Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Man Called Flintstone

Released in 1966, the movie The Man Called Flintstone demonstrates a level of production excellence that we weren't used to seeing in HB TV product.  The animation was very, very good and the backgrounds, well... they were magnificent!

The story was fairly straight forward... Fred Flintstone is a dead ringer for Secret Agent Rock Slag.  When Rock gets injured Fred is persuaded to act as a stand in.

The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm angle really didn't add anything to the story and their silly songs slowed it down.  But the TV audience had grown to love Peb' and Bamm and so it was obligatory the film devote some time to them.

Composite of the aerial view of prehistoric Paris.
I admit I wasn't aware of this movie in 1966... the year I turned 14.  I only saw it recently and I was amazed.  When I watched the opening credits I was pretty sure Maurice Noble had overseen the layouts... but no, this was pure Hanna Barbera.

Hmmm... miles instead of kilometers.  Well, the times were prehistoric, after all.
The blue desk (gotta luv it!), the DJ in the fedora, probably even those crazy microphones were on separate cells superimposed over that lovely primary orange and brown background.  There's a real lesson in color here.  Blue and orange wouldn't seem to be compatible colors but this shot isn't garish in the least.

The overall quality of the cell art and especially the backgrounds is superb.  Now this is interesting...
... Bill Perez oversaw the seasoned veterans.  Perez had an extensive biography and as the movie demonstrates he maintained standards of design excellence.  So I guess it makes sense.  Plus, Bickenbach, Takamoto, Eisenberg, Singer, et al must have been extremely busy with all the TV shows they had going every Saturday morning.

Could Bill & Joe possibly have envisioned that within 10 years starting their own studio... within 10 years of pitching Ruff 'n Ready to TV stations... they would be overseeing a project demonstrating this level of quality?

Quintessential HB, this is how they should be remembered.

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