Our next Christmas special is the first of the multiple Flintstones Christmas specials.
For a show that takes place in the Stone Age, the Flintstones sure seemed to have had quite a few Christmas specials:
- The original series’ Christmas episode, titled “Christmas Flintstone”
- The 1977 one-hour “A Flintstone Christmas”
- The early 90s “A Flintstone Family Christmas”
- The early 90s “A Flintstone Christmas Carol” TV-movie
- The mid-90s’ “Cave Kids” Christmas episode
As for the ever-popular question of how the Flintstones can celebrate Christmas (besides the “it’s just a cartoon” excuse)? I’d submit that in real life, various cultures have had festive celebrations at or around the winter solstice, and well pre-dating Christianity. Various secular aspects of Christmas, including Yule logs, gift-giving, and taking place around the winter solstice, all were likely either influenced by various pre-existing holidays (such as the Roman celebration of Saturnalia) or an attempt to make Christianity more appealing.
Wikipedia has more on the history (and pre-history) of Christmas.
The first of these Flintstone Christmas specials was the 1960s original series’ “Christmas Flintstone” episode. The plot: Fred gets a job working as a department store Santa. He becomes such a great success with the kids that he’s chosen by the real Santa to replace him on Christmas Eve, due to St. Nick being ill.
This episode, airing later in the original series’ run (in the show’s fifth season), probably reflects the more outlandish-even-for-its-setting tone of the series by that point. (The Great Gazoo, the most outlandish element of all, would appear in the following final season.) Still, it’s one of the best of the Flintstones specials. I liked the song “Christmas is My Favorite Time of Year,” plus seeing Fred’s initial reactions to finding out Santa was real.
We also get to briefly see what the rest of the Flintstones’ prehistoric world looks like, when Fred makes his around-the-world flight. The special shows Stone Age versions of Paris (with an all-wood Eiffel Tower) and London (with a shot of a “primitive” version of its parliament building, Westminster Palace). Later Flintstones specials revisit some of these locations.
Santa, his elves and his North Pole workshop are all rendered in the usual Flintstones manner, down to their clothes. Santa’s “reindeer” are antler-sporting dinosaurs resembling Dino (“rein-dinos,” as Santa calls them).
Fred’s present air-drop sees a lot of Pebbles dolls. Product placement much, Hanna-Barbera?
On TV/home video
“Christmas Flintstone” airs regularly on Boomerang during December.
“Christmas Flintstone” is available on the following DVDs:
- “The Flintstones” Fifth Season DVD box set includes this episode.
- “A Flintstone Christmas Carol” DVD includes this episode as an extra. This DVD (usually retailing between $5-$10) is a cheap way to get what’re the two best Flintstones Christmas specials.