The Flintstones

TV classics: The Flintstones

USA 1960-66, six seasons, 166 episodes, approximately 30 minutes each, ABC, color. Cast: Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, Jean Vander Pyl, Bea Benaderet, Gerry Johnson, Don Messick, John Stephenson

Plot summary: Yabba dabba doo!

Review: Meet Fred and Wilma, last name Flintstone, a couple of modern Stone Age Honeymooners whose next-door neighbors are the Rubbles. Betty and Barney are best friends with Wilma and Fred and together, they live through everyday adventures in Bedrock, including household mishaps and dinosaur malfunctions. Although things get rocky from time to time and their friendship is tested on occasion, the Flintstones and Rubbles are like Lucy, Ricky, Fred and Ethel – nothing can separate them for long. Two married couples in the beginning of the show, they grow even closer at the arrival of baby Pebbles and Bam-Bam soon after.

With their endless references to pop culture and contemporary topics, the show is now available on DVD and offers a great look back at small-town America of the 1960s. What was hilarious then is still amusing now – from dinosaur-operated cranes, over foot-powered cars to mammoth trunks as garden hoses. Show creators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera reinvented and redesigned modern-day amenities to translate the roaring 60s into a rocking Stone Age that appealed to children and their parents. Although declining in popularity after rejuvenating the plotlines with the inclusion of Pebbles and Bam-Bam, The Flintstones were the first animated show in TV history that lasted more than two seasons and has an ongoing impact on popular culture today.

Originally inspired by The Honeymooners, the show has stood the test of time with generations of families and is still a treat for anyone who enjoys imaginative storytelling and loves to chuckle about names like Gary Granite, Rock Hudstone or Perry Masonry.

Enjoy a sample episode here.

The Burns and Allen Show

TV Classics: The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show

USA 1950-58, eight seasons, 291 episodes 30 minutes each, CBS, black & white. Announcer: Harry von Zell, Cast: George Burns, Gracie Allen, Bea Benaderet, Larry Keating, Ronnie Burns, Fred Clark and others

Plot summary:  Gracie is a normal housewife who frequently confuses her husband and neighbors with a rather hilarious if not peculiar sense of logic.

Review: When George Burns and Gracie Allen first appeared on television on October 12, 1950, the comedy duo had already successfully jumped through the hoops of Vaudeville, motion pictures and radio for many years. Landing one of the new medium’s instant hits, The Burns and Allen Show introduced its audience to a married couple whose everyday adventures were shaped by a housewife’s genuine logic. Twisting words and ideas without deliberate intention, Gracie’s actions and stories often brought her husband to the verge of humorous desperation and made her an endearing friend to neighbor Blanche Morton (played by Bea Benaderet).

Originally shot in front of a live studio audience, the show was later filmed on set alone and broadcast with recorded reactions from a real audience. With his weekly comments on each episode and his “Say good night, Gracie” farewell, George Burns was an integral part of a show that actually circled around the charming but simple mind of Gracie Allen’s alter ego. A classic today, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show is a real treat for anyone who is looking for some diversion after a long day at the office. The episodes are short, crisp and entertaining, and never dwell on potentially unpleasant topics. Selected episodes are available on DVD or on The Internet Archive, including radio episodes and other appearances of one of America’s funniest married couples.