Monday, October 12, 2009

Without boulders

Recently, Mark Evanier wrote:
"The story was that Woody Allen had been hired to write an episode of The Flintstones and had handed in an unusable script that was essentially a Honeymooners episode set in the stone age. Among the things wrong with it was that it presumed the limited-animation Barney Rubble was capable of an extended pantomime scene a la Art Carney, and that it was all set in one room for the entire half hour. This never happened and Joe Barbera even told me it had never happened...but a lot of people believed it."

Apparently I have better show business connections than Mark, because after some time and effort I was finally able to get hold of Woody Allen's long-lost story for The Flintstones. It's not exactly as it was originally described to Mark, but it's easy to see why Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were ultimately forced to pass on it. Despite its shortcomings, I'm very glad to present this rare document for the first time.


There's this old joke: these two elderly dinosaurs are talking, and one says to the other "My brother's crazy, you know. He thinks he's an archaeopteryx." And the other dinosaur says "Really? Why don't you take him to a doctor?" And the first one says "I would, but we need the eggs…even though archaeopteryx eggs are gritty and tasteless."

That's pretty much how I think relationships are like dinosaur eggs: we need them, even when they're hard to swallow.


I was born in the Jewish neighborhood of Bedrock, in a house built directly underneath the Pterodactyl ride at Coneyrock Island. Which I think accounts for my personality: to this day I can't shake the feeling something traveling very fast is going to swoop down on me from above. It was here that I first began to contemplate the inhumanity of the modern stone age family.

At the age of nine I fell into a profound existential crisis, the roots of which I tried to explain to a doctor summoned by my nonplussed mother. "Why are there all these dinosaurs around?" I asked him. "What is this, the late Cretaceous era? The early Triassic? How can there be hominids coexisting with dinosaurs? We shouldn't even be in the same epoch!"

"So we're coexisting. Everybody's getting along peaceable. This is a bad thing why, exactly?" The doctor turned to my mother, puzzled.

"It's something he read." My mother turned back to me in exasperation. "How is this your business? Take your chisel and stone tablet and finish your homework!"


When I got home last night I found a message from my ex-wife Betty on the answering bird saying I was behind on alimony payments. Maybe my payments would last longer if she didn't take in so many extra mouths to feed; I don't know who told Betty it was her duty to adopt underprivileged cave children from every nation. When we were together, it was just the one boy.

It's funny, I remember how nervous she was about adopting a child for the first time. "I heard the vacuum cleaner and the washing machine gossiping about it last night. They talk to one another when they think no one else is listening," Betty said.

"In fairness, a baby woolly mammoth on wheels and a pelican with a beak full of soapy water probably don't have that much else to talk about," I answered. "I don't understand why we have to have so many gadgets in the first place."

"Well, pardon me I should want just a taste of the good life! After all, the Jetstones have a robot maid to do their chores."

"The Jetstones do not have a robot maid. What the Jetstones have is a velociraptor with a metal pot over its head that they call a robot, just to make everyone think they have all the latest conveniences up in that treehouse of theirs. Besides, what kind of name is Jetstones anyway? What does that even mean? And don't get me started on the way their daughter runs around in that skimpy outfit with the bare midriff -- "

"Their daughter Judy? What about her? Is there some reason you should notice what a teenage girl is wearing?" Betty's eyes narrowed suspiciously.


Our son moved to Rock Orleans a few years ago to pursue his career as a celebrity chef. He isn't speaking to me anymore. To be honest he wasn't the most articulate of children, so it was hard to tell. But I knew deep down he had never forgiven me for taking up with his former girlfriend. What can I say? The heart wants what it wants.

Pebbles was the daughter of my next-door neighbor and the childhood sweetheart of my son. I could remember a time when her greatest intellectual pursuit was reaching into a bowl of dinosaur pudding and rubbing it into her hair. Eventually she left home to attend Stoneford University. After graduating summa cum laude, she returned to Bedrock with a degree in Pleistocene philosophy and a figure worthy of a Penthouse Pet Rock of the Year.

We had an argument after Pebbles attended the funeral of her Grammy Slaghoople, a fact which I found deeply arousing. I always associate arguments and funerals with sex, probably because I've been ejected from all three for not having the correct ticket. Anyway, Pebbles was leafing through an issue of New Rockpublic in bed while I smoked a Winstone cigarette and mused. "Bedrock. New Rock City. Rockville. Rock Vegas. Rock Angeles. Haven't you ever wondered what's behind this mania for adding 'rock' to proper names? It's anti-semitism, that's what it is."

"What? How can it be anti-semitism? Anyway, Prinstone doesn't have 'rock' in its name. Neither does Sand Simeon."

"Aha! That just proves my point!"

Pebbles sighed. "Is this going to be another one of your things? You always find something trivial to obsess over as a way to avoid facing your fear of success. Sigrock Freud says that -- "

"Sigrock Freud? Really? I mean, do you even listen to yourself?"

"Don't get so worked up. Remember what daddy said about watching your stress levels."

"Your father should talk. At the rate he pounds back those bronto burgers, he's going to be extinct a few years before the rest of us."


As it happened, Pebbles' father was also my best friend. Our friendship survived not only my involvement with his daughter, but also his increasingly strong conviction that he was being followed everywhere by a small, invisible green man from another world whose sole purpose in life was to subject us to constant scorn and verbal abuse that only he could hear. He was completely psychotic, but a good man.

We were heading home after a meeting of our lodge -- or as I liked to think of them, the Ku Klux Klan with fur hats. I'm not saying the Water Buffaloes were intolerant, but if the Grand Poobah of Lodge 26 ever found out I was circumcised, he would invite me down to Slate's gravel quarry late one evening for a friendly chat. Shortly afterwards, small portions of me would be evenly distributed among every driveway in the town of Bedrock.

"Barn, that little girl of mine is her own woman," Fred explained. "It's not my place to get involved in a quarrel between you. Oh, and Gazoo says to tell you you're a microcephalic dum dum whose grasp of interpersonal dynamics is facile at best."

"Whatever you say, Fred." I sighed. "But I still can't help feeling the whole concept of Neolithic tool-making hominids domesticating Mesozoic era dinosaurs is inherently self-contradictory."

"Not that again? Look, I may just be an ordinary working class Apatosaurus operator, but I know the fossil record is incomplete by its very nature. Our picture of mass extinction events is necessarily limited, so we can't rule out the survival of certain dinosaur species. After all, Darwin said -- "

"Darwin?" I shouted. "You don't know what you're talking about! I just happen to have Charles Darwin right here, and he says we can't possibly exist!"

With that I pulled Charles Darwin from his hiding place behind a nearby movie poster. "I heard what you were saying, young man, and you know nothing of my work. Indeed, your very existence contradicts all established scientific fact!"

Boy, if the stone age were only like this.