Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm return to your TV screen in this latest outing from Hanna-Barbera's Classic Collection series, showcasing the misadventures of the now-teenaged daughter of Fred Flintstone and the adopted son of Barney Rubble.
This show, which appears to be an attempt to present HB's venerable series THE FLINTSTONES for a new and younger audience while also stealing a little thunder from Filmation Studios' long-running ARCHIES series (which, at the time this show aired, was the toast of Saturday Morning), depicts Pebbles Flintstone (voiced by Sally Struthers, of ALL IN THE FAMILY fame) and Bamm-Bamm Rubble (Jay North, of TV's DENNIS THE MENACE) in their high school years. In both cases, neither apple has fallen far from the tree: Bamm-Bamm retains his father's level-headedness and stalwart passivity, while Pebbles shares her father's impetuousness, high spirits and penchant for enthusiastic scheming. This last quality often gets her AND Bamm-Bamm into as much trouble as it did their fathers, but luckily they have their famous parents (with Alan Reed, Jean Vander Pyl and Mel Blanc all returning to voice Fred, Wilma and Barney, and Gay Hartwig taking over Betty for the late Bea Benaderet) and a group of steady pals to help them out: earthy, chubby Penny (Mitzi McCall), scatterbrained amateur astrologer Wiggy (also Gay Hartwig, whose vocals for this character are a direct lift from Jo Anne Worley), and brainy inventor Moonrock (Lennie Weinrib), who at times seems to be a prehistoric ancestor of the Archies' own Dilton Doiley. Rivals appear in the form of rich-kid snobs Cindy (Hartwig yet again) and Fabian (Carl Esser), and comedy relief shows up in the form of ne'er-do-well motorcycle gang the Bronto Bunch (whose leader Bronto is also voiced by Weinrib) and the perpetually unlucky Schleprock (Don Messick). Though the series owes quite a bit to THE ARCHIES, there is also a thread derived from the Annette Funicello/Frankie Avalon BEACH PARTY films: the antics of the Bronto Bunch occasionally recall Harvey Lembeck's demented Eric Von Zipper and his Rat Pack gang of goofball bikers.
The show itself has been criticized for being flimsy when compared to the original FLINTSTONES series, but one must remember that THE FLINTSTONES was written as a prime-time series for adults. PEBBLES AND BAMM-BAMM was specifically done for kids, and in many cases was its audience's first real exposure to the Flintstones. Most of the episodes, to my eye, are standard teen fare that hold up as well as anything else of its time (or even this time) with the usual FLINTSTONES sight gags of modern conveniences adapted for prehistoric settings in full display.
This series is presented with reasonably clean transfers on two single-side discs and colorful outer artwork, though I am not a fan of the rather flimsy cardstock storage cases Warner Brothers uses for these sets. The set has all 16 half-hour episodes plus four ten-minute episodes made for 1972's THE FLINTSTONE COMEDY HOUR as a special feature. All in all, it adds up to one yabba-dabba-doozy of a set. Enjoy.