January 21, 2017

THE JETSONS

THE JETSONS

(ABC, September 23, 1962-March 17, 1963
Syndication, September 16, 1985-November 12, 1987)

Hanna-Barbera Productions, Screen Gems (season 1)

            After successfully visiting the Stone Age, Hanna-Barbera set their sights on the future with The Jetsons. George Jetson (George O’Hanlon) lived with his family, wife Jane (Penny Singleton), teenaged daughter Judy (Janet Waldo), son Elroy (Daws Butler), and dog Astro (Don Messick), in an apartment in Orbit City. He worked an hour a day for two days a week as a literal button pusher at Spacely Sprockets, owned by the grumpy miser Cosmo Spacely (Mel Blanc).




            When the animated sitcom debuted, it was heavily influenced by the Space Age sensibilities of the time. Cars resembled flying saucers, sidewalks moved on their own, food came from a machine with the push of a particular button, bathrooms bathed a person automatically; but despite all that, the residents of the world suffered the weariness of the daily grind. At the completion of its primetime run, ABC cancelled the series but aired reruns on its Saturday morning schedule. The show continued to be shown on Saturday for the next two decades across CBS and NBC. With a resurgence in popularity, Hanna-Barbera produced new episodes for its syndication package in 1985. These episodes put a greater focus on technology, giving more prominence to the Jetson’s robotic maid Rosie (Jean Vander Pyl) and George a work partner in the form of sentient computer R.U.D.I. (Messick). The family also got a new pet, a spring-legged alien named Orbity (Frank Welker). After the show’s end, the Jetsons made one last appearance in a big-screen movie, which served as the final performances of both O’Hanlon and Blanc.

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