Cartoon Country: Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs!

So last year, I posted my initial reaction and my impressions of Warner Brothers’ latest animated Flintstones series Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs.

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It was originally going to be a segment of Peeks, but I switched it to Brain Candy when I learned that WB decided to cancel the series after one season instead of the two seasons that were originally planned.

Steve Urkel - Did I Do That

I did this because I figured that WB was just going to bury this show in a landfill somewhere with all of the unsold Atari E.T. game cartridges and act like it never existed. However, as of this writing, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs is currently airing on Boomerang in the United Kingdom and in Africa, and it’s supposed to come to Boomerang’s streaming service some time thereafter. So because of this and also because I’ve since seen some additional material since viewing the initial pilot for the show, I can now do a proper Cartoon Country for it.

 

Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs

So off we go again!

I’ve already explained the premise of YDD last February in my post Yabba Dabba Done, but in case you don’t feel like referring to that, here it is one mo’ time:

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are back in this quarter-hour animated comedy series, Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! Warner Bros. Animation takes you beyond Bedrock to The Crags, a vast land that is as dangerous and wild as the dinosaurs that inhabit it.

Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble are two best friends, growing up in the prehistoric time when dinosaurs and giant beasts still walked the earth. But as exciting as that sounds, they live in peaceful, quiet old Bedrock, a modern domestic civilization similar to our own (but with stone cars that run on leg-power). That’s why whenever they get the chance, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino head to the open wilderness, helping new friends, fighting new enemies, and learning about life through their endless crazy adventures. Back in Bedrock, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty still enjoy all the familiar quirks and trappings of life as a modern Stone Age family not knowing all the trouble (and fun!) their kids are getting themselves into.

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Mark Marek (producer, MAD, Be Cool Scooby-Doo!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (executive producer, Right Now Kapow) serve as producer with Sam Register as executive producer.

Now, here are my thoughts:

WHAT’S GOOD

This is an original idea and a fresh take on the Flintstones franchise. I think that there being a Jurassic Park like savage area inhabited by wild dinosaurs located adjacent to Bedrock is a cool idea, and it’s something that’s never been attempted before in the franchise. It’s also a nice change of pace to have a Flintstones show that takes the primary focus away from Fred and Barney for a change (Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty are still very much a part of the show, of course, but here they’re more supporting characters). Yeah, I know that we’ve previously had The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm show in the 1970s…

Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show

…but let’s be real: that show just Archie with the Flintstones branding (teen Pebbles was pretty hot, though).

There was also that short lived Cartoon Network show in 1996 starring P&BB titled Cave Kids, but that only lasted for eight episodes and it came and went so quickly that I never saw it.

Cave Kids title card

Cave Kids Book Cover

Speaking of which, did you know that there was a series of children’s books featuring Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm that was also titled Cave Kids published by Gold Key in the 1960s? Because I didn’t!

Another good thing about Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs is that it’s a rarely seen take on P&BB as pre-teens! Except for a couple of prime-time specials, we never saw that before. Here, P&BB aren’t babies nor teenagers, but rather they’re a happy medium between the two. They appear to be between 8 and 11 age-wise.

Plus, kudos to this show’s producers for remembering that Bamm-Bamm is super strong!

Pebbles-and-Bamm-Bamm-Wallpaper-the-flintstones-3740381-1024-768

Even as kids, my twin Damon and I would watch The Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show and wonder “What happened to Bamm-Bamm’s super strength?” Sure, as a teenager he was shown as being kind of a jock, but come on! As a toddler, Bamm-Bamm could lift an entire couch with one hand! As a teenager, he should’ve been able to lift the entire Bronto Bunch, motorcycles and all, and juggle them over his head! This show at least remembers that little detail. As a bonus, just so that Pebbles has something to contribute to the show, here she’s depicted as having above average intelligence, as opposed to before, where she merely inherited her father’s love of hatching hair-brained schemes.

YDD5

And you’re free to disagree with me on this, but I saw the pilot and I thought that it was pretty funny. I genuinely laughed at the Wikipedia joke, as I did with the running gag of Dino taking off for the hills in terror and Pebbles asking “Why did we bring you?” Yeah, I thought that was funny! Fight me!

I read that Capatain Caveman will be making an appearance on the show at some point. Damon has theorized a way to include Cavey on this series where his inclusion would actually make sense! He’s the one who laid this all out, so I’ll just re-print his words. Take it away!:

Going back to the Captain Caveman thing for a sec, ever since 1983, Hanna-Barbera has been trying to integrate Captain Caveman into the Flintstones universe. First they tried making him a straight-up Superman parody and that didn’t work since he was still covered in hair and couldn’t speak a sentence without saying “Unga-munga” first, so you’d have to be blind, deaf or just have a Degree in Dumb not to see that Chester the Copy Boy and Captain Caveman were one and the same. They next tried making Cavey a fictional character on a TV show on Flintstone Kids, and that didn’t work either because the show-within-the-show that Cavey starred in was also set in Bedrock, so he still stuck out like a sore thumb. Only after the WB takeover someone finally got the idea that if you put an actual savage land in this prehistoric setting (which itself should be a no-brainer), you could put the hairy wild man in there and he’d actually fit in! Just make him the Crags’ Tarzan. You wouldn’t have to explain why Cavey is the way he is; he spent his entire life in the Crags, so naturally he wouldn’t be civilized like the citizens of Bedrock.
There’s an ancient saying which I think applies here. What is it? Oh yeah…DUH.

Also, this intro is pretty cool:

WHAT’S NOT SO GOOD

Of course with any update/revival/fresh take of a long established franchise (and you can’t get much longer established than The Flintstones!), you’ll hear the inevitable comments like these:

hauntleroy-groovie-goolies-8.3

I haven’t seen this, but they’re doing something new and different from what I’m used to, so I know that it’s bad!”

yabba-dabba-dinosaurs-matching-pairs

…but out of all the negative comments and criticisms about Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs, most of them have been about the art and the character designs, and I have to say…yeah, I can see where they’re coming from. Don’t get me wrong; I don’t hate these designs, but the whole thing looks kind of…rough, for lack of a better word. This looks more like an early draft than the finished product. I mean, why is Pebbles so skinny? How is she even able to support herself with those little stick legs? And those brown jeans on Bamm-Bamm. No, just no.

Apparently, Warner Brothers commissioned several artists and animators to come with their own designs for the characters, and they ended up going with Mark Marek’s designs. For those who don’t know, Mark Marek drew the Henry & June host segments for Nickelodeon’s Kablam!.

YYD6

Kind of makes you wonder what the character art of the people who didn’t get the job looked like.

Personally, I would probably have gone with Chris Battle’s designs:

chris-battle-p-bb-ig-alt-v2

chris-battle-pebbles-bammbamm-babies-color

chris-battle-p-bb-doubletrouble-setup-colorThe kids’ heads are kind of big and their feet are oddly flat, but they’re still recognizable as Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, and at least Bamm-Bamm isn’t wearing brown jeans!

Granted, I would have preferred a more traditional look for the characters and the show, again, viz:

…but I’m willing to overlook that if the show is consistently good and the episodes are well written, overall. And I do like the ponytail on Pebbles.

Another not so good thing is that Boomerang UK isn’t promoting this very well. Case in point, this promo:

That wasn’t terrible, but I felt that Boom UK could’ve placed more emphasis on The Crags and it’s inhabitants. Also, personally I would have drawn the Crags dinosaurs in a different art style. Make them more stylized and dangerous looking as a way to differentiate them from the tame, domestic dinos that willingly (or some cases, not so willingly) serve the humans in the more civilized Bedrock. A more cinematic look and feel, with detailed backgrounds, light and shadow effects, etc., would have been nice also, but you take what you can get.

I don’t know how well Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs is going to be received by the general public, but personally I think that it’s a pretty cool idea, and since this is the first new Flintstones series in years that’s not some crossover DTV with WWE wrestlers, I’m willing to give it a shot. At least WB remembers that The Flintstones exists and is trying to do something new with them. Yeah, there’s also that upcoming adult animated reboot of The Flintstones produced by Elizabeth Banks that supposedly in development, but I can’t get excited about that. I wanted to talk about YDD! because that’s an interesting idea and a different take on the franchise (Heck, the idea could work even if it didn’t take place in the Flintstones universe!), but this reboot just sounds like more of the usual strum and drang and I don’t think that Family Guy style jokes is the shot in the arm that this franchise needs. So sorry, folks, but I don’t plan on watching nor writing about that one.

Myself, I remain cautiously optimistic about Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs!. It’s a decent concept that could work in the right hands. And who knows? If the show goes over well, WB might to decide to renew it for a second season after all. Unfortunately for us here in the good ol’ US of A, we’ll have to settle for clips floating around online for now, but wherever you can see it, check it out!

Tyrannosaurus Rex

“Yeah, kids! Come on over and visit The Crags! I LOVE finger food!”

Brain Candy: Yabba Dabba Done

WARNING: The post that you’re about to read is very rambly. There’s going to be a lot of zig-zagging from one subject to another and also a fair amount of sub-referencing. You’ve been warned!

Hey! Do you remember that Highly Opinionated post that I made back in 2012 titled “The All New Something, Something Whatever Show”? Where I said that Warner Brothers had no interest in doing anything new with The Flintstones franchise? Remember that? Well, apparently, I was wrong….kind of.

A few weeks a ago, while surfing the web, I came across an article announcing a new animated series produced by Warner Brothers Animation that’s scheduled to air on the Boomerang streaming service (and possibly the Boomerang channel also) based on the Flintstones franchise titled Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs.

Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs

Yeah, that’s the thing.

Originally, I was going to talk about this show on Peeks, but I decided not to for a specific reason, which I’ll go into a little later. Suspense! Anywho, here’s the lowdown on this new series, courtesy of Cartoon Brew:

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs!

Yabba-Dabba-Doo! Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are back in this quarter-hour animated comedy series, Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! Warner Bros. Animation takes you beyond Bedrock to The Crags, a vast land that is as dangerous and wild as the dinosaurs that inhabit it.

Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble are two best friends, growing up in the prehistoric time when dinosaurs and giant beasts still walked the earth. But as exciting as that sounds, they live in peaceful, quiet old Bedrock, a modern domestic civilization similar to our own (but with stone cars that run on leg-power). That’s why whenever they get the chance, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino head to the open wilderness, helping new friends, fighting new enemies, and learning about life through their endless crazy adventures. Back in Bedrock, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty still enjoy all the familiar quirks and trappings of life as a modern Stone Age family not knowing all the trouble (and fun!) their kids are getting themselves into.

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Mark Marek (producer, MAD, Be Cool Scooby-Doo!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (executive producer, Right Now Kapow) serve as producer with Sam Register as executive producer.

dumb-donald

“Uh……what??”

That premise sounds…interesting, to say the least. So all this time there’s been a savage land teaming with dangerous, feral dinosaurs located just outside of Bedrock and we’ve just never seen it before?  And no one on the show has ever mentioned this place in 40+ years? Now don’t that churn yer butter? Here’s what we know so far:

This series will mostly focus around Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, not unlike Cave Kids (which I never saw). This time around, P&BB appear to be grade school aged, not toddlers nor teenagers, but right in the middle. Regarding this series, one fan noted:

“I think that this series will focus on Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, Dino and Hoppy.”

Hoppy?? Wow…I’m just blown away that somebody remembers that character!

Hoppy

My advice: forget about Hoparoo. The rest of the world has.

I’m not sure why dinosaurs should be a major selling point for a Flintstones series when that show has always had plenty of dinosaurs, most notably Dino.

Dino_from__The_Flintstones_

I know that Dino is technically a Snorkasaurus, but let’s be real here: Dino has always been much closer to a dog than a dinosaur. Except in that one weird episode of The Flintstones where Fred and Barney were hunting Dino and Dino was intelligent and he could talk and he was doing shtick like Bugs Bunny and Fred and Barney were like a two man Elmer Fudd, and then that episode was completely forgotten about after that episode ended. Seriously, what was up with that? What happened to Dino’s intelligence? Damon (Silverstar) offers this theory:

Maybe he got conked on the head with a bowling ball. That seems to be a common cause of amnesia in Bedrock.

Another user in cyberspace speculated, “I wonder if Moonrock, Wiggy, Penny and Bad Luck Shleprock will be in this show?”

waynesworld2-outside

“Exsqueeze me? Baking powder??”

Penny Moonrock & Wiggy

Again, I’m just amazed that somebody remembers those characters. As for them being on this show, I’m not sure what led to that speculation. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are clearly younger than teenagers here, and it’s not like those characters have seen the light of day since The Flintstone Comedy Hour, which was back in ancient 1972.

Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show

Now this is strictly an opinion, but I personally felt that The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show was just too much like The Archies for my tastes, right down to the characters forming a bubblegum rock band performing tunes that would make the Monkees cringe, so if Warner Brothers never used Wiggy, Penny, Moonrock, Bad Luck Shleprock or the Bronto Bunch in anything else again, I’d be totally fine with that.

moonrock-crater-the-pebbles-and-bamm-bamm-show-4.39

“I concur. Oh, wait…”

Anyway…here’s a trailer for the show. Unfortunately, it focuses mainly on the principal characters and barely touches upon The Crags, but you take what you can get. Viz…

YDD 2

The character designs are courtesy of Mark Marek. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the guy who did the Henry and June segments on Nickelodeons Kablam!. The character designs are different, but not terrible.  I don’t know who’s idea it was to give Bamm-Bamm long pants. No one on The Flintstones ever wore pants. That just looks odd.

Also, I read that Captain Caveman would be appearing on this show; in what capacity, I have no idea. Would he be a denizen of The Crags? (He’d actually be a better fit there than he would in Bedrock, honestly.) Would he be a fictional character on an in-universe TV show like he was on Flintstone Kids? Who knows? But it’s apparent that the idea of Cavey being part of the Flintstones universe is something HB producers refuse to let go of.

Captain-Caveman-Hanna-Barbera

“Me gotta stay in Bedrock. My cave on top of the Teen Angels’ van got repossessed after the girls all got jobs as swimsuit models! Rent high, man, rent high.”

YDD3

And then, the unusual Flintstones shtick is still going on in Bedrock and the parents have no idea that their kids are going to this savage land? OK. For the first time in years, there’s a Flintstones project that I actually give a crud about. The addition of The Crags to Bedrock is in an interesting angle, and I do like the idea of shifting the show’s focus away from Fred and Barney for a change, especially for something that’s not the “Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm” segments from The Flintstones Comedy Show”; at least this idea isn’t a lame Scooby Doo knockoff. I have a theory about this (and it’s just a theory. I have no solid evidence to back this up whatsoever): I think that Warner Brothers had originally planned for this show to be an attempt to cash in on the success of Jurassic Park, a show about 2 kids who venture into the world of wild, savage dinosaurs, and then someone at WB said “Hey! The Flintstones has dinosaurs! Why don’t we make the Crags adjacent to Bedrock and make the 2 kids Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm?”

Anyway…I haven’t seen a complete episode of Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs! yet, as the series hasn’t yet premiered. The pilot episode is (or was at one time) available for viewing on the Boomerang streaming service. But it hardly matters because…wait for it…about two weeks after I read that article, the news was dropped that Warner Brothers announced that there won’t be a second season of YDD! Yep, that’s right, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs! is effectively already canceled!

And that, friends, is why I decided not to cover this show on Peeks. What’s the point of previewing a series that doesn’t have a future? I suspected as much when I found out that YDD would be airing exclusively on Boomerang. If WB and Turner thought that they had a hit on their hands, they would have run the show on their main channel (that of course being Cartoon Network), or on both channels simultaneously. Instead, it looks like this show is going to be a one-and-done before it’s even officially premiered. And if you haven’t figured it out by now…

Studios generally only do this when they know they’ve got a major league bombasaurus on their hands. WB apparently thinks that this show sucks and the studio just wants to cut it’s losses. So it looks as if WB is going to with Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs what they did with Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Pocketville and The Peanuts Show; just burn through the episodes that have already been made and then just sweep the show under the rug and act like it never existed. Too bad, since based on what I saw and read of it, buried somewhere beneath all of those layers of what the what, I thought that there was a sliver of an interesting idea in there somewhere. I even kind of like the show’s title for some bizarre reason.

The real tragedy (for Flintstones fans, anyway) is that the message that WB may take from this is that Flintstones series don’t work or resonate with modern audiences and so it may be years before we see another one.

Flintstones - WWE crossover

At least not one that’s not a crossover with WWE wrestlers.

Nerdvana: Postopia

Today Nerdvana pays tribute to a little something called…Postopia.

postopia

For the uninformed, Postopia was a website full of mini-games and other goodies launched by Post cereals in the early 00’s. It focused on a quartet of school-aged kids (an African American girl named Chelsea, a studly blond Caucasian boy named Nick, a tiny Asian American girl named Kiki and a brunette boy named Zander) who lived in (or were magically transported to; to be honest, they were never clear on the back story) a high-flying, fun-filled, futuristic planet/dimension/future world/something-or-other known as Postopia. Here’s an ad for it, circa 2001:

As the ad implied, Postopia was divided into 4 specific regions, each one specializing in a specific category of activities and tailor made for each kid:

Space Nation was a floating city which hovered above the surface of whichever planet Postopia was on (or maybe Postopia was the planet–again, not too clear on the back story). Its’ inhabitants were known as the Gravity Breakers, who loved to explore the cosmos, dodging and blasting meteorites and racing comets with their amazing reflexes (and their moms thought they’d never get anywhere playing those darn video games) and encountering extraterrestrial life. Space Nation was Chelsea’s realm of choice.

Marvin the Martian

“Greetings, Earthlings. Welcome to outer space. No littering or flash photography or I’ll vaporize you and your entire planet, ‘kay?”

Nick’s personal hangout spot was Wet World (wow, they must’ve spent a whole minute and a half thinking of that name).

“It’s a play on WESTWORLD, ya illiterate millenials!” I’m a freaking haywire android and I got that!”

As its’ name implied, Wet World was an undersea realm (thankfully its’ natives could breathe water as easily as you and I do air) full of sunken pirate ships and undersea grottoes to explore. You could also surf and ride jet-skis across the waves. The Wet Worlders were known as the Water Loggers, and Nick was the captain of Wet World’s Reef Ball team, according to his bio.

I’m hangin’ 18, dude! Ya haven’t lived ’til you’ve ripped some curl with roller skates on! TOTALLY TUBULAR!”

The Ice Burbs (yeesh, where are they getting these names??) was an Arctic style frozen region with northern lights, igloos, snow caps and penguins. It’s where Kiki hung out.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is sub-zero.jpg

“The Ice Burbs were cool…as ICE!”

You’d think that the inhabitants of the Ice Burbs, the Ice Breakers, would spend their days freezing their wrists off, however, the Ice Breakers had adapted to the climate and as a result were immune to feeling cold, so they could dress any way they wanted. Because of this, the Ice Burbs were the Party Central of Postopia; Kiki and the other Ice Breakers could even go barefoot in the snow.

-Okay, I know you’re gonna say it, so let’s do this….

“Feet. Yeah. Heh-heh. Yeah. Feet. Yeah. Yeah. Heh-heh. Heh-heh. Feet.”

Like you didn’t see that coming. Moving on…

Finally, we had Futuria, a City of Tomorrow (TM) inhabited by a tribe of super-genius inventors known as the Gadgetrons. Zander made his stomping grounds here, zooming along on turbo powered skates of his own design, building robots and occasionally traveling through time for research and kicks, hopefully not causing too many paradoxes. Futuria was like that old Sci-Fi Channel show Eureeka, only people were watching.

Pinky & the Brain

Brain: An entire city of scientific and engineering geniuses with advanced technology and time-travel devices? Pinky, are you pondering what I’m pondering?

Pinky: I think so, Brain, but it it’s called The Learning Channel, why do people feel stupider by watching its’ shows?

Yes, for a while there times were good. Postopia thrived. Chelsea traversed the stars racking up points, Nick swam, splashed and explored the deep blue, Kiki styled and profiled while not freezing her ankles off, Zander designed and built a better robot to clean his room and serve him root beer, and the skies were ripe with love.

But alas, the good times were not to last. After only a few years, Post decided to shut down this wonderful space-age Utopia and handed the keys to Postopia over to the Flintstones. Gone were those amazing realms and in their place went a bunch of not-really-the-Stone-Age themed mini games.

“Hey, why shouldn’t I have gotten Postopia? My picture’s on the cereal box and my franchise has been goin’ for over 2 million years! I swing that kind of lumber! Literally!”

“C.R.E.A.M.: Clams Rule Everything Around Me, right, Fred? Eh-hyuk, hyuk, hyuk, hyuk!”

I get that the ‘Stones carry a lot of star power, but did you really have to take Postopia away from us? And if you really had to give the website to the Bedrock bunch, you could have at least given it a different name, ’cause whatever this is…

Postopia

…It’s not Postopia. Not my Postopia.

But hang on, what did the Flintstones do when they needed to get back in the public eye and appeal to today’s kids? They crossed over with the WWE! Hey, there’s a thought: why not make a DTV where the WWE holds WrestleMania in Postopia? Let’s get on that, Warner Brothers Animation. Just be sure to toss in the Bella Twins.

Bella Twins

SOLD!

Talkin’ Nerdy: Hot for Betty

Let’s talk for a bit about The Flintstones character Betty Rubble, shall we?

For a time during the years of 1995 through 1996, the good folks at Cartoon Network seemed to be bizarrely fixated on this character for some reason. Odd cameos, references and allusions to Betty kept popping up on the channel during this time. Some examples:
  • Cartoon Network once aired a special marathon in the guise of a fake award show in which the categories would be specifically tailored so that only one cartoon character or short could possibly be the winner, thus leading to an airing of said short (see also NBC’s Saturday morning preview special The NBC Yummy Awards). The “show” was titled The Golden Betty Awards, represented by a golden statuette of a miniature Betty Rubble.
  • CN of this period aired not one, but two promos implying a tryst between Betty and Race Bannon from Jonny Quest, in one of which Betty is nearly caught chatting it up with Race over the phone by Barney, but she quickly covers it up. My mother wasn’t fond of these.
  • This spot for Space Ghost: Coast to Coast:

Now, these repeated ‘Betty-isms’, we’ll call them, could just be seen as harmless loony non-sequiturs, but they could also give one pause as to what exactly was going on at Cartoon Network Studios during those days. There must have been some pretty interesting water cooler conversations going on there…..

Anyway, apparently CN execs weren’t the only ones hot for Betty, as around this same period of time a long drought was finally brought to an end: namely, Betty Rubble’s 30 year absence from Flintstones’ Vitamin jars.

Fun Trivia Fact: the vitamins were first introduced in 1960 by Miles Laboratories as “Chocks”, the first chewable multivitamin marketed directly for children, and their stop-motion commercials offered a series of fun, though unfamiliar, characters. That all changed in 1968, when Miles swapped the Chocks characters for the cast of The Flintstones. Nearly all the characters were available to be chewed up and swallowed – Fred, Wilma, Barney, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, Dino…even that weird green space alien, the Great Gazoo at one time. There was one glaring omission, however – Barney’s wife, Betty!

There were (at least) two possible reasons why Betty didn’t have her own vitamin: First, manufacturers claimed that Betty’s waist was too thin and kept breaking during production. Second, Betty was virtually indistinguishable from Wilma.

Though there was a small Betty for vitamin movement, including an Atlanta rock band that called itself Betty’s Not a Vitamin….

Another Fun Trivia fact: Betty’s Not a Vitamin was named one of the 100 best band names by Paste magazine.

..they may as well have just banged their collective heads against the wall (or banged each other about the heads with clubs, if they wanted to be authentic about it). It wasn’t until actress and comedienne Rosie O’Donnell, who played Betty in the 1994 live action Flintstones film, brought Betty’s plight to the attention of the nation that anything was really done about it. O’Donnell, during a television interview about the film, complained that all the other characters were represented, but not Betty. A savvy marketing agency seized the opportunity to involve the consumer in the direction of the brand and launched a nationwide campaign to determine Betty’s fate. The agency set up prehistoric style voting booths in regional shopping malls across the country, as well as a 1-800 number, to allow consumers to decide whether Betty should be let in the club.

The public didn’t let her down. More than 3,000 kids and their mothers voted in person and more than 17,000 calls were logged, with 91 percent in favor of bringing in Betty. She finally became a vitamin character in December 1995, replacing the Flintstones’ car.

Thus rendering the band Betty’s Not a Vitamin’s name outdated (but if they’re still performing, they can always just swap the ‘t’ in ‘Not’ for a ‘w’ and rename themselves Betty’s Now a Vitamin) and if those Bettyphiles at CN are still around, they can now nibble on a Betty vitamin to satiate their cravings…assuming they don’t just bite down on a rubber hockey puck when it’s time for that high voltage fun.

The All New Something, Something Whatever Show

Following from Damon’s entry on Warner Brothers’ latest revamped Tom & Jerry animated series, I got to thinking about what other former Hanna Barbera franchises could WB bring back from the abyss, if they cared enough about any H-B properties besides T&J and Scooby Doo, that is.

A new take on Hong Kong Phooey might be entertaining. I read a few years ago that there are or were plans to make a HKP live action movie, but that news was at least 2 years ago, and I’ve since heard no follow up to it. The movie would likely have Penry Pooch (Hong Kong) as a “real” dog who somehow becomes anthropomorphic and gains mad Kung-Fu skills. I know that after the major bomb-a-saurus that was the Underdog movie, a lot of people would (understandably) not like this idea, but at least that would make a tad more sense than Phooey being the only anthro in a world full of humans and yet no one was smart enough to make the connection that Penry and Phooey were one and the same!

Someone suggested that WB revive The Jetsons, but frankly, the idea of a new Jetsons series wouldn’t excite me. As much as I like the idea of a Utopian future as a setting, I find the characters themselves to be rather dull and generic. The Jetsons was basically the Blondie movies set in the future, and the series as a whole might have been better if it had made better use of it’s fantastic setting. Compare to the far better Futurama.

When talking about potentially reviving old H-B properties, I guess I’d pretty much have to mention the grand daddy of them all, The Flintstones. Now, The Flintstones celebrated it’s 50th anniversary last year, and  Cartoon Network did nothing to commemorate the occasion. All that happened was a 24 hour Flintstones marathon on Boomerang and Post released a specially made Pebbles cereal, Cupcake Pebbles, and a single commercial advertising the product, with no mention of the occasion that sparked it.

Now, my initial thought was “This is wrong. Warner Brothers and Turner should do something to commorate The Flintstones‘ 50th anniversary besides just this. Why not make a new series or at least some new animated shorts (Seth MacFarlane was going to produce a remake of The Flintstones that was to air on FOX in 2013, but Seth already has too much on his plate and so production on this reboot series is on hiatus until ???)?” But then I thought :What could do they do?” What could WB and Cartoon Network studios possibly do with the The Flintstones that hasn’t already been done? It seems like the series has been around longer than Europe, and in at least the 42 years and 5 months that I’ve been alive, we’ve already seen the Flintstones and the Rubbles become parents. We’ve seen the Flintstones contend with not 1, but 2 sets of monster neighbors (first the Gruesomes and then later the Frankenstones). We’ve seen Fred and Barney meet up with a magical alien with the voice of Harvey Korman. We’ve seen Fred do the James Bond spy shtick in a theatrical film. We’ve seen the families travel to the Old West on numerous occasions. We’ve seen Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm as teenagers (who not only got together, but were in a band at one point). We’ve seen Fred and Barney as cops. We’ve seen Wilma and Betty doing double Lois Lane duty opposite Captain Caveman. We’ve seen Dino doing the Tom & Jerry thing with an obnoxious cave mouse. We’ve seen Fred, Wima, Barney and Betty as preteen kids. We’ve seen Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino solving mysteries a la Scooby Doo, and through made-for-TV movies, we’ve seen Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get married and then subsequently move to Hollyrock and become the parents of fraternal twins. About the only Flintstones related things that we haven’t yet seen are Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty as unmarried twentysomethings or the Flintstones and the Rubbles as grandparents, and I personally have zero desire to see either of those things.

But, it’s not as though the Flintstones’ characters have been completely forgotten. Recently, there have been a new revamped set of Post Pebbles cereal commercials which feature the characters rendered in a new animation style (stop motion puppettoons) and after 3 decades, they’e finally moved on from the “Watch me trick Fred out of his Pebbles!” shtick. These new ads aren’t the worst thing that I’ve ever seen. The different animation style is interesting and the guys doing Fred and Barney’s voices at least sound enough like the oriignals for it to not be an issue. The main thing that I find somewhat odd about these current commercials is how unbelievably calm and laid back Fred is in them. At no point does Fred look even remotely as if he’s about to lose his temper. I guess that he’s mellowed with age.