Sunday, October 08, 2006

My, How Things Have Changed!

I came across some retro commercials today, all from the original run of The Flintstones back in the early 1960s.

Anyone born past 1971 may find this hard to believe, but there was a time when cigarettes (and other tobacco products) were advertised openly on television and radio. Not product placements snuck into a movie or TV show, but real, honest-to-goodness commercials that touted the wonderful characteristics of the product.

It turns out that one of the early sponsors of The Flintstones was Winston, with its memorable slogan that drove grammar mavens up the wall, "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should."

Here's the first ad, which shows Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble in character:

Next comes a visit by Fred to the Stone Age equivalent of Quikimart, though instead of Apu we have a clerk who sounds suspiciously like character actor Herb Vigran:

The third ad brings us back into the Flintstone household, with Fred and Barney trying to get the record player to work properly:

Perhaps as penance for all these cigarette ads, we next see Fred and Barney and Wilma and Betty in a PSA for the American Cancer Society:

Finally, we can see how the sponsor's name was embedded in the closing credits to the show. It's funny, but I don't remember The Flintstones ever being in black and white. Are the earliest episodes lost to the ages?

Well, at least thanks to YouTube, we can get a taste of what prehistoric life was like ... in the 1960s.


Tim said...

Yak dung. Tastes good ... like cigarette should.

Waldo Jaquith said...

A lot of people don't understand that The Flintstones was a cartoon for adults, not kids. So this isn't like "The Smurfs" advertising cigarettes, but more like "Drawn Together" doing so. Given that it eventually became a show for kids, though, it certainly is bizarre to watch in retrospect.

Rick Sincere said...

Waldo is right, of course. The Flintstones was an animated version of Jackie Gleason's The Honeymooners. Many of its episodes were send-ups of popular culture, much in the manner of Family Guy today.

The Flintstones was also the longest-running prime-time cartoon show, until it was surpassed by The Simpsons. South Park (in its tenth season) has also broken The Flintstones' record, and it is still going strong. In fact, I'd venture to say that neither The Simpsons nor South Park has yet jumped the shark.

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