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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm

You know, I've been keeping this blog going on for almost two full years now (something that completely shocks even myself as I never expected for this project to last more than a few months), and over the past couple of years, I have talked about hundreds of topics.

Here's a bit of a confession for you all. For months now, I have kept up a word file on the topics that I will be planning on talking about for the next few months. The reason why I have done this is so I don't end up talking about the same topic twice. While I may end up doing more than one look at a various television show, or musical artist, I will offer up different perspectives or different points of view.

Therefore, it may seem a bit bizarre to admit that I have never done a blog entry on the long-running television cartoon series “The Flintstones”.

And, you know what? It's about time.

Problem is, there are so many possible options that I can take with this blog entry. So many possible ideas for topics that I could choose. After all, it was the world's very first animated prime-time series to air. The Simpsons may be currently on the air after nearly a quarter of a century, but they wouldn't be there had The Flintstones not paved the way.

What can I tell you about the show itself? Well, it debuted on ABC on September 30, 1960 and ran for five and a half years until April 1, 1966. It's first few seasons were filmed in black and white, but towards the middle of the series run, began to broadcast entirely in colour.

You also know that the main voice actors really became stars in their own right. Barney Rubble was voiced by Mel Blanc, Betty Rubble was voiced by Bea Benaderet, Wilma Flintstone was voiced by Jean Vander Pyl, and Fred Flintstone was voiced by Alan Reed.

TRIVIA: Alan Reed emulated his voice so that it would sound like Jackie Gleason's character of Ralph Kramden from The Honeymooners, and reportedly Gleason was considering suing the show and tried to get the show pulled from the air, to which his lawyer allegedly asked him how he would feel being the man who pulled Fred Flintstone off the air forever? Gleason dropped the suit after that!

But, for today's topic, I thought about doing a spotlight on two Flintstones characters that for some reason end up getting overlooked. And, no, I'm not talking about the Great Gazoo and Hoppy, the Rubble family pet.

I'm talking about these two gorgeous children below.

Meet Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble, the offspring of the Flintstone and Rubble families.

Now, how both children came into the world were completely different. Pebbles Flintstone is the biological child of Fred and Wilma Flintstone. She was born on the February 22, 1963 episode (her actual birthdate was on the same day, only in prehistoric times. As for Bamm-Bamm, his arrival didn't come until October 3, 1963. Unlike Pebbles, who was born the natural way, Bamm-Bamm's arrival came after Betty and Barney wished upon a falling star for a baby. The baby came in the form of Bamm-Bamm, who was found outside the Rubble's front door in a basket.

Come to think of it, had the show been made in 2000s-era, I could easily see Bamm-Bamm on the “Rocky Povich” show trying to find his birth parents. Thank goodness that the 1960s seemed more innocent back then.

When Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were infants, both of them were completely different in personality and charm. Sure, both babies were absolutely adorable, and their parents loved them with all their hearts. But Pebbles was definitely the quieter of the two. She was content crawling around the floor, babbling her cute baby gibberish, playing with Dino, and being the jewel of her daddy's eye.

Bamm-Bamm, on the other hand, was born with super human strength. He had a club which he frequently used to bash people over the head with, and he had enough strength to pick up Fred or Barney and throw them up in the air. Heck, for some reason, I imagine if he wanted to, he could pick Dino up by the tail, and lift him off of Fred whenever Dino jumped on top of him in one of his super-affectionate moods.

But let's face it...who in their right mind would want to interfere with a classic, recurring gag like that?

Bamm-Bamm would never use his club on Pebbles though. Despite their differences, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm would become best friends from the minute they saw each other. They played together, they danced together, and believe it or not, they even recorded a record together!

The song was the 1954 classic “Open Up Your Heart (And Let The Sunshine In), written by Stuart Hamblin. On the premiere of the show's final season which originally aired on September 17, 1965, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm sang the song at various points throughout that episode. It was sometimes even played during the closing credits of the show's final season. Though on the episode, the singing was all a dream that Fred had, in real life, a 45 was released on the song, featuring Ricky and Rebecca Page on vocals.

Now, the original Flintstones series ended in 1966, but if you thought that the adventures of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm ended with the conclusion of the series, think again.

During the 1970s and 1980s, through a series of television specials and revival series, the world watched as Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm grew up into young adults. When they were pre-teens, both starred in the one-off specials “A Flintstones Christmas” and “The Flintstones: Little Big League”. In the latter, we learn that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are both quite good in the sport of baseball.

When Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm entered high school, an entire series was made following their adventures in high school, which came to be known as “The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show”, which ran for the duration of the 1971/72 season. On the series, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm's friendship had blossomed into first love, and both of them had to deal with the average things that most teenagers at Bedrock High had to endure. For Pebbles' it was having to stay one step ahead of mean girl Cindy and her beau, Fabian, and for Bamm-Bamm, it was trying to balance time between Pebbles, and his friends Penny, Wiggy, and Moonrock.

Interestingly enough, in this series, Pebbles proves time and time again that she is Daddy's Little Girl, as like Fred, Pebbles often gets herself and the rest of her friends involved in plans that tend to become epic failures, just like her dad. She even adopted her father's “Yabba Dabba Doo” catchphrase...even though Pebbles changes it just a smidgen when she chants “Yabba Dabba Doozie” instead.

TRIVIA: In “The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show”, both Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were voiced by two well-known stars at the time. Bamm-Bamm was voiced by Jay North, who played Dennis the Menace in the live-action series, while Pebbles was voiced by “All in the Family” actress Sally Struthers.

And, finally, in adulthood, three specials were aired on ABC (all in 1993) that depicted what happened to Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm. And, I remember being twelve years old and watching all three airing!

(I am a huge fan of The Flintstones, in case you can't tell.)

Anyway, in “I Yabba Dabba Doo”, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm get married, despite the fact that Fred and Barney end up losing all of the wedding money. And, in “Hollyrock-A-Bye-Baby”, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm have moved to Hollyrock so that Bamm-Bamm can pursue his dream of being a screenwriter, and at the end of the show, Pebbles gives birth to twins, Roxy and Chip.

And, that's our look back on Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm...a love affair born out of the Stone Ages. If only all of our relationships could be as pure and loving as theirs...

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