One of the biggest challenges for the production was the scale of the set. It took more than 300 lights (1.5 million watts) just to light up the famous strip with Stone Age signage paying its respects to the headliners of the time: Frank Stonenatra, Stony Bennett, Slime and the family Stone and Mick Jagged and the Stones.
The interiors were built on stage at Universal Studios. “The Casino was designed to look like a giant slot machine,” says Burian-Mohr about the set that was a cacophony of bright colors, yellow, reds and gold. The adjoining Cavern Club was reminiscent of the Carlsbad Caverns with its dark, glistening walls lit artificially. The Jungle Room had stalks of tropically-colored bamboo, the size of full grown trees, and the Clamshell bandstand was large enough to hold an entire band and their instruments. And the Rock Vegas suite came complete with its own conch shell jacuzzi.
Because of the size, especially of the Rock Vegas and Jungle Room sets and even the Casino set, a more sophisticated approach to lighting was required. The Design Lighting Group, with its automated board (that can change the color, direction and pattern of the lights) and lighting set-ups based on theatrical and rock ‘n’ roll technology, was enlisted to help.
Set among the verdant green hillsides of Paramount Ranch, the Slaghoople Manor was designed as a Neo-Classical style home, graced with Ionic columns, made from your standard dinosaur bones. The impressive mansion, surrounded by gardens filled with over-sized silk flowers and an abundance of natural foliage, was done in lavenders and blues, cooler colors to reflect the lifestyle of the blue bloods that inhabited this part of Stone Age society.
The Slaghoople Dining Room, set on stage at Universal, was patterned after the Hearst Castle and Julia Morgan’s architecture. The cornerstone of the room was a 40-foot long table that seated 28. Designed to look like a gigantic petrified log, the dining table was the site of Dino’s unwelcome entrance to Colonel Slaghoople’s birthday party. This scene was a real challenge, melding the talents of set decorator Jan Pascale, special effects wizard Brad Dalton, the Henson puppeteers and the visual effects team from Rhythm and Hues.
Douglas Smith, visual effects supervisor on the film as well as at visual effects company Rhythm & Hues, had an especially difficult role, or as he says, “My job is to work in a problem-solving capacity, trying to figure out how to creatively get the kind of shots the director wants, and in a way that is time effective and not too expensive.”
The Carnival, at Sage Park, initially seemed like one of the easier sets to construct. “We thought we would get a real Ferris wheel and cover it with foam to look like rock, but it didn’t work. Unlike real ones that set up one day and leave town the next, we had to build everything from scratch. It took two weeks just to set it up. Just your standard boulder and slab design,” Burian-Mohr says laughingly.
And no exterior scene would be complete without the famous Flintstone cars. New models introduced include the Cadirock, the Maserocki, the Bug, the Treebird, and the Masterdodge Ram truck. Returning favorites included Fred’s Flintmobile, Pearl’s Shelby and Barney’s birch log. All are standard “foot” power drive.
Prop master Russell Bobbitt and his department were responsible for more than 27,000 props (not including those used as set decoration props). Among the favorites were rock crystal martini glasses, complete with olives the size of avocados, the Stonewear eating utensils, a bar stocked with Perrier Jurassic champagne and Seagrock’s Seven Shell whiskey, and platters of food that would satisfy any hungry Neanderthal.