Warner Home Video presents
The Flintstones: The Complete Second Season (1961-1962)
"Yabba dabba doo!"- Fred Flintstone (Alan Reed)
Stars: Alan Reed, Jean Vander Pyl, Mel Blanc, Bea Benaderet
Other Stars: Hoagy Carmichael, John Stephenson, Hal Smith,, Daws Butler, Don Messick, Sandra Gould, Pattee Chapman, Elliot Field, Frank Nelson, Bob Hopkins, Paul Winslow, Leo DeLyon, Alan Dinehart, Paula Winslowe, Herschel Bernardi, Walker Edmiston, Verna Felton, Herb Vigran, Jerry Mann
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (nothing objectionable)
Run Time: 13h:42m:00s
Release Date: 2004-12-07
DVD ReviewFor animation to be timeless, it has to have qualities that appeal to kids while including a few sly grown up-isms that we older folks can have a giggle at. Very few projects of animation's first golden age possess those advantages; most of the big league Disney films and much of Warner Bros.' Looney Tunes output spring to mind. But the most successful cartoon series, able to maintain that balance without losing anybody through the ages, has to be the crown jewel of Hanna-Barbera's animation factory, The Flintstones.
The Complete Second Season collects 32 episodes from the show's sophomore year, which marked the last time the series would place inside Nielsen's Top 25 (but the demographics, sponsor and audience support was such that ABC kept it on the air through the spring of 1966; until The Simpsonsbroke the record in the 1990s, Bedrock's favorite family had the honor of being the longest running animated show in history.
What strikes me after viewing this round of programs is how grownup the plots are. Granted, they didn't re-invent the situation comedy playbook with it's Honeymooner's-style setup of Fred and Wilma, but I found the sly writing and great in-jokes that escaped my childhood ears in reruns very impressive. But that's not the only surprise; during its first two seasons, a completely different opening from the classic Meet the Flintstones (which actually began life in Season Three) was used, and this dramatically different piece still puts Fred in the driver's seat heading home from work in that classic automobile (hmmm, sounds suspiciously like another more recent TV opening featuring a working-class dad making tracks after punching the clock...), but instead of heading to the drive-in with Betty and Barney, he's in for the night with Wilma.
Though I feel The Flintstones didn't really hit its stride until the latter half of its run, Season Two is filled with plenty of entertaining episodes including Alvin Brickrock Presents, a clever Hitchcock send-up with elements of Rear Window; The Beauty Contest, which finds our Bedrock buddies in hot water after committing to judge the Miss Water Buffalo pageant; The Happy Homemaker, which sees unwitting Wilma become a cooking show star much to dinner-deprived Fred's chagrin; and The Hit Songwriter, where the boys attempt to turn written poetry into musical profit. This episode is one of my all-time favorites due to the appearance of songwriting legend Hoagy Carmichel (of Stardust fame), whose voice-over appearance marks the beginning of terrific, out-of-the-ordinary guest stars including Ann-Margret and mid-'60s rockers, The Beau Brummels.
Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.33:1 - Full Frame|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: For a rapidly approaching its 50th birthday, the consistency of picture quality in this collection is simply terrific. Only a few of the prints exhibit slight grain, but really nothing worth working oneself into a Dino-fit over (love him, by the way). But during pristine quality shows (Little White Lies), the colors just come alive from all angles (backgrounds, etc.), creating the effect that we're watching a fresh arrival from the Hanna-Barbera camp. Another nice job, Warner.
Image Transfer Grade: B+
|Mono||English, French, Spanish||yes|
Audio Transfer Review: An underrated aspect of Hanna-Barbera was the company's excellent use of incidental music with superb mixing of those elements and the voice-over artists that resulted in fine monophonic product. Such care can be heard throughout this volume with finely equalized sound; low end is wanting, but that's the only weak link in otherwise vibrant Dolby Digital mono.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
7 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Flintstones Season 1: The Complete First Season, The Jetsons: The Complete First Season, Wacky Races: The Complete Series, Tom and Jerry: The Spotlight Collection, Top Cat: The Complete Series, Looney Tunes Golden Collection: Volume 2, Looney Tunes Spotlight Collection: Volume 2
3 Feature/Episode commentaries by Layout Artist Jerry Eisenberg, Writer/Animation Historian Earl Kress and Cartoonist/Hanna Barbera Historian Scott Shaw(!) on The Happy Household, The Beauty Contest and The Hit Songwriter
- Carved in Stone: The Flintstones Phenomenon
- And Now A Word From Our Sponsor: Rare Television Commercials (One-A-Day Vitamins, Welch's Grape Jelly, Kitchen Rich Cookies, Carnation Evaporated Milk)
- How To Draw Fred Flintstone
- Rare Pencil Drawings
- Songs Of The Flintstones Album
Carved in Stone is an excellent 20-minute documentary that takes you inside the genesis of The Flintstones including H.B.'s success with the Ruff & Ready and Huckleberry Hound cartoons that helped pave the way toward the legendary production pair's goal of a prime time animated series. Interviews with Einsberg, Shaw, and animators Iwao Takamoto and Ed Benedict (the latter of whom came up with the trademark look of the characters) vividly bring to life the creation of what would be a worldwide phenomenon.
Hanna and Barbera themselves make a rare on-camera appearance, playing host on a nice archival segment entitled How to Draw Fred Flinstone as one of the HB sketch artists brings the cartoon legend to life with as little as a sheet of paper, a pencil and specific instructions from the man himself (Alan Reed in one of his last voice-over appearance as the beloved character).
Winding up the extras: A number of rarely seen '60s-era television commercial featuring the likes of Fred and Barney plugging everything from vitamins to grape jelly; Rare Line Drawings presents rough sketches of characters taken from many of the more prominent episodes in this set; and in a rare coup for collectors who wore out their original copies, the complete contents of the Songs of The Flintstones children's album featuring Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl, and Bea Benaderet recreating their roles from the series. Though the songs aren't exactly memorable and the skits not up to par compared to the show, it's still a fun listen, although I think children will warm to and enjoy its content a lot more than us bigger kids.
Extras Grade: B+
Final CommentsIf Warner's debut collection of The Flintstones left you a little underwhelmed, you've got reason to smile with the arrival of The Complete Second Season. Much more in the way of extras including those fun commentaries, an excellent mini-documentary, and the complete contents of a rare, out-of-print tie-in album.
On a one-to-five scale, I give this impressive set four Water Buffalo hats. AH-OOOO-GA!
Jeff Rosado 2005-01-13