austin_dern (austin_dern) wrote,

Yeah the twitching's fine, have yourself a time

Getting back to the limited-animation world of Hanna-Barbera: last weekend Boomerang ran a marathon of The Flintstones to celebrate their anniversary and while I didn't watch much --- I wasn't really a big fan of The Flintstones, and these days my old-time radio hobby makes it hard to hear Alan Reed limiting himself to Fred Flintstone's persona --- one I caught introduced The Great Gazoo. I liked The Great Gazoo, when I was a kid: he added a palatable science fiction element to a series whose setting otherwise bored me. He even brought the Flintstones and Rubbles into the future, and not The Jetsons, once, avoiding a crossover that I seem to be alone in not appreciating.

Anyway. In the years I had forgotten just why it was The Great Gazoo was exiled to Bedrock to indifferently give plot-starting help to Fred and Barney. He had been the Chief Scientist for the planet Zaytax, and doesn't that name sound vaguely familiar? I think one of the writers must have used that for some CBS Radio Workshop or Suspense science fiction story in previous decades and kept the syllables around. They did that with some nonsense words, after all. ``Snork'' and derivatives turn up as early as the Huckleberry Hound Show era.

But Gazoo was stripped of his position and all but the most basic of his powers because he'd whipped up a little bitty button, the size of a fingernail, and if you pressed it, zam! The whole universe and everyone in it, destroyed in a flash! ``It was a status thing, I never intended to use it'', he said, but the rest of Zaytox wasn't so understanding, which is a shame since I believe The Doctor has spent the finale of each of his reboot series in an ontological-paradox fight against Gazoo's Button. They're losing out on some Whovian payoffs.

Putting aside that nice bit of what I think of as 1950s Cheerful Cynicism slipped into the show ... you know, The Great Gazoo's origin story here isn't a bad starting point for a movie or TV show. Particularly these days when we have to have in the theaters every single weekend some movie about a supervillain coming to terms with life. And then I'm horrified to realize I'm come up with a logically sound pitch for The Great Gazoo: The Motion Picture. But I still feel like the premise is decent.

Trivia: William Hanna and Joe Barbera won seven Academy Awards for Tom and Jerry cartoons in the nine years beginning 1943. Source: Of Mice And Magic, Leonard Maltin.

Currently Reading: A Choice Of Gods, Clifford Simak.

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