"Let's ride with the family down the street... through the courtesy of Fred's two feet."
If there was ever a TV theme show lyric that perplexed my tone-deaf ears- that was it. When I was a kid, I watched THE FLINTSTONES each and every day of the week, so it wasn’t for the lack of trying, that I could never figure out that particular line to the theme song. Perhaps it was the dismal quality of television speakers back in the seventies… anyway, thank goodness for the Internet, where one can find the lyrics to almost everything. Anyway, getting back to THE FLINTSTONES, I really loved this show when I was a kid and must have seen every episode at least fifty times. Of course, after becoming well versed the premise and the lore of THE FLINTSTONES, one can only imagine the epiphany I had the first time I caught a syndicated rerun of THE HONEYMOONERS!
Set in the prehistoric caveman world, THE FLINTSTONES features the comic misadventures of Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble, not to mention their long suffering wives Wilma and Betty. Both couples live next-door to one another in the town of Bedrock (Population: 2500) where their lives are made easier by the caveman contraptions, which emulated all the conveniences of our modern world. Fred is a schemer, who usually manages to get his pliable best friend Barney into just as much trouble as himself (didn’t Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton usually travel down this very same road?). Alice and Trixie… er, I mean Wilma and Betty are far more level headed than their husbands, and as such, they usually wind up way ahead of their spouses at every turn of the game. The vocal talent behind THE FLINTSTONES (and the Rubbles for that matter) includes Alan Reed, Jean Vander Pyl, Mel Blanc and Bea Benaderet.
THE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON ($40) comes to DVD in a four disc boxed set that features the following twenty-eight episodes: The Flintstone Flyer, Hot Lips Hannigan, The Swimming Pool, No Help Wanted, The Split Personality, The Monster From The Tar Pits, The Babysitters, At The Races, The Engagement Ring, Hollyrock, Here I Come, The Golf Champion, The Sweepstake Ticket, The Drive, The Prowler, The Girls Night Out, Arthur Quarry's Dance Class, The Big Bank Robbery, The Snorkasaurus Hunter, The Hot Piano, The Hypnotist, Love Letters On The Rocks, The Tycoon, The Astr'nuts, The Long, Long Weekend, In The Dough, The Good Scout, Rooms For Rent and Fred Flintstone: Before And After.
Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise THE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts. Considering that these animated episodes are well over forty years old, they look great on DVD. Sure there are some age related anomalies, like dust, nicks and printed in specks on the film elements, but they are never excessive or particularly bothersome. The image appears as sharp and well defined as one is likely to get from 2D cell animations. Colors are strong and appear solid, without noise or smearing. Blacks are accurate and whites appear pretty clean. Contrast is also quite good. Digital compression artifacts are usually well contained. The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are quite serviceable and don’t suffer from any significant flaws. Background hiss and surface noise has been pretty well cleaned up in the mastering process. Dialogue is always completely understandable, while the music lacks harshness, despite the limited fidelity of the vintage recordings. No other language soundtracks are provided on the DVD, English, French, and Spanish subtitles are included.
Music and a bit of animation serve to enhance the interactive menus, which provide access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras, which are contained on side two of disc four. All About The Flintstones is a bit on the fluffy side, but the five-minute featurette does shed some light on the creation of the show and its popularity during its initial prime time run. Wacky Inventions is a five-minute look at the cavemen contraptions featured during the first season. The Flagstones: The Lost Pilot is a minute and a half of surviving footage featuring a different incarnation of the animated show that would become THE FLINTSTONES. Original Flintstones Spots are a number of animated commercials featuring Fred, Barney and the gang- notably absent is the Winston cigarette commercial that aired in the sixties. Finally there are a number of promo trailers for other Warner animated DVDs including SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU!: THE COMPLETE FIRST AND SECOND SEASONS and the LOONEY TUNES GOLDEN COLLECTION.
I really loved THE FLINTSTONES when I was a kid and I can honestly say that I am delighted that I can yet again enjoyed these episodes on DVD, without the nuisance of having to suffer through countless commercials (except for those on the DVD). Warner has done a good job with the presentation of the episodes; the certainly do look and sound far better on DVD than the syndicated reruns of my youth. If you’re eager to have a yabba dabba doo time, a dabba doo time, then you better pick up a copy of THE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE FIRST SEASON on DVD. Highly recommended.
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