Fred and Barney Meet the Thing
GenreAnimation
Based on
The Flintstones
by
Directed by
Voices of
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13 (26 segments of The Thing)
Production
Executive producers
  • William Hanna
  • Joseph Barbera
ProducerAlex Lovy
Running time60 minutes
Production companies
Original release
NetworkNBC
ReleaseSeptember 8 (1979-09-08) –
December 1, 1979 (1979-12-01)
Related

Fred and Barney Meet the Thing is an American animated package show and a spin-off of The Flintstones produced by Hanna-Barbera which aired on NBC from September 8, 1979, to December 1, 1979.[1]

Despite the show's title, the two segments remained separate and did not crossover with one another. The characters of Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and Thing were only featured together during the opening title sequence and in brief bumpers between segments.[2]

For the 1979–80 season, the series was expanded to a 90-minute timeslot with the addition of The New Shmoo episodes and broadcast under the new title Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo.

Like many animated series created by Hanna-Barbera in the 1970s, the show contained a laugh track, one of their last productions to do so.

Premises

The first segment, a very loose adaptation of Marvel Comics' character Thing, consisted of stories following the adventures of a scrawny, red-headed teenager named Benjy Grimm (voiced by Wayne Morton)[3] who changes into the monstrous and mighty Thing (voiced by Joe Baker impersonating Jimmy Durante) by touching together two magic rings and reciting the words "Thing Ring, do your thing!", releasing an explosion of energy that causes orange rocks to hurl in from every direction and transform him into the stone-skinned superhero.[4]

The stories centered mostly around Benjy at Centerville High School with his friends, the beautiful brunette Betty Harkness (voiced by Marilyn Schreffler), her snooty rich boyfriend Ronald Radford (voiced by John Erwin), and Betty's blond tomboy younger sister Kelly (voiced by Noelle North), with minimal adult supervision provided by Principal Twilly (voiced by Marilyn Schreffler). Only Kelly and her scientist father Professor Harkness (voiced by John Stephenson) know Benjy's secret identity.

When not battling various mad scientists and getting involved in Scooby-Doo-style mysteries, Thing spent most of his time using his superhuman strength to protect his pals from everyday dangers and the nasty practical jokes of leather-clad bully Spike Hanrahan (voiced by Art Metrano) and his biker buddies Stretch (voiced by Wayne Morton) and Turkey (voiced by Michael Sheehan) in the Yancy Street Gang.

Other members of the Fantastic Four did not appear in the show and the portrayal of the Thing and his origin story differed greatly from the original comics.[5]

Twenty-six 11-minute episodes of The Thing were produced; two shorts aired per show.

Other appearances

In FF #8, Ant-Man and Dragon Man give pink-haired rock star turned reluctant superhero Darla Deering her own Thing Rings to summon Ben Grimm's old rocky Thing-bodied exoskeleton and become the bubble-helmeted Miss Thing, saying "Thing Rings, do your thing--".[6]

Betty and Ronald appeared in Scooby-Doo: Where are You #66, but it appears their names were changed, but remained similar (i.e. Betty was renamed to Bella.)

Episodes

Ep Title Original air date
11"The Picnic Panic"September 8, 1979 (1979-09-08)
Benjy and his friends attend their high school picnic at the Centerville Picnic Grounds, but when the Yancy Street Gang shows up at the picnic and causes trouble, Thing must save the day.
22"Bigfoot Meets the Thing"September 8, 1979 (1979-09-08)
Benjy and his friends confront a real Bigfoot while on a ski trip at North Woods Ski Lodge.
33"Junkyard Hijinks"September 15, 1979 (1979-09-15)
Benjy and his friends decide to transform the Yancy Street Gang's junkyard into a playground for the neighborhood children.
44"Gone Away Gulch"September 15, 1979 (1979-09-15)
Benjy and his friends visit the town of Gone Away Gulch and, during a storm, the group seeks shelter in a deserted hotel haunted by an old prospector.
55"Circus Stampede"September 22, 1979 (1979-09-22)
Benjy and his friends attend the Barney and Baillum Circus where the Yancy Street Gang sets loose a mouse causing the elephants to stampede and all the other animals to escape.
66"The Thing and the Queen"September 22, 1979 (1979-09-22)
When Betty runs for homecoming queen, the Yancy Street Gang (whose friend Sophie is also vying for the same title) resorts to their usual dirty tactics as they try to sabotage Betty's campaign.
77"Carnival Caper"September 29, 1979 (1979-09-29)
Benjy and his friends visit a local carnival and after stopping a runaway ferris wheel and fixing it, Thing is offered a job at the carnival by its owner.
88"The Thing Blanks Out"September 29, 1979 (1979-09-29)
Benjy and his friends enjoy a trip aboard Ronald's father's yacht. Thing saves the group from crashing into a downed drawbridge, but then he is stricken with amnesia following the closing drawbridge's impact on his head.
99"The Thing Meets the Clunk"October 6, 1979 (1979-10-06)
Professor Harkness' friend Dr. Quimby introduces his latest invention – a robot called Clunk who is programmed to do good. However, the robot malfunctions, goes out-of-control, and causes trouble for Thing.
1010"Beach Party Crashers"October 6, 1979 (1979-10-06)
Benjy attends a beachside surf party with Kelly, Betty, Ronald and Principal Twilly, but the Yancy Street Gang are up to their old tricks as they crash the party and sabotage a volleyball game.
1111"Decepto the Great"October 13, 1979 (1979-10-13)
A magician named Decepto the Great performs his magic show at the high school fair, but Benjy discovers Decepto is stealing from the school kids and it's up to Thing to stop him from escaping town.
1212"The Thing's the Play"October 13, 1979 (1979-10-13)
Betty studies with acting teacher Ferdinand Bestmore so she can audition for a TV crew coming to Centerville High School to shoot a commercial. However, Bestmore confuses Betty with an old actress he once discovered and whom she resembles so he kidnaps her.
1313"Double Trouble for the Thing"October 20, 1979 (1979-10-20)
An evil scientist named Danton Blackwood creates a robot Thing to commit crime to make the citizens believe Thing has gone bad, but which also lands the real Thing in jail.
1414"To Thing or Not to Thing"October 20, 1979 (1979-10-20)
Benjy takes an experimental cure for his condition. During a trip to the mountains with Kelly, Betty, and Ronald, it makes him switch back and forth between Benjy and Thing.
1515"The Big Bike Race"October 27, 1979 (1979-10-27)
Benjy enters a cross country bike race because the winner gets to escort the Race Queen to the dance.
1616"The Thing and the Treasure Hunt"October 27, 1979 (1979-10-27)
While on an afternoon trip aboard Ronald's boat, Benjy and his friends find an old box that contains a treasure map and the Yancy Street Gang resort to their old tricks to beat them to the treasure.
1717"Out to Launch"November 3, 1979 (1979-11-03)
Benjy and his friends are going to a ship launching but the world's greatest demolition expert intends to ruin the day.
1818"The Day the Ring Didn't Do a Thing"November 3, 1979 (1979-11-03)
The Yancy Street Gang decides to steal Benjy's ring causing no end of trouble for Thing.
1919"A Hot Air Affair at the Fair"November 10, 1979 (1979-11-10)
Benjy enters a hot air balloon race, but the Yancy Street Gang plans on doing whatever it takes to make sure he loses.
2020"The Thing Goes to the Dogs"November 10, 1979 (1979-11-10)
Ronald has entered his dog Countess in the Centerville Dog Show, but chaos ensues when Countess is dognapped by the troublesome Yancy Street Gang and it's up to Thing to rescue her.
2121"The Thing Goes Camping"November 17, 1979 (1979-11-17)
Benjy, his friends, and Principal Twilly go on a camping trip as part of a special school project which is anything but relaxing with a bear running loose at their campsite and a big storm triggering a landslide that threatened the entire camp.
2222"Dude Ranch Rodeo"November 17, 1979 (1979-11-17)
Benjy, his friends, and Principal Twilly visit the Big Butte Ranch where Ronald, Thing, and the Yancy Street Gang compete in a rodeo.
2323"Photo Finish"November 24, 1979 (1979-11-24)
Benjy accompanies his friends to the Centerville Zoo which is sponsoring a photo contest and the Yancy Street Gang resorts to their usual dirty tactics to win.
2424"Lights, Action, Thing!"November 24, 1979 (1979-11-24)
Ronald and Betty are hired to appear in a movie currently filming at a local lake, but problems occur when a mechanical octopus monster (controlled by an angry and fired stuntman) attacks the set, trying to sabotage the entire production. It's up to Thing to make sure the film goes off without a hitch.
2525"The Thing and the Captain's Ghost"December 1, 1979 (1979-12-01)
The Yancy Street Gang dares Ben and his friends to stay on a haunted ship for a night.
2626"The Thing and the Absent-Minded Inventor"December 1, 1979 (1979-12-01)
Benjy and his friends attend Centerville's annual inventors show where they meet the absent-minded Fenwick Twilly (Principal Twilly's uncle) who unveils his gigantic vacuum cleaner Supervac, which sucks everything in sight and destroys all the other inventions during its rampage.

Second run

The "Fred and Barney" half of the show consisted of a second season of seven new 30-minute episodes of The New Fred and Barney Show combined with reruns of first-season episodes.

Voice cast

Legal issues

The series only aired during the Saturday morning lineup from 1979 to 1982 and has never been syndicated nor released on video prior to the 21st century. The Flintstones are owned by Warner Bros. Discovery, through Hanna-Barbera. The Thing is part of Fantastic Four, which the character is owned by The Walt Disney Company due to their purchase of Marvel Comics in late 2009. Due to copyright restrictions regarding the use of the Marvel character, Warner Bros. Discovery will not release The Thing episodes on any physical nor digital format, including the Boomerang app.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ Woolery, George W. (1983). Children's Television: The First Thirty-Five Years, 1946-1981. Scarecrow Press. p. 108. ISBN 0-8108-1557-5. Retrieved 14 March 2020.
  2. ^ Hyatt, Wesley (1997). The Encyclopedia of Daytime Television. Watson-Guptill Publications. p. 160. ISBN 978-0823083152. Retrieved 19 March 2020.
  3. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 210. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  4. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 333–344. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  5. ^ "Fantastic Four on TV". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved September 9, 2010.
  6. ^ FF #8, writer: Matt Fraction, artist: Mike Allred