Bam ... Bam ... Bamm Bamm!
Famous first words
Bamm Bamm Rubble (voiced by the inimitable Don Messick) was born sometime around 4 million BC, but television viewers first got a glimpse of the Herculean tot on October 1, 1963, when he was unceremoniously dumped on Barney and Betty's front doorstep in the Flintstones episode "Little Bamm Bamm."
When Barney and Betty first found the baby, they were ecstatic because Betty was unable to have children (a surprisingly adult situation for a cartoon, even a primetime one) and this new tyke could be theirs. He helped name himself with his first few words, and then proved that Bamm Bamm wasn't just flattery when he performed the first of many body slams of Fred, in for a visit on the newcomer to the neighborhood.
Bamm Bamm was almost taken away from the couple since they hadn't filed the proper adoption papers, but their heartbreaking insistence that the state do what was best for Bamm Bamm convinced the judge and the adoption agency to let them keep him. Thus, the newest member to the Flintstones canon had come to be.
From 1963 until the show's run ended in 1966, Bamm Bamm had a number of adventures (a good majority of them with baby neighbor Pebbles) including:
- getting a new pet Hoppy the hoparoo, which caused all kind of grief for Fred and Barney;
- entering a beautiful baby contest against Pebbles, which caused all kind of conflict for Fred and Barney;
- singing "Open Up Your Heart And Let The Sunshine In" with Pebbles, creating a short-lived nationwide sensation;
- playing himself as the strongest man in the world at a circus, which brought on many unsuccessful challengers;
And several others. As you may have noticed, Bamm Bamm wasn't the most talkative character - his words were limited to "ga ga goo goo", "BAM!", and other nonsensical baby talk. Still, he conveyed a wide range of emotions with his BAM! and he was always good for a laugh by showing off his strength, such as the time he lifted the foot-car off of Fred to help him, only to be distracted by a butterfly and dropping the foot-car back on Fred.
Bamm Bamm was not fazed by the cancellation of The Flinstones, as he and the gang were revived in 1971 for The Pebbles and Bamm Bamm Show. (Little known trivia: the show was revived to jumpstart sales of Post's new Fruity Pebbles cereal.) Here, he was voiced by Jay North (formerly TV's Dennis the Menace) and the show was focused primarily on him and his now-girlfriend Pebbles and their hijinks at Bedrock High School. The show only last one and a half seasons, but Bamm Bamm's gentle charm and all-around nice guy tactics shone through. Some people complained that this nice guy was against the tough-guy image Bamm Bamm had as a youth, but what do people know?
Bamm Bamm also made noted appearances on the short-lived Flintstones Comedy Hour, Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo, Fred and Barney Meet the Thing, and 1979's The New Flintstones Show.
In addition to his busy TV schedule, Bamm Bamm lent his image to a number of products based on the Flintstones characters, including the aforementioned Fruity Pebbles, the childhood hallmark Flintstones Chewable Vitamins, and a number of video games, including The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino and Hoppy, The Flintstones 2: Surprise at Dinosaur Peak, and The Flintstones: Treasure of the Sierra Madrock.
Finally, in 1993, Bamm Bamm and Pebbles were married in the direct-to-video release I Yabba-Dabba-Do!, with Jerry Houser providing the voice of Bamm Bamm.
In both of the Flinstones live-action movies, Bamm-Bamm returned to the screen as an infant, capable only of his classic line, "Bam! Bam! Bamm Bamm!" and the overly aggressive hand shake. Will he return for more on-screen antics soon? Only the desperate marketing and programming ploys of Time Warner can say ...