A Flintstones Christmas Carol (also known as The Flintstones: A Christmas Carol or The Flintstones: in Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol) is a 1994 animated television film featuring characters from The Flintstones, based on the novel A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Produced by Hanna-Barbera, it features the voices of Henry Corden, Jean Vander Pyl and Frank Welker. It first aired November 21, 1994 on ABC. It is the fourth Christmas production based on The Flintstones, though it chronologically takes place between the original series and the 1977 special A Flintstone Christmas.
The Bedrock Community Players are putting on a stage production of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens Brickens, and Fred Flintstone has gotten the part of Ebonezer Scrooge. Unfortunately, he has become so obsessed with the role that he is also treating his own friends and family just as badly. Everyone is shown to be annoyed with his constant bragging about being the leading actor of the play, particularly his wife Wilma, who is working as the stage manager and also has to make the costumes because the costume designer caught a terrible flu called the Bedrock Bug. Fred scornfully scolds Dino for pouncing on him and getting pawprints all over his costume, and when he drops Pebbles off at the day care center, he does not even bother to kiss her goodbye.
At the rock quarry, Fred brags about his leading actor status to his coworkers and then runs into the most beautiful woman in Bedrock - Maggie, who is playing Scrooge's love, Belle. It is implied here that Fred is in a secret relationship with Maggie behind Wilma's back. Mr. Slate (who is going to portray the role of Jacob Marbley) shows up and declares that he's allowing everyone to leave after lunch so they won't show up late for the play. While working, Fred and Barney (who is playing the roles of both Bob Cragit and Fezziwig) rehearse their lines, with Fred criticizing Barney for missing his cues and not doing as good a job at his acting. (During this, the dinosaur Fred is controlling also catches the Bedrock Bug.) When it comes time to leave, Barney reminds Fred that Christmas is tomorrow; upon hearing this, Fred realizes he forgot to buy Christmas presents for Wilma and Pebbles. He immediately rushes off to Bloomingshale's department store and buys a dress and a necklace for Wilma, and a stuffed pigasaurus for Pebbles. However, because he has no time to wait in line to have the gifts wrapped, he lends them to a random kid and tells him to hold on to them until he comes back.
Fred speeds his way to the theater, briefly being stopped by police officer Philo Quartz (making his first and only appearance in his adult form here, after having originally appeared as one of Fred and Barney's childhood friends in The Flintstone Kids) when he runs a red light. When he arrives at the theater, a furious Wilma asks what has been keeping him, and he says that he was doing "last-minute rehearsing". Wilma then berates him for the fact that he failed to pick up Pebbles from day care (Barney took care of it instead). After Fred gets into his costume, he goes out onstage and Mr. Brickens begins narrating the show.
The start of the play goes without a hitch. After the scene where Scrooge is visited by Marbley, Fred goes backstage and brags to Barney that the audience is applauding his performance. However, Wilma then finds out that Garnett Feldspar, who is supposed to be playing the Ghost of Christmas Past, has caught the Bedrock Bug and is unable to perform. At the insistence of Betty and Mr. Brickens, Wilma fills in for the role and shows Fred/Scrooge his past. When it comes time for the scene at Fezziwig's Christmas party, Betty informs Wilma that Maggie has also caught the Bedrock Bug, so Wilma now has to portray Belle too. When Fred sees that Wilma is playing the role of Belle, he silently asks her what happened to Maggie, leading Wilma to angrily ask him why he would rather be doing this scene with Maggie. Then, when they are performing the scene where Belle breaks up with Scrooge, Fred cannot help but notice how genuinely sad Wilma is feeling about how selfish he has become.
After the curtain comes down to close the first act, Fred goes backstage and, feeling bothered by how upset Wilma was during her performance, decides maybe he should go talk to her, but Betty tells him that Wilma is too upset to even speak to him right now. Barney tells Fred to cheer up, since Wilma's likely not going to stay mad at him when they are opening presents tomorrow morning. Fred then realizes that he left his presents for Wilma and Pebbles back at Bloomingshale's and rushes back to the store to get them. Unfortunately, since the store has closed early for Christmas Eve, he has to break in through the back window, and then he is unable to find the presents, coming to the mistaken conclusion that the kid from earlier has now stolen them. Just then, Philo Quartz shows up again, wearing his Ghost of Christmas Future costume, and explains that he was alerted about a break-in here while he was driving to the theater. Philo gives Fred a ride back to the theater, where he tries to explain to Wilma where he has been, but he has no time to do so because it is now time for the second act.
The next two sequences of the play follow with no problems. Over the course of performing in the scenes with the Ghosts of Christmas Present and Future, Fred finds himself finally realizing how much of a jerk he has been to Wilma, Pebbles (who is portraying Bob Cragit's daughter), Dino (who is shown portraying the Cragit family's pet), Barney, Betty (who appears as Mrs. Cragit), and Bamm-Bamm (who, now able to say words other than his own name, is portraying Tiny Tim). Then, while performing the scene with Scrooge's redemption at the end of the story, Fred/Scrooge encounters Wilma/Belle working as one of the poor collectors (the reason for this being that the actor playing one of the two poor collectors at the beginning of the story caught the Bedrock Bug offstage); this leads to an entirely ad-libbed scene in which Fred/Scrooge convinces Wilma/Belle to come join him for Christmas dinner with his nephew (who is named Ned in this adaptation, likely to avoid confusion with Fred himself).
After the end of the play (during which Pebbles ends up saying "God bless us, everyone!" due to Bamm-Bamm catching a case of stage fright), after the cast unceremoniously drop Fred back down on the stage once the audience couldn't see them, and Wilma, Barney, and Betty reprimand Fred for his recent behavior ("for being such a Scrooge!"), Fred admits to Wilma that he really did realize that his family and friends were important to him while performing the second half of the story. Wilma has a bit of a hard time believing her husband has really had a change of heart, but Fred makes it up to her by saying he'll talk it over Christmas dinner with her, Pebbles, and even Wilma's mother, Pearl, finally convincing her he's realized his mistakes and wants to make amends. During the curtain call, it is then revealed to Fred (and the viewers) that Dino was actually playing the Ghost of Christmas Future because Philo caught the Bedrock Bug before he could perform. After the curtain comes down for the last time, as everyone is getting ready to go home, the kid whom Fred met at the store earlier shows up, bringing him the presents that he bought for Wilma and Pebbles. Fred then ends up catching the Bedrock Bug himself, but Wilma tells him that it will only last for 24 hours and he will recover in time for her mother's Christmas dinner.
The teleplay was written by Glenn Leopold, based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The music was composed by Steve Bernstein. Jean Vander Pyl returned as the voice of Wilma Flintstone, a role she performed since first chosen by Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera to voice the character in 1960. The special was animated in the Philippines by Fil-Cartoons, Inc.
Broadcast and home media release
The special premiered on the American Broadcasting Company on November 21, 1994. It has been rebroadcast in later years, by Cartoon Network, Boomerang and Canada's YTV.
Turner Home Entertainment initially released A Flintstones Christmas Carol on home video, debuting 24th among children's video rentals in the United States in October 1995. Warner Home Video released it on DVD in Region 1 on October 2, 2007. An included bonus was "Christmas Flintstone", the original Christmas episode of The Flintstones.
The special received a Film Advisory Board award. TV Guide gave it two stars, saying the story within a story is challenged by "the continual cutting away to backstage incidents that turn the careful momentum of Dickens' narrative into jagged stops and starts," adding "how can these prehistoric folk be celebrating the birth of a messiah not due for several millenia?"
The Flintstones are shown to be subscribers of The Daily Granite, the newspaper that Wilma and Betty worked for in the Captain Caveman segments of The Flintstone Comedy Show.
When the Rubbles are walking offstage at the end, Philo Quartz is shown walking by in the background, looking perfectly fine, despite that he was stated to have caught the Bedrock Bug.
The Flintstones would do another take on A Christmas Carol in a Cocoa Pebbles cereal commercial produced a few years after this movie. In this particular advertisement, Fred is told to share the cereal with Barney, who is disguised as the Ghost of Christmas Present, with Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm as the Ghost of Christmas Past and Dino reprising his role as the Ghost of Christmas Future. Fred soon realizes that he's been tricked, but he shares the cereal with Barney when Pebbles points out that Santa Claus is watching.
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