The 'Maverick' and 'Flintstones' movies are only the most recent recycled icons

May 30, 1994|By McClatchy News Service

"The Flintstones," a live-action version of the cartoon, opened Friday. So what's new? Nothing, really. Seems as though we've seen and heard everything before, in some way, shape or form, from TV shows to movies and even to obnoxious beer commercials in which the perseverance of some pop forms is celebrated in tiresome conversation. Ginger or Mary Ann? Does it really matter?

Well, maybe it does. Some things (including "Gilligan's Island," by the way, which is on tap for the big screen with Adam Sandler as Gilligan) just keep coming back, in one incarnation after another. We don't know why they stick around, but they do. Here's a look at some recycled pop culture:

* "The Flintstones," a $45 million live-action movie, starring John Goodman, Rick Moranis, Elizabeth Perkins, Rosie O'Donnell and Elizabeth Taylor.

The original was "The Honeymooners," a CBS TV series, 1955-1956, starring Jackie Gleason as Ralph Kramden, Art Carney as Ed Norton, Audrey Meadows as Alice Kramden and Joyce Randolph as Trixie Norton.

Variations included "The Flintstones," an animated ABC-TV series in prime time, 1960-1966, with Fred, Barney, Wilma and Betty as prehistoric Ralph, Ed, Alice and Trixie. Seen by 300 million people in 80 countries and 22 languages. Plus a Saturday-morning version, "The Flintstone Kids," "The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show," the movie "The Flintstones Meet the Jetsons" (1987), and the Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm wedding, "I Yabba-Dabba Do," on ABC last year.

Notable trappings include "Flintstones, meet the Flintstones . . . " C'mon, who can't sing it?

* "Maverick," a $40 million movie starring Mel Gibson as Bret Maverick. It opened last week.

The original was "Maverick," an ABC-TV show, 1957-1962, starring James Garner as Bret Maverick and Jack Kelly as brother Bart.

Variations include "Young Maverick," a CBS-TV show, 1979-1980, starring Charles Frank as Ben Maverick, younger cousin of Bret and Bart; and "Bret Maverick," an NBC-TV show, 1981-1982, starring James Garner reprising his role of Bret Maverick.

Mr. Garner can't get enough of "Maverick." He co-stars in the movie version, playing Marshal Zane Cooper. Also appearing in the movie are these TV Western veterans James Coburn ("Bronco"), Henry Darrow ("High Chaparral"), Will Hutchins ("Sugarfoot"), Doug McClure ("The Virginian"), Denver Pyle ("Wyatt Earp") and Clint Walker ("Cheyenne"). The 129-minute movie earned $17.2 million in its first weekend.

* "Star Trek: The Next Generation," a syndicated TV show in its seventh season -- its last episode aired last week in most parts of the United States.

The original was "Star Trek," an NBC TV series, 1966-1969.

Variations include movies -- "Star Trek VI" was released in 1991. There was a cartoon series, 1973-1975. There are books. There are conventions. "Deep Space Nine" is a TV spinoff in syndication. And upcoming is the movie "Generations," in which James T. Kirk goes where everyone goes eventually.

* "Beauty and the Beast" is a live musical version of the Disney cartoon.

It's hard to pin down the original inspiration, since the myth appears in many cultures, including a 2,200-year-old Tibetan story about a lion prince with 18 marks of ugliness. Most say the direct original is "Magasin des Enfants" by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont in 1756.

Variations include an acclaimed Disney animated version of 1991; a CBS dramatic series, roughly from 1987 to 1990; and Jean Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bete," 1946. How about "King Kong," 1933?

The stage version of "Beauty and the Beast" just captured nine Tony Award nominations, including a nomination for best musical. The winners will be announced June 12.

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