Bernard "Barney" Rubble is a fictional character who appears in the televisionanimated series The Flintstones. He is the diminutive, blonde-haired cavemanhusband of Betty Rubble and adoptive father of Bamm-Bamm Rubble. His best friends are his next door neighbors, Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
Barney's personality was based on that of Ed Norton on the 1950s television seriesThe Honeymooners, played by Art Carney. Like Ralph Kramden on The Honeymooners, Fred was constantly on the lookout for get-rich-quick schemes, while Barney, like Norton, found life satisfactory as it was but participated in said schemes because Fred was his friend. Usually after Fred had hatched one of his plans, Rubble would usually show his agreement by laughing and saying "er huh huh... OK, Fred!" or "huh huh huh... whatever you say, Fred!"
Barney's interests included bowling, playing pool, poker, tinkering around in Fred's garage and playing golf (though there were episodes where Barney did not know how to play golf). He, like Fred, was also a member of the Loyal Order of Water Buffalos lodge and its predecessor in earlier episodes, the Loyal Order of Dinosaurs. He is also a talented pianist and drummer. In the first episode of the original series he was an inventor of a human-powered helicopter. Though clearly depicted as being in better shape than Fred, he isn't shown to be quite as enthusiastic a sportsman as Fred is. This distinction can be attributed to Fred's fondness for food, though Barney is shown to be almost as capable of excessive appetite on a number of occasions.
While the mid-1980s spinoff series The Flintstone Kids depicts Barney as a child, the series seems to be mostly apocryphal due to its presenting Barney as a childhood friend of Wilma and Betty (versus the original series' assertion that they first met as young adults). Still, the series' assertions that Barney has at least one younger brother, Dusty, was a childhood friend of Fred, and was the son of artist Flo Rubble and car dealer Robert "Honest Bob" Rubble might be taken as valid. It is suggested in the original series that Barney grew up at 142 Boulder Avenue in Granitetown. The original series also suggested in one episode that Barney was the nephew of Fred's boss, Mr. Slate, though subsequent episodes and spinoffs don't seem to support this claim. As young adults, Barney and Fred worked asbellhops at a resort, where they first met Wilma and Betty, who were working as cigarette girls. Eventually, Barney married Betty (as Fred did Wilma).
Several episodes and spinoffs suggest that Barney, along with Fred, spent some time in the army early in their marriages, though said references may be to Barney and Fred's military service in the first season episode "The Astr'nuts."
While the subject of Barney's occupation (or even if he had one) was never given during the original series, the majority of subsequent spinoffs suggest at some point after the original series, Barney went to work at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company quarry alongside Fred as a fellow dino-crane operator. An early episode of the original series does have a brief scene of Barney working at the Granite Building. When speaking to an upper-crust snob in another episode, Betty declares Barney is in "top-secret" work; but that might have been a cover for a low-level job or unemployment, or perhaps an in-joke meaning that Barney's job was unknown even to the show's writers. It could also be possible that both Fred and Barney work at the quarry, but may work in different sections of it, under different bosses. In one episode, Barney's boss tells him to "put down his broom," which implies some sort of janitorial work is involved.
During the fourth season of the original series, Betty and Barney found an abandoned infant on their doorstep, by the name of "Bamm-Bamm." A court battle ensued between the couple and a wealthy man who also had wanted to adopt Bamm-Bamm. Barney and Betty were successful in their efforts to adopt Bamm-Bamm because the wealthy man gave up (after winning the case) upon learning his wife became pregnant, after which he became a staple character on the series. For a number of episodes after Bamm-Bamm's debut, there is no sign of him on the show. In the fifth season, the family buys a pet hopparoo (a combination of a kangaroo and dinosaur) named Hoppy.
When Bamm-Bamm grew into a teenager, Barney joined the Bedrock police force with Fred for a period of time as part-time officers. Both characters were paired with the Shmoo from Li'l Abner. He later became grandfather to Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm's children, Chip and Roxy.
Although he and Fred are best friends, even he (Barney) lost his patience with him sometimes. The best example comes in "I Yabba-Dabba Do!": after losing his patience with Fred for ruining Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm's wedding, he decided to leave Bedrock. He changed his mind after Fred apologized.
In several of the original episodes of the series, Barney can be seen with his eyes depicted as two ovals or (occasionally) circles shown only as dark circular outlines. Other episodes show his eyes as being completely filled in with black, very similar to Wilma's eyes. However, there are three occasions where he was seen with whites in his eyes, in the episodes "The Engagement Ring," "Ventriloquist Barney" and "A Haunted House Is Not a Home". In "The Engagement Ring," the whites in Barney's eyes appear when Fred suggests that he spar with a fearsome boxer in order to earn enough money to buy Betty a belated engagement ring. In "Ventriloquist Barney," the whites in Barney's eyes appear when he describes the terrifying facial features of wrestler Bronto Crushrock. In "A Haunted House Is Not a Home," the whites in Barney's eyes appear when Fred hits him on the head after Barney frightens him by gargling in the bathroom too loudly.
Unlike Fred, Barney has never been shown with any woman aside from his wife. However, an exception for this is made in The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas when he is invited to go to a buffet with Roxy, though he is not married to Betty at this point, but they are dating. Betty sees Barney wiping cream off Roxy after he accidentally knocks a cake onto her. Betty is hurt, mistakenly believing this to be an intimate gesture, although the matter was cleared up later. Another exception is made in A Flintstones Christmas Carol when an actress named Maggie appears and every man at the Quarry, including Barney, is surprised over her beauty.
Mel Blanc was the principal voice of Barney Rubble, although Daws Butler (who previously voiced Ned Morton, a mouse version of Ed Norton — the inspiration for Barney Rubble — in the Looney Tunes short The Honey-Mousers) briefly assumed the role while Blanc recovered from a car wreck. Since Blanc's death, Frank Welker, Jeff Bergman, Stephen Stanton, Kevin Michael Richardson, Brad Abrell, Seth MacFarlane, and Scott Innes have all performed the role. Hamilton Camp voiced Barney in The Flintstone Kids.
In the 1994 live action Flintstones movie, Barney was portrayed by Rick Moranis. In the 2000 prequel, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, he was portrayed by Stephen Baldwin. In a Toshiba commercial he was voiced by Scott Innes.
- In The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy episode "A Grim Prophecy," Grim is shown as a child in the Stone Age, just starting his job as the Grim Reaper. He has a list of living things to reap, and visible on the list is "B. Rubble," which could be either Barney or Betty. During the credits of Billy & Mandy's Big Boogey Adventure it reveals what happened to some of the characters afterwards. In the picture shown when it says "Creeper made a fortune selling time traveling pants," Creeper is shown warping into the Stone Age, appearing in front of three Neanderthals. They are apelike versions of Fred Flintstone, Wilma Flintstone, and Barney Rubble.