This week we're taking a break from Batman to visit a Stone Age family! The Flintstones actually started as the first cartoon to be aired on prime time and I remember it well. Anyone who becomes a fan of the show remains a life-long fan. The show lasted from 1960 to 1966 with movies and spin-offs galore. To this day there are still Flintstones vitamins and Pebbles cereal! One of the spin-offs was a series of comic books by Dell and certainly THAT alone makes this theme eligible for Sunday Comics Sunday! There is so much to write about this show and the various product spin-offs that this Blog certainly isn't prepared to cover it all. I believe one of the better histories available can be had free by visiting Wikipedia at the link below:
There are of course several very good books but free is a good price! You can see by the photo below that my interest in the show started early with me receiving the Marx Flintstones playset for Christmas in 1962. It's not a good photo but it's all I have.
For those of you familiar with my train layout, The Marxville and Plateau (The MaP) you know that the track, layout, and scenery up on the Plateau is, for the most part, meant to be fairly non-permanent. (for videos of The MaP, go to YouTube and search 'marxtoynut', the name of my channel). This way I can swap out themes at will. It is this flexibility which has allowed me to do something I've been wanting to do for a very long time, set up the town of Bedrock and run a Flintstones train! Having collected Flintstones toys and other items for some time I've been itching to do this ever since the Plateau portion of the layout was at a decent level of completion. Also, over the years I've done fairly extensive Internet searches and goodness knows NOWHERE on the Web can I find miniature displays of Bedrock using the various toys that have been made based on the show. That means that this could very well be a Web first! That being said, this whole set-up will be temporary as I take it all down in another month or so to make way for the next theme - whatever that will be. Unfortunately I simply don't have room for a permanent Bedrock display.
Welcome to 'Bedrock'
A Pterodactyls-Eye View of 'Bedrock'
OK, down to business! There were many different toys used for this version of Bedrock. Let's talk about the trains (The MaPs reason for being). The train is a battery operated Flintstones train made by Empire of North Carolina. They essentially offered two different versions, a small and a large. Both versions had the same engine, three cars, and track. The larger version had 'deluxe' accessories, like a large plastic and lithographed cardboard station and tunnel, plastic crossing gates, plastic 'cartoony' palm trees and cactus, and plastic dinosaurs. The small version had a small, lithographed, all cardboard station, 'cartoony' lithographed cardboard trees and dinosaurs, and no crossing gates and no tunnel (I'll cover these sets in more detail in a future blog). It took four sets to get all the track I wanted and I did not use the two switch tracks included as there was no way to work them into the layout along with all the buildings. It's a good thing I had four sets as none of the engines worked and all four engines had to be disassembled and parts cannibalized/soldered to get one working engine.
In this shot you can see the engine and three cars, the station, and the tunnel (in the rear). The large red-orange mountain is a re-issue made by the later Marx Toys, Inc.
The buildings came from five sources.
1. The larger brown/tan buildings are original Louis Marx and Co, from their 1962 Flintstones playset (BTW, these are NOT from my original playset which I had gotten rid of a long time ago - I had to re-acquire all this stuff).
2. The larger, white buildings are reissues from the Ruby Edition Flintstones playset which came out during the 1990s. This set was produced by Marx Toys, Inc., the firm started by Jay Horowitz after the original Louis Marx and Co., folded.
3. There are five small buildings which are part of McDonald's USA Happy Meals and are part of the movie tie-in to the first live action Flintstones movie with John Goodman :
4. McDonald's UK
Larger Roc Donald's restaurant at the entrance to Bedrock and is pretty size-compatible with the other
5. Burger King. These toys were offered as movie tie-in's to the second live action flick, 'The Flintstones in
Viva Rock Vegas'
Bronto King Drive-thru Restaurant
One really great touch came from the Marx Toys, Inc. re-issue playset - the Slade Sand and Gravel quarry. This is a one-piece hard plastic casting. However, they didn't include a miniature Fred on his Dino-crane. THAT came from the McDonald's UK!
In the foreground, the Quarry from Marx Toys, Inc with the McDonald's UK Fred on Dino-crane. The 3-piece formation in the right-rear is original Marx and was available in several of their playset's. The rock formation in the left-rear is hand-made and was from an old train layout.
The mountain backdrop was hand-made using 3/4" Styrofoam, cut into profile and painted in a cartoon style and outlined with a black magic marker. The white buildings are Ruby Edition playset re-issues. The palm tree lined boulevard was inspired simply by driving around Vegas - many major streets are now landscaped with palm trees down the middle.
Let's take a tour:
The far left of Bedrock
McDonald's UK Roc Donald's
Ruby Edition re-issue house
Ruby Edition re-issue house
Ruby Edition re-issue house
Original Marx cars in various color combinations
Tunnel from Empire of North Carolina train set
McDonald's and Burger King premiums
Sign from the Empire of North Carolina trains set
Pebble's and phone are Hardee's premiums
Barney, grill, and television are Hardee's premiums
The bus is a McDonald's UK offering. The Firemen are original Marx and the big blue Bronto is a Ruby Edition re-issue.
The vehicles and toys are from a variety of sources. I've tried to credit the proper company where possible but so many are without their original packaging that it's difficult for me to attribute them all properly.
In closing, I've been putting together a video of this set-up but it won't be ready for probably another week. I hope you enjoyed this look life with a Stone Age Family!