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Growing up, THE FLINTSTONES was a mainstay of my afternoon television viewing ritual.  During my childhood, few cartoon shows gave one as much joy as THE FLINTSTONES.  Loaded with slapstick, as well site gags based around prehistoric "technology," this was the cartoon show that never failed to get a laugh.  Although originally adapted from the sitcom format of Jackie Gleason’s legendary show THE HONEYMOONERS, THE FLINTSTONES made an important change to the series with the introduction of Fred and Wilma’s infant daughter Pebbles.  In the fourth year of the series, the creative team behind THE FLINTSTONES added another blessed event to the show’s lineup of characters, when the Rubbles adopted Bamm-Bamm, the super strong orphan boy left on their doorstep.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the premise of THE FLINTSTONES, the show is set in a post-modern, prehistoric caveman world, that features stone age equivalents of all the modern conveniences that we know, or at least as they knew in the early to mid 1960s. THE FLINTSTONES follows 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). Fred is a schemer, who usually manages to get his pliable best friend Barney into just as much trouble as himself. 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 (along with their best friends the Rubbles and other Bedrock denizens) includes Alan Reed, Jean Vander Pyl, Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet, Gerry Johnson and Don Messick.

THE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON ($45) comes to DVD in a four disc boxed set that features the following twenty-six episodes: Ann Margrock Presents, Gloom Groom, Little Bamm-Bamm, Dino Disappears, Fred's Monkeyshines, The Flintstone Canaries, Glue For Two, Big League Freddie, Old Lady Betty, Sleep On, Sweet Fred, Kleptomaniac Pebbles, Daddy's Little Beauty, Daddies Anonymous, Peek-A-Boo Camera, Once Upon A Coward, Ten Little Flintstones, Fred El Terrifico, Flintstone Hillbillies, Flintstone And The Lion, Cave Scout Jamboree, Room For Two, Ladies Night At The Lodge, Reel Trouble, Son Of Rockzilla, Bachelor Daze, and Operation Switchover.

Warner Home Video has made all the episodes that comprise THE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON available on DVD in the proper 4:3 full screen aspect ratios of their original television broadcasts.  Again one has to realize that season four of THE FLINTSTONES was produced more than four decades ago, so the film elements from which the episodes were mastered do have their little peculiarities.  However, for the most part, the episodes look really, really good; delivering as much sharpness and detail as one could expect from this type of vintage 2D cell animation.  Not surprisingly, there is noticeable film grain throughout the episodes, but it is never excessive or particularly bothersome.  Colors are generally vibrant and rather appealing, but there are instances here and there where the colors due come across in a more subdued fashion.  Blacks and whites are accurately rendered and contrast is just fine for these types of programs.  There are mild blemishes on the film elements, but they are easily overlooked.  Digital compression artifacts are always nicely contained.  The Dolby Digital monaural soundtracks are pretty darn solid, and never demonstrate any significant flaws. The majority of background hiss and other audible distortions have been cleaned during the mastering process. Dialogue is always easy to understand.  Despite the limited fidelity of the vintage recordings, the musical component is fairly pleasant and never sounds particularly thin. No other language tracks are provided, although English, French, and Spanish subtitles have been 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 spread across the discs of this set.  Running audio commentaries are provided by Hanna-Barbera historian Earl Kress, animators/comic book writers Paul Dini and Mark Evanier for the following two episodes: Ann Margrock Presents and Little Bamm-Bamm. Featurettes include The Flintstones: One Million Years Ahead Of Its Time, which looks at the influence of this groundbreaking animated television series and Hanna Barbera's Legendary Music Director Hoy Curtain, which provides an overview of his career and contributions to THE FLINTSTONES.

It comes as no surprise that Warner has done their usual fine job with THE FLINTSTONES: THE COMPLETE FOURTH SEASON. Warner continues providing the episodes with solid presentations and has included some nice extras. If you love THE FLINTSTONES, this is another set you’ll want to add to your collection. Highly recommended.



The Flintstones - The Complete Fourth Season (1960)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2005 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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