Once more, the boys and girls at Warner Brothers have resurrected another installment of the Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10 series via their Warner Archive Collection. This time, however, they’ve brought us one of the most celebrated crossover cartoons ever created: 1987’s The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones. For some, it was an epic occasion — one that transcended the very fabric of time and space (not to mention two entirely different universes). For others, Hanna-Barbera’s only accountable amalgamation of their classic characters from The Flintstones and The Jetsons was nothing more than just another crappy TV movie for the kiddies.
Where do I stand? Well, I’m in the middle on this one, folks. Like many other people my age, I grew up watching both syndicated shows on TV in the ‘80s. And, since the Saturday Morning Cartoon phenomenon was pretty much at its peak then, it was perfectly customary for animators to rush out new and “hip” shows to keep us glued to the screens — and maybe even sell a few toys (and/or some cereal) in the process. While most of those neo-series were worth their weight in discarded, soiled aluminum foil (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo comes to mind, bringing with it a migraine like you wouldn’t believe), a few had the benefit of actually being appreciated.
For me, The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones is a hit-a-miss affair — and it’s primarily due to the TV movie’s weak storyline. We begin with good ol’ Elroy Jetson working on a time machine in the futuristic 2060s (or whereabouts). His dad, George, is having a crisis at work: it seems someone (and I won’t say who) is disclosing some of Spacely Space Sprockets’ secrets (surprisingly not via WikiLeaks) to the company’s competitors, Cogswell’s Cosmic Cogs. Meanwhile, back in astonishingly-contemporary prehistoric times, Fred Flintstone is concocting another harebrained scheme with his buddy, Barney Rubble. Their objective is to make money in a high-stakes poker game, although they end up getting fired by their boss, Mr. Slate.
Well, with so much turmoil afoot for the working men in both the past and future, it’s time for a vacation. And, thanks to Elroy’s newfangled machine of time, these two iconic animated families are able to trek across the generations that have so long kept them apart and meet. Fred helps George, and vice versa. Wilma and Betty find some sort of sexist solace through Jane and Judy. Astro and Dino have mad gay transcritter sex (although that scene is often left out of some prints). And, above all, Barney finally gets to talk to someone his own height: Elroy. Friendships are made, jobs are saved, and television-viewing families across the world are treated to a mediocre (but nevertheless memorable) pairing of two Hanna-Barbera greats.
Among the many great voices cast in The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones are Henry Corden, George O’Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Mel Blanc, Daws Butler, Brenda Vaccaro (cue that SCTV skit!), Janet Waldo, Julie McWhirter and Frank Welker.
Warner brings us The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones as part of the “Hanna-Barbera Classic Collection.” The TV-movie is presented in its original full frame TV aspect ratio (1.37:1) with Mono English sound. No subtitles or special features are included.
The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones leaves me with a bit of an ambivalent feeling. While it brings a grin to my face once these two ‘toon titans finally come face-to-face with each other, the story somehow always manages to make me tune out. But then, I have no friggin’ clue why I would actually expect an animated TV-movie from the ‘80s based on two classic cartoons to have a more interesting narrative. And so, I just choose to let The Jetsons Meet The Flintstones be — and add salt when I need to.
But hey, at least they didn’t write Bamm-Bamm and Pebbles into the story: that would have really killed it for me.