Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Christmas Flintstone (1964)

Let's ride with the family down the street, through the courtesy of Fred's two feet.

Re-released under the title, “How the Flintstones Saved Christmas,” this story is an episode from the original 1960s classic animated series The Flintstones.  Though many of these titles are similar, it shouldn't be mistaken for 1977's A Flintstone Christmas, 1993's A Flintstone Family Christmas, or 1994's A Flintstones Christmas CarolA Christmas Flintstone is a Christmas-themed episode from the fifth season of the original run of the primetime series.  There's also a strong argument to be made that this is THE BEST of all of the Flintstones holiday stories.  Do you remember this particular Christmas tale?

Fred and Barney are window shopping at Christmas time--Fred knows he needs more money in order to afford gifts this year.  I love that both men are bare foot while walking in the snow!?  Only in Bedrock, my friends.

Fred Flintstone decides he needs to make extra money to pay for gifts at Christmas so he takes on a second job at the Bedrock department store, Macyrock’s.  After failing at both gift wrapping and minding the stock room, Fred eventually finds himself working as the store’s Santa Claus which turns out to be a wonderfully fulfilling job for him as well as the children.

Fred loves his work as Macyrock's Santa Claus

Fred finds he enjoys sharing his passion for Christmas with the children.

In fact, Fred is such a good Santa Claus, he’s approached by two elves, Blinky and Twinky, and asked to come with them to the North Pole.

In the lockerroom at Macyrock's after his shift on Christmas Eve, Fred is approached by two elves for an important job.


At the North Pole, Fred finds the real Santa sick in bed with a nasty cold.

Fred finds the real Santa Claus sick in bed and unable to deliver his toys this year.  Santa asks Fred to be his replacement tonight on Christmas Eve.  This theme of Santa-is-not-able to-deliver-the-gifts-and-so-Christmas-must-be-saved is quite common.  Whether it's because Santa is ill, Santa's sleigh breaks down, Santa's magical sack goes missing/is stolen, Santa is kidnapped/held hostage, or however the crisis arises, the saving of Christmas is an extremely popular thread in Christmas TV stories.  However, this 1964 Flintstones version is an early adaptation of this now over-used theme.

Fred makes Santa's usual delivery to all the children of the world.
Of course, Fred is more than willing to help Santa out and he boards the sleigh and makes the annual night's ride, delivering gifts all over the world.  When Fred arrives back at home, he realizes too late that he's left his own family's gifts behind in the sleigh! Now there won't be any Christmas for the Flintstones.  But when Fred enters his home, he sees the house filled with gifts--the real Santa had left his sick bed to deliver Fred's gifts--making sure the Flintstones Christmas was merry after all.

The real Santa remembers the Flintstone family afterall.

There are several reasons why this Flintstones Christmas story may be considered superior to the others.  First of all, it includes original Christmas music--the highlight of any holiday story.

Fred dances in a circle around the Christmas tree with the children at the department store as he sings "Merry Christmas Is My Favorite Time of Year."

This special Christmas installment features Fred Flintstone singing two songs, “Merry Christmas Is My Favorite Time of Year” and a storybook tale sung to the children at Macyrock’s, “Dino the Dinosaur’s Christmas Tree.”

Fred sings the song as he truns the pages of the storybook for the children.

And, second of all, the animation is filled with so many details and lush colors.  Hanna-Barbera Productions would eventually lose this kind of detail work and the lavish production later in their television shows and specials.  But this episode, it's all there--I've included many photos in this post to give you a sense of the grandeur of this production.  (The still images used to create the "Dino the Dinosaur's Christmas Tree" segment suggests that this could have been animated but a choice was made to not animate it.  Could it have been that the animation team ran out of time or budget?  or, did the story already run too long?  The overall story seems so rich and full of detail, you don't miss the animation in this brief scene much.  However, it is a curious point).

LOVE the mid-'60s color palatte here: pastel pink Christmas trees!

I also love, Love, LOVE the 1960s color palatte of this animated Christmas story.  It's very stylized with pink Christmas trees--the kind of pastel pink, yellows and oranges you'll see in other 1960s TV Christmas, such as 1965's The Lucy Show and 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas.  Don't you just love it?  I adore the feel of a vintage mid-century, 1960s Christmas.  How about you?

Lucy Carmichael shops at a local tree lot and is offered her choice of a pink, purple or yellow Christmas tree (foreground) in 1965's "Lucy the Choirmaster" on The Lucy Show.


Remember the crazy colors of trees available at the tree lot in 1965's A Charlie Brown Christmas?

Check out Fred singing "Merry Christmas is My Favorite Time of Year."




1 comment:

  1. I must have seen this episode a few times as a kid, but memories of it are vague. Seems very cool, want to watch it again. And yeah, I personally love a real, green, Christmas tree, but there is something wonderfully nostalgic about the look of 60s Christmases gone by. Nothing like it. :)

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