Thursday, February 24, 2011

Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet

You’d have to have been living under a rock for your whole life not to know who the Flintstones are.    When the cartoon was introduced in the 1950’s it was directed at an adult audience.  In fact, Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble fronted a TV advertising campaign for Winston cigarettes . . . inconceivable in this day and age. 


Even more shocking . . . Fred and Wilma Flintstone were the first couple to be shown in bed together on prime-time television when the show first aired on ABC between 1960 and 1966.

The show was patterned after Jackie Gleason's The Honeymooners similarly depicting two working class guys and the silly situations they found themselves in.  The personalities of the cartoon stars mimicked 
the characters in The Honeymooners. Jackie Gleason considered suing Hanna-Barbera, but did not want to go down in history as “the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air”. 

PETA would have a field day with the show if it was being produced now.   Since it was pre-historic times there was no electricity or indoor plumbing,  so all the everyday conveniences . . . like vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, showers and record players  . . . were powered by enslaved animals.  Shocking!  I’m surprised that they didn’t have poor little Dino hooked up to the car to haul Fred’s fat butt around. 

It wasn’t until the late 1960’s that the Flintstones became more kid friendly.   So, instead of pimping cigarettes to adults they started a campaign for their own brand of vitamins.   Originally they were branded as Chocks sold by Bayer, which were the first chewable vitamins for kids.  Then in 1968 Chocks took on the shapes of the characters from The Flintstones TV series and became Flintstones vitamins.


When I was a kid, every morning after a healthy and nutritious breakfast my mom, without fail, would hand out a Flintstone’s Vitamin.  And every morning, without fail, my sister and I would cheek the pills and head off to get ready for the day.  On the way to our bedroom was a potted plan snugged into a corner.  Besides the leaves on the plant gathering dust, behind the plant something else was gathering . . . a pile of discarded vitamins.  As we passed by the plant we both would spit our vitamin into the corner behind the plant. 

This charade continued for many years.  During this time I continued to grow . . . without the benefit of all those lovingly dispensed nutrients I so blithely deposited behind the 70’s groovy rubber plant.  During these years I joined the school chorus.  Not because I liked to sing but because chorus members often got excused from classes to practice for concerts.  One of the performances we did was a medley of Hanna-Barbera cartoon theme songs that included the intro to the Flintstones . . .

Flintstones. Meet the Flintstones.
They're the modern stone age family.
From the town of Bedrock,
They're a page right out of history.

Let's ride with the family down the street.
Through the courtesy of Fred's two feet.

When you're with the Flintstones
you'll have a yabba dabba doo time.
A dabba doo time.
You'll have a gay old time.

When I was 15 we moved from the house I grew up in.   As my mom was boxing up the household items she got quite a surprise when she moved the plant; a pile of vitamins . . . hundreds, maybe thousands, of them  . . . tumbled from the void left by the planter. 

Man-oh-man was she ticked off!  I’m not sure what pissed her off more.  The fact that we weren’t taking our vitamins for all those years or that she’d wasted all that money.

True story.


Now here’s the really BIG question.  What in the heck does “yabba dabba doo” mean? 

This phrase was actually a Kickapoo Indian battle cry.  The braves roared “yabba dabba doo!” while shooting their arrows and waving their tomahawks in an effort the scare off the plague of pioneers and the never-ending waves of wagon trains. 

Not true . . .

What really happened was this . . . in the first episode of the Flintstone’s Fred was scripted to say “Yahoo!!”.  But they wanted something with a little more “pop” to it.  Fred's catchphrase "Yabba-Dabba-Doo!" was adapted from the Brylcreem advertising jingle motto "A Little Dab'll Do Ya!" . . . and the rest is history.


 Basic Twice Baked Potatoes

2 large russet potatoes, about a pound each
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup cream
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
4 strips bacon
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
1/2 teaspoon salt

Scrub the potatoes under running water. Put a couple of slices in the skins so the potatoes don't explode. Place directly on the middle or top rack of the oven and bake the potatoes in a preheated  400°F oven.  Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked through.

If your short on time you can bake the potatoes in the microwave, 10 minutes on high heat for 2 potatoes. Then finish them in a conventional oven at 400°F for 20 minutes.

If you are including bacon as one of your mix-ins, while the potatoes are cooking, cook the bacon strips in a frying pan on medium low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until crisp. Drain on paper towels. Let cool. Crumble.

Allow the potatoes to cool to touch. Slice the potatoes in half lengthwise. Use a spoon to scoop out the insides, forming a potato "canoe", leaving about 1/4 inch of potato on the skin.

Place the scooped out potato insides, sour cream, milk, cream, and butter into a large bowl. Mash with a potato masher. If you want a creamy texture, beat with an electric beater until desired consistency.

Mix in the extras with the potatoes. Reserve some of the extras to sprinkle on the tops of the potatoes. Spoon fillings into the potato shells. Sprinkle with extra toppings.

Heat oven to 350°F. Place potatoes on a roasting pan and bake 15 to 20 minutes until heated through.

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