man From UNCLE’ and ‘I Spy’.

  • I love this film today as much as I did when I first saw it at a Saturday matinee in the ’70s — and returned to the theater countless times whenever they showed it again. I loved seeing the HB style on the big screen, loved the idea of HB at least attempting to do something beyond their usual scope, loved the voice work and even loved the strong base line on the soundtrack. It took me years to find the album and though it turned out to be a re-orchestrated version of the music with the soundtrack vocals, I loved that too. It was never released in stereo, but was recorded that way and the theme song is heard in stereo on the Rhino “Modern Stone Age Melodies” CD produced by Earl Kress.

    PLEEEEEEEASE someone reissue some of those albums.

    Anyway, while quite aware of the feature’s shortcomings (inconsistent animation, lack of Barney involvement, etc.) I always enjoyed when HB reached a little higher. My sister and I saw the movie so often that we quoted it (“Let’s Squissssh heeem!” “Rock-EHHHH-Looow!” “I will sleeep thees rope ovah heem. Count to five and break eeeen.”) and even imitated the Green Goose’s absurd walk away from the rocket as Fred talks about the diamond necklace.

    Yes, I have a life and it’s made richer by the work of the artists on this film — and my kids enjoy watching it today. It’s also cool to see this film and HEY THERE IT’S YOGI BEAR being sold at Target, rather than becoming obscure footnotes, as has so much of the entertainment I loved in the past.


      Hey Greg,

      I’ve wondered why the music was re-orchestrated instead of just laying down the original tracks that were recorded for the film. My best guess is that as the film was a Columbia Pictures release, that Colpix Records had the original soundtrack album rights.

      • My guess is that you may be right about the Colpix/Colgems thing and perhaps Columbia owned recording rights to the music tracks. Another possibility is that the songs and whatever other music done by Marty Paich in the film was not licensed for recordings and such costs, as well as musician’s fees, would have made the album too expensive to produce (especially since it retailed for $1.98 back in 1966).

        Ted Nichols reorchestrated the music with a smaller group emphasizing brass and eliminating strings for the HBR album.

        The same thing was done for HB’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND album, which was a re-recording with some (not all) of the voice cast, the Hoyt Curtin background music but none of the Marty Paich orchestrations. Instead, a small orchestra with a few strings (arranged by Al Capps, I think) recreated the songs, though the soundtrack vocals were reused for “They’ll Never Split Us Apart” and “Today’s a Wonderful Day.” The ALICE special was also a Screen Gems presentation, so maybe the Columbia thing affected that, too.

        None of the Marty Paich versions of any background music from either FLINTSTONE or ALICE every was used in subsequent HB cartoons, but the Nichols and Curtin backgrounds were clearly added to the HB TV library and popped up repeatedly in episodes of the period (I remember nearly every “Abbott and Costello” and “Laurel and Hardy” cartoon had ALICE background music.

    • Oh, forgot to add that stereo version of “Tickle Toddle” turned up on another Rhino CD, “Billboard Presents Family Lullaby Classics.”

  • Tom

    I saw it on a release about three years after it was first released. It was a Saturday morning matinee. I think I was around 13 years old. Took my younger brothers to see it. Kids were running up and down the aisles, yelling, screaming. I was there with my brothers to see the film. In spite of all that, I did enjoy it back then. Got the DVD but have not really watched it. One of these days, though, I’ll get around to it.

  • I saw AMCF in its first release. I was six at the time. I recall my friend’s mom taking us out to see it, the sort of thing she simply never did, so it must have been a big deal.

    I remember enjoying it and finding it reasonably engaging, but had forgotten most of the details until I saw it again 20 years later on VHS. It did not live up to my original impression and I found the song sequences particularly tedious.

    Another 20 years later I gave it one more try on DVD. Now, I respect the fact that ANY animated feature is a bitch to get done and credit them for giving it a try. Better work in the script department would have been a plus.

    It’s not a great movie, but among the niche of “limited animation” features it may be among the better ones.

  • Matt

    @Vernon Fistula-Brockton
    Actually you forgot the last bomb : Jetsons: the Movie (1989). but over 20 years had past then.

    • Mark

      did ‘Charlotte’s Web’ flop? I heard it didn’t do stellar business when it first was released but it recouped it losses when it was first released on VHS. Considering the voice cast full of ’70s TV vets (plus the H-B stock company), I’m surprised it was a flop. ‘Heidi’s Song’ from ’82 is a whole different matter…

      • CHARLOTTE’S WEB was not a big box office hit in its original 1973 release, but like WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, it gained a huge following from network, cable and home video releases. Before Disney started releasing classic animated features to video, CHARLOTTE’S WEB became a staple of the VHS rental and purchase business.

        Debbie Reynolds has claimed that she autographs more soundtrack albums for CHARLOTTE’S WEB than almost anything else. Also, the “Veritable Smorgasbord” song by the Sherman Brothers and performed by Paul Lynde became so iconic that the director of the live-action remake admitted that he had to lengthen the Templeton fair sequence because test audiences kept asking “Where was that Smorgasbord song?”

        Bill Hanna himself expressed fondness for CHARLOTTE’S WEB as well.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        Certainly it was great that home video came along and helped it out of being obscured to the halls of time. It’s not the greatest film ever made, but certainly not the worst.

  • I also recall my friend and I were VERY into Flintstones because we both had “Flintstones Building Blocks” which were like giant Legos that you could build things a child could actually go inside.

    If you were of a certain age, AMCF was a must-see thing.

  • One more thing… Fred’s pose on the chair in the fourth image is an homage to the famous photo of Christine Keeler after the then-recent “Profumo Affair” spy scandal.


    • Emm

      Hahahaha! Awesome bit of trivia! I was looking at that drawing of Fred in the chair and figured they were referencing something specific since Fred’s pose was so odd for the character. Great stuff! :)

  • dbenson

    Old enough to remember seeing this at a drive-in. Also remember that the Flintstones newspaper comic did a series of gags about Fred making a movie (the Yogi Bear strip did the same for his movie).

    Catching up with it years later, noticed how easily one could edit it into very typical TV episodes. They use familiar background music from the series, the plotting is sitcom casual (The villain thinks Fred is the spy, but his alter-ego knows he’s Fred), and aside from some fleeting “big” scenes and interesting musical numbers they hew very, very closely to the look and feel of the TV series.

    Was there a backup plan to recycle the movie, in whole or in bits, in the series?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      There are certainly moments in the film where I kept thinking they were about to go into an ad break the way it is set up. The plot is certainly nothing original and it also does feel like an extended episode the way it plays out. Just remove the extra musical baggage and insert a laugh track and your set!

  • ShouldBeWorkin’

    Saw this on a double bill with Hey There, It’s Yogi Bear at a local matinee of screaming kids in the early 70s ( when I was a quiet kid). I loved it then. Saw again at a rep theatre in Ottawa in the mid 80s. Not as riveting as when I was a kid, for sure, but I love the Art direction and the musical montages. Then again all movies seem faster paced nowdays. Yes, the characters became more kid inclusive but grown-up TV entertainment wasn’t “blue” back then as it is today either. I certainly wouldn’t call it a low point.Love the end credits which you highlighted some time ago. I own the DVD.

  • What in the cel

    but without the laugh tracks how will I know what’s funny?

    • Chris Sobieniak

      hahahaha! Obvious this was a shock!

  • julian chaney

    One of my Favorites .Thanks for posting .

  • I stumbled over this on TV in a youthful blue haze, in the days when there were only forty or fifty TV channels.
    I thought “What the hell? A Flintstones movie? Bleh.”
    It made me feel bad in my tummy.
    Or maybe that was the two bags of TATO SKINS.
    I saw maybe a half hour of it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    The movie also sorta cements that look of the characters we would see for many years to come (notedly Barney’s eyes being colored in, but I’m sure we all knew that going into this, they kept Wilma’s pink dress for a while in later projects like the early Fruity/Cocoa Pebbles ads I noticed).

  • and with additional voices…HARVEY KORMAN!

    i’ll just bet he was the “leets SQUEESH HEEM!” baddie!

  • Ignatz the Brick Pitcher

    This movie is a gem in the FLINTSTONES television and film catalog, in my humble opinion. I’m hardly an authority or aficionado on Hanna Barbara productions or the FLINTSTONES property.

    But, I thoroughly enjoyed the offbeat story, opening titles (animation & music) and jazz legend Louis Prima’s vocals!

    The opening titles alone could evoke a smile on Saul Bass! :-)

  • I remember seeing this movie on Cartoon Network. I especially liked the “Someday, When I Am Grown Up”, and I beleive “Tickle Toddle” (if was the song with the sweet dream sequence) when I saw it.

    I recently watched this movie (of course Warners had to remove the Columbia logo at the beginning), and thought it was a decent movie.

    I also thought Hey, There It’s Yogi Bear was entertaining as well when I watched it on DVD.

  • It seems that even Hanna-Barbera felt that the whole “Modern-Stone-Age Family” gimmick had gone stale after 6 seasons worth of Fred and Barney’s prime-time misadventures, since the film is marketed more as a spy parody (and a musical) than a Flintstones movie.

  • Lee B.

    count me as a fan. enjoyed it as a kid, still do. I own the DVD and even picked up an original movie poster on ebay some years back.

    for the few folks here who have somehow never seen this, it’s going to run on Boomerang on Satuday, June 4th, so nice timing, Jerry!

  • Tony C

    This is a pillar of my childhood. Until I read these boards I thought no one else cared for it like I did.

  • Nice to see Harvey Bullock taking a break from being annoyed at Batman to write this one …

  • Those opening titles are cool.I always liked how they used Turu the Terrible in the beginning. I still like this movie.
    When I was a kid, the independent station would show this, the Yogi Bear movie, and Gay Puree around Thanksgiving and Christmas time.

  • i remember seeing the first quarter or so and being bored to tears

  • Tickle! Toddle! Nickle-y Noddle!

  • Mel Tone

    Hanna-Barbera also did a “Challenge of the Gobots” feature in the mid 1980’s but that wasn’t a real feature. The mid 1980’s were full of strung together TV episodes passing as features.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I remember watching this on tv several times back in the 70s and 80s. Personally,I think its definetly one of the better H-B animated features along with Charlotte’s Web and maybe Heidi’s Song. I always thought the animation got a little ‘arty’ in the When I Grow Up song sequence.
    I keep thinking thinking that if I owned a repertory cinema,I would screen this on a double bill with Munster,Go Home!
    I like The Man Called Flintstone and I really can’t say anything bad about it.

  • Anthrocoon

    Check out pt 2 which has Doug Goodwin’s “Spy Type Guy” song, sung by Leo DeLyon (Spook and Brain on Top Cat) according to DeLyon during his “Stu’s Show” appearance on Shokus Internet radio. Some of the musical bits (like when “Rock Slag” is climbing ladders in pt 1,
    and one segment in pt 2) later turned up as incidental
    music in shows like Adv. of Gulliver (1968).

    • Leo also mentions on Stu’s Show how he auditioned for singing “The Sounds of Paree” and thought he was doomed because Robert Clary was also trying out for it — but he thinks he got the gig because Clary didn’t overdo his French accent and may have been too subtle. I always thought it was Clary until I got the HBR album with his name on it.

      Also didn’t know how much Leo did in the “I Wan’na Be Like You” sequence in “The Jungle Book.”

      The importance is listening to shokusradio.com cannot be underestimated.

  • Lucy

    This is one of my younger brother’s favorite movies…. He runs a movie store, so he was excited when it came in on DVD there…. Yeah, not the best Flintstones-related thing out there, but it’s still kinda amusing to go and see his mainly horror movie collection, with this right in the middle of it, and this is one of the movies he’s most proud of owning. I dunno, thought of the movie always kinda gives me a chuckle when I think about it.

  • Terrazino

    It was not unusual for Hanna-Barbera to recycle its music, whether or not it worked. In one ‘action adventure’ sequence of AMCF they use passages of their ‘Jonny Quest’ library score. Sticks out like just like you’d think it would.

  • Anthrocoon

    If people are interested a blog called Children’s Records and More has a zip file of the album. (Note on back cover: Henry Corden is Fred’s singing voice)

  • dbenson

    In case there are two or three people unaware of it, the movie’s title and poster design (with Fred sitting on the backwards chair) were a very obvious takeoff of “Our Man Flint,” a live action Bond parody released earlier that same year.

    I’m guessing the title and ad campaign were late additions to take advantage of Flint’s recent name recognition. Was there a different pre-release title?