Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween! - The Flintstones Meet Frankenstein


Time wise it would seem impossible, but Fred Flintstone did meet face-to-undead-face with Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and the Wolf Man. How in the seven circles of cartoon hell could this happen? Sit back, read and all shall be revealed.
It should be noted that in the real, non-cartoon world of the 60s, monsters, particularly the classic Universal versions, were extremely popular. The Shock Theater movie packages, as well as programs like The Munsters and The Addams Family, put creatures of the night forefront on kiddie radar. The result was a plethora of tie-ins, including model kits, toys, books, trading cards, comics, and much more. Specifically regarding comics, there were official licensed Universal Monster comics, including Frankenstein, Dracula and The Creature From the Black Lagoon from Dell Comics (later Gold Key Comics). Dell also published truly awful superheroic versions of Frankenstein, Dracula and the Werewolf. DC and Marvel had monster fascimilies turning up in their superhero, humor and mystery comics.
And it was in April 1966 when the modern stone-age family encountered monsters. On the TV series, Fred had already encountered the Gruesomes, who lived in the house on the other side called Tombstone Manor. More Addams Family than the Munsters, the Gruesomes appeared through the
5th season, but vanished in the 6th and last season when the Great Gazoo appeared on the scene.
The 33rd issue of The Flintstones comic series had an atypical cover. Rather than the usual nondescript gag cover, this issue featured a blurb for the meeting of caveman and monsters, promoting the lead story of the issue, titled "The Flintstones Meet Frankenstein and Dracula."
Now, it should be noted that these animated versions of the horror icons didn't just pop up out of the blue. The HB versions of these popular creatures were created for Hanna-Barbera's Monster Shindig record album (released on the company's own record label). While the cover art for the album was classic HB, the title song was so so.
Meanwhile, in the Flintstones comic, the story opens with a group of Wilma's cousins leaving
after a visit. Fred makes a big deal about how eccentric they were and suggests his relatives are superior. Just at that moment, a telegram arrives declaring that Fred's cousins, "The Chipstones." are coming to visit, with no further details. Fred's never met them before, but still maintains his
relatives are more normal than Wilma's.
Meanwhile, in the cave lab of Dr. Frankenfurter, the scientist is playing with his time machine when he scoops something out of the distant future. That something is four monsters: Frankenstein, Dracula, the Mummy and the Wolf Man. Seeing these creatures, the scientist faints, allowing
the creatures to run rampant.
The monsters immediately come upon the Flintstones residence. Of course, regardless of how hideous they look, Fred assumes that they are his cousins and lets them in an effort to keep his neighbors from seeing them. In addition, by calling them "cousins," the monsters immediately take a
liking to him...though they didn't like his tidy home all that much.
Wilma comes home and encounters these creatures in a string of flat, bad gags, including encountering the Mummy in a broom closet (it's sort of like his tomb home), the Wolf
Man chasing Dino, and Frankenstein, talking in a Boris Karloff accent, looking for black widows in the basement (the Flintstones had a basement?). Fred and Wilma then decide to get these creature cousins out of their house by taking them on a picnic, and that's where this already strange story gets loads stranger.

 Out wherever they are, Fred suggests a game of hide-and-seek. Fred counts while the monsters hide. In a disturbing twist, what none of them realize is that there's an escaped criminal with a primitive gun hiding out in the area. He takes Fred and Wilma hostage and makes them row a piece of petrified tree over a lake of bubbling, hot lava to an island.
The monsters, who have already become quite affectionate with the Flintstones, decide that they must rescue their friends. Dracula sends Frankenstein to walk across the lava, which he does with no problem.
 Frankenstein finds that the crook has trussed up the pair in a tree over the lava and threatens to cut the rope holding them above it if the big green guy does anything foolish. Frankenstein backs off and goes back over the lava. The Mummy steps up, climbing into a tree and tying one of his bandages up to a branch. He then swings the very long way across, wrapping his bandage around the Flintstones so that cutting them down quickly is impossible.
The Mummy moves quickly (?) tying up the bad guy, too, just as the police arrive to take him into custody.
As coincidence would have it, the revived Frankenfurter also arrives immediately afterward to take back his monsters. The monsters leave with the scientist, no doubt returning to the 20th century. Back home, Fred's cousins have arrived... and in all sizes they each have an exact copy of Fred's limited animation head. Wilma gets in the last word on the whole story, as shown here...
Just a note on the above: I'm not sure what this comic sells for in today's unfortunate phoney price guide propelled market. I'm guessing, like a lot of Gold Key's disposable kiddie oriented (and read repeatedly) product of the era that finding this comic in decent shape might be hard to do.
Good luck!

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