The Jetsons is an American animated sitcom produced by Hanna-Barbera, originally airing in primetime from 1962-1963, then later as part of the weekday/weekend morning programming block called The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, until 1987. New episodes were produced from 1984-1987 as well. It was Hanna-Barbera’sSpace Age counterpart to The Flintstones. Reruns can be seen frequently on Boomerang.
While the Flintstones live in a world with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, the Jetsons live in the year 2062 in a futuristic utopia (100 years in the future at the time of the show’s debut) 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 8, 1963. At the time of its debut, it was the first program ever to be 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 series aired on Saturday mornings for decades, starting on ABC for the 1963-64 season and then in future seasons on CBS and NBC.
Further episodes were produced for syndication between 1985 and 1987 as one the original lineup of the weekday/weekend morning programming block known asThe Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.
The Jetsons are a family residing in Orbit City in the year 2062. 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 daughterJudy 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, which 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 diminutive yet 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 — George O’Hanlon
- Jane Jetson — Penny Singleton
- Elroy Jetson — Daws Butler
- Judy Jetson — Janet Waldo
- Astro the Dog/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 intelevision commercials for Radio Shack.