The Jetsons is a prime-time animated television series produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions. The original incarnation of the series aired on Sunday nights on ABC from September 23, 1962 to March 3, 1963. Like The Flintstones, it is a half-hour family sitcom projecting contemporary American culture and lifestyle into another time period. While the Flintstones live in a world with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons live in a futuristic utopia 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. 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.
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
. Typical episodes involve Mr. Spacely firing and rehiring or promoting and demoting George Jetson. Mr. Spacely has a competitor, H.G. Cogswell, owner of the rival company Cogswell Cogs
. All homes and businesses are raised high above the ground on adjustable columns, in a style reflective of the architecture of Seattle's Space Needle
and the distinct Theme Building
of the Los Angeles International Airport
. George commutes to work in an aerocar that resembles a flying saucer with a transparent 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, like later cartoon dogs Scooby-Doo and Muttley could speak (voice actor Don Messick played all three, all of which were created by H-B). Astro's catch phrases are "Ruh-roh!" and "Right, Reorge!" or "Rats Rall Right Reorge!" In the first episode of the '80s show, an alien named Orbity joined the family.
Names of locations, events, and devices are often puns or derivatives of contemporary analogs with explicit futuristic or space-age twists. The same technique was used in The Flintstones with archaic or stone-age twists.
Differences between the 1960s version and the 1980s version
Besides the increased presence of Rosie and the addition of Orbity, further differences between the 1960s version and 1980s version include the following:
- Although the 1960s episodes were retrofitted with title cards, those 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 featured 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 clear sound.
- While episodes made in the 1960s referenced rockets and other space theme devices, the 1980s episodes leaned more towards how computers would influence life in the future. This reflects each decade's visions of the future.
Though no dates are ever specified, The Jetsons
was originally supposed to take place in the year 2062. In the movie The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones
, Elroy wanted to time travel
into the future to visit the 25th century, indicating the Jetsons live no later than the 24th century.
Minor repeating characters
- Montague Jetson is the kindly but eccentric grandfather of George Jetson.
- Arthur Spacely - Mr. Spacely's son
The Jetsons media
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
. He had also met with Universal Studios
to direct a film adaptation of Land of the Lost
. Rodriguez was uncertain which project he would pursue next, though the latest script draft for The Jetsons
by Adam Goldberg was further along in development.
- 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)
- 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)
- Warner Home Video released season 1 of The Jetsons on DVD in R1 on November 8, 2004. It is unknown if the last two seasons will be released at some point. Season 1 has also been released in Region 4 and is unknown whether the remaining seasons will be released.
| DVD Name
|| Ep #
|| Release Date
|| Additional Information |
| Season 1
|| May 11, 2004
- Commentary on 2 episodes
- The Jetsons: The Family of the Future
- Space Age Gadgets
- Rosie the Robotic Maid
- Nuclear Family Album
The Jetsons today