Jetsons was a prime-time American animated television series
produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions, and aired from September 23,
1962 to March 3, 1963. Like The Flintstones, it was a family sitcom
projecting contemporary American culture and lifestyle into other
time periods. While the Flintstones lived in a world with machines
powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons lived in a utopian future
of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical
inventions. Also, the Flintstones represented the contemporary
American blue collar lifestyle while the Jetsons were white collar.
The original series of 24
episodes was made 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 1984 and 1987. The
series was extensively merchandised and followed by two made for-TV
movies and one feature film.
Jetson worked 3 hours a day and 3 days a week for a short,
tyrannical boss named Cosmo G. Spacely, owner of the company Spacely
Space Sprockets. Typical episodes would involve Mr. Spacely firing
and rehiring or promoting and demoting George Jetson. Mr. Spacely had
a competitor, W.C. Cogswell, owner of the rival company Cogswell
Cogs. All homes and businesses were raised high above the ground on
narrow poles, in a style reflective of the architecture of Seattle's
Space Needle and the distinct Theme Building of the Los Angeles
International Airport. George commuted to work in a flying saucer
with a transparent top. Daily life was characterized as being
comically leisurely due to an incredible sophistication and number of
labor saving devices. George's work day consists of pressing a single
computer button. Despite this, characters would often complain of
travails and difficulties of living with the remaining inconveniences.
Jetson family members included Jane Jetson, the wife and homemaker;
teenage daughter Judy and preteen son Elroy. Housekeeping was seen to
by a robot maid, Rosie; she only appeared in two episodes of the
original 1960s show, excluding her appearance in the closing credits,
but made many appearances on the 1980s show. The family dog Astro
could mumble, just as Scooby-Doo later on could (voice actor Don
Messick played both). Astro's catch phrases were "Ruh-ro!"
and "Right, Reorge!"
Names of locations, events,
and devices were 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.