Ari­zona’s ‘The Flint­stones’ theme park up for sale — for US$2 mil.

The China Post - - BUSINESS - BY TERRY TANG

“Flint­stones” fans with a few mil­lion dol­lars now have a chance to rule over the town of Bedrock and own a page right out of his­tory.

The owner of Flint­stones Bedrock City, a north­ern Ari­zona theme park de­signed around the Hanna-Bar­bera car­toon, said Fri­day she is sell­ing the prop­erty for US$2 mil­lion. Linda Speck­els said she is ready to re­tire from op­er­at­ing the park and camp­ground in Wil­liams, about 30 miles (50 kilo­me­ters) south of the Grand Canyon.

“I’m 73 years old. I don’t have that many more years of ad­ven- ture time left,” said Speck­els, who has been try­ing to sell the place for more than a year. “I love the prop­erty. But I feel like it’s time for some­body else to come in and en­joy it and do some­thing with it.”

The price tag, how­ever, does not in­clude the im­age li­cens­ing of ev­ery­one’s fa­vorite mod­ern, stoneage fam­ily. Warner Bros. cur­rently owns Hanna-Bar­bera prop­er­ties. But Speck­els has re­newed her own deal over the years with dif­fer­ent li­cen­sors. New own­ers would have to work out their own li­cens­ing agree­ment.

Speck­els said she is op­ti­mistic that any­one who would care enough to buy the park would be able to work out a deal on the li­cens­ing. She, per­son­ally, would like to see the pre­his­toric props stay. “A lot of peo­ple think of this as art, es­pe­cially ar­chi­tects and pho­tog­ra­phers,” she said.

Speck­els started op­er­at­ing Bedrock City with her hus­band, Fran­cis “Hudi” Speck­els, in 1972. The “Flint­stones” at­trac­tion was a spinoff of one Fran­cis Speck­els’ par­ents started in Custer, South Dakota. Fran­cis Speck­els died in 1990, but Linda Speck­els con­tin­ued run­ning the park. The stone age vil­lage in­cludes Fred’s Diner restau­rant, gift shop, theater and RV park. Among the at­trac­tions is a train that rides through a vol­cano and a slide down a di­nosaur’s tail. The US$2 mil­lion pur­chase also in­cludes 30 acres (12 hectares) of land.

Speck­els’ daugh­ter, Holly Hulen, who oc­ca­sion­ally helps out, said busi­ness has been good the past year and that the park is still a draw.

“She has sur­vived 42 years, which is re­ally amaz­ing for a small busi­ness,” Hulen said. “But she’s go­ing to be 74. It’s time for her to re­tire.”

“The Flint­stones” was one of sev­eral popular an­i­mated sta­ples cre­ated by Bill Hanna and Joe Bar­bera. The pro­gram, a par­ody of “The Hon­ey­moon­ers” TV com­edy star­ring Jackie Glea­son, fol­lowed the an­tics of Fred Flint­stone, his wife, Wilma, and their friends, Bar­ney and Betty Rub­ble. The an­i­mated show was one of the most watched prime-time TV shows in the 1960s. It was re­vived in the 1980s and spawned sev­eral TV spe­cials and live-ac­tion film adap­ta­tions.

A lot of par­ents vis­it­ing the park like be­ing able to in­tro­duce their chil­dren to “The Flint­stones,” Speck­els said.

“We’re get­ting a lot of third­gen­er­a­tion fam­i­lies with kids and their grand­par­ents,” she said. “Every­body can re­late to Fred and Wilma.”

(Left) This un­dated photo pro­vided by Holly Hulen shows a makeshift vol­cano at the Flint­stones Bedrock City theme park in Wil­liams, Ari­zona.

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