Previously, I defined the comic book “Weird Christmas Tale” (HERE) and why it is given a special place in our hearts, minds, and in this Blog. Then, we saw Bugs Bunny get a big (Weird) Christmas surprise. Once again, from my 2001 APA column The Issue at Hand # 57 , it’s time for some more “Weird Christmas Comic Book Fun”…
I promise that our “Weird Christmas Tales” won’t get any weirder than the Bugs Bunny saga of our last post! In fact, our next one would be completely conventional, if not for one peculiar quirk.
The Issue at Hand Is: THE FLINTSTONES # 31 December, 1965. Published by Gold Key Comics.
“Christmas in Bedrock” 24 pages. Cover and story art by Phil De Lara.
Adapted from the TV animation script “Christmas Flintstone”, written by Warren Foster.
‘Twas the week before Christmas… And all through Bedrock… Everyone was happy… But Fred was in hock!
Yes, Fred needed some extra cash to buy presents for his family. Since, unlike with Bugs Bunny, there were no “Massive Slingshot Propelled Rocket Missions to the Moon” that HE could volunteer for (…even mad scientists go home for the holidays, it would seem), he settles for a more mundane evening stock clerk’s job at Macyrock’s Department Store.
After numerous mishaps, Fred is at the point of being fired when the news arrives that the store “Santa Claus” has come up sick. To stem the sudden exodus of customers with kids, Mr. Macyrock desperately recruits Fred for the job.
Fred is a natural in the role, and finishes out the week in grand jolly style. As the Christmas Eve shopping period draws to a close, his final performance is even televised. That broadcast would appear to have echoed far beyond the boundaries of Bedrock, as two tiny men claiming to be “Santa’s helpers” later roust Fred from a nap in the employee locker room.
“Hey, what are you kids doing in here? The store is closed!”
“We’re not kids! Blinky, here, is 420 years old!”
“And Twinky is 385!”
Convinced that this is a further publicity stunt, Fred quickly changes his mind when the sleigh he is ushered into (…pulled by a pack of “rein-dinos”, of course) takes to the air, and deposits him at the North Pole and the very home of Santa Claus, himself. Bedridden with a severe cold, Santa taps Fred for the annual midnight ride – and does Fred ever do the joyous tradition proud.
In one of my favorite scenes in TV animation – nicely recreated by Phil de Lara for the comic book – Fred circles the globe dropping presents via parachute to the different countries of the world, bellowing “Merry Christmas” greetings in the language of each land! Calling it a “night before Christmas”, Blinky and Twinky drop Fred off at his home, and depart before Fred realizes that he’s left his own family’s presents in the sleigh.
Depressed, he bunks with Dino in the “dinohouse” for a time, but finally decides to go inside and face the Christmas music. There, he finds the Flintstone and Rubble families in full celebration, surrounded by gifts galore! He rushes outside to catch a glimpse of Santa, who has just made a special trip to return the favor that Fred had done him.
“How about that for a wonderful guy! He gets up out of a sick bed to make MY Christmas merry!
Nobody can ever tell ME there’s no Santa Claus!”
On the evening of December 25, 1964, the episode “Christmas Flintstone” aired in prime time on ABC television. Not to be confused with a later expanded (…and inferior ) remake of the same basic concept, this was an original episode of THE FLINTSTONES series – and remains, to this day, one of my most favorite Christmas TV productions.
But, what made this a “Weird Christmas Tale”? Nothing that I could discern for over thirty years after its premiere, or its original comic-book publication. Some time ago, however, “Friend of This Blog” Chris Barat hit me between the eyes with something so blindingly obvious that it’s remained a joking source of “shame” for me ever since.
You see, the Flintstones cannot possibly celebrate Christmas! One need look no further than the letters “B.C.” (…as in “fifty million years B.C.” ) for the reason why!
Alas, in the presence of this single basic and unalterable fact, one of my most cherished Christmas stories melts away like December snow, when that dreaded “yellow additive” is introduced to it.
This “concession to the obvious” catapults “Christmas in Bedrock” and “Flintstone Christmas”, upon which it is based, squarely into the realm of “Weird Christmas Tales”.
But I STILL like it a lot! So there, Chris!
Next Time: “Weird Christmas Tales” Chapter Three with The Simpsons.