25 Days of Christmas: ‘A Flintstones Christmas Carol’

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Throughout the month of December, TV Editor Kate Kulzick and Film Editor Ricky D will review classic Christmas adaptions, posting a total of 13 each, one a day, until the 25th of December.

The catch: They will swap roles as Rick will take on reviews of classic television Christmas specials and Kate will take on Christmas movies. Today is day 23.

A Flintstones Christmas Carol (1994)

Directed by Joanna Romersa

Teleplay by Glenn Leopold

What’s it about?

Fred gets into character after he wins the role of Scrooge in the Bedrock Community Theatre’s adaptation of A Christmas Carol, and becomes so obsessed with rehearsing his lines, he literally takes method acting to a whole new level. Becoming just as greedy, unfriendly, arrogant and selfish as his character, Fred himself is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past.

Review:

The popular animated comedy of the 60’s was a staple of after-school reruns for generations. There were several Christmas specials made but perhaps the best of the bunch is A Flintstones Christmas Carol.

A Flintstones Christmas Carol is one of the last Hanna-Barbera television productions before the death of one of the creators William Hanna in 2001, and before H-B was absorbed into Warner Bros. Animation. It was also the final time Jean Vander Pyl did the voice of Wilma, prior to her death in 1999. Alan Reed, Mel Blanc, and Bea Benaderet had already passed away and while the replacement voices aren’t bad, there is still a noticeable difference. Add to that the fact that animation had changed slightly since The Flintstones originally aired, the special does give out an unfamiliar feeling which takes some time to getting used to.

Apart from setting the story in prehistoric times, Carol puts a spin on the familiar story that’s been rehashed time and time again. The major twist sees the Flintstones taking part in a production of A Christmas Carol, with Fred cast as Ebeneezer Scrooge, winning the part over Mr. Slate – who goes through his own holiday transformation into a generous boss. There’s a beautiful gag in which after Slate asks Betty why he couldn’t play Scrooge, Betty replies, “But you have a very important role and besides, that would be type casting.”As the night progresses, crew-members and some bit part actors begin to fall victim to the Bedrock bug, leaving Wilma to pull double duty and stand in to act and direct the play. Meanwhile, Barney and Betty work their magic behind the curtain taking care of set, props, and makeup. Later that night, Fred gets a trio of ghostly visitors who take him around town and show him the error of his ways.

While the special might not translate the genius of Dickens’ original, it’s still packed with a heap of bad puns, a barrage of Bedrock zany cave-age antics, sight gags, observations on modern life, and all the other Flintstones trademarks that made the series so much fun. This isn’t vintage Flintstones, but A Flintstones Christmas Carol is still very entertaining and somehow the mythology of the series blends in well with Dickens’ familiar tale. While we’ve seen countless other variations, this is far from the worst and is well worth your time.

– Ricky D

How Christmassy is it?

Well, since it is based on A Christmas Carol, it is 100% Christmassy

You May Like It If…

A Flintstones Christmas Carol plays a lot on nostalgia value and familiarity with the characters, so it might fare better with an older crowd or those under the age of eight who aren’t preoccupied with video games.

Final Thoughts:

You can watch the entire episode online below. Enjoy!

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