The Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera, originally airing in primetime from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963, then later in syndication, with new episodes in 1985 to 1987 as part of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera block. It was Hanna-Barbera's Space Age counterpart to The Flintstones.
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 comprised 24 episodes and aired on Sunday nights on ABC beginning September 23, 1962, with primetime reruns continuing through September 22, 1963. It debuted as the first program broadcast in color on ABC-TV. (Only a handful of ABC-TV stations were capable of broadcasting in color in the early 1960s.) In contrast, The Flintstones, while always produced in color, was broadcast in black-and-white for its first two seasons.
Following its primetime run, the show aired on Saturday mornings for decades, starting on ABC for the 1963–64 season and then on CBS and NBC. New episodes were produced for syndication from 1985 to 1987. No further specials or episodes of the show were produced after 1989 due to the deaths of stars George O'Hanlon and Mel Blanc. The 1990 film Jetsons: The Movie serves as the series finale to the television show.
The Jetsons are a family residing in Orbit City. The city's architecture is rendered in the Googie style, and all homes and businesses are raised high above the ground on adjustable columns. George Jetson lives with his family in the Skypad Apartments: his wife Jane is a homemaker, their teenage daughter Judy attends Orbit High School, and their early-childhood son Elroy attends Little Dipper School. Housekeeping is seen to by a robot maid, Rosie, which handles chores not otherwise rendered trivial by the home's numerous push-button Space Age-envisioned conveniences. The family has a dog named Astro, that talks with an initial consonant mutation in which every word begins with an "R", as if speaking with a growl.
George Jetson's workweek is typical of his era: an hour a day, two days a week. His boss is Cosmo Spacely, the bombastic owner of Spacely Space Sprockets. Spacely has a competitor, Mr. Cogswell, owner of the rival company Cogswell Cogs (sometimes known as Cogswell's Cosmic Cogs). Jetson commutes to work in an aerocar that resembles a flying saucer with a transparent bubble top. Daily life is leisurely, assisted by numerous labor-saving devices, which occasionally break down with humorous results. Despite this, everyone complains of exhausting hard labor and difficulties living with the remaining inconveniences.
- George Jetson: age 40, is the main character and protagonist of the series. He is a loving family man who always seems to make the wrong decisions. He works at Spacely's Sprockets turning the Referential Universal Digital Indexer (R.U.D.I.) on and off. He is married to Jane and together they have two kids, Judy and Elroy.
- Jane Jetson: age 33, is George's wife, mother of their two children, and a homemaker (although it is Rosie who does most of the work). Jane is obsessed with fashion and new gadgetry. Her favorite store is Mooning Dales. She is a dutiful wife who always tries to make life as pleasant as possible for her family. Outside of the home, she is a member of the Galaxy Women Historical Society and is a fan of Leonardo de Venus and Picasso Pia.
- Judy Jetson: age 16, is the elder child in the Jetson family. A student at Orbit High School, she is a stereotypical teenage girl whose interests include clothes, hanging out with boys, and revealing secrets to her digital diary.
- Elroy Jetson: age 6½, is the younger of the two children in the Jetson family. He is highly intelligent and an expert in all space sciences. A mild-mannered and good child, Elroy attends Little Dipper School, where he studies space history, astrophysics, and star geometry. Elroy loves his dog Astro and is always there to support him when George loses his patience with the family pet.
- Rosie: Rosie 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 housework and some of the parenting. She is a strong authoritarian and occasionally dispenses pills to the family. Excluding a scene from the closing credits, Rosie appears in only two episodes of the original 1960s show, but makes many appearances on the 1980s show.
- Astro: Astro is the Jetsons' family dog. Prior to being a Jetson his name was Tralfaz and he belonged to the fabulously rich Mr. J.P. Gottrockets. Astro is one of George's best friends (next to his work computer, R.U.D.I.) as well as Elroy's best buddy. He is able to speak in a rough sounding English resembling dog barks and growls, a manner of speaking which voice actor Don Messick would later reuse for the role of Scooby-Doo.
Orbitty: is an alien with spring-like legs who was the second pet of the Jetson family. He has the ability to express his emotions by changing color. This character was introduced in the 1980s version of the series, but didn't appear for the third season (except for one cameo) or any of the movies.
- Cosmo Spacely: is George's boss and owner of Spacely Space Sprockets. His company was founded in Newfoundland in 1937, where it continued to prosper until massive surface pollution necessitated a move to the elevated platforms seen in the series. He is a small man with thinning black hair and a bad temper, and is the main antagonist of the series. Spacely always comes up with ideas to bring in more business, but they backfire. George, whom Spacely has known since childhood, gets blamed for most things that go wrong. A series' running gag involves his kicking George out of his office shouting, "Jetson! You're fired!", however Spacely would later give George his job back in the end of the episode, and if he was very happy with George, promote him to vice-president of the company. Mr. Spacely is sometimes helped out by Uniblab, the company's robot assistant.
- Spencer Cogswell: is Spacely's big competitor. He owns Cogswell Cogs company and causes a lot of trouble for Spacely and George. To a lesser extent Cogswell is another of the series' antagonists. He and Spacely are always finding ways to bring each other's businesses down. Cogswell has often tried to steal Spacely's ideas and make them his own to gain an advantage (only for it to backfire on both bosses). He's also not above firing his employees when any little thing goes wrong. Mr. Cogswell's first name, "Spencer", is revealed in the 1980s version of The Jetsons. Cogswell slightly resembles Mr. Slate of The Flintstones.
- R.U.D.I.: is George's work computer and one of his best friends, next to his dog, Astro. His name is an acronym for Referential Universal Differential Indexer. He has a human personality and is a member of the Society for Preventing Cruelty to Humans. In the episode "Family Fallout" (originally aired September 22, 1985), the Jetsons win a TV game show after George Jetson correctly states what the initials "R.U.D.I." stand for.
- Henry Orbit: is the Jetsons' apartment's building superintendent. He is always helpful and always in a good mood. He built a robot named Mac who has a crush on Rosie.
- Montague Jetson, George Jetson's kindly but eccentric grandfather, who constantly annoys the cop every time he meets him—Howard Morris
- Mrs. Stella Spacely, Cosmo Spacely's overbearing and snobbish wife and Arthur Spacely's mother—Jean Vander Pyl
- Arthur Spacely, Mr. Spacely's son—Dick Beals
- Uniblab, George's mortal enemy—an obnoxious robot who was also his supervisor at work. Appeared in two 1960s episodes, "Uniblab", where he becomes George's supervisor, and "G.I. Jetson", where he becomes the Sergeant of George's platoon. ("Cost the government millions ... enough for two officers' clubs," said General McMissile, nicknamed "Old Blast Off"); and a 1980s episode. Referenced in the 1994 hit by Craig Mack, "Flava in Ya Ear". His name is a pun of UNIVAC;- Don Messick.
- DiDi, Judy's digital diary—Selma Diamond in 1980s TV series and by Brenda Vaccaro in The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.
- Miss Galaxy, secretary at Spacely Sprockets—Jean Vander Pyl
- George Jetson – George O'Hanlon
- Jane Jetson – Penny Singleton
- Elroy Jetson – Daws Butler
- Judy Jetson – Janet Waldo
- Astro the Space Mutt/RUDI/Uniblab/Mac – Don Messick
- Rosie/Mrs. Spacely/Miss Galaxy – Jean Vander Pyl
- Cosmo Spacely – Mel Blanc
- Spencer Cogswell – Daws Butler
- Henry Orbit – Daws Butler (Howard Morris in a few early Season 1 episodes)
- Orbitty – Frank Welker
- DiDi – Selma Diamond and Brenda Vaccaro after Diamond's death
In later productions, Jeff Bergman has voiced George, Elroy, and Mr. Spacely. Bergman completed voice work as George and Spacely for Jetsons: The Movie (1990) after George O'Hanlon and Mel Blanc died during production. Controversially, Janet Waldo was replaced—after recording all of her dialogue—by then-popular singer Tiffany for Jetsons: The Movie. Lori Frazier has provided the voice of Jane Jetson in television commercials for Radio Shack.
Specials and film adaptationsEdit
- Jetsons: The Movie (1990)
- Untitled Jetsons & WWE film (2017)
- The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera (ride), Elroy Jetson is kidnapped by Dick Dastardly (from Wacky Races and Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines) and it is up to ride guests to save him. (1991)
- Space Stars, Astro appeared in the segment "Astro and the Space Mutts"
- A 1974 proposal would have created a sequel series to The Jetsons, set roughly ten years after the original series. CBS rejected the proposal and it was retooled into Partridge Family 2200 A.D.
- The Jetsons: Father & Son Day (Spümcø, Macromedia Flash)
- The Jetsons: The Best Son (Spümcø, Macromedia Flash)
- Some characters appeared in commercials for Electrasol and Tums.
- In the late 1990s, George, Jane, and Astro appeared in Christmas Radio Shack commercials.
- In 2003, New Zealand ISP Xtra used The Jetsons as part of an advertising campaign with George Jetson promoting the benefits of broadband Internet. The advert ended with George saying, "Broadband is the way, but some people will never get used to progress", and an image of Fred Flintstone using a stone shaped computer with a real mouse.
- The Jetsons have appeared three times in Family Guy.
- The Jetsons were seen in a Cartoon Network Rap in 1995.
- The Jetsons characters were in a parody of I, Robot done on Robot Chicken where Rosie is accused of murdering George.
- 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: George Jetson 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, 1993)
- The Jetsons' Space Race (part of "Hanna-Barbera’s Cartoon Carnival") (CD-i, 1993)
- Flintstones Jetsons Time Warp (CD-i, 1994)
- List of works produced by Hanna-Barbera
- List of Hanna-Barbera characters
- The Flintstones
- Jetsons: The Movie
- The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones