The Flintstones is one of my favorite productions of Hanna-Barbera studios. The cartoon was based on the Jackie Gleason situation comedy classic The Honeymooners. Fred Flintstone was based on Jackie's character Ralph Kramden. Barney Rubble was based on Art Carney's Ed Norton. The man of a thousand voices, Mel Blanc did the voice for Barney - a dead on Ed Norton impersonation. There's also a little Life of Riley as well. Life of Riley starred William Bendix, but it was Jackie Gleason that played the Chester A. Riley character the first season on television. So I'm sure Jackie was inspired and lifted traits of Chester Riley for his Ralph Kramdon.
Chester, Ralph and Fred were cut from the same cloth. They were all clumsy working class guys, always trying to figuring on ways to get ahead in life the easy way. Their schemes never seemed to work for them. It was always fun watching them try.
The Flintstones was such a popular show, and so much like The Honeymooners that Jackie Gleason once pondered suing Hanna-Barbera, but didn't want to go down in history as “the guy who yanked Fred Flintstone off the air”.
The Flintstones was the first animated made for prime time television show. It was not aired as a kids show. In fact, it was sponsored by Winston cigarettes. So many cartoons cater to children, on their level. The Flintstones was family entertainment. I didn't watch the show on Friday nights. I discovered it a few years later when it was aired on Saturday mornings for children. The Flintstones came long before The Simpsons or King of the Hill. It was the first of it's kind and a loved American classic.