The Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes (or simply the Water Buffaloes) is a fictional and very exclusive men-only fraternal organization operating within Bedrock with a long and dedicated history in the franchise of The Flintstones. It serves as Fred and Barney's main club and hangout.
The Order itself has been around for quite some time, apparently since the days their forefathers hunted the mighty Water Buffaloes for which the organization was named.
The Water Buffalo Lodge is the organization's main base of operation and where all their meetings and events are held. It is a large stone age building whose appearance varies between episode, but is consistently portrayed as large and having a large sign up front that says the club's name. Its interior usually appears as a large auditorium or theater where the members sit and listen to the orders and schedules made by the Grand Poohbah who stands behind a podium to instruct fellow members on the purpose of the meetings. After formalities are completed, the members can go about their business, playing poker, drinking cactus juice, gambling or enjoying whatever entertainment the lodge is offering on a particular night, such as dancing girls or comedians. Despite its exclusiveness, the lodge does occasionally host events open to the public, specifically charity benefits, such as auctions, dances, talent shows, or any other sort of contest or form of public entertainment.
The Grand Poohbah is the sole leader of the order and the main host of all of its meetings. The Grand Poohbah is an elected position, and elections are occasionally held to decide who will be the new Grand Poohbah whenever a previous one is forced to step down. Sam Slagheap has consistently been portrayed as the leader of the Water Buffaloes throughout most of the franchise, although others have also held the position briefly, including Fred and Barney who both held the title for a brief period. However, Slagheap always returns as the leader.
Aside from the Grand Poohbah, there are other important positions within the order as necessary for any large clubs, such as treasurer or entertainment director.
In accordance with Water Buffalo rules, it is forbidden to share club secrets with outsiders, and severe reprimands can be handed out to members who break the rules or engage in "conduct unbecoming of a Water Buffalo", such as acting unmanly as mentioned in "The Rolls Rock Caper" or acting disgracefully or idiotically in public. However it does not seem to be against the rules for club members to play pranks on one another, and in "Ten Little Flintstones" Fred implies that whole groups of members can take part in a prank against a fellow member.
Junior Water Buffaloes
In the episode, "Freddy's Rocky Road to Karate" from The Flintstone Kids, the Loyal Order of the Junior Water Buffaloes (known as the Royal Order of the Junior Water Buffaloes or Junior Water Buffaloes) was a very exclusive boys-only fraternity organization which was led by Freddy as the Junior Grand Poohbah along with their childhood friends, Barney, Nate Slate and Philo Quartz.
In the episode, "The Long, Long Weekend" and the comic story, "Where the Buffalettes Roam" from the nineteenth issue of The Flintstones and the Jetsons, The Loyal Order of Water Buffalettes (also known as Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes Women's Auxilary, The Loyal Order of the Buffalettes or simply as either Water Buffalettes or Buffalettes) was a very exclusive women-only sorority organization led by Slagheap and later by Wilma and her friend Betty after they started their own lodge to compete at a charity challenge.
In the episode, "The Long, Long Weekend" they wore normal-sized horned orange hats and in the comic story, "Where the Buffalettes Roam" from the nineteenth issue of The Flintstones and the Jetsons, they wore small horned purple hats and a flower symbol (four white petals and a golden disk floret).
In the episode, "Three Days of the Mastodon", The Loyal Order of the Wooly Mammoths (also known as the Wooly Mammoths) was a very exclusive men-only fraternal organization led by the Grand Wooly Mammoth and Brother Quartz after they started the Bedrock Mastodon Lodge along with only two members, including Fred and Frank Frankenstone in their mammoth costumes.
- The organization is a spoof of real-life fraternal, men-only organizations, such as the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine (or Shriners for short), with the Water Buffalo symbol even being based on the Shriners' logo, while the name of the club parallels that of the Loyal Order of Moose.
- In two episodes of the original series, "Hot Lips Hannigan" and "The Golf Champion", Fred and Barney were part of the Loyal Order of Dinosaurs, with the Water Buffaloes being a different group that was first introduced in "The Long, Long Weekend". Eventually though, the Loyal Order of Dinosaurs was dropped and replaced by the Water Buffaloes entirely after the episode, "The Golf Champion" with no mention of how Fred and Barney's orders changed. And later the order's name would be changed one last time in the episode "Fred Strikes Out" where it was changed again to the Exulted Lodge of Elegant Elks.
- Also of note is that the hats for the Order of Dinosaurs were different, including small black tricorne hats that were similar to those worn by members of the Knights Templar of America in the episode, "Hot Lips Hannigan", and the iconic horned blue fur hats with white horns and a golden or white symbol for the rest of the Flintstones franchise.