We’re just going to jump straight to the point because this is one of the greatest things we’ve ever written for this site. During the 80’s drunk people used to call Hanna-Barbera studios to ask what the hell Barney Rubble’s job was because they couldn’t figure it out and it was upsetting them.
To explain, in Flintstones canon, while Fred Flintstone’s job is made explicitly clear in the opening 8 seconds of the show’s main title song, what Barney Rubble actually does for a living was for some inexplicable reason never been directly confirmed in a single episode of the show during its 166 episode run.
To make things more confusing, Barney seems to have have a nicer house and car than Fred and his wife is at least 3 times as fine, suggesting that he earns significantly more money than he does, even though he doesn’t appear to have steady employment.
For example in one episode Barney is shown working as a chef, while in another he’s a photographer for some reason. Hell, there’s even an episode where it’s revealed that Barney is actually a secret agent. This disparity in how the B-man earns his money was so troubling for fans of the show that it was literally one of the single most common questions Hanna-Barbera studios ever received about The Flintstones.
According to David Feldman, the author ever-popular Imponderables series of books, when he called up a representative from the company to ask about this very question to settle the debate once and for all, he was told that it wasn’t uncommon for them to receive calls at 1 in the morning from drunk fans who just couldn’t sleep without knowing what Barney wrote on his tax return.
In fact, this was such a commonplace occurrence that the security guard in charge of answering the phones at night would answer the phone saying:
“I know why you’re calling, you want to know what Barney Rubble did for a living. He worked at the quarry. But why don’t you call back after opening hours?”
Something Feldman experienced first hand when he originally called the company to do research for one of his books. When he eventually called back during opening hours, he was told by a company representative that Hanna-Barbera studios’ official stance was that Barney worked at the quarry along with Fred, you know even though he’s never seen doing anything there.
But the important thing to keep in mind here is that people used to drunk dial an company that made cartoons because they couldn’t sleep without knowing how Barney Rubble earned money. We’ll be honest, the question we’d have asked is how he managed to get a woman as fine as Betty to marry him, but that’s just us.