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The Flintstones without Betty? // No more, says vitamin maker

The maker of Flintstones Vitamins has decided to reunite Barney and Betty _ in pill form.

Twenty-five years after the children's supplement based on The Flintstones cartoon series was introduced, Bayer Corp. is adding a Betty Rubble vitamin to the chewable crew from Bedrock.

Before making the move, Bayer asked consumers to vote, using a toll-free telephone number. Those who took the trouble to cast ballots overwhelmingly favored Betty _ 15,821 to 1,492.

But to make room for Betty, the company decided it had to lose one of the other vitamins _ Fred, Wilma, Barney, Dino, Pebbles, Bam-Bam or the Flintmobile.

"We decided to bag the car. Hopefully people won't be too angry," said Karen Lazan, product manager for the vitamins.

Betty's inexplicable absence started gaining attention last year after the movie version of The Flintstones came out. Rosie O'Donnell, who played Betty, mentioned the snub in a national TV interview.

After that the Oregon-based Betty Club _ 150 women named Betty _ started circulating petitions urging vitamin status. And three musicians from Atlanta formed a band called "Betty's Not A Vitamin."

Lazan said she didn't know why Betty wasn't a vitamin in the first place, but theorized that it might have been related to her waistline.

"There was some fear the tablet would keep breaking," she said. "After all, Betty's waist is pretty thin."

So the new vitamin's designers plan on depicting Betty with her hands on her hips. That would help distinguish her from Wilma, Betty's similarly svelte friend, who is depicted as a vitamin with one hand on her waist, the other behind her head.

Bayer, a unit of Germany's Bayer AG, took over the product line in 1978 through its acquisition of Miles Inc.