The Jetsons: ABC’s First Color Program
A Space Age counterpart to The Flintstones, The Jetsons hit homes September 23, 1962 as ABC-TV’s first color program. As popular as the cartoon was – and still is today – the original series lasted only one year (24 episodes).
The Jetsons aired Sunday evenings, featuring a family residing in Orbit City in the year 2062. Characters include George Jetson, his wife, Jane, daughter Judy, son Elroy, and dog Astro. Rosie, the housekeeper, is an outdated robot and appears in only two episodes from the original series (though she is seen in closing credits). Together they live in Skypad Apartments, where all buildings are raised on adjustable columns in Googie style. Their home is simplified with numerous push-button, Space Age appliances and gadgets.
George Jetson works at Spacely Space Sprockets. He commutes in an aerocar that looks like a flying saucer and has plenty of leisure time. He works just an hour a day for two days a week. At home, the family complains about hard work as a result of missing conveniences. The show is filled with contraptions, holograms, and futuristic inventions, which makes for pure fantasy, despite plenty of 1960s influence, including the show’s music and sound effects.
> In the early ’60s there was but a handful of ABC stations capable of broadcasting in color. Even The Flintstones, which was produced in color, was shown in black-and-white the first two years.
After it’s initial run, The Jetsons aired on Saturday mornings for more than two decades. In 1984 Hanna-Barbera worked on new episodes for syndication. The original 24 episodes and 41 new ones were combined and in September 1985 The Jetsons aired in the afternoon in 80 US markets. While a new generation was introduced to newly produced stories, these episodes featured the voice actors from the original series. In 1987 an additional 10 episodes were created.
In total, just 75 episodes of this classic cartoon were produced. Yet, it seems as if there were hundreds of space tales the Jetsons shared with us. And who could ever forget the opening credits? Take a look:
While The Jetsons is retired, there are plenty of episodes to relive. The WB streams, for free, episodes from the original season and the 1985 season (click here).
Did you watch The Jetsons as a kid? Who was your favorite character?