Beyond the Marquee: The Web-Series (Episode 5) : Flintstone Fanatic

For 40 year-old Dave Nimitz, there isn’t a time in his life when he cannot remember Fred Flintstone being a part of it. Since a very early age, there was something magical and alluring about “The Flintstones”, the classic animated TV show about the modern stone-age family, that always entertained him. After four decades of treasure hunting at thrift stores, swap meets and garage sales; Dave Nimitz continues to build an amazing collection of Flintstones memorabilia which has become a part of his family’s legacy.

Dave Nimitz with some of his FLINTSTONE collection

Dave has spent the past 23 years in Hollywood working as an Animator, inking and painting on some of the biggest animated films from Iron Giant, Lilo & Stich and Kung Fu Panda, to name a few. But when his day ends, he returns to his 2 bedroom apartment home in Tarzana, California and enters the town of Bedrock.  Within the small confines of his room, every inch of wall space from floor to ceiling is a testament to the classic 1960-1966 animated sit-com, “The Flintstones.”  The collection is impressive, to say the least, as decades of plastic figurines of every size, shape and color sit meticulously stacked on shelves, in cabinets and spilling over onto the bedroom floor. It’s within this room that Fred, Barney, Wilma, Betty, Dino, Hop-Hop, Pebbles, BamBam and Baby Puss have found a home with not just a fan, but an experienced collector. Quiz Dave about any piece in his room and he can tell you what company produced it, what year it came out, how many were made and usually when and where he got it.

Dave's collection thru the years...

His quiet and monochromatic personality is a contrast to the Flintstones loud and saturated world in which he surrounds himself. It started almost 40 years ago in Studio City, California when Dave’s mother, Adelaide Factor (an actress, talent manager, agent to classic comedian Soupy Sales and an on-screen TV extra), watched in fascination as her baby boy would thrill to the reruns of “The Flintstones”.  It became her mission to surround him with his new-found friends in the form of Flintstones merchandising. Dave’s first memory of a Flintstone toy in his home was that of a stuffed Fred doll made by the Knickerbocker company.  From there it grew to figures, banks, games, books, bed sheets, puzzles, curtains, records and more. Clearly, what started as a playful hobby shared between mother and son soon turned into a family obsession that progressively filled the shelves in their home.

A glimpse at just some of Dave's Flintstones memorabilia in his home

Before long, the family was taking trips to BEDROCK CITY in Valle, Arizona, a touristy roadside attraction en route to the Grand Canyon.  The site pays homage to the Flintstones with replica stone homes, a drive-in themed restaurant, walk-around characters and even a life-size brontosaurus slide. While there, Dave’s mom bought EVERYTHING for sale; toys, post cards, mugs, even things that weren’t for sale, like the menus and curtains on the windows. Dave proudly boasts that he still has all of that in storage with the rest of his collection that has yet to see the light of day.  He recalls a visit to BEDROCK with his mom when she had an epiphany saying, “One day we should take this over and make it our own, to bring the collection here to showcase and share like a museum.”  No doubt, his mother knew that Dave’s growing Flintstones collection would need a proper home someday.

As Dave got older, his interest in the ginormous collection and all things Flintstones waned as its coolness factor became an issue.   “My mom had Fred Flintstone slippers she would always wear around the house.  They were big and had a stuffed Fred head on the end of them.  I was out of high school, in my early 20’s and I didn’t like when she had them on when my friends came over.  I was younger and dumber back then,”  Dave says.  With her collecting partner-in-crime now grown up, Adelaide packed up the Flintstones collection and placed it into storage. “She just knew that one day this would all be worth something”. Nimitz’s talent of drawing eventually became a career working as an Ink & Painter. Now fixed on digitally painting robots, aliens and animals, he barely had time to think about the whereabouts of his Barney Rubble toothbrush and Dino the dinosaur coin bank. But sometimes, no matter how far away you try and get from something, it still ends up finding you. During the late 90’s while working on projects on the Warner Brothers Studio lot, he met and developed a friendship with Joe Barbera of Hanna-Barbera fame. Soon Dave was finding himself having lunch with the father of the Flintstones himself.

David and his mom, Adelaide

Sadly, Dave’s mom passed away in 2001, leaving the entire Flintstones collection in his care.

In 2008, Nimitz ran into Maggie Roberts, the long-time secretary to Joe Barbera. Knowing of his collection and friendship with Joe, she one day rewarded Dave with a box full of Flintstones and other animated treasures from Joe’s old office. It was this moment that gave rebirth to his archived collection and prompted Nimitz to wipe away the cobwebs from his storage bins and uncrate his past. All of Dave’s most sought-after and prized pieces reside in his home, while the rest of his collection is stored in off-site garages belonging to his dad and a close friend. He boasts, “I do have a Flintstones vending machine in storage because its just too big to have here.”  Dave also continues to collect and acquire hard-to-find pieces for his collection. “Disney collectibles are everywhere, there’s no shortage of it or places to find them. Hanna Barbera is a dying company, all they really make now is Scooby-Doo.  Flintstones items are a very hard-find nowadays, I’m very thankful that my mom did this all for me.”

A Yabba-Dabba-Doozy of a life-time obsession...

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

11 Responses to “Beyond the Marquee: The Web-Series (Episode 5) : Flintstone Fanatic”

  1. Karin says:

    When me and my sister were kids, we got a Flinstones puzzel, the one that they are all in the garden, mowing the grass. Alas I do not know the number. I am searching for this puzzle for a long time now, but I cannot find anything on the internet, not even een picture. Does anybody here know anything about it?

  2. Sue Fredette says:

    I also love the flintstones.My collection is so small . But I love it all….

  3. Megan says:

    Just wondering if anyone could help me out. I am looking for a fred flintstone hat that is the color of his loincloth. My dad lost his out on the Potomac river many many years ago and it was his favorite. If any one has any information where I might be able to get ahold of one please email me at thanks

  4. Debra Platt says:

    great collection I did collect flintstone items also but I am down sizing living area and the collection must go. would you be interested in any items. I do have some very old items. some items I did not see on your blog . if interested email me and we can talk about it. thankyou Deb

  5. Ron Atkins says:

    We currently have a VERY rare Jaymar Wooden Flintstones Stoneway Piano up for sale on eBay. We have not been able to find another one available anywhere to compare it for a price estimate. Everyone we have contacted is interested in buying so they will not give us a value. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

  6. Tim Krete says:

    Dave great collection , i recently saved from the garbage a 1972 (if i remember correctly) kids fred flintstone locker. i dont know if it is rare , i am at work currently but am interested in any info you may have on it.It’s about 5 ft. tall and a ft. square. This is my buiseness email but please don’t hesitate to use it.I can send you a picture if required.

    thanks so much Tim.

  7. Raymond Cox says:

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dave a few years ago and we fast became friends. We found out that we had both been following each others postings on Flickr in the Funtastic World of Hanna Barbera Group. Then we started sharing our past experiences within the industry, especially related to H & B, and found out we had a lot of the same interests and have worked with and knew many of the same folks.

    As our friendship grew Dave invited me to go with him on many of his swap meet excursions, and I can proudly say that I was with him when he found some of the incredible additions to his already vast collection of the Flintstones, and H&B.

    Dave is not only an expert on the Flintstones merchandise, but he has a wealth of knowledge on all the HB characters and merchandising. Seeing his collection in person is awesome and hearing his stories on each item is amazing. He is truly a devoted fan and someone I am proud to call a friend. A wonderful profile and thanks for sharing it with us.

  8. Floyd Norman says:

    Hey Dave! That was fantastic. I was a big fan of your dad. Now, it seems I’m a fan of your mom as well.

    Thanks so much for sharing. Truly awesome collection.


  9. Marisha says:

    Hey Dave!! This is spectacular! Thanks to your sweet mother and you for gathering such an unbelievable collection and for setting a goal to preserve it. Hope in the future we all can enjoy your Museum! Go for it!

  10. Tony Benedict says:

    Very cool David. You are indeed a lucky man. Wish I had known your mom and dad. I may have sipped a martini at the bar of the MONEY TREE while your dad was filling the room with his music. Very likely. I spent a lot of time here in the late fifties. What an interesting family. Folks like you make folks like me feel very good. Best, TB

  11. Doreen says:

    What an awesome collection! 🙂

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress