Monday, May 10, 2010

Pedro Picapiedra (aka Fred Flintstone)

One of the things I liked best about teaching English as a Second Language (besides the for-the-most-part-awesome- students) was learning new things about your own world.

Case in point. Spanish speaking countries repackaged The Flintstones cartoons and renamed them. This came up with some trivia I had given the students. If I remember correctly, it was that the first TV couple shown in bed together were Fred and Wilma Flintstone. And no, I was not that kind of teacher. It was a fact list of Americana.

Well, the students from Spain had absolutely no idea what I was talking about.

It went something like this:

Me: So Fred and Wilma Flintstone were the first couple shown in bed together.

Spanish Student (SS): Who are Fred and Wilma?

Me: What? They didn't have this cartoon in Spain? It's about the Stone Age and there are 2 couples who are neighbors. Fred and Barney work in a stone quarry (although to be fair, there's no reason they should know the English words for stone quarry).

SS: No, I don't know this program.

Me: C'mon! They had a baby dinosaur named Dino and Fred drove a car that was powered with his feet. You must know it. It's super famous.

SS: Ah, you mean Pedro Picapiedra (Peter Stonecutter) and Pablo Marmol!!!! (Paul Marble--there's apparently no Spanish equivalent of Barney)

Me: What? Who? What are you talking about?

That's when I learned that Spanish basically repackages most/all American movies and TV and gives them a Spanish name.

Another case in point--we were all talking about Die Hard with Bruce Willis (don't ask why. We often got off point and I just ran with it). Again, another SS was like what? I have no idea what this movie is.

That's when he finally realized, oh you mean "La selva de vidrio!". (aka The glass jungle). That's what they called the movie in Spain.

I'm not 100% sure of the logic that goes behind importing an American movie and then changing the name so that everybody outside of Spain has no idea what movie you're talking about, but then again the Spanish Department of Culture doesn't consult me on these matters so I'll just have to be content with not knowing.

However, the Flintstones example is one of my favorites. I love that I have a new way to think about a childhood favorite.

Now, I just need to find the Spanish version of Nick at Nite and catch up on my Pedro Picapiedra and Pablo Marmol!


  1. Very interesting...I did not know that Fred and Wilma were such societal trendsetters!

  2. I love not only the way you share about these things, but the humor in how you share it. And it's cool how you taught these students as well using culture, and you also learned some things for yourself in the process about their culture. It's interesting how what we think is the norm is thought of differently or known differently around the world! I'll have to take a good look at comparisons between Dutch & American programming one day, for the fun of it all :-)

  3. Haha, thanks ladies! Learning about different cultures is so fun! And endlessly fascinating =)

  4. Disclaimer: Apparently Pedro is Peter in Spanish. We were talking about the Flinstones before I wrote this blog and I asked him, "What's Pedro?" which he took to mean, "Which one is Pedro" and told me Fred. Oh well, at least now I'll always remember that Pedro is Peter in Spanish.

  5. I think the names of movies are changed to make the plots more obvious. At least I think that's the case here in Brazil, where movie advertising isn't as prevalent. So for example, that Mandy Moore movie "Because I Said So" is called "My Mom Wants Me to Get Married" in Portuguese/Brazil. I think it's less cultural and more based on Marketing. That way, people can walk into the theater on a whim and choose something to watch.

  6. Danielle-WTF is Because I said so? I think you're watching too many chick flicks down there. lol

  7. Hahaha. I noticed this the first time in Germany with that movie what was it?? How to lose a guy in ten day? The title sounds nice. It grabs your attention let's say. In German it translates to "He lives with his parents". interesting?

  8. my favorite is that the Jetsons are Los Supersónicos. How cute is that! And you know what's really funny? Though these programs are all renamed etc in Spanish, in Portuguese they're pretty much left the same. I wonder who was in charge of that decision.

    Oh! I just remembered another one I love. Los Pitufos. You know, those little blue guys that live in a mushroom village. Fun!

  9. I'm fine with changing the names, but Wilma with blonde hair and Betty in pink? No. That's just wrong. :)

  10. Hey maybe someone can settle a dispute for me. My Mexican wife swears that Fred Flintstone used to yell "Un momento! Un momento!" This of course means "one moment!" and I certainly don't remember him saying this at all. Did they change Yabba Dabba Doo! to "Un momento!" or what?? If not, how DID they translate "Yabba Dabba Doo!"?

  11. I asked my husband if he shouted Un Momento and he says definitely no but I forgot to ask him if they said Yabba Dabba Do (hopefully they didn't =)