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Jetsons

The Jetsons

The Jetsons is a prime-time animated sitcom that was produced by Hanna-Barbera for Screen Gems (and later Worldvision Enterprises). 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. 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.

Plot

George Jetson works three hours a day and three days a week for his short, tyrannical boss named Cosmo G. Spaceley, owner of the company Spacely Space Sprockets. Typical episodes involve Mr. Spacely firing and rehiring George Jetson, or promoting and demoting him.

Mr. 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 a style reflective of the architecture of Seattle's]] [[Space Needle or 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 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!" and "Right, Reorge!" or "Rats Rall Right Reorge!" Later Hanna-Barbera cartoon dogs, including Scooby-Doo and Muttley, would have the same speech impediment; voice actor Don Messick played all three. In the first episode of the 1980s 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.

Characters

[3] George Jetson: age 40, is a loving family man who always seems to make the wrong decision. He works full time, 15 hours a week at Spaceley'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.

Jane Jetson: age 33, is George's spouse, mother of their two children, and homemaker. Jane is obsessed with fashion and new gadgetry and 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 the home, she is a member of the Galaxy Women Historical Society and is a fan of Leonardo de Venus and Picasso Pia.

Elroy Jetson: age 6½, is the younger of 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.

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.

Rosie: age unknown, is the Jetsons' household robot. She's an outdated 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.

Astro: age unknown, is the Jetsons' family dog. Before being a Jetson, Astro was known as Tralfaz and belonged to the fabulously rich Mr. Gottrocket. Astro is George's best friend, and is able to speak. [4]

Orbity: age unknown, is the family pet who also happens to be an alien. He is a furry animal, resembling a monkey, but with a built in slinky/spring. Elroy found Orbity on a field trip to Mars and brought it home. Orbity is a friendly pet, incredibly smart and always in a good mood. This character was Introduced in the 1980s version of the series.

Cosmo Spaceley: age unknown, is George's boss and owner of Spacely Sprockets. He is a "little person" with brown hair and a bad temper. Cosmo is the antagonist in the series.

Mr. Cogswell: age unknown, is Spacely's big competitor. He owns the Cogswell's Cogs company and causes a lot of trouble for Cosmo and George.

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

Henry Orbit: age unknown, is the Jetsons' apartment repairman. He is always helpful and always in a good mood. His robot, Mack, 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 Barbara. The episode was a surrealistic Busby Berkeley-in-space affair which prefigured conceptual MTV videos by decades.[5]

A cover of "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)", mistitled "Eep Opp Ork (Uh, Uh)", 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.[6]

A cover of "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah (Means I Love You)", performed by Violent Femmes, is included on the 1995 tribute album Saturday Morning: Cartoons' Greatest Hits, produced by Ralph Sall for MCA Records.[7]

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 performances, since they were about 20 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 re-recorded 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 drawings (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, 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

Jetsons

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

Minor repeating characters

  • Montague Jetson, the kindly but eccentric grandfather of George Jetson
  • Arthur Spaceley, Mr. Spaceley's son — Dick Beals

The Jetsons media

Episodes

Main article: List of The Jetsons episodes

Television specials

Television films

Theatrical releases

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. 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 assigned writer Adam Goldberg was further along in development.[8] Denise Di Novi and Donald De Line have signed on to produce the film, with Hanna-Barbera Productions financing it. In January 2009, the film was pushed back to 2012.[9]

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 (MS-DOS, 1990)
  • The Jetsons: Cogswell's Caper (Nintendo Entertainment System, 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

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 1, on June 2, 2009, in Region 1.[10].

DVD Name Ep # Region 1 Additional Information
The Complete First Season 24 October 15, 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.[2][3]
  • 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 Spaceley Sprockets at $1.3 billion, on their "The 25 Largest Fictional Companies" list.[11]
  • In January 2009, IGN listed The Jetsons as the 46th best animated television series.[12]
  • The music video for the Kanye West song "Heartless" features Judy, Elroy, Astro, George, Jane and Rosie done as portraits.

References

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

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