They were wonderful cartoons when I was growing up in the 1960s. Each featured a crazy hero TV dad with sincere aims and grand ambitions, married to a smart, sensible, practical wife. They were both loving fathers to adorable, funny children.
Fred Flintstone was based on Jackie Gleason’s “Honeymooners” sitcom from the late star’s 1950s variety TV show. Fred lived in Bedrock, a city populated by both dinosaurs and cavemen, smack in the Stone Age.
Fred was a real working class character who operated a dinosaur crane at a quarry – Slate Rock & Gravel. Truth be told, Flintstone was a bit impulsive, short-tempered, stubborn, naive – and somewhat accident-prone. However, Fred, no matter his bumbling mistakes, or sincere intentions to better his family’s lifestyle, was lovable and friendly, possessing a big, kind heart.
Fred’s catch phrase? “Yabba Dabba Do!”
George Jetson lived in Orbit City and worked as a “digital index operator” at Spacely Sprockets, a tech firm. He was a talented, middle class employee with a keen eye toward self promotion. In this futuristic world George worked just 2 days a week helping to create widgets, tasked with pushing just one button inside the factory. He found this manual labor “exhausting.”
George’s life portended a future wrapped in the trappings of space fantasy, an environment filled with robot servants, flying saucer-like cars, and moving sidewalks; his family apartment literally was perched on stilts high in the sky. Also accident-prone, George’s indelible catchphrase arrives at the end of every episode (in the closing credits) as he tries feebly to dismount from a fast-moving sidewalk: “Jane! Stop this crazy thing!” His other recurring phrase: “Hooba-dooba-dooba!”
So, which character are YOU?
Fred exists in the past. He enjoys whatever simple conveniences afforded to his family and his personal existence. But Fred is going nowhere, though happy and content with his Stone Age life – gigantic dinosaurs, horn-shaped telephones, foot-peddled vehicles and all. Everything he knows changes slowly, gradually, at the pace of a glacier.
George navigates the future. Why? Because he lives in such a modern, futuristic world, represented by instant communication, sonic transportation and ultra modern devices. Life for George happens fast, and is constantly updating itself and the environment. But George, it seems, is a good adapter. Things change; so does he.
In a media-saturated 21st Century world where we double our knowledge every 18 months…are you still eking out an existence content with how things used to be, the familiar, similar to Fred Flintstone’s Stone Age?
Or moving through George Jetson’s futuristic Space Age world where devices and communication update themselves quickly, improving not just in years, but months or days?
The choice is yours: Fred’s Past. Or George’s Future.