For years, I've been trying to track down someone from The Flintstones to give a comment about the mysterious and controversial Gazoo, with no result. It was always the same thing: Barney or Betty will speak with you about their new projects, but any discussion about The Great Gazoo was off limits. This just wouldn't suffice - I needed to get to the bottom of this elusive character, and wouldn't accept "no" for an answer.
Then it happened. In the middle of the night my phone rang. It was Fred. "We're ready to talk", he said. "Meet me at The Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Lodge No. 26 at 9:00 tomorrow night." Then he hung up. My persistence had finally paid off.
To my surprise, it wasn't just Fred meeting me in a back room at the Lodge, but the whole gang. It seems they had a lot to get off their chest about the so-called Great Gazoo. What follows is our conversation in its entirety.
Gil: Tell me about your working relationship with Gazoo, both on and off camera.
Fred: Let's cut to the chase. Gazoo was a bastard.
Gil: I'd heard he had peculiarities, but then he was from another planet.
Fred: "Peculiarities"? If you call taking 10 hits of LSD then watching women undress outside their windows "peculiar", then go ahead. I call that being a bastard. I can't believe I was gullible enough to go along with him at first.
Barney: If could cut in here. One thing I always envied about Fred was his ability to take charge. It's a characteristic I just don't have - I'm more of a follower. But when Fred started getting pushed around by Gazoo, I have to admit I was truly surprised. Fred never got led around by nobody.
Fred: Well, Gazoo had blackmail hanging over my head. Plus he'd gotten me addicted to heroine.
Gil: How long did this abuse go on? How long till this walk on the wild side got too much to handle?
Fred: I think it was when Gazoo talked Barney and I into having a foursome with our wives... with bondage. What Wilma and Betty didn't know was that it was all for the benefit of Gazoo, that voyeuristic pervert.
Wilma: When Betty and I found out years later that Gazoo had been at the window the whole time, we both threw up. It was like we'd been violated.
Fred: So, I finally stood up to him, but that was right when the show got cancelled.
Gil: A lot of people say it was Gazoo that caused The Flintstones to jump the shark.
Fred: Ya think? Of course it was Gazoo. And after we got cancelled he still had his drug dealing business to fall back on. I had nothing. Sure, I had a few guest spots on Laugh-a-Lympics and the Pebbles and Bam Bam spin-off, but for the most part we were broke. And when you're broke, you do crazy stuff.
Gil: Let me guess. You went back to Gazoo.
Fred: Yep. But it didn't last long. Bedrock PD had been staking him out and were ready to make a bust. It was my unlucky ass that ended up going down with him.
Wilma: I told Pebbles that daddy had to go away on business. I couldn't bear to tell her the truth.
Gil: What about your old job at The Quarry, Fred? Couldn't you have least gone back to what you were doing before the fame and fortune?
Fred: I tried. But Mr. Slate isn't exactly an understanding person. When I kept showing up showing up late, Slate ordered a random drug screening, and it tested positive for smack. I was out on my ass.
Fred: It gets worse. Prison changed me. When I got out, it was like I was possessed. My soul had become black as pitch. I'd become hard. I went back to The Quarry and kicked Mr. Slate's ass, and didn't give a damn about assault charges. I'd taken all I could from assholes like him, now it was time to give back.
Gil: Jesus. What did you do to him?
Fred: Not much. Just knocked him around. Scared him mostly. I could have easily killed him. Thank God I didn't.
Wilma: At home, he was no better. He ruled with an iron fist. I felt like his slave.
Barney: At this time I was out of the picture. Hanna and Barbera had offered me a gig as set designer on Scooby Doo. I missed Fred though. It would've been nice to have him with me.
Fred: Anyway, I went back to Gazoo to settle the score. He was living in a mansion up on the East side of Bedrock. It was full of whores and debauchery. Dennis Hopper was passed out on the couch. Turns out, Gazoo was into some heavy duty satanism.... and he wanted me to join in!
Gil: Holy cow! Why was he like this? Was he a sociopath?
Betty: In a weak moment, he confided in me that, back on Zetox, his father had been mentally and physically abusive to him. That night, I actually felt a little sorry for him.
Fred: Well, I didn't feel sorry for him. He'd ruined my life, and I wasn't about to lay the blame on his pop! There comes a time when the excuses stop, and you take responsibility for your own actions..... and that's exactly what I did when Gazoo showed up at my door with a bag of cocaine in one hand and a bottle of Ruffies in the other. And at that moment...
[Fred pauses a moment, then wipes a tear from his eye.]
Fred: ... at that moment, Pebbles was coming home late from a date with Bam Bam.... and she saw me with Gazoo.... and the cocaine. The look on her face shook me to the core. My hands clenched with fists of rage, and I went medieval on his ass. I took him within an inch of his life, but Wilma walked in on it.
Fred: And so it ends. I haven't seen Gazoo since. Slowly but surely, I was able to put my life back together. I'm just so thankful to have Wilma. She stuck by me through it all. I'm still working on getting my relationship with Pebbles repaired, but we've come a long way.
Gil: Did you find work?
Fred: [Laughs] It's funny how things work out. Barney, through his connections at Hanna Barbera, found out that we were entitled to residuals from syndication. I get a pretty decent check each month, and I'm able to enjoy my retirement.
Wilma: It was like that chapter of our lives never happened. We don't even say his name around the house. You can see why we were hesitant to talk about him.
Gil: I understand. So, where is Gazoo nowadays? Anybody seen him since this incident?
Barney: Last I heard, he had settled down and was living in Tampa. Got a job in computer networking, I think.
Gil: Any chance of you guys reuniting? Maybe healing some old wounds?
Fred: Not a chance. Time heals all wounds, and I think we all have moved on and would like to keep this behind us. I wish him the best, but would prefer to never have to lay eyes on him again.
Gil: That's certainly understandable. I thank you all for having the courage to talk with me about this sensitive matter. Maybe now we all can put this to rest once and for all. God bless.