After Monday, Fred and Wilma, Barney and Betty, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino are out of a job, for the prehistoric time being, at least.
The Labor Day holiday weekend will be the last under its current ownership for The Flintstones Bedrock City Theme Park and Camping Resort, based on the classic 1960s television cartoon series. The park is in Custer.
On Sept. 15, Custer Hospitality LCC takes over the 62-acre theme park, drive-in and campground from Joe Speckels, of Custer, whose family members helped build the attraction almost 50 years ago.
The theme park was built by Joe’s father, Eddie Speckels, and uncle Woody Speckels, along with Harry Hollmann and Milton, Darwin and Harold Steckleberg.
Joe Speckels said he is looking forward to a breather after running the business from 1989 through 1997 and returning after the October blizzard in 2013.
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“I plan to take a day off,” Speckels said. “I’m worn out.”
Custer Hospitality operates five hotels within the vicinity of the Flintstones theme park on Mount Rushmore Road and West Mount Rushmore Road in Custer.
“They’re good neighbors and a good part of the community,” Speckels said of the new owners. “I’m glad it didn’t go out-of-state and I’m glad it went to someone who has an appreciation of what the Flintstones mean to the community.”
The campground will remain open, and the Flintstones theme park could return as well, depending on negotiations with Warner Brothers, current holders of the rights to the original Hanna-Barbera TV series, 166 episodes of cartoon hi-jinks of a Stone Age family. The series ran from 1960 through 1966 and continues with reruns on cable TV's Cartoon Network and Boomerang.
“It’ll still be a campground, and it’s our intention to contact Warner Brothers to see if (the theme park) is something we can do,”said Steve Olson, director of operations for Custer Hospitality.