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REEL LIFE / FILM & VIDEO FILE : Music Helped 'Flintstones' on Way to Fame : In 1960, Hoyt Curtin created the lively theme for the Stone Age family. The show's producers say it may be the most frequently broadcast song on TV.

June 02, 1994|PANCHO DOLL | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hoyt Curtin, 70, of Westlake Village has been humming a tune for 34 years. Everywhere he turns he hears it. "Flintstones! Meet the Flintstones. They're the modern Stone Age family."

"It's a catchy little tune," Curtin said. "Just a simple thing arranged for jazz and singers."

Curtin's attachment to the cartoon theme goes deep. As music director for Hanna-Barbera, he wrote the tune in 1960.

"I did the music first with timpani, boom boom. BOOM boom boom boom. Then I decided to go with the jazz band and singers after the lyric was written. I wrote that sucker in a real panic because we were way behind."

Curtin said that during the years he worked as music director at Hanna-Barbera, he penned the themes for everything from "Huckleberry Hound," to "Yogi Bear" to "The Jetsons" and "The Smurfs." Most of his work came over the phone.

"They would call me and read me a lyric and say, 'Go write a tune and send it to us as fast as you can.' "

In addition to the main title (theme) and the end title (closing), Curtin said he had to write 22 minutes of underscoring.

"Everybody hears the main title, but there's also always music playing in the background. It might be turned way down, but there's 22 minutes of music that goes with each show."

Originally the cartoon family was going to be called "The Flagstones", and for the first two years the musical theme was different. Curtin said that after the show became popular, he was asked to write the current score which, according to the show's producers, has become the most frequently broadcast song on television.

In a move that should boost that claim, Hanna-Barbera will attempt to break a Guinness Book world record by rebroadcasting "The Flintstones" premiere episode, titled "The Flintstone Flyer," in all 24 time zones around the world on June 3. The program will air on Turner Entertainment Networks.

That's on top of all the hype for "The Flintstones" movie, which opened over the Memorial Day weekend.

"Hearing that dang tune all over, I feel like the forgotten man," Curtin said. "I really do."

Don't shed a tear for Curtin, though. He still gets performance residuals.

*

This news flash. Douglas Nicklas of Ventura is alive.

Nicklas was a member of the 366th Fighter Group during World War II. A PBS documentary about the squadron, part of the programming commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Normandy invasion, identifies Nicklas as having been killed in action.

"A Fighter Pilot's Story" includes a photo of Nicklas and his crew and announces the premature news of his death. The show has not yet been scheduled for broadcast on KCET, public television for much of Southern California.

*

Monday will mark the television premiere of Noble A. Powell III of Santa Paula. Powell will appear on the Home Shopping Network on June 6 to peddle his paintings of famous golf courses.

"QVC is doing an hour of golf-related stuff for a Father's Day gift segment. I'll be on for about an hour with some other golfers. I'll be discussing art and golf.

An avid golfer, Powell discovered that lovers of the sport like himself couldn't find paintings of famous holes to hang in their dens. Since he started combining painting and putting, he's sold upward of 1,000 limited edition prints.

Talk about a niche.

"My paintings are loosely impressionistic," Powell said. "You have to be careful with sports enthusiasts. You have to represent them well enough that the hole is recognizable, but you don't want to make them photographic. My paintings are definitively representation, but try to put a little of self in each one."

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