“Yabba Dabba Doo!” Five Fun Facts about ‘Fred Flintstone’…
Well, perhaps the title of this post is a little misleading, in that our facts are not so much about Fred Flintstone ‘himself,’ but rather about Alan Reed, who was the actor who ‘voiced’ Fred Flintstone — but then again, where would our beloved prehistoric cartoon icon be without the marvelously talented and gravelly-voiced Alan Reed behind him!
And now for our fun facts…
Alan Reed and famous Fred
1) During an early script reading for The Flintstones, Reed was supposed to yell ‘Yahoo!’ but spontaneously exclaimed ’Yabba Dabba Doo!’ instead — coining the phrase that would become Fred Flintstone’s signature expression. Can’t you just hear it now
Life with Luigi (CBS Radio): J. Carrol Naish as Luigi and Alan Reed as Pasquale. Image dated October 19, 1948. (c) Getty Images.
2) With a distinctive voice and 22 foreign dialects under his belt, Alan Reed enjoyed a successful radio career in the 1930s and 1940s. He was featured on some of the most popular shows of the time, and was heard in living rooms across America at one time or other on all four major broadcasting networks (CBS, NBC, ABC, Mutual). Some of his notable roles included poet ‘Falstaff Openshaw’ on The Fred Allen Show, ‘Solomon Levy’ on Abie’s Irish Rose, Riley’s boss on Life of Riley, Irma’s boss on My Friend Irma, and Italian immigrant ‘Pasquale’ on Life with Luigi. Reed also portrayed ‘Pasquale’ on the very-short-lived television version of Life with Luigi in 1952.
Alan Reed Jr. ‘appears’ with his father on Life with Luigi (CBS Radio) as Jimmy O’Connor. Image dated October 19, 1948. Cropped from (c) Getty Images.
3) Born Herbert Theodore Bergman (some sources say Theodore Bergman), Reed initially worked under the name of Teddy Bergman, but in order to avoid being typecast for comedy and dialects (for which he was becoming quite well-known), he also started working under the name of Alan Reed to secure more dramatic roles. As to the inspiration for his ‘alternate’ name, well, Reed’s son’s name was Alan Reed Bergman — so in a nutshell ‘papa’ Reed was named after his son
4) Reed appeared in a film short in the fall of 1937, but then made his official feature film debut in 1944 opposite Gregory Peck and Tamara Toumanova in Days of Glory. Over the course of his 40+ year screen career, Reed appeared in over 25 films including classic movie favorites The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) and Viva Zapata! (1952).
5) In addition to voicing famous Fred Flintstone for Hanna Barbera, Reed also lent his vocal talents to Mr. Magoo’s 1001 Arabian Nights (1959) as the Sultan, and Disney’s Lady and the Tramp (1955) as ‘Boris’ the Russian wolfhound.
–Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub