Fred and Barney Meet the Thing
Fred and Barney Meet the Thing is a 60-minute Saturday morning animated package show and a spin-off of The Flintstones produced by Hanna-Barbera which aired on NBC from September 22, 1979 to December 1, 1979. It contained the following two segments:
- The New Fred and Barney Show (a revival of The Flintstones)
- The Thing (based on the Marvel Comics superhero Thing)
|Fred and Barney Meet the Thing|
|Directed by||Ray Patterson|
|Voices of||Henry Corden|
Jean Vander Pyl
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||13 (26 segments of The Thing)|
|Executive producer(s)||William Hanna|
|Running time||60 minutes|
Marvel Comics Group
|Original release||September 22 –|
December 1, 1979
|Preceded by||The New Fred and Barney Show|
|Followed by||Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo|
Despite the show's title, the two segments remained separate and did not crossover with one another. The characters of Fred Flintstone, Barney Rubble and the Thing were only featured together during the opening title sequence and in brief bumpers between segments. The unusual combination of a Marvel superhero and The Flintstones was possible because, at this time, Marvel Comics owned the rights to several Hanna-Barbera franchises and were, in fact, publishing comic books based upon them; The Flintstones was one of these.
Like many animated series created by Hanna-Barbera in the 1970s, the show contained a laugh track, one of their last productions to do so.
The first segment, a very loose adaptation of Marvel Comics' character the Thing, consisted of stories following the adventures of a scrawny, red-headed teenager named Benjy Grimm (voiced by Wayne Morton) who changes into the monstrous and mighty Thing (voiced by Joe Baker) by touching together magic rings and reciting the words "Thing ring, do your thing!", releasing an explosion of energy that causes orange rocks to hurl in from every direction and transform him into the stone-skinned superhero. When the Thing spoke, his good-naturedly gruff Brooklyn-accented voice was based on that of comedian Jimmy Durante.
The stories centered mostly around Benjy at Centerville High School with his friends, the beautiful brunette Betty (voiced by Marilyn Schreffler), her snooty rich boyfriend Ronald Radford (voiced by John Erwin), and Betty's blond tomboy younger sister Kelly (voiced by Noelle North), with minimal adult supervision provided by teacher Miss Twilly (voiced by Marilyn Schreffler). Only Kelly and her scientist father Dr. Harkness (voiced by John Stephenson) know Benjy's secret identity.
When not battling various mad scientists and getting involved in Scooby-Doo-style mysteries, the Thing spent most of his time using his superhuman strength to protect his pals from everyday dangers and the nasty practical jokes of leather-clad bully Spike (voiced by Art Metrano) and his biker buddies Stretch and Turkey in the Yancy Street Gang.
Twenty-six 11-minute episodes of The Thing were produced; two shorts aired per show.
The Thing segments are owned by WarnerMedia, but the character is owned by The Walt Disney Company due to their purchase of Marvel Comics in late 2009, with the movie rights to all Fantastic Four characters currently owned by 20th Century Fox. Ironically, Disney announced to purchase Fox in late 2017, which will also give Disney the film rights.
In FF #8, Ant-Man and Dragon Man give pink-haired rock star turned reluctant superhero Darla Deering her own Thing Rings to summon Ben Grimm's old rocky Thing-bodied exoskeleton and become the bubble-helmeted Miss Thing, saying "Thing Rings, do your thing--".
|#||Episode titles||Original airdate|
|1||"The Picnic Panic" / "Bigfoot Meets the Thing"||September 22, 1979|
|2||"Junkyard Hijinks" / "Gone Away Gulch"||September 29, 1979|
|3||"Circus Stampede" / "The Thing and the Queen"||October 6, 1979|
|4||"Carnival Caper" / "The Thing Blanks Out"||October 13, 1979|
|5||"The Thing Meets the Clunk" / "Beach Party Crashers"||October 20, 1979|
|6||"Decepto the Great" / "The Thing's the Play"||October 27, 1979|
|7||"Double Trouble for the Thing" / "To Thing or Not to Thing"||November 3, 1979|
|8||"The Big Bike Race" / "The Thing and the Treasure Hunt"||November 10, 1979|
|9||"Out to Launch" / "The Day the Ring Didn't do a Thing"||November 17, 1979|
|10||"A Hot Air Affair at the Fair" / "The Thing Goes to the Dogs"||November 24, 1979|
|11||"The Thing Goes Camping" / "Dude Ranch Rodeo"||December 1, 1979|
|12||"Photo Finish" / "Lights, Action, Thing!"||December 8, 1979 *|
|13||"The Thing and the Captain's Ghost" / "The Thing and the Absent-Minded Inventor"||December 15, 1979 *|
- * Aired as part of Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo
The New Fred and Barney ShowEdit
The "Fred and Barney" half of the show consisted of five new 30-minute episodes of The New Fred and Barney Show combined with reruns of first-season episodes.
|#||Episode title||Original airdate|
|1||"Physical Fitness Fred"||September 22, 1979|
|2||"Moonlighters"||September 29, 1979|
|3||"Fred Goes to the Houndasaurs"||October 6, 1979|
|4||"The Bad Luck Genie"||October 13, 1979|
|5||"Dinosaur Country Safari"||October 20, 1979|