Was ‘The Flintstones’ Actually Based on ‘The Honeymooners?’

The Honeymooners and The Flintstones are TV shows that take place in different millennia, however, they have a lot of similarities. This raises an interesting question: Did The Honeymooners inspire The Flintstones? In addition, what did Honeymooners star Jackie Gleason think of Fred Flintstone and company?

Wilma and Fred from The Flintstones in their house
Wilma and Fred Flintstone | Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

The similarities between ‘The Flintstones’ and ‘The Honeymooners’

Anyone with a passing knowledge of The Honeymooners and The Flintstones will be able to spot a few similarities. For example, Fred Flintstone looks fairly similar to Ralph, as played by Gleason. Both are blue-collar workers. In addition, Ralph has a wife named Alice who is more down-to-earth than he is. Her personality is not so different from Wilma Flinstone’s.

Many of the plots in The Honeymooners revolve around the interplay between Ralph and Alice and another couple, Ed and Trixie Norton. This mirrors the interplay between Fred and Wilma and another couple, Barney and Betty Rubble. With all this in mind, it’s easy to see The Flintstones as a prehistoric take on The Honeymooners.

How Jackie Gleason of ‘The Honeymooners’ reacted to the similarities

According to MeTV, Gleason, the star and creator of The Honeymooners. considered suing over the simialrities. However, he didn’t want to be known for getting such a beloved sitcom off of the air. Joseph Barbera of Hanna-Barbera, the studio behind The Flintstones, liked the comparison. “Well, if you compare Flintstones to Honeymooners, that’s the biggest compliment you can give me,” he said.

A version of the Flintstones theme

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What Joseph Barbera said about the comparisons

In a separate interview with the Sun-Sentinel, Barbera said he didn’t try to emulate The Honeymooners. “I can honestly say it wasn’t done to be that,” he revealed. “As far as I’m concerned, The Honeymooners is one of the best shows ever made. If they want to say that they can.”

The real connection between ‘The Honeymooners’ and Joseph Barbera

Barbera hired some of the writers of The Honeymooners, Herbert Finn and Sydney Zelinka. MeTV reports Barbera paid them $3,000 only to deem their scripts subpar. He felt they were overly wordy and lacked enough action for an animated sitcom. 

A scene from The Flintstones

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Did one of the shows outshine the other as time went on?

Both of the shows are classic comedies. If Gleason is correct, one might not exist without the other. This raises an interesting question: Which sitcom resonated more as time went on?

Each of the shows were adapted into Hollywood films. The Flintstones was adapted into a film of the same name, which Box Office Mojo reports earned $130 million against a $46 million budget. Its success led to a sequel where the characters ventured to a prehistoric Las Vegas called Rock Vegas. On the other hand, Box Office Mojo reports the film version of The Honeymooners earned a mere $13 million on a $25 million budget. In addition, Flintstone gummies remain on store shelves while The Honeymooners franchise has been dormant for years. Even if The Honeymooners inspired The Flintstones, The Flintstones outperformed The Honeymooners at the box office.