by Rachel Newstead
(Note: in my ongoing series on The Flintstones, I’ll be discussing the individual cartoons in order of production, not airdate. “The Swimming Pool” was the first episode produced, but the third aired)–R.
The Swimming Pool
Original Airdate: Oct. 14, 1960
Writer: Warren Foster
In short: Fred learns a pool, and his buddy, are soon parted (I can’t believe I wrote that…)
“Flintstones, meet the Flintstones…”
How familiar those words are to us now. It’s hard to believe we’ve been singing them for close to fifty years, and even harder to imagine what it must have been like for audiences in 1960, their Philco sets tuned to a still all-black and white ABC, to witness something brand new: a half hour, prime-time, animated network sitcom.
It didn’t matter that the premise wasn’t original (more on that point later). What Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera did with it was; they dared to make a cartoon sitcom for adults, with all the trappings of its live-action brethren: laugh tracks, grown-up commercials (courtesy of Winston cigarettes and Miles Laboratories) and jokes more old-school vaudeville than grade-school playground.
To be fair, Hanna and Barbera weren’t venturing completely into the animated unknown. They had been producing cartoon shows for prime time for three years already: Ruff and Reddy, Huckleberry Hound, and Quick Draw McGraw were hugely popular; grafting the conventions of the sitcom onto such a program was the next logical step. Continue reading