The Great Gazoo
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|The Great Gazoo|
|The Flintstones character|
The Great Gazoo
|First appearance||"The Great Gazoo"|
|Last appearance||"My Fair Freddy"|
|Portrayed by||Harvey Korman
Alan Cumming in Viva Rock Vegas
The Great Gazoo is a tiny, green, floating alien who was exiled to Earth from his home planet Zetox as punishment for having invented a doomsday machine, a weapon of immense destructive power. His invention was a button which if pressed would destroy the universe in an explosive "ZAM," though he insists he made it on a whim ("I wanted to be the first on my block to have one!") with no intent of using it. Gazoo was discovered by Fred and Barney when his flying saucer crashed; Gazoo recognizes Fred's and Barney's world as prehistoric Earth, implying Zetox banished him through time as well as space.
Gazoo refers to Fred and Barney as "dum-dums" and constantly causes problems for them. He can materialize and dematerialize objects, teleport, freeze time, travel through time, and perform other remarkable feats, but when he attempts to help out Fred and Barney, he usually ends up causing even more trouble. The only people who are able to see him are Fred, Barney, and the children, because they believe in him; animals also can see him. A running gag is that Fred argues with Gazoo while Wilma believes that he is talking to himself. When their daughter, Pebbles, says "Gazoo," Wilma thinks Pebbles is sneezing.
The story arc regarding Gazoo trying to return home is never resolved because of the cancellation of the original series, and the character does not appear, nor is he referred to, in the immediate series follow-up The Man Called Flintstone (1966) or any of the later spin-off TV series or animated movies, rendering him effectively dropped from continuity.
Creation and reception
Gazoo's name actually derives from the 1909 hit song, "King of the Bungaloos," by Charles Straight and Gene Greene. In it the narrator explains, "I just received a cable 'spatch from my ancestral home. It tells me I'm the great Gazoo, successor to the throne."
Because Gazoo is introduced into the show midway through the final season and is considered by some to be an absurd character, he is often cited by fans and critics of the show as being an example of the show's having "jumped the shark." In all, Gazoo appeared in 11 episodes.
Apart from the original TV series, he appears in a Fruity Pebbles cereal commercial as part of a promotion for a contest where consumers would have to try to find boxes of all-orange cereal pieces, and more recently has become the mascot for Marshmallow Mania Pebbles cereal. He is also a character in Flintstones vitamins, and is a central character in the video game The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy.
Appearances in other Warner/HB productions
- The Great Gazoo appears in The Flintstones: The Rescue of Dino & Hoppy NES game and the arcade game "Flintstones Memory Match"
- In the episode of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast titled "Pavement", the Great Gazoo makes a cameo - only long enough to be introduced, saying the catchphrase "Toodle-loo, dum-dums!" and disappearing.
- In the Duck Dodgers cartoon Attack of the Drones, Gazoo appears in a parody of the Jedi Council.
- The Great Gazoo had a major role in the second live-action film, The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, where he is played by Alan Cumming and, instead of being sent to Earth as punishment, he has to study humanity's mating habits because he is the most expendable of his people. In this appearance, he is portrayed in more positive tone as a supporting protagonist who serves as an ally to Fred and Barney.
- Charlton Comics published a short-lived comic book focusing on the character in the mid-1970s.
- The Great Gazoo is also referenced in The Simpsons episode "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase", a metafictional episode looking at alleged future developments in the series that would never come to pass, which include Ozmodiar, a floating green alien that only Homer could see. A Great Gazoo-like character is also referred to twice in The Simpsons episode HOMR.
- The Great Gazoo appears in the Family Guy episode "Wasted Talent", voiced by Seth MacFarlane.
- Greene, Gene, and Straight, Charles, King of the Bungaloos (Music House of Laemmle: Chicago, 1909), p. 1.
- The Great Gazoo in atomicavenue.com