Western Animation: Fred and Barney Meet the Thing

No, it's not a Word Salad Title, but neither does it actually describe what happens in the show.

In 1979, Fred and Barney Meet the Thing was an hourlong Saturday morning cartoon on NBC in which, ironically, neither Fred Flintstone nor Barney Rubble ever met the Thing. It consisted of a half-hour of The Flintstones and a half-hour of The Thing. Eventually it was expanded to 90 minutes with the addition of a half-hour Shmoo segment, at which point the title of the show was changed to the equally inaccurate Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo (although it did happen in the "Bedrock Cops" shorts on The Flintstone Comedy Show).

The Flintstones segment consisted of episodes of the late 1970s spinoff The New Fred and Barney Show, a series of new half-hour Flintstones stories told in a style somewhat closer to the original series versus the previous few spinoffs (i.e., Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm were depicted as toddlers instead of as teenagers).

The Thing, which was loosely based on the character of the same name from Marvel Comics' Fantastic Four series, followed the adventures of young Benjy Grimm. His magic ring would transform him into a rock-covered monster whenever he touched the two halves together and said, "Thing Ring, do your thing," a particularly cheesy example of By the Power of Grayskull!. This was quite a departure from the original character, Ben Grimm, an adult test pilot who was transformed permanently into the rocky-skinned Thing after having been exposed to cosmic rays.

The New Shmoo stars the titular creature from Li'l Abner as the Team Pet of a trio of teenagers in yet another of Hanna-Barbera's own apings of the Scooby-Doo formula.

Even the staff who worked on this barely believe this show existed.

This inaccurately named show contains examples of:

  • Beach Episode: "Beach Party Crashers"
  • Crossover: Averted! Fred and Barney never actually meet the Thing, the shorts of one NEVER crossover with the shorts of the other. The only time they are ever seen together are during the opening credits and bumpers between segments.
  • Cryptid Episode: One of the first episodes is "Bigfoot Meets the Thing".
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Well, maybe not "horribly", but the opening and one of the episodes ("To Thing or Not to Thing") heavily imply that this is the same adult Ben Grimm as the comics, but with a cure that had gone wrong, so he's unable to transform back into his adult self, just between a rock monster or a scrawny geek.
  • Hammerspace: The orange rocks that turn Benji into the Thing seem to appear out of nowhere.
  • The New Adventures: The New Fred and Barney Show and The New Shmoo.
  • Picnic Episode: "Picnic Panic"
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Mickey, Billy Joe and Nita from The New Shmoo.

The New Fred and Barney Show segments contain examples of:

Alternative Title(s):

Fred And Barney Meet The Thing