Photo: Thomas Kohler
Until I grew into a freakishly long body and started chasing girls—or awkwardly stumbling after them, to be exact—I could’ve lived off of Flintstones Push-Up Pops (and Golden Grahams for morning nutrition, naturally). That’s all I really remember eating as a kid in the summertime.
And, damn, did I eat.
Some kids handle snacks like drunk birds, where they do things like color-code and set aside Skittles “for later.” I was in the other category of youngins, the ones who eat and live in the moment.
So as a child without any regard whatsoever for “manners” or “sitting still,” I was a constant threat to…well, everything—my parents’ carpet, my grandparents’ couch, pets’ whiskery faces, you name it. It was probably safer to hand me a bomb than dessert. If I had an ice cream cone in my hand, there was only a 5% chance most of it wasn’t going on the ground or the rest of my face.
Imagine my shock and awe when Flintstone Push-Ups hit the scene.
It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if a long-hidden conspiracy arose about push-ups being designed by parent-hired scientists back in the day. Not only were they fun for kids, push-ups were a straight up genius invention.
With its cardboard cylinder, you couldn’t make a mess. There was hardly a risk of spillage, and you didn’t wind up with a sticky face or hand since you were, by way of an elevator-like stick, only methodically exposed to reasonable portions at a time. The pressure was off! With push-ups, I instantly went from deplorable house guest to borderline tolerable.
The delicious sherbet prison concept wasn’t new in the 90s, though, and Nestlé’s push-ups still exist today. But without the friends and family of dedicated employee and doting husband-father Fred Flintstone, it kind of feels like a sham.
Fred and his kin were always there for you, from start to finish, like a good waiter always checking in on you without doing finger guns. Yes, I’d say, I am still enjoying this tasteful amount of sherbert, Fred, thank you.
The whole line-up was near flawless. Fred was Yabba Dabba Doo Orange, Wilma was Limerock Lime, Barney was Raspberry Rubble, Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm split Cave Kid Cherry, Dino was Granite Grape, and then Baby Puss was Bedrock Berry for some reason.
I always thought it was weird they chose the pet cat over Barney’s wife. Like, was Betty’s raw sexuality a concern for Nestlé, given that she was a stone-cold dime piece who married beneath her?
But like all good things—rainbows, the Beatles, Kirk Cameron’s likeability—they come to an end. That’s why you treasure them. Flintstone Push-Ups hit fever pitch in the mid-90s and it just wasn’t sustainable. How could it be?
Looking back, it feels like their market presence melted as quickly as they did. Yet, if you ate a push-up right, even the sloppiest eater could leave someone’s house with a clean hand and a cleaner conscience.