Nostalgic notions, sentimental sighings, wistful wonderings, rueful reflections, poignant ponderings & yearnings for yesteryear! (With a few profound perplexities & puzzling paradoxes thrown in as well.)
Thursday, 17 February 2011
WHO IS THE MAN...THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE?
In the latter half of 1972,
my local cinema (the first
purpose-built cinema in the
U.K. since the war and
with the largest screen in
Scotland) was showing a
double bill of LIVING FREE
(the sequel to BORN FREE,
about ELSA the lioness)
and - wait for it - THE MAN CALLED FLINTSTONE.
Back in those days, the
programme probably ran
about a fortnight before
being changed, and, one
day, having nothing better
to do, I wandered in to see
it. I was instantly entranced
and enthralled by the larger
than life exploits of FLINTSTONE...FRED FLINTSTONE, as he filled in or incapacitated secret agent ROCK SLAG on account of being the spittin' image of the afore-said prehistoric person. (Apparently, the first title con- sidered was THIS MAN FLINTSTONE, as a nod to OUR MAN FLINT, starring ol' stone face himself, JAMES COBURN.)
Right from the start of the movie
(HANNA-BARBERA's second big
screen outing, the first being HEY THERE, IT'S YOGI BEAR in 1964), the audience knows that
this is something different to the BEDROCK family's TV episodes.
There's WILMA, larger than life,
holding aloft the famous torch,
in a parody of the famous COLUMBIA logo; then we're hit
with a JAMES BOND style theme
song before the film proper
begins. And what a film it is! How
a cartoon film can have a "big-
budget" feel (at least at the
beginning) in comparison to a
TV episode, I'm not sure - but this movie (first released in 1966 at the end
of the final season of the TV show) certainly gives the programme a whole
new dimension and is well worth seeing if you haven't already.
Over the course of the remainder of the movie's run, I went back several
times, not even bothering with the live-action film with which it was paired.
Indeed, on one occasion when I dragged my friend JOE along, the cinema
let him in for nothing as a reward for my frequent attendances. (Some free popcorn and Cokes would've been nice, but you can't have everything.)
Thanks to the late MR. JOHNSTONE, the manager of THE CINEMA
(as it was imaginatively known) for its nearly 20 year run.
I obtained the video release of the movie in the early or mid-'90s, and
it was just as much fun as I remembered it to be. It's not yet available on DVD in this country, but overseas editions no longer include the witty
"Columbia" opening because of copyright issues - which is a shame.
The movie is available on YOUTUBE - why not check it out now?!
That first purpose-built cinema in the U.K. since the war (with
the largest screen in Scotland, remember) is now a bingo hall - but,
somehow, magically, I'm back there in its heyday whenever I watch
this highly amusing and entertaining film.