‘Get Me Off This Crazy Thing!’: 15 Trivia Tidbits About ‘The Jetsons’
Taking the concept of the nuclear family and thrusting them into a futuristic world of 3D-printed food and robot pills, The Jetsons was, in many ways, a 1960s show ahead of its time (and, in many ways, not so much). It’s the reason why the animated sitcom is often referenced when talks of futuristic developments pop up because it certainly changed the way Americans and the world at large viewed technological ideals and evolution.
George, Jane, Judy and Elroy Jetson have represented a unified discussion point for generations regarding what could be. It’s a pretty impressive feat, considering that this Hanna-Barbera classic almost didn’t see more than 24 episodes...
The Famous Composer Behind the Theme Song
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera wrote the classic theme song to The Jetsons alongside their go-to music composer, Hoyt Curtin. Curtin is responsible for countless iconic themes, including The Flintstones, Top Cat, Josie and the Pussycats, The New Scooby-Doo Movies and The Smurfs. “Every time I hear that damn thing, I’m amazed,” Curtin told the Los Angeles Times in 1986, after The Jetsons’ theme hit number 9 on the Billboard charts. “Man, that tune swings.”
According to the Math, George Jetson Is One This Year
In the pilot episode, Dr. Lunar tells George Jetson he can expect to live up to 150 years, which would give him “another 110 years.” That means George is 40, and since the show’s promos stated in 1962 that the show is set 100 years into the future, it means George Jetson was born in 2022.
The Voice of Judy
Canceled After One Season
It’s hard to imagine how one of the most famous cartoons in history got canceled following just one season, but that’s what happened with The Jetsons after their 24-episode debut. However, Hanna-Barbera produced a second run for syndication between 1985 and 1987 on Saturday mornings instead of primetime, which proved to be way more successful.
The Animation Rule
“We had a rule about The Jetsons,” Barbera once explained. “Nobody ever walked. We used what we called ‘people-movers’ to propel the characters from place to place. Of course, this was great for us — we had less animation to do. When George arrived and stepped on a people-mover, in a second, he had Rosie the Robot waiting for him to take his hat and coat. The family dog Astro didn’t have to be taken for a walk — he was just placed outside the house on a treadmill. That’s how he got his exercise. The characters didn’t even have to move to change their clothes — they would just stand in front of a cutout, and in an instant, a new outfit would be superimposed on their bodies.”
The Lawsuit Over Who Plays George Jetson
Pat Carroll and Morey Amsterdam were originally cast as Jane and George Jetson, recording an episode before getting pulled off the show in favor of actors Penny Singleton and George O’Hanlon. Carroll and Amsterdam sued Hanna-Barbera for breach of contract, claiming they were guaranteed 24 episodes, but the two actors ultimately lost the suit.
Drawing From Futurism
Hanna and Barbera turned to futuristic books such as Arnold B. Barach’s 1975: And the Changes to Come, when creating the world of the Jetsons. Orbit City was designed using the Googie style made popular in Southern California.
The Network’s First Series in Color
The Reboot Comic Provided a Grim Backstory
In November 2017, DC Comics dropped a rebooted Jetsons comic that changed a lot of what we saw in the original series. In the new version, Jane is a NASA scientist who commutes to work, while Rosie hosts the consciousness of George’s 124-year-old mother. The comic also posited that a humungous ice meteor had crashed into the Pacific Ocean, causing our planet to essentially be dumped into the water. Only a tiny fraction of humanity managed to escape to space stations, where they waited for Orbit City to be built.
What the Show Got Right
The Jetsons might have depicted the future as a world where humans somehow only have to work an hour a day, two days a week, but many of their futuristic portrayals ended up being spot-on. The show might not have been the first to imagine these individual technologies, but it surely helped pioneer their collective use. Among those featured were the videophone, smart homes, flatscreen TVs, technology run on voice command, robots doing vacuum cleaning a la Roombas, tablets, holograms, smartwatches and even 3D-printed food.
What the Show Got Wrong
That whole two-hour work week, for one, is depressingly laughable today. The Jetsons also showed a severe lack of women in the workforce — probably due to the fact that the women’s liberation movement would only emerge in the late 1960s. Furthermore, the idea that the office workplace and its watercooler culture would remain popular in the future has been proven to be anything but, and we probably don’t even have to mention the general lack of diversity in the show.
Mel Blanc Passed Away During Production of ‘Jetsons: The Movie’
While the 1990 movie was filled with its original cast members, both George O’Hanlon and Mel Blanc (the voice of Mr. Spacely) passed away during production. They had both finished recording their lines by then — O’Hanlon had his final stroke in the recording studio — but Jeff Bergman would be brought in to complete some additional scenes for the two’s characters. Daws Butler, the voice of Elroy, had passed away before he could record any dialogue for the film.
The Secret Behind Its Popularity
Danny Graydon, author of The Jetsons: The Official Guide to the Cartoon Classic, once explained his reasoning behind the success of the show: “It coincided with this period of American history when there was a renewed hope — the beginning of the 1960s, sort of pre-Vietnam when Kennedy was in power. So there was something very attractive about the nuclear family with good, honest values thriving well into the future. I think that chimed with the zeitgeist of the American culture of the time.”
Astro the Dog Paved the Way for Scooby-Doo
Astro came first, bringing that struggling “r” speech impediment with him, as displayed by his declarations of, “I ruv roo, Reorge.”
The Company Modeling Their Products According to the World of ‘The Jetsons’
The Jetson Group recently uploaded a video showcasing their Astro robot dog alongside their model Jetson ONE, a Personal Electric Aerial Vehicle that looks similar to the one flown by the Jetsons family.