If you were a kid from the 60s to the 90s, there is a strong chance that you know who The Jetsons are. If you have never heard of them at this point, you probably do not watch the Boomerang channel. At this point, however, no one can really blame you since the show has become pretty dated. Even when The Jetsons was resurrected in the 80s ,it was a fast burner that rekindled a lot of love for the show, but by the mid 90s it was already being pushed to the side by newer cartoons.
So what made the show so popular? Honestly, when people see such a carefree version of the future, they are drawn towards it. Ever been late to work and had to skip breakfast? Not in The Jetsons! Their kitchen would make the food on its own, while you're still asleep, your bed would throw you in the shower where it washes you then dries and moves you via conveyor to your fresh breakfast. The gadgets and technology really sell the show for what it is, an exaggerated yet hopeful look at the future of mankind. So let's take a look at a few things you may or may not know about our favorite space-age family.
25 Does Space Work Like That?
When you watch The Jetsons, have you ever wondered why some of the buildings need to be covered with an air bubble and others do not? Well, the show's answer is simple: because of the future and science that's why. The technology in The Jetsons is rarely ever explained but instead always meant to be assumed.
There are a few other questions you could ask regarding growing food, children in space, and flying cars that turn into briefcases. Having children in space is perhaps the most difficult subject to cover, yet the easiest as long as you factor gravity, so where does the gravity come from? It must be created by each structure themselves by some centripetal force. Or, as this is still set far into the future, so perhaps we may be able to discover something in space itself that allows gravity to be on any surface we wish. This is the true beauty of the Science Fiction genre, the what if's that eventually blend modern technology with imagination.
24 An Odd Prediction
Looking back, you may realize that George Jetson did not have anyone that he called a close friend. Really, he didn't have any friends at all, except for one, his computer named R.U.D.I. If you really want to get technical, you could say that it isn't the computer itself, but rather its artificial intelligence, but regardless this is what George decides to tell all of his troubles to. This feels a little familiar to how we are today, as most people spend most of their social time on their phone or computer and the next logical step would be if that device was also your friend.
It is a little scary when you think about it, but there are people out there that are so shut in that the only way to contact them at all would be to get on social media to convince them out of hiding. It is a little strange to think that it is the father who does this and not the daughter on The Jetsons. Hopefully, this starts to happen in our time as well where people will put down the electronics and be social again, while that last generation is still stuck in their old ways.
23 The End?
When The Jetsons first came out in 1962, no one could have predicted that it would have been such a success in the long run. But, at the very start, there were some complications that got in the way. These issues were so prominent that the show was canceled after only one season. So what led to the end of such a classic show?
Well the biggest factor is the show was in color and the color palette was created to be as vibrant as possible. Many television consumers had yet to get color TV sets, so all the effort for the bright colors went to waste.
The show did finally get a chance to return, but not until 1987, a whole 25 years later. A lot of us never realized there were only 24 episodes recycled to reruns until that point. Sadly only a few years later, two major voice actors for the show passed away and in 1990 we got The Jetsons Movie, which was meant to be a finale to the show.
22 The Future Looks Bright
If you have ever watched even an episode of the show, one of the first things you will notice is the very odd art style that dominates the architecture and clothing design of the show. This comes from a craze at the time called Googie art, which has a very recognizable and hard to describe the look. This combined, with the gadgets and appliances, make the house almost feel like it could do anything for you at any time. The amenities look and design were largely inspired by a book called 1975: And the Changes to Come by Arnold B. Barach. In the book, it shows futuristic ideas being placed into the shell of pre-existing technology, much like the art style of the prewar items in the Fallout series. The idea that the menial tasks of day to day life could be solved with the press of a button made this a very attractive proposition.
Not to mention, just seven months before this show aired the United States was able to set the first human into orbit to circle the earth, so interest in Science Fiction began to rise once again.
21 A Strange Revitalisation
So just last year, a Jetsons movie was released called The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania!. So just bear with us it gets much weirder. The plot of the movie is that The Jetsons find Big Show who has been frozen in ice (like a caveman), then thaw him out. He then takes over the town due to his wrestling prowess and The Jetsons travel back in time to bring back some of WWE's big stars to fight him. Pretty odd, right? If you haven't already heard of this movie, you might have never expected to see these two titles come together. As a funny Easter Egg, Mr. McMahon mentions that this is the second time he's met a talking dog, as he has met Scooby Doo twice before.
This was actually the first fully original casted Jetsons production and the first Jetsons project that was created without William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. This was also the first Jetsons title to come out for 27 years, as it came out 55 years after the original series. Though that thought is pretty sad, the hope that The Jetsons may return in one form or another is pretty awesome and we look forward to the next project staring their family.
20 So, What Year Is It?
Not many people may know off the top of their head that this show is meant to take place in 2062, which was meant to be exactly 100 years from the year of the show's creation. To be fair, who knows what kind of technology we will have at that point or what the state of humankind will be in. For any of us lucky enough to make it to 2062, we will have to watch the show again and see what came true. The reason we wanted to talk about this is because of how many media examples of the future that we have passed already, with Back to the Future being one of the best examples to underestimate what the future would look like.
We passed "Back to the Future" Day almost three years ago now.
It is nice to see that some shows were able to push back their depictions of the future far enough that the mystery is still alive. We are still a good 44 years away from this time period and, with the advancements in technology, we could very well be living in space by that time. Perhaps Bitcoin will be the global currency and anyone will be able to afford a nice apartment by working only 3 days a week.
19 Short-Lived, Long Lasting
As we previously touched on, the show originally had 24 episodes created in 1962. So what kept it alive long enough to be restarted again and again? Well, William Hanna, Joseph Barbera, and the team were pretty smart, as they had a formula that helped them with every show they created. The Flintstones was aimed towards adults, so they only had adults to target with their jokes. Then as they made the show a little more family friendly, they added children to the families and even changed the intro and outro scenes. You may not even realize that the first intro did not have the famous "Meet the Flintstones..." song that we all recognize today.
For The Jetsons, they knew they wanted to aim for that family-friendly feel right away, so they started the show with the children already apart of the dynamic. Having situations and jokes that every member of the family can relate to is the cornerstone of catching as many people's attention as possible and casting a wide net. The show was always good, but once more and more people could see it in color, it flourished.
18 What A Hard Life
There is a running gag in the show about how "overworked" George Jetson feels when his work day comes to an end. But, do you know what his work week consisted of with him being a full-time employee? George Jetson is meant to have worked 3 days a week for 3 hours a shift. Doing what you may ask? Pushing buttons on a control board while sitting in a comfy chair. With this, he can single-handedly afford his sizable apartment and nearly everything his family wants. Really, the only complaint you should have a job like that is it is somewhat boring, but for the pay, many of us would push that button a million times a day.
I think we all would love a job like George Jetson's.
Even with this, George still complains of being overworked and instead of the normal "I hurt my back" excuse, he used the "I hurt my button pushing finger." Maybe when Bitcoin takes over as the currency, it will be worth so much that no one will have to work more than a few hours a day! Well, we can dream, can't we?
Art by Joeseph Barbera.
17 Some Contracting Complications
Did you know that the show's main couple was originally cast to a different pair of actors? They even recorded the lines for the first episode, but before they could continue their work they were unexpectedly let go in favor of two other actors that went on to do the rest of the show. Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll were those original actors who were let go. Pat Carroll even sued Hanna-Barbera over the debacle, stating in an interview "Yes, we were cast as The Jetsons and then they pulled us. I don't know if we weren't any good or what. Nobody ever told us. As far as I was concerned, that was inappropriate. I don't care if it's the biggest agency in the world or the biggest producer."
Hanna-Barbera later had expressed they were having some "sponsor conflicts" due to the actors being on different shows as well and decided to try again with the new actors. Both Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll were unsure if this was the true reason or an excuse since neither of them had done animation voice-overs before and it would be easier to have a pair that knew the score.
Artwork by Ryougalolakie.
16 Life Never Changes
It is obvious to see that there are huge similarities between The Flintstones and The Jetsons. They are both families that deal with day to day issues in a sitcom-style setting. Both men feel overworked despite slacking off any chance they get and their work and house equipment is replaced with suitable time appropriate devices/animals. It is fairly clear that they wanted to start another project that would live up to the work of their first project. Their goal was to shine a light on the worries of the future and how they are more or less the same as today and even in the past. Really it was a pretty smart move, especially as space travel was becoming a reality.
Both fathers were typical working parents while the mothers were homemakers. A notion that by today's standards is very old fashioned, but is not completely phased out. The biggest differences lie in Fred having a friend that he hangs out with who is his neighbor and George seemingly having very few friends. That and they are meant to be hundreds of thousands of years apart. The morale still stands though, life really never changes and we can all relate to the problems of both families in different ways.
15 So What's Changed?
From the original show to the 1986 continuation, a few things changed. The first and most obvious change is that they removed the laugh track from the 1986 version, as it was not as popular as it once was. Secondly, the jokes became even more toned down as they aimed the show specifically to children instead of adults and their kids. For the 80s version, they re-recorded the intro song and removed the outro in favor of a slide of pictures. They also added title cards at the beginning of each episode. Finally, a big change was with the tone and the types of appliances they used in the house.
The home used to be powered by buttons or levers that would activate machines, which was changed in favor of a touchscreen-style colored panel on the wall. The tone of the show itself went from that of a sitcom to more of an exploration into a Science Fiction lifestyle. They also stopped referring to the technology around them as quite as fantastical, instead of seeing them as part of the everyday life.
14 Flying To Work
You may have heard a lot of people reference The Jetsons and ask things like "where is my flying car?" Well, having a flying car when the world is made up of buildings sitting just outside the atmosphere of the planet is a little harder to justify. Technically, if you lived in Orbit City, you could push your car out into the low gravity and it would very slowly sink as opposed to modern times where if you pushed your car off a cliff, it would plummet. So the fuel required to pilot a craft from place to place would be much less then if you were to fly a car around on earth. The fuel it would take to just get to work would be extremely expensive and you would have to fill up quite often.
There is no doubt that having a vehicle that could fly over the traffic and get to work would be awesome, but the regulations and the cost would be ridiculous. Build one if you want, but many of us will wait until we find gravity-defying metal or live in space.
13 Who Is Orbity?
One other change that the 80s version of the show brought was the creation of the character Orbity. One day when Elroy, George's son, was on a field trip to an asteroid, he stumbled upon a small furry creature that he named Orbity. He took this little creature home and it has become another pet of the family's.
Orbity is quite peculiar as he has springs for legs, allowing him to jump around rapidly and speaks in a garbled voice that is not quite understandable.
As the original 24 shows combined themselves with the newer 51, you might see a couple of episodes without him at all, then suddenly he shows up as if he has always been there. I experienced this a few times as I watched the show as a child. This would be easy to get confused about if you had never seen the first episode of season 2 when he was discovered.
Artwork by MortenEng21.
12 From the Past To The Future
With The Flintstones and The Jetsons being so similar, it is easy to wonder why they did not focus on making more Flintstones episodes instead. Well, one major reason was that the topic of space and space travel was getting very big during that time. Only 7 months before release, the United States sent John Glenn into space and he successfully orbited the earth. A few years before that, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik into space, where it became the first working satellite in orbit. The Apollo Space Program was underway as well, making this a very good time for Sci-fi creators as interest in the stars skyrocketed. It was a time of hope and many people began to dream of possibly living in space or exploring other planets.
Today we are closer than ever to living in space. Perhaps that is why there are new versions of The Jetsons in the works to get us excited again. It is a shame though that most space exploration today has been halted due to governmental debt. But, perhaps, one day we will be out there.
Artwork by Norman Rockwell.
11 No Jetpack? No Problem
As with the flying car complaints, you may hear people complaining about not having jetpacks yet. Well, the same rules apply, but now you have to worry about not being seriously injured by a rocket on your back shooting fire at your legs. There are awesome looking prototypes out there that use water to float you around, but surely this is not quite what these people had in mind, as they want to fly over buildings like Superman. The good news, however, is that technology is advancing rapidly day by day and soon we will see awesome things that are going to be much more practical than a jetpack.
There are still a few of those daring souls out there that are focused on the jetpack and there was even one that could fly for about 30 seconds. The magnetic trains and hovering vehicles are still a little more practical if you ask us. Even fully working biotic limbs with a sense of touch could be on the horizon, so even if we are not all flying to work, we could be hovering to it instead, with our biotic limbs and under the skin sunglasses.
10 The Robot Problem
If nothing else, the show gets one thing right, which is that soon there will be more robots in the workforce. In The Jetsons, there are many robots that do the more of the menial tasks. As people around the world are losing their jobs to technology, this world has already taken its first steps towards this. There are even robots that are very close to being able to walk around on their own and all they need now is a task to perform. Everything from manufacturing to restaurant service could be in danger if this trend continues.
This luxury creates a huge problem that many workers have already struggled with.
This creates an "adapt or be left behind" feeling for jobs moving towards technological advancement. More robots mean fewer workers, but the world might need more technicians. However, not everyone who has lost their job to a robot is able to instantly become its technician, pushing the population into fields of technology. This is great for the next generation, but hard on the current one who may not be able to keep up.
9 Reinventing the Future
There have been talks recently about re-booting the franchise as a live action TV show and perhaps a movie to go along with it. Currently, the project is moving forward, though nothing is for certain. We can see people from both sides loving and hating this idea of making the show live action and we are not sure how we feel about it either. It could be great to see this world come to life and show us a more accurate depiction of the future. If it goes down the road of the recent comics that DC Comics created then it could be great, however, we fear it would lose much of its comedic value.
There is no doubt that they would change the art style to be more modern science fiction, which is fine, but within that strange Googie art, there is a sense of uniqueness that we may never get to see again. With Robert Zemeckis at the helm, there is some hope that the show will be amazing. So let's hope that even with the changes that are sure to come, we can enjoy one of our old favorite shows once again in a new light.
8 The One And Only
There is something almost magical about some of the voice acting talents that were collected by Hanna-Barbera. Sadly, not many of these old-school voice actors are still with us today. One of these very special individuals was Don Messick. He was the voice of many characters including Scooby Doo, BooBoo Bear, Papa Smurf, and, of course, Astro from The Jetsons. The idea of an animal speaking with a growl replacing almost every first letter of each sentence with an "R" was definitely a great one. It's been replicated in many different mediums, but there is only one Don Messick.
Messick was a legend at what he did and his Scooby Doo voice will live on forever. Even though Astro's voice tone was not exactly the same as Scooby Doo, it's similar enough that you can tell that it is the same man. In a way, it is one of many countless references that Hanna-Barbera cartoons shared between each other.
7 So What Did They Get Right?
There are many that complain that do not have yet items they saw on The Jetsons, but what has come true so far? Roaming vacuums are a big one that we can remember, even though they are more similar to Ray Bradbury's August 2026: There Will Come Soft Rains than our modern smart vacuums. Another example would be the smart devices in the home, like talking to your TV or having the house turn on or off your lights. A fairly recent example would be smart watches, as almost everyone in The Jetsons had a watch that could call others or be used to watch shows on.
They really got as much right, as they did wrong.
Hopefully, therewill be a much easier way to travel into spaces soon, with ideas thrown out like space elevators or even having colonies in space. You never know what might be next. As we close in on having robots that can walk, talk, recognize speech and respond, the future is closer then we think as far as the technology found in the show. All we are missing now is the cities in the sky. And... the jetpacks and flying cars.
6 The Power Of Color Television
We have already talked about the show struggling to pull in the audiences that did not have color TV sets and this is why. If you look at that picture and compare it to any of the others we have shown, it just falls flat. The show was not meant to be in black and white, otherwise they could have adjusted they greyscale to accommodate. Sadly, whenever you venture into something that only works with new technology, you will struggle until enough people have the means to understand it. This was ABC's first color show and it really does pop colorwise.
This is often cited as not only the reason the show did not do well, but also the reason it did so well later on, as more people had color televisions. It seemed that sending the show to Saturday morning reruns was an acknowledgment of its failure. Thankfully that is what brought it to more light than ever before, as it became extremely popular. It is only a shame they were not able to make more episodes at that time for us to enjoy, since no matter what is made now, we will never get the magic of that hand-drawn animation combined with the perfected voice acting.
5 A Really Catchy Tune
The intro to The Jetsons is iconic. There are few of us, however, that know just how popular it was. After the rebirth of the show in the late 80s, it was re-recorded and sold as a single and as a part of the record "Television's Greatest Hits Vol. 1" in 1986. Saying that it did well as a song is an understatement, as it blew up and sold like crazy. For that year, it ranked as high as #9 on the music charts. Looking back, most of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons had very catchy music and, if you were to hear one of them beginning to play, it would be hard not to hum or sing along. It was so popular in fact that it would be requested to be played by Jazz musicians for years after.
Hanna-Barbera really knew how to leave an imprint their audience and, even though you may not want to go out and buy the song today, there is no denying that it has stuck with you. The next time you are at a Jazz club and they ask for requests, see if they know the song, but also be prepared for some strange looks if they don't.
4 That Strange Art Style
If you were wondering what we've been talking about when we say Googie art, here it is. It is more familiar then you thought, isn't it? Whether you have seen it on the famous Las Vegas sign, at a local diner or motel, it is all over if you look hard enough. The artists were inspired by the look because it was very prominent in Los Angeles in the 50s and 60s. Even to the point that LAX itself was designed with this art style in mind. It is meant to look wacky and bright, along with being very alluring and unique. The art itself was inspired by the idea of the "atomic age," which normally shows rocket ships, stars and what was thought to be a space-age look.
In the minds of the creators of The Jetsons, this was a perfect way to show that the world was similar to the 60s. Today this type of art is mostly unappreciated and discarded due to it being overly flashy. But, as with all trends, there are still people that like it enough to keep the signs and architecture around as a way to remember the past.
Art By BetteLoveStudio.
3 Impressive Stock Options
In 2011, Forbes did a listing of The 25 Largest Fictional Companies and on that list was Spacely Space Sprockets, the company that George Jetson works for. They estimated that a company of this size and stature would be worth roughly $1.3 billion. With the technology today, there are not a ton of things that use sprockets or gears anymore. Assuming, though, that nearly every contraption in your home needed these to function, you would bet this number would be very accurate. If the remake happens, they should change this to microchips and the whole idea would make more sense.
What exactly is a sprocket?
Well, a sprocket is a wheel that has cog-like teeth to catch a chain that runs between that sprocket and another. Much like the chain on your bike has two sprockets attached by that chain. They are used for tons of things, but not often in high tech machines. About as high tech as a sprocket gets is for use in factories to turn machine wheels, rollers or conveyor belts. So, while still profitable, we are to assume that these sprockets are used in nearly everything, not just in special cases in The Jetsons.
2 A Star Cast
As awesome as it is to hear Don Messick in the show, he was only one of many great voice actors who worked on The Jetsons. George O'Hanlon, who played George Jetson, was another great talent that brought the show to life, especially whenever the character was meant to be losing his temper. Penny Singleton, Daws Butler, and even Mel Blanc all worked on the show as well. With talent like that, it is no wonder we loved seeing what the characters would get into from one episode to the next.
The often forgotten stars of the show are those who draw the characters and, if it was not for the combined efforts of everyone involved, the show would have gone nowhere fast. It is a shame really that most people don't stick around to see the credits and the names of those who gave a lot to the production. Putting a show together is a lot of work and it often takes months to get a whole season ready for the TV screen. So, the next time you watch your favorite show, watch and read as many of the credits as you can because they do just as much in making that show as the lead.
1 Talking Appliances
If you look above, we have no doubt that a fully synced smart kitchen of the future would look something like this. You'll probably be able to program the entire house to be at your beck and call pretty soon. So how does this kitchen differ from the kitchen in The Jetsons? The first thing we would like to see is the meal ingredients move from the refrigerator to the pans and cook themselves. This may never happen, but it happened that way in The Jetsons, so we want it. Except for the whole eating meals in pill form, that is just wrong.
Quickly take count of the items in your house that can respond to your voice commands. For many of us, that would include our phones and maybe a smart speaker device like the Amazon Alexa or Echo. The only thing we need now is something that makes our food, serves it and then washes up after itself while we relax. It can not be that far away now and we are excited about it.