Voices: Henry Corden, Jean Vander Pyl, Frank Welker, B.J. Ward, Kath Soucie, Jerry Houser, Charlie Adler, Michael Bell, Henry Corden, Brad Garrett, Mark Hamill, John Stephenson, Mary Hart, John Tesh, Janet Waldo, Raquel Welch, Charlie Brill, Ruth Buzzi, Gordon Hunt, Allan Lurie, Tress MacNeille, Don Messick, Brian Mitchell, Howard Morris, Megan Mullally, Ronald Schell, Russi Taylor, April Winchell.
Last February ABC caught a beautiful Nielsens bouquet with “I Yabba-Dabba Do, ” the long-awaited wedding of animation’s cutest cave-dwelling couple, Bamm-Bamm Rubble and Pebbles Flintstone. Now, thanks to some astutetiming in the ABC programming department — it’s 9 1/2 months later and right on schedule — Hanna-Barbera Prods. is ready to deliver some bouncy Nielsens with the birth of Fred and Wilma’s first grandchild.
And as with the successful “I Yabba-Dabba Do,””Baby” will no doubt amuse and involve the younger kid audiences, while those older viewers who remember a few pages out of “The Flintstones’ ” early history may be getting a little cranky after two hours of “Baby.”
Scripting, direction and voice work are again spotty, with nice moments all around, but also lots of slow passages.
Scripters Rich Fogel and Mark Seidenberg come up with a few Jurassic gems, for example, showing tourists eagerly flocking to the Grand Canyon when it’s still just a little creek, and showing how our ancestors used shrieking birds as the first car alarms).
But for the most part, the scripters seem to have too much time on their hands and when their story does move, it’s seldom in unexpected directions.
The tale picks up with Pebbles expecting her first child, while the career prospects for her struggling screenwriter hubby Bamm-Bamm are looking pretty dim.
So Fred launches on a predictably disaster-filled campaign as Bamm-Bamm’s agent.
Hollywood insiders will feel real connection with Fred as he hits those classic industry pitfalls, such as when he accidentally exchanges his bowling ball with a giant stolen pearl while visiting a gangster posing as a producer.
There are, in fact, some clever industry-inside gags (“Hanna-Barbarian Prods.”) and even a few keepers for that Television-Dada tape, such as when John Teshadactyl and Mary Hartstone (voiced by their real-life “E.T.” counterparts) show up right there in the delivery room to report on Bamm-Bamm’s first script sale (to actress Shelly Millstone, nicely voiced by Raquel Welch).
The most wearisome plotline involves Wilma’s takeover of Pebbles’ life with tacky baby-equipment purchases and, worse, her moronic advice.
Between the very expectant Pebbles vowing to put in an all-nighter to bolster her career and Wilma forcing the mother-to-be onto a strict diet, this vidpic has a place on the “Pre-Natal Do’s and Don’ts” shelf of any vidstore as a leading selection in the “Don’ts” category.
Not to worry, though, everything comes out OK. And that should extend to ABC’s ratings results, even if “Hollyrock-a-Bye Baby” may lull a few of its adult viewers to sleep.