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The Flintstones Celebrates 50th Anniversary 

Photo Courtesy - ABC NewsFifty years ago, viewers met The Flintstones, the modern Stone Age family. The first primetime animated series in TV history premiered Sept. 30, 1960 on ABC and featured Fred Flintstone, his wife Wilma, and their neighbors Barney and Betty. The show is often compared to another classic buddy comedy, The Honeymooners, with some saying that Fred and Barney were based on Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton, played by Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, respectively.  The Flintstones was also the first primetime animated series to last more than two seasons, running for six seasons in all.  Its record was surpassed in 1996 when The Simpsons marked its seventh season.

After The Flintstones was cancelled in 1966, a full-length movie, The Man Called Flintstone, arrived in theaters.  Years later, two more movies spun off from the series.  The first film, The Flintstones, released in 1994, starred John Goodman as Fred, Rick Moranis as Barney, Elizabeth Perkins as Wilma and Rosie O'Donnell as Betty.  The second, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, premiered in 2000 and was a prequel with a different cast.  There have also been several TV movies, the most recent in 2001, plus numerous TV specials and spin-offs like The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show.

The Flintstones continue to influence popular culture. There are two Flintstones-themed amusement parks in the U.S., one in South Dakota and one in Arizona.  The breakfast cereals Fruity Pebbles and Cocoa Pebbles were inspired by the show, as well as a chewable children's vitamin.  The Flintstones were recently seen in an ad for Geico insurance, and Weird Al Yankovic immortalized the show in his song "Bedrock Anthem."  Meanwhile, "Yabba-Dabba-Doo" is one of TV's most recognized and repeated catchphrases, along with "Wilmaaaaaa!"

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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