Back in the ancient early days of the Internet, before the studios realized that there was gold in them thar hills, a number of people went out and created their own webseries — usually presented in the form of short webisodes — and one of them was animator/writer/director Brian Matthews. His inspiration was the Classic TV shows The Flintstones and the original Star Trek, and the result was the animated webseries Stone Trek.
The concept had come to him from one basic thought: “To me,” says Brian, “the combination of The Flintstones and Star Trek was kind of an obvious one, because I figured we knew the Flintstones watched TV shows, right? Well, Stone Trek might’ve been something they would have watched on TV. Every time you did see them watching something, it was these fights where two brutes were clobbering each other over the head with clubs. Well, I figured there had to be more shows than that to watch, and this was the result of that thought. With the help of a couple of friends, we pulled it off and, I guess, I was semi-famous for a little while back then.”
The concept certainly came to him organically. “When I was a kid,” he reflects, “I would draw Fred Flintstone all the time. My mom and dad were always getting me to draw him for friends and family, so that kind of stuck with me. Plus I always enjoyed the idea of that show. Then, of course, Star Trek was right about the same time period, and while I didn’t get to watch it a lot in the early days, it obviously stayed around through syndication. So this whole idea was probably germinating in my head for years, all through the ’70s and ’80s and beyond. Then things started accelerating in terms of my being in the business here and there and having the wherewithal with the software, combined with fortuitous access to people who could help me out with it, and we embarked on producing it to see what would happen.”
What happened is that nine webisodes in all were produced. The setting is the age of the Flintstones and the stoneship USS Magnetize, with a crew consisting of Captain James T. Kirkstone, Mr. Sprock, Leonard “Fossils” RcKoy, Montomgery “Shody” Shodd, Lt. Hikaru Silu, Pavel Chipov, and Christine Charcoal. This parody-filled adventure would cross over with other sci-fi franchises like Star Wars and 2001: A Space Odyssey.
“Most of them were two-parters, and there was one that was just kind of a music video that I adapted another song for,” he explains. “It was kind of ridiculous, which was exactly what we were looking for.”
Stone Trek found an excited audience that embraced this off-kilter idea, part of which came from the fact that The Flintstones would every so often feature people or concepts from the real world, but given the Bedrock twist (-twist, twist-twist… Flintstones joke).
“The Addams Family or a variation of it showed up, and so did Samantha Stephens from Bewitched,” says Brian. “Instead of Ann Margret, they had Ann Margrock; Cary Granite for Cary Grant; Stoney Curtis for Tony Curtis; Alvin Brickrock for Alfred Hitchcock, and so on. Those were exactly the influences that I tried to pull from, coming out of left field. And I was such a big fan of The Flintstones and Star Trek, it was worth trying to see what would happen. I’ve been an artist all my life, so I had the ability to come up with the characters and some of the ideas. My friend, Jim Jenkins, did the stories, Wally Fields did the voices, and it all kind of serendipitously came together.”
While it’s been a number of years since he produced a new webisode, Brian notes that bringing it back in some form — including a making of book — is something that he’s considering. Let’s hope so for the sake of Captain James T. Kirkstone.