I grew up watching the Flintstones reruns. It put a twinkle in my eye when I recently read that Alan Reed, the voice of Fred Flinstone, was a Jew.
Reed, born in 1907 as Edward Bergman, grew up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan in New York City. He learned quickly how to mimic any of the neighboring nationalities. He even landed his first job in show business cast as a typical Italian wise guy. According to an article in Tablet Magazine, Alan pulled much of his Flintstone voice from the mannerisms of his Galitzianer grandfather, and the quarrels he would have with this Litvak father (mixed marriages didn’t go well in those days…).
There was something ephemeral about Fred Flintsone’s voice. It had pathos and empathy but joyful, loyal, and with authority when needed. It’s no wonder the Flintstone’s where the first animated series prime-time television success. With great story-telling, interspersed with spice from current events (Cary Granite…), there was always something to see. It was good family fun, without curses, inuendo, or failed parent-child relationships.
Alan Reed had the perfect voice for his character. The deep baritone was reassuring and comforting, allowing the story to develop naturally.
You can buy the complete seasons of the Flintstones on DVD.