Revisiting 'The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone,' the ultimate Halloween special of the disco era
It featured the voice of a beloved Addams Family member — months after his death.
The Flintstones primetime television series may have ended in 1966, but it was only the beginning. The characters only became bigger and bigger over the years, thanks to vitamins and breakfast cereal. Oh, and cartoons, of course.
Throughout the Seventies, the Modern Stone Age Family appeared in several Saturday morning cartoons and specials. In 1979, they even joined forces with Marvel Comics characters for the weekly Fred and Barney Meet the Thing.
That same year, the Flintstones and Rubbles took a spooky trip to Rocksylvania, bumping into some classic monsters in The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone. The one-hour special aired on the evening of October 30 — and has rarely been aired since.
1. It featured the voice of Ted "Lurch" Cassidy… nine months after he died.
No actor in Hollywood (outside of Richard Kiel, perhaps) was better suited to playing lumbering hulks than Ted Cassidy. His 6' 9" frame and deep voice made him the perfect choice for Lurch, the imposing butler of The Addams Family, not to mention the hunchbacked Balok puppet on Star Trek. And "Frankenstone," of course. Cassidy died in January of 1979, nearly 10 months before The Flintstones special aired. He was just 46 years old.
2. It featured the voice of the "new Fred."
Voicing the character in the original 1960–66 animated series, Alan Reed defined the sound of Fred Flintstone. Reed continued to bring Fred to live in spin-offs like The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show and The Flintstone Comedy Hour, as well as commercials and whatnot. In the summer of '77, the New York City native passed away shortly before his 70th birthday. Hanna-Barbera had a replacement readily at hand. Henry Cordon, the bespectacled actor who some might remember as landlord Henry Babbitt on The Monkees, was no stranger to Fred. Cordon had voiced the singing voice of Fred as far back as 1966. His first big starring role as Flintstone came in A Flintstone Christmas (1977). A sports special called Flintstones: Little Big League (1978) followed, and the Halloween special hit just as The New Fred and Barney Show (1979) was kicking off. Cordon would voice Fred up through 1997.
3. There was a disco scene.
In case there was any doubt this was a product of 1979, Wilma and Betty implore the men to boogie in Rockula's castle. A rather lengthy disco scene follows. "I could dance like this all night, couldn't you?" an excited Betty proclaims. The closing credits also feature a funky disco instrumental version of the familiar "Meet the Flintstones" theme.
4. There's a good reason this game show host sounded like Shaggy.
In addition to hosting American Top 40 on the radio, Casey Kasem was a go-to voice over artist for Hanna-Barbera. The iconic deejay was the man behind Shaggy in Scooby-Doo and Robin the Boy Wonder in Super Friends. Here, he was Monty Marble, a spoof of Let's Make a Deal emcee Monty Hall, a game show host for Make a Deal or Don't. It would be Kasem's only appearance in a Flintstones cartoon.
5. The actor who played Rockula was better known as another Fred Flintstone adversary.
Yes, outside of the groovy music, the voice actors are indeed the most interesting element of this special. John Stephenson provided the voice of the titular vampire Rockula. He was no stranger to Flintstones fans' ears. He had previously voiced Fred's boss Mr. Slate — who oddly does not appear in this special!
6. Betty had a different voice actress, too.
The most noticeably different voice in the group belongs to Betty Rubble. Gay Autterson handled the role throughout the Seventies, so for a certain generation, she might be the Betty of memory. But the Texas native adds a hint of Twang to the brunette. (Well, here, she also has a striking skunk-striped "Bride of Frankenstein" hairdo.) The only actors from the original Flintstones remaining in this special were Mel Blanc (Barney, Dino) and Jean Vander Pyl (Wilma).