The Flintstones made its television debut on today’s date, September 30, 1960.
I remember watching that night. I was 7 and found it a completely satisfying intellectual experience.
The show was a hit, finishing the season at #18 in the Neilsen ratings, right behind Bonanza. Unlike Bonanza, which went on to be one of the very highest rated shows, the Flintstones never again finished in the top 20 and went off the air in April 1966. (The characters have been revived for many other productions since then.)
When originally aired, the episodes ended with a commercial showing Fred and Wilma smoking Winstons. Four decades later, Sierra liked Flintstone brand vitamins. Obviously the better product to be plugging to children.
[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]
The tobacco ads were placed and there was some feedback from the cartoon makers that the show was not aimed at children. Having swiped the basdics from THE HONEYMOONERS, it never really developed further.
Feetnote: the show almost was named THE FLAGSTONES, but Mort Walker said that was the last name of the characters in HI AND LOIS.