(Above: Hitting the prehistoric big time.)
Back in the day when we had a broadcasting major at GVSU, we had a course called “Life on Television.” (Remind me to bring one or both of those things back one of these days.) In the end days of the course, I evolved it into a television history course, breaking it into various genres of television. I didn’t follow the standard drama/comedy/etc. definitions; instead, I created areas of study such as “Animation for Adults” and “Music and Television.”
Here’s a case where those two things intersect. On December 3, 1965, the animated version of The Honeymooners that you know as The Flintstones went all-in on a rock band. A San Francisco area band called The Beau Brummels had emerged on the scene with a tune called “Laugh Laugh, which made #15 in the United States and went as high as #2 in Canada. They also put the San Francisco/West Coast scene on the map, given that “Laugh Laugh” was recorded before the Byrds did “Mr. Tambourine man” and well before the Great!! Society!! renamed themselves the Jefferson Airplane.
Of course, all things on The Flintstones had some prehistoric pun as a component. Thus were born the Beau Brummelstones, drawn in matching loincloths and looking not unlike the animated version of The Beatles. (No doubt this further confused teen fans, who thought for sure the band was British anyway.) They appeared on The Flintstones, which was, as you may recall, a primetime show for grownups, and performed their hit from the previous January on a television program called “Shinrock-a-Go-Go”, more than loosely based on Shindig! Interestingly, they didn’t use the band’s bigger hit, “Just a Little,” which made #8 in the States the previous summer.
(Frantic Freddy didn’t chart as well.)
This certainly wasn’t the only time that celebrities crossed over onto the cartoon, what with Stony Curtis and Ann Margrock being just two who come to mind. It’s not the only time that a pop group somehow stumbled into a prime-time show, either – Batman made guest stars out of Lesley Gore (which I wrote about here) and Chad and Jeremy, who performed “Teenage Failure,” a song that doesn’t get enough love.
Either way, it’s a damned catchy song, and we have a sort of primitive music video as an artifact. You can sing along with the Beau Brummelstones by clicking here. (If you want the whole song, you’ll want this link instead.)