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Gallery: The Organic Architecture of “The Flintstones”

The Flintstones (1960) have been duly celebrated throughout the years, but one part of the Hanna-Barbera series that hasn’t received much attention is its iconic architectural setting: those brilliantly appealing and organic circular ranch houses topped with pancaked granite slabs.

The designer of the prehistoric Flintstones universe was a man named Ed Benedict (1912-2006), the same man who designed the show’s characters.

Benedict dreamt up the Flintstones homes almost entirely from imagination. He was once asked if he used any reference to design them. He replied, “No, with the exception of on the interior of one of the samples I made, I did look up some prehistoric stuff—cave paintings. I just looked up in there and got the old typical buffalo looking thing running across a wall, just to get the flavor of it.”

Benedict had had a bit of practice with the Stone Age setting. He had designed cavemen and cavehomes once before for the 1955 Tex Avery short The First Bad Man:

The cave homes in The First Bad Man, built into the sides of rock formations, look uncomfortable compared to the domesticated setting of the Flintstones, replete with garages, front yards with flower beds, swimming pools, and living rooms with couches. Benedict probably didn’t come up with the original idea of giving the Flintstones all the creature comforts of suburbia, but the credit for making the idea work visually belongs to him.

The Flintstones designs in the image gallery below were created by Benedict for the original network presentation. These pieces established the general look and feel of the Flintstones universe and served as a guide for the layout artists who built out the world in each episode. A rare photographic print set of these drawings is currently being auctioned on HowardLowery.com.

  • the Gee

    Organic is a good word for it. Great stuff to see.

  • Robert Schaad

    Hmmm…wondering if this series might have had some influence.


  • Tony

    Ed and Tom Oreb are my two biggest influences. Always happy to see any story about them. Love those sketches.

  • TheDirtyVicar

    I love the Rubbles’ playboy boudoir, with that crazy mammoth-tusk headboard. So that’s where Betty did the dirty! Although the characters were based on Ed & Trixie Norton from The Honeymooners, to me they were always the cartoon equivalent of Sophia Loren and Carlo Ponti — the original “WTF?” marriage!

  • Fraser MacLean

    I’m sure Arminio Lozzi wouldn’t mind me sharing with the world this brief Flintstone’s anecdote (from our “Setting The Scene” interview back in 2009): “Ed Benedict was the tops! He was a Story Developer, Character Developer, he was a Layout man, he was just about everything important. Actually I like thinking that I take the credit of – not creating but conceiving – Dino the Dinosaur, because they asked us for story ideas and so forth and I told ‘em that my stories need a house pet! And I developed this idea of Dino the dinosaur…! First it was going to be “Din-a”, and I thought No, no! Wait a minute… There was a singer at the time whose name was Dina Shore…? And I thought, ‘Oh, no… “Dina Shore the Dinosaur”? No…. So I changed it to ‘Dino’, presented it, wrote a couple of stories. Ed Benedict developed the character himself and the looks of him. But I was never given credit for (the idea)!”

  • William Joseph Dunn

    I LOVE the backgrounds of the first 2 seasons of The Flintstones. Thanks for posting this. This is the best post you’ve put up in months!

  • Carl Russo

    Although the web photos don’t convey the Flintstones influence of the bar very well, Noc Noc in San Francisco could be where Pebbles and Bam Bam do their clubbing (er, better make that NIGHTclubbing): http://www.nocnocs.com

  • OtherDan

    Why do those drawings give me a boner???

  • Jim Roebuck

    [Comment removed by editors. Per our commenting guidelines, “Stay on-topic. Comments are not a place to discuss ideas not directly related to the post.”]

  • The settings in The First Bad Man remind me of Chaco canyon –possible source of inspiration?