Tuesday, November 18, 2008

OUR EVOLUTIONARY HERITAGE BLASPHEMED

Here are some scattered pieces of fossil evidence of great days and greater creatures long gone.
From these few fragments and my immense powers of deduction I was able to piece together an accurate depiction of primitive life in a more beautiful age.
A petrified pair of googly eyes...
a couple of gouged out plugs of flesh...

A remnant of a paw with the fingernails on the inside of the hand...

another...

From these meager archaeological scraps we can remagine ravenous creatures of the past meeting up with and devouring the first few members of our smaller modern cousins.
This was Bedrock City Arizona in a Golden time... long before modern man came along to destroy its greatness.

Eons ago, my buddies and I used to take periodic treks into prehistory to experience the majesty of a naturally evolved off-model theme park, untouched by executives.
Here are the happy sentinels of Bedrock, eager to greet us while urging us to crawl into the belly of their pet giant land Lamprey.We were too tricky to fall for that old ruse, and explored the park at will.

This famous animator forged a whole new style of motion and changed the face of modern cartoons.
(after visiting Bedrock City)

Seriously folks,
I hear Disney purists complain and whine all the time that Disneyland is being ruined more and more every year by getting away from Walt Disney's vision and characters. Executives keep taking out all Walt's creations and replacing them with foul things like Star Wars land and "Toontown". The cool giant squid from 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea has been changed into some wimpy fish thing, Tomorrowland was destroyed decades ago; and now they are talking about redesigning Mary Blair's Small World Ride etc.

All this is definite blasphemy but nothing compared to what happened to Bedrock City and it's high time this abominable horror has been exposed.

RASH EXECUTIVE DECISION DESTROYS AMERICA'S GREATEST NATIONAL TREASURE!About 10 years ago (maybe more) Fred Seibert told me he had discovered this awful Flintstones theme park in Arizona where the character costumes were really off model And the place was run down. He was thinking of closing it because it was an "embarrasment" to the HB legacy. Then I told him how much I loved Bedrock City because of it's honest and natural pure off-modelness. And that "of-model" toys and costumes and cartons had inspired me to draw my own caricatured versions of old characters:



This is from a Flintstone Laser-disk set I produced for Fred a couple years earlier.











http://arglebarglin.blogspot.com/2007/02/flintstones-first-fourteen.html

So Fred decided not to close Bedrock City, but instead to update it and make it "hip". He went and hired someone to copy my own off-model drawings of the Flintstones and then he threw out all the old cool stuff that was naturally evolved and innocently off-model and replaced it with pseudo hipness.
Aaaaaargh!
It's so rare to have really authentic off-model worlds that I consider it a high crime to throw one away and replace it with fakeness.
Now Fred is probably about as good as cartoon executives get - he actually likes cartoonists - but some things are sacred and should be protected from random tasteless executive whim. There's nothing worse than when execs (the unhippest people on the planet) try to update things and make them hip. It should be illegal.


Here's another natural wonder of off-modelness:


For God's sake, don't tell any hip-executives about it!

50 comments:

Paris Ionescu said...

you might find this hard to grok, but your frank writing (blogging) style reminds me of a cross between vincent gallo and the writer william vollman. don't know if you're familiar with either, but to me it's a complement.

Isaac said...

I don't think either tourist trap is particularly important. Life goes on, actual museums preserve actual significant artifacts.

Shawn said...

Hooooly crap!!!!! I had no idea that place even existed! That's my idea of roadside attraction HEAVEN!!! I mean the OLD version of Bedrock City, of course. Too bad we'd need a time machine to visit THAT Bedrock too! Sort of ironic, isn't it?

Stephen said...

This takes me back. As a kid in the early 80s, my parents took me to the Canadian off-model Bedrock, located in Kelowna, B.C. It was demolished about 10 years ago and replaced by a mall. I would guess that any kid who went on vacation in the Okanagan from about 1970 - 1995 remembers this. And, as a matter of fact, there was another one in Chilliwack, B.C. which was about 4 hours away. Hopefully the American version will last longer...

mike f. said...

Another of life's simple pleasures destroyed by a meddling bureaucracy. Very hard to "grok", indeed.
Attenborough should document the millennia of natural selection that created Flintstone Village in the first place - the new Galapagos. I hope to see the evolution of Googly Eyes and Inverted Fingernails on "Evolve" someday...

Tom Dougherty said...

Man, you must feel awful to be associated with the redesign of that park. Not that you were anywhere near responsible, and not that it wasn't done with purest of intentions, but the charm is gone out of that place like a train.

Adam T said...

Executives don't realize that everything doesn't have to be slick. There's charm in the park's imperfections. I bet people spent more time in the old park. When everything looks like it does on the TV show what's the point of sticking around and exploring the park?

'There's Fred, Barney, Betty and Wilma. There's Dino. Okay get in the car. There's nothing to see here.'

You go to places like that to see something unique.

Fred Seibert should have been glad to see the place imperfect anyway. That means the park wasn't put there by HB big wigs. Fans of the show built that themepark. To dismiss it as an embarrassment is ridiculous. He should have felt honored. It means people really like your TV show, Fred!

Ted said...

The open mouthed hippo steer looks like an upside down logo for Boomerang...

trevor thompson said...

I've seen off-model HB costumes in person before.

When I was a kid in Pennsylvania, and we couldn't afford to go to Disneyland ( or World ) for my birthday, it was off to Dutch Wonderland for us.

Yes. I crap you not. The Pennsylvania Dutch have their own theme park.

Since they had to compete with other theme parks ( like Dorney Park, Wild Water Kingdom, Hershey Park and Six Flags ), they needed a few things that went against what the Dutch preach: specifically, electronic rides and costumed characters that were familiar ( although, I don't recall seeing any at Dorney Park... except Ronald McDonald ).

There was Yogi, Boo Boo, Huckleberry Hound and a Fred Flintstone. They looked even further away from the designs of the pictures you included here John, but that didn't hinder my eight year old excitement one whit.

In retrospect, I'll bet the Dutch had to make those costumes themselves. Chances are good, being that if you don't believe in electricity, you're likely not concerned with copyright law.

- trevor.

Ian Andersen said...

I knew that place was real, I've been to one of those before, but I had kind of begun to think it was just a strange dream I never forgot, like the dream I went to Disney Land before I had actually been. I think about going there from time to time, but have no recollection of where it was, since I was maybe 7 or 8.

pappy d said...

I've always been in total awe of producers for their magical ability to make money happen. I wish I was talented like that.

Maybe I would understand. Of all the problems he could have thrown money at, why that one?

Putty CAD said...

I wanna live there! Looks nice!

SugarPete said...

Aren't those new designs based off Craig Kellman's drawings?

http://raw.channelfrederator.com/photo/album/show?id=890404:Album:42274

Colter said...

Hahhah those are awesome and creepy at the same time.

If you altered the lighting a bit, and made it seem more dark and gritty you could record a 90's alternative rock music video there.

Caleb said...

Cool photos, very surreal.

Ted said...

Stop calling the Pennsylvania Dutch "Dutch". The Pennsylvania Dutch are of German extraction. You also seem to be using the concept interchangeably with "Amish". While some Pennsylvania Dutch are Amish, most are not, and are indistinguishable from the general population in dress or use of technology.

Ben Forbes said...

Wow! It looked like such a fun place!
The off model characters looked so much better and they were more interesting than their replacements.

Is there any chance you could post more stuff like this:
http://photos1.blogger.com/x/blogger/4525/2278/1600/732911/BGs%20and%20STYLE2_02.png

Hiland Hall said...

there's a newish book with a lot of photos of this place.....

http://www.amazon.com/Bedrock-City-Place-Space-Oldham/dp/1934429015/ref=pd_sim_b_2

ArtF said...

Ha, ha! I stopped at Bedrock City on the way to the Crazy Horse memorial a few years back. It was the best damn place ever! Everything was so crazy and weird! That's what made it great.

trevor thompson said...

Stop calling the Pennsylvania Dutch "Dutch". The Pennsylvania Dutch are of German extraction.

What am I to call them, Ted? The Pennsylvania Germans?

That's likely to get confusing, considering that, last time I was in PA, there were a considerable number of Germans inhabiting the land that were of varying ideals, religions, colors and generations.

I'll betcha they're still there.

While some Pennsylvania Dutch are Amish, most are not, and are indistinguishable from the general population in dress or use of technology.

Rather than get into a debate about this with you, I'll put an end to it by saying this: who cares? Are you seriously worried about offending the Amish? They'll never find out. Ever.

And assuming they do, what's the worst that could happen? What, they gonna launch a tub of molasses at my car?

Effe the Amish. They walk slowly in front of my vehicle at green lights, those bearded buggy-ridin' buggers.

- trevor.

Matt J said...

Hey John-tap into that LIFE magazine photo archive that CARTOON BREW announced-search for carlo Vinci-ther's a great shot of him at his desk!

HemlockMan said...

Man, that is just cool!!

When I was a kid, there were things like that all over Florida. This was back in the late 50s and early 60s when much of Florida was still undeveloped. You'd be driving through the forests and swamps and suddenly there would be a clearing with some totally weird set of giant crappy dinosaurs or some kind of weird Disney rip-off toon characters all made of concrete.

Alas, those places all seem to be gone, these days.

Mr. Semaj said...

People have to remember that Walt Disney said Disneyland will "never be completed", which by itself allotted the theme park to constant changes and updates, even long after he was gone. Quality would be the deciding factor as to whether these changes are "Disney" or not, otherwise the whole issue is moot.

Ted said...

You can call them Pennsylvania Dutch, which, while based in error, is sufficiently specific to the population to be correct. Dutch by itself is the problem.

But, yes, Pennsylvania Deitsch, Pennsylvania Germans or Pennsylvania Deutsch are each more correct than Pennsylvania Dutch, tho they are not used enough to be as useful in describing the group.

As for confusing Amish and PD, anyone whose interested in being correct would care.

Rudy Tenebre said...

Transliterate those vintage stoners and their kinky joints right on the old animation stand!

(this digressive back-and-forth concerning Amish and "square-heads", as they call'em in Missouri,-the latter called "pukes" by your elder Kansans- is hysterical in the context of this cheap roadside attraction!!)

Wicks for Candlesticks said...

Once again, I was born too late!

-David O.

Chip Butty said...

I kind of like the Chris Savino (?) re-dos of the Flintstones, but they're so flat they look ridiculous in three dimensions...like Barney's lips are trying to squash together onto the same plane

PCUnfunny said...

LO frickin' L !!!!!!!!!! That Fred and Barney in those first pics are hilarous. If I could, I'd get wasted and go down there like every day.

PCUnfunny said...

"People have to remember that Walt Disney said Disneyland will "never be completed", which by itself allotted the theme park to constant changes and updates, even long after he was gone."

But reasonably he would never conceive that decades later his company will become a bastardized vision of what he created.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

HawHawHawHawHaw!!!!!! I was laughing out loud while reading this!

BadIdeaSociety said...

I know I am going to come off as dumb and ignorant as I usually do, but I don't see the contrast. All I see is a photograph of a UPAesque Betty Rubble standing in front of an oddly red Bedrock house... I find the off-model slim-bodied Fred and Barneys much, much less attractive.

There is a video arcade near my apartment that often has a person dressed as an off-model Winnie the Pooh attracting customers. It is just horrific. Cal-arts Betty Rubble is, at least, close to the original article.

trevor thompson said...

If I could, I'd get wasted and go down there like every day.


Dude. You bring the vino, I'll bring the chasers and we'll meet there at dawn!

- trevor.

Frank Macchia said...

When were those pictures of you there taken John?

When i was a kid, Canada's Wonderland used to have an amazing Bedrock themed section...in fact, the entire park was over run by hanna-barbera characters and influence...

and now? Dora the explorer and rides losely themed on crapy paramount movies...

and "Kidz Zone"...which has absolutely nothing left to appeal to kids...the name "Kidz Zone" in itself is proof of these big wigs creating contrived hipness...haha who decided Z is such a "cool" letter?

PCUnfunny said...

Trevor: LOL ! Will do !

John A said...

When I see photos of the original Bedrock City I'm reminded of a National Geographic special I saw many years ago. There was this tiny island, completely unconnected with the rest of the world, its inhabitants living exactly as their ancestors lived for thousands of years, and one day, they see a plane fly over their village, the very first piece of a technological world that any of them had ever seen, and from that experience members of this tribe were moved by an unexplainable force, to to take bamboo and palm fronds and whatever else they could lay their hands on, and they recreated from memory the plane that flew over their island. I feel the same sense of wonder and awe when I see these crude recreations of a beloved TV cartoon.

These people did their best with what they remembered (or misrembered, in the case of the backward fingernails)and fabricated a living, breathing homage that they could share with the rest of the world. Some might call it a mere tourist trap, meant to lure the average tired motorist and his family, but the hand made care that went into it tells a different story. This was obviously a labour of love that I doubt even the makers themselves could adequately explain or comprehend. It's a pure love. You don't see any sign of exectutive intervention. No one was running around with Pantone chips or looking for the most conspictuous spot to stamp "circle 'C' H-B Productions" all over them. Like the cartoon that inspired them, they become pieces of art in their own right by not trying to be art, but simply entertainment. Look at the photo of the happy children interacting with handmade Fred. None of them recoil in horror at his googly eyes and his backward figertips. They recognize their friend and they express their joy.

Samantha said...

I'm sad I never saw this place when it was alive. As children, our parents took us to Dogpatch, USA. It was themed off the Lil' Abner comics. In retrospect, it is perhaps lucky that it died in the 80s before all this 'revisioning' stuff became trendy.

Here's the wiki page on the place if you're interested: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogpatch_USA

Not a lot of good photos of it though, but I remember all sorts of cartoony fiberglass characters and sculptures.

Taco Wiz said...

WOAH! A FLINSTONES THEME PARK!

How are the actual rides?

Eh, forget it. The park's ugly now. Being twelve [almost thirteen] in this decade sucks.

tommy jr. said...

@SugarPete

Yeah, those look a lot closer to the replacements. I definitely like the creepier old versions, kind of like Chuck E. Cheese before he was cleaned up!

They have changed the Custer Bedrock City, unfortunately, you can scope that out here:

http://www.flintstonesbedrockcity.com/gallery.php#

There's a few remaining relics, but nowhere near as funny as the old one. What a bummer!

Three said...

My family drove past the Bedrock City in northern Arizona this summer. It's a really strange place. There are no trees except the fake ones. The air is bizzarre and the color scheme is bizzarrer. I thought it had been shut down but apparently it's still running, albeit shabby and out in the middle of nowhere.

Taco Wiz said...

Wait...why did Warner Bros. stick their creations in a small park out in the middle of nowhere? They don't even advertise it. The website is designed as though it's from the 90s.

Elliot Cowan said...

I drove past this theme park on my honeymoon (I assume it's the same one near the Grand Canyon).
I wanted to stop for pictures but a blizzard blew up and I wasn't keen to stop...

J. said...

Srsly john, you should take off the nostalgia goggles every once in a while. Those old models look like retards.

~Br. Hr. said...

That's funny. I had just finished writing about how John K isn't nostalgic over at my blog, as a result of this post. Then I read the above comment saying he is. Good timing. Because John K is not nostalgic. He's right. He isn't recommending we create kitsch for kitsch's sake (read his entire post for proof): he's commending freedom and lively creativity.

Tanya said...

No wonder that place looked so different! I went to Flintstone park about 17 years ago when I was really little and had a blast. Then my family went more recently after a long road trip (maybe about 5 years ago) because my younger siblings hadn't seen it before. Once I got there, I was like, what happened? It's a shame because I swore I spent 45 minutes to an hour at the old theme park, and we spent about fifteen minutes the more recent time. Those silly executives will never learn.

cha cha said...

can i just say one thing? "the enchanted tiki room: under new management"

worst "re-imagining" ever.

Andreas said...

OMG I have been to the Bedrock City in South Dakota. Back in the summer of '84 my parents embarked on a road trip to Wisconsin to visit my Dad's Aunt and Uncle. They had just recently bought an RV. We took a southern route to Wisconsin from here in So-Cal. After Wisconsin, we headed west across through the Dakotas, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and back towards our home in San Diego. In South Dakota we saw Mount Rushmore, which was great and all, but the highlight of the day was when my parents decided we were staying the night at Bedrock. It still remains as one of my favorite memories of that trip.

Steve Carras said...

"And assuming they do, what's the worst that could happen? What, they gonna launch a tub of molasses at my car?

Effe the Amish. They walk slowly in front of my vehicle at green lights, those bearded buggy-ridin' buggers."

The Amish:
*Do not live in a computerized world. Or an electric one.

*Do not go online. At ALL. [Amish see THIS blog? Yeah, right: I can just see it all now: "Amish. No modern.stuff.not even early 20th centry..blogspot.com. Sorry..just couldnt' resist.]

*Do not create Myspace or anything or websites like that.So the Amish do not know for beans what anyone is writing. Or what LOL, IMHO,etc.means, or [for the ones that have teenage daughters] know what BFF is, or even use the terms Teenage daughters,.


*They also do not read blogs.

Apologies if I am mistaken on ANY of the above!!

Steve Carras said...

Of course, I have no idea when a Ren and Stimpy park will emeerge [the beloved production music from it is running through my as I type this]..

Tater Lady said...

I was 10 years old when I visited the Fred Flinstone Park. (that's what we called it) Our family was on a 3 week long trek across the country and this is one of those places I've never forgotten. It was run down even back then (27 years ago) but it didn't matter, it's part of the charm. I hope they never get rid of this place. I was thinking about it today just out of the clear blue so I decided to google it and lo and behold I found your post. Someday I plan to revisit the park and it better still be there!

Tater Lady said...

by the way, I've also been to Disney (both of them) as a child and it in no way created the memories or became endeared to me the way Fred's park did.