Our next Christmas special is the second in the long line of Flintstones holiday specials, a 1977 one-hour special simply titled “A Flintstone Christmas.”
As for my opinion of the special, this one ranks in the middle of the Flintstones specials. It’s not as good as the original series’ episode (or “A Flintstone Christmas Carol”). However, it’s better than “A Flintstone Family Christmas” or “Cave Kids Christmas.”
This special was essentially an extended rehash of the original series’ Christmas episode. Once again, Fred must stand in for Santa to deliver presents around the world. This time around, however, Fred has help from Barney, dressed as his elf. Santa’s reason for being incapacitated this time is also different: he sprains his ankle on Fred’s poorly-maintained roof. There’s also a “Fred’s job is at stake” subplot; Fred’s expected to appear as Santa for Mr. Slate’s children’s benefit.
The songs in this special (“Hope” and “It’s My Favorite Time of the Year”) are reused in 1980’s “Yogi’s First Christmas.”
While continuity was never a strong suit of Hanna-Barbera, there’s the oddity of this special pretending the previous special never happened. Fred and Santa act as though they’d never met before, with Fred even not believing in St. Nick’s existence.
But the oddest thing of all in this special is that Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their North Pole trappings are all depicted in a modern style and not a Stone Age one (like in the original special). This makes for strange looking scenes (well, strange even for the Flintstones) of a modern-style Santa’s workshop and elves producing Stone Age-style toys, or modern reindeer amidst the Stone Age creatures. Still, at least this special, unlike the original series one, doesn’t attempt product-placement of Pebbles dolls.
One amusing 70s-era gag is Betty’s “digital watch” displaying the time in Roman numerals. A button is pushed to display the time, like actual early digital watches. No indication how her watch “worked”, though. Highly-trained ants arranging themselves in numbers, maybe?
More of the Flintstones’ prehistoric world is shown in this special, including Paris (and its made-of-wood Eiffel Tower) and the Netherlands. The children of the world’s countries/continents (Africa, Mexico, Russia, etc.) are also shown; they’re dressed in Stone Age versions of their locales’ traditional clothes.
Finally, this special features Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm as grade school aged children. It’s one of only two of the various Flintstones spin-offs (besides the late 70s “Little Big League” special) to show them at this age.
On TV/home video
Boomerang usually airs “A Flintstone Christmas” during December.
In 2011, Warner Archive released “A Flintstone Christmas Collection,” a single-disc DVD featuring “A Flintstone Christmas” and “A Flintstone Family Christmas.”