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The Jetsons
Jetsonslogo640x480.jpg
The Jetsons title card.
Format Animated sitcom
Science Fiction
Voices of George O'Hanlon
Penny Singleton
Janet Waldo
Daws Butler
Mel Blanc
Don Messick
Jean Vander Pyl
Theme music composer Hoyt Curtin
Country of origin United States
Japan (associated)
No. of episodes 75 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 22–25 minutes
Production company(s) Hanna-Barbera Productions
Broadcast
Original channel ABC (1962–1963)
Syndication (1985–1987)
Original run September 23, 1962 to March 3, 1963 – September 16, 1985 to November 12, 1987

The Jetsons is a prime-time animated sitcom that was produced by Hanna-Barbera. The original incarnation of the series aired Sunday nights on ABC from September 23, 1962 to March 3, 1963. It was Hanna-Barbera’s space age counterpart to The Flintstones. Like the former show, it is a half-hour family sitcom projecting contemporary American culture and lifestyle into another time period.[1] While the Flintstones live in a world with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons live in a futuristic utopia in the year 2062[2] of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions.

The original series, comprising 24 episodes, was produced between 1962 and 1963 and was re-run on Saturday morning for decades. At the time of its debut, it was the first program ever to be broadcast in color on ABC-TV (as The Flintstones, while always filmed in color, was broadcast in black-and-white for its first two seasons). Its continuing popularity led to further episodes being produced for syndication between 1985 and 1987. The series was extensively merchandised and followed by two made-for-TV movies and two theatrical feature films. The Japanese dub is associated with Toei Animation.

Contents

Plot

George Jetson works 3 hours a day and 3 days a week for his short, tyrannical boss named Mr. Cosmo Spacely, owner of the company Spacely Space Sprockets. As found in Season 2, Episode 23, A Jetson Christmas Carol, George Jetson and Cosmo Spacely have been friends since their childhood. Typical episodes involve Spacely firing, rehiring, promoting and demoting Jetson. Spacely has a competitor, H. G. Cogswell, owner of the rival company Cogswell Cogs. The Jetson family live in Skypad Apartments in Orbit City, where all homes and businesses are raised high above the ground on adjustable columns in the Googie style, reflective of Seattle's Space Needle and the Theme Building of the Los Angeles International Airport. George commutes to work in an aerocar that resembles a flying saucer with a transparent bubble top. Daily life is characterized as being comically leisurely because of the incredible sophistication and number of labor saving devices, which occasionally break down with humorous results. George's work day consists of pressing a single computer button. Despite this, characters often complain of exhausting hard labor and difficulties of living with the remaining inconveniences.

Other Jetson family members include Jane Jetson, the wife and homemaker; teenage daughter Judy; and genius preteen son Elroy. Housekeeping is seen to by a robot maid, Rosie. She only appears in two episodes of the original 1960s show, excluding her appearance in the closing credits, but makes many appearances on the 1980s show.

The family dog Astro can mumble and say his words beginning with R's. Astro's catch phrases are "Ruh-roh!" (now a meme in informal conversation by many), "Right, Reorge!", and "Rats Rall Right Reorge!" Later Hanna-Barbera cartoon dogs including Scooby-Doo and Muttley would use speech as well; voice actor Don Messick played all three.

In the first episode of the '80s show, an alien named Orbitty joined the family after Elroy discovered him on a field trip to an asteroid. Orbitty speaks in his own garbled dialect, has coil springs for legs, and changes colors according to his mood. At the beginning of the series half of the characters have a New York accent.

Characters

[3] George Jetson: age 38, is a loving family man who always seems to make the wrong decision. He works "full-time," 9 hours a week, at Spacely's Sprockets as a computer engineer. He is married to Jane and together they have two kids, Elroy and Judy. George is the protagonist of the show.[citation needed]

Jane Jetson: age 35, is George's spouse, mother of their two children, and a homemaker. Jane is obsessed with fashion and new gadgetry. Her favorite store is Mooning Dales. She is also a dutiful wife who always tries to make life as pleasant as possible for her family. Outside of the home, she is a member of the Galaxy Women Historical Society and is a fan of Leonardo de Venus and Picasso Pia.[citation needed]

Elroy Jetson: age 7, is the younger of the two children in the Jetson family. He is highly intelligent and an expert in all space sciences. Elroy attends Little Dipper School where he studies space history, astrophysics and star geometry. He is a mild mannered and good child.[citation needed]

Judy Jetson: age 16, is the older child in the Jetson family. She is a stereotypical teenage girl whose prime interests include: boys, clothes, dating, going out, and revealing secrets to her digital diary.[citation needed]

Rosie: age 45, is the Jetsons' house-hold robot. She's an out-dated model but the Jetsons love her and would never trade her for a newer model. Rosie does all the household chores and some of the parenting. She is a strong disciplinarian and occasionally dispenses advice to the family.[citation needed]

Astro the Dog: age unknown, Originally called Tralfaz. Astro is the Jetsons' family dog. Prior to being a Jetson he belonged to the fabulously rich Mr. Gottrocket. Astro is George's best friend, and is able to speak.[4]

Orbitty: age unknown, the 2nd pet of the Jetson family. Orbitty is an alien with spring-like legs. He has the ability to express his emotions by changing color. This character was introduced in the 1980s version of the series.

Cosmo G. Spacely: age unknown, is George's boss and owner of Spacely Sprockets. He is a "little person" with black hair and a bad temper. Mr. Spacely is an antagonist in the series. Deep down Mr. Spacely is insecure due to being short. Spacely always comes up with ideas to bring in more business only for them to backfire. George usually gets blamed for everything that goes wrong. The series' running gag involves him kicking George out of his office with the famous line "Jetson! You're fired!" Though George comes back to work in the next episode.

Cogswell: age unknown, is Spacely's big competitor. He owns Cogswell's Cogs company and causes a lot of trouble for Spacely and George. To a lesser extent Cogswell is another of the series' antagonists. He and Spacely are always finding ways to bring each other's businesses down. Cogswell has often tried to steal Spacely's ideas and make them his own to gain an advantage (only for it to backfire on both bosses). He's also not above firing his employees when any little thing goes wrong.

R.U.D.I.: is George's work computer. His name is an acronym for Referential Universal Digital Indexer. He has a human personality and is a member of the Society Preventing Cruelty to Humans.

Henry Orbit: age unknown, is the Jetsons' apartment's repair man. He is always helpful and always in a good mood. His robot Mac has a crush on Rosie.

Music

The 1962 episode "A Date With Jet Screamer", in which daughter Judy Jetson wins a date with a rock star, provided the song "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)" written by Hoyt Curtin, William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. The episode was a surrealistic Busby Berkeley-in-space affair which prefigured conceptual MTV videos by decades.[1]

A cover of "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)", mistitled "Eep Opp Ork (Uh, Uh)" and performed by The Dickies, is included on the 1988 album Killer Klowns From Outer Space, produced by Leonard Graves Phillips and Sir Ronald Powell Hitchcock for Enigma Records.[5] A cover performed by Violent Femmes is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records.[6]

Differences between the 1960s version and the 1980s version

Besides the increased presence of Rosie and the addition of Orbitty, further differences between the 1960s version and 1980s version include the following:

  • Although the 1960s episodes were retrofitted with title cards (as was standard for 1980s-era H-B cartoons), as both the 1960s/1980s episodes were syndicated in the 1980s as a complete package, the original 1960s episodes are distinguished by 1960s style animation, music, and references (similar to The Flintstones and other Hanna-Barbera shows of that period).
  • The cast members have a slightly softer vocal tone in their 1960s-era performances, since they were about twenty years younger when originally working on the series.
  • Whereas the 1960s stories were basically 1950s sitcom plots in a futuristic setting, the 1980s stories delved into fantastic, sci-fi cartoon territory.
  • The opening credits of the 1980s version contain a rerecorded version of the original Jetsons theme song, which features the use of synthesized drums to create percussion typical of 1980s music.
  • The closing credits are static picture captions (like most of Hanna-Barbera's shows of the time). This format replaced the original credit sequence described above when the 1960s episodes were rebroadcast.
  • The 1980s version has a smoother look and cleaner sound, primarily due to Hanna-Barbera's switch to computer aided animation techniques at the time.
  • While episodes made in the 1960s referenced rockets and other "space age" theme devices, reflective of the real-life U.S. space program which fascinated America, the 1980s episodes leaned more towards how computers would influence life in the future.
  • Jane's lipstick in 1980s version is darker red.

Time period

The Jetsons was originally supposed to take place in the year 2062.[2] In episode 107, "The Flying Suit", H. G. Cogswell announces his flying suit to be the newest wonder of the 21st century, supporting the previously stated time period.

Voice cast

The Jetson family (clockwise from upper left) — Rosie (robot), George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Astro (dog)

Minor repeating characters

The Jetsons media

Episodes

Television specials

  • A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration: 50 years of Hanna-Barbera (1989)

Television films

Theatrical releases

  • Jetsons: The Movie (1990)
  • The Jetsons (2012)

Live-action future film

In May 2007, director Robert Rodriguez entered talks with Universal Studios and Warner Bros. to film a live action film adaptation of The Jetsons for a potential 2009 theatrical release, having at the time discussed directing a film adaptation of Land of the Lost with Universal Studios. Rodriguez was uncertain which project he would pursue next, though the latest script draft for The Jetsons by assigned writer Adam Goldberg was further along in development.[7] The film is set for release in theaters on June 1, 2012 and is in pre-production.

Further appearances

Comics

  • The Jetsons #1–36 (Gold Key Comics, January 1963 – October 1970)
  • March of Comics #276 (1965), #330 (1969), #348
  • The Jetsons #1–20 (Charlton Comics, November 1970 – December 1973); 100-page no-number issue
  • Spotlight #3 (Marvel Comics, 197x)
  • The Jetsons #1–5 (Harvey Comics, September 1992 – November 1993); Big Book #1–3, Giant Size #1–3
  • The Jetsons #1–17 (Archie Comics, September 1995 – August 1996)
  • The Flintstones and the Jetsons #1–21 (DC Comics, August 1997 – April 1999)

Games

  • The Jetsons' Ways With Words (Intellivision) (1984)
  • The Jetsons and the Legend of Robotopia (Amiga, 1990)
  • The Jetsons: By George, in Trouble Again (DOS, 1990)
  • The Jetsons: Cogswell's Caper (NES, 1992)
  • The Jetsons: Robot Panic (Game Boy, 1992)
  • The Jetsons: Invasion of the Planet Pirates (Super NES, 1994)
  • Jetsons the Computer Game (Amiga) (1992)
  • The Jetsons: Mealtime Malfunction (Apple)
  • The Jetsons: Space Race
  • Flintstones Jetsons Time Warp (CD-i) (1994)

DVD Releases

For the H-B classics collection, Warner Home Video released season 1 of The Jetsons on DVD in Region 1 on May 11, 2004, and also released it in Region 4 on July 6, 2006. Season 2, Vol. 1 was finally released, almost five years since season one, on June 2, 2009 in Region 1.[8] No word yet on upcoming DVD set releases of the remainder of the second season and the third and final season.

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Additional Information
The Complete First Season 24 May 11, 2004
  • Commentary on 2 episodes by Janet Waldo
  • The Jetsons: The Family of the Future
  • Space Age Gadgets
  • Rosie the Robotic Maid
  • Nuclear Family Album
Season 2, Volume 1 21 June 2, 2009
  • The Jetsons: Return to the Future

The Jetsons today

  • A live-action film adaptation, produced by Denise Di Novi alongside Donald De Line with Hanna-Barbera Productions, Universal Studios and Warner Bros. is set for a 2012 release.[1][2]
  • Boomerang is currently airing only the 1960s episodes regularly, while some of the 1980s episodes are available for viewing on In2TV. However, Boomerang does air the 1980s episodes occasionally in Boomeroyalty marathons. Also the first 2 seasons of The Jetsons are available to download on Apple's iTunes Store and at the Xbox Live Marketplace.
  • Forbes magazine valued Spacely Sprockets at $1.3 billion, on their "The 25 Largest Fictional Companies" list.[9]
  • In January 2009, IGN listed The Jetsons as the 46th best animated television series.[10]
  • The music video for the Kanye West song Heartless features Judy, Elroy, Astro, George, Jane, and Rosie done as portraits. This footage is based on Kanye West's actual apartment decor, which includes large portraits of the Jestons' in the den. [11]
  • The Jetsons episodes are currently available for viewing on Comcast's video on demand service under the kids category, then under the Kids WB subcategory.
  • The Jetsons are currently being screened on the Australian TV channel GO! at 6:30 pm everyday, with the same episodes showing in the morning at 9:00 am on GO!with a different episode being played at 5:00am.

See also

References

Further reading

  • Hanna-Barbera Cartoons, by Michael Mallory, 1998, published by Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc., distributed by Publishers Group West. ISBN 0-88363-108-3

External links


Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

The Jetsons was an animated prime-time television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions from 1962 to 1963. After being re-run on Saturday morning for decades, new episodes were produced in 1984, 1985, and 1987 for syndication.

  • Mr. Spacely: Jetson! Thank goodness you're still here! I've got some good news and some bad news...
    George: What's the bad news, Mr. Spacely?
    Mr. Spacely: We've discovered a very dangerous computer virus that you have to stop right away!
    George: But that could take months! By the way... what's the good news?
    Mr. Spacely: The good news is I don't have to do it! 'Bye now!
  • George Jetson: JANE! STOP THIS CRAZY THING!!







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