12 far-out things you never knew about 'The Jetsons'

It's only four more decades until 2062!

Image: The Everett Collection

In 1962, there were good reasons to be optimistic about the future. Months after John Glenn orbited the earth, President Kennedy proclaimed, "We choose to go to the moon." A little known band called the Beatles was tearing up the Hamburg scene. A new hero named James Bond was keeping the peace with nifty gadgets in Dr. No.

And, a utopian vision of the future called The Jetsons premiered on our television screens.

So many of our optimistic ideas about an automated future come from this classic cartoon. Flying cars, videophones, conveyor belt sidewalks and robot servants suddenly did not seem so far off or far-fetched. The Hanna-Barbera animated sitcom premiered two years after The Flintstones, on September 23, 1962.

It remains as relevant as ever. But there are some things you might not know about the Jetsons!

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1. It takes place in the year 2062.


The cartoon itself never states the specific year, though characters often refer to living "in the 21st century." However, promotional materials and articles at the time explained that the Jetsons were living exactly 100 years into the future. Only 41 more years to go!

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros.

2. But it was inspired by a book predicting life in the year 1975.


According to Danny Graydon's The Jetsons: The Official Cartoon Guide, the artists looked to books about futurism for a creative spark. A primary source was 1975: And the Changes to Come by Arnold B. Barach, which featured a man flying a jetpack and L.A.'s iconic, UFO-like Chemosphere house on the cover. Take a look at some more pictures from inside the book.

Image: Amazon

3. It was the first color show broadcast on ABC.


Of course, most viewers in 1962 could not watch the Jetsons in its full glory. Most households that had a TV had a black & white set. The number of color televisions sold in the U.S. did not exceed black-and-white sales until a full decade later. Only ABC-run affiliates in New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were guaranteed to see the show broadcast in color.

4. It lasted just one season.


As hard as it is to believe, The Jetsons only originally ran for 24 episodes, from 1962–63. If you grew up watching reruns over the next couple of decades, you were seeing the same stuff recycled again and again. (The cartoon was revived for 51 more episodes in 1985.) The cancelation could have been attributed to the lack of color TV sets — the future just wasn't as spectacular in black & white — but likely had more to do with competition. The show was up against Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color and Dennis the Menace, fighting for the same Sunday family demographic.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros.

5. Astro has the same voice as Scooby-Doo.


You are excused if you ever confused the two toons in your mind. Don Messick provided the voice to both cartoon Great Danes. It was on The Jetsons that Messick rerfected ris roice rith rall the R's. Scooby would not come along until 1969.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros.

6. The voice of Jane Jetson was famous for playing another cartoon icon.


Penny Singleton provided the voice of Jetsons mom, Jane. The actress would have been quite familiar to older viewers, and aficionados of comic characters. Between 1938 and 1950, Singleton brought the daily comic strip character Blondie Bumstead to life in 28 (!) live-action Blondie films.

Image: The Everett Collection

7. George and Jane originally had different voices.


However, George and Jane Jetson were set to have different actors. Sitcom veterans Morey Amsterdam (Buddy Sorrell on The Dick Van Dyke Show) and Pat Carroll (Bunny on Make Room for Daddy) signed on to voice the characters. However, they only completed one episode before being replaced by Penny Singleton and George O'Hanlon. It was rumored that TV sponsors had a say in the decision. Singleton and O'Hanlon sued Hanna-Barbera for breach of contract, as they were meant to have received $500 for each episode of the first season. "You're not going to win when you fight the big fellas, but at least you can put up a little yowling," Singleton said years later.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros.

8. The robot maid's name is spelled two different ways.


Quick: How do you spell the name of the family's robot maid? If you said either "Rosey" and "Rosie" you're correct. The first episode of the series is titled "Rosey the Robot." In the 1985 reboot, however, there was an adjustment, as seen in the second episode "Rosie Come Home."

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros.

9. Ernest T. Bass sang "Eep, Opp, Ork."


Teenage Judy Jetson adores the ultimate pop idol of 2062, Jet Screamer. She enters and wins a contest to pen a song for the guitar twanger. The result is "Eep, Opp, Ork." Howard Morris, who is best known as Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, voiced Jet Screamer and sang the tune. Fun fact: The 1962 record release misspelled the track "Eep, Oop, Ork."

10. The Jetsons theme song hit the Billboard charts in 1986.


Yep, in 1986, "Jane, Get Me Off This Crazy Thing / The Jetsons" was a top-selling dance single, sitting on the chart between Run-DMC and Pet Shop Boys. It peaked at No. 9 on the Singles Sales chart and hung around for a few weeks that summer.

Image: Billboard / Google Books

11. The Flintstones briefly appeared in season one.


In the final episode of the first season, "Elroy's Mob," a student in Elroy's class is slacking off watching "the billionth rerun" of The Flintstones on his wrist TV. It's the 1960 episode "The Swimming Pool." That's not so far off from today's world of Apple Watches.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros.

12. There's a wild fan theory about the Jetsons and the Flintstones coexisting in the same era.


We love this theory. (Even if it is wrong.) Because of the similarities between the Hanna-Barbera cartoons, a group of cartoon lovers has speculated that the sky-bound Jetsons are living high above the post-apocalyptic wasteland of the Flintstones on the ground below. Chris Hardwick explored his version of this theory on his Nerdist podcast in 2010 (it begins around the 1 hr., 17 min. mark). "My theory is that The Jetsons predates The Flintstones and that there was some sort of weird robotic takeover and everyone got sent back to the Stone Age." The two would officially meet in the 1987 movie The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones.

Image: Hanna-Barbera / Warner Bros.



Would the world even be the same if he had been called Fred Flagstone? READ MORE

Image: The Everett Collection

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VaughnBaskin 37 months ago
But not only that The Jetsons along with The Chlalenge Of The GoBots, The Paw-Paws, Yogi's Treasure Hunt, and Galtar And The Golden Lance, makes up the roster for season 1 to The Funtastic World Of Hanna-Barbera in 1985!
RedjacArbez 39 months ago
11. The Flintstones briefly appeared in season one......No shit!!!! There was one season.
Moverfan 40 months ago
I have to admit that since The Jetsons premiered the day after my dad's 31st birthday and I had just arrived that May (my sister showed up in August of 1975--see fact 2), that there are probably a whole raft of things I never knew about the show. On the other hand, I've watched it happily without caring, so it works out!
OldTVfanatic 40 months ago
About four years ago, DC Comics took the Hanna-Barbera and gave them an extreme re-imagining. The Jetsons, far from being happy-go-lucky, lived in a very dystopian, Asimov-style world ruled by robots.
ShawnG7937 40 months ago
Morey Amsterdam and Rose Marie were the ones that sued Hanna-Barbera, not George O'Hanlon and Penny Singleton.
MadMadMadWorld ShawnG7937 40 months ago
I was going to mention that same error, but you mentioned the wrong woman for Jane's voice, as it was not Rose Marie. Why were George O'Hanlon and Penny Singleton going to sue when THEY got the voice roles? It was Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll who each sued Hanna-Barbera for $12,000 each in 1963, for breach of contract. In a 2013 interview, Pat Carroll said Hanna-Barbera won the lawsuit. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Jetsons#Morey_Amsterdam_and_Pat_Carroll_controversy
RedjacArbez ShawnG7937 39 months ago
Rose Marie was not involved...it was Pat Carrol. But nice try,.
jaelinsmith40652 40 months ago
The Jetsons were also in the 1980's MeTV.
Yuuji 42 months ago
When you're tell "Jane Stop This Crazy Thing" makes this.....
Yuuji 42 months ago
The Jetsons was also inspired of The Honeymooners
ncadams27 Yuuji 40 months ago
The Jetsons were inspired by the Blondie movie series. Think George as Dagwood and Jane as Blondie. As noted, Penny Singleton played both.
RedSamRackham ncadams27 39 months ago
* Rosie the robot maid was an obvious parody of Shirley Booth's HAZEL! ☺
Yuuji 43 months ago
I also made an Anime opening of the Jetsons (for MeTV)
LittleMissNoName Yuuji 43 months ago
Really neat! Just remove Walter Lantz and replace it with Hanna-Barbera. Lantz created Woody Woodpecker and Andy Panda for Universial Films. Also, Janet Waldo is the voice of Judy Jetson for the series. She was unfortunately replaced by Tiffany for The 90's movie adaption.
Yuuji LittleMissNoName 42 months ago
This is for MeTV to air on weeknights, and I know its no longer on TV, but im sure MeTV could air this with that opening
Yuuji 43 months ago
I made up the dub cast:

I made the MeTV intro:

and the Outro:

I also did a Top Cat airing
jaelinsmith40652 Yuuji 40 months ago
Can you do Pink Panther, The Inspector, The Ant and the Aardvark, Tijuana Toads, Ronald and Rattfink, Misterjaw, and Krazy Legs on MeTV Screenbug.
Yuuji jaelinsmith40652 38 months ago
I did Bob the Builder on MeTV
Yuuji 43 months ago
MeTV, can you please air The Jetsons on weeknights and let the Flintstones on Saturday mornings
ItalGal68 53 months ago
Any chance The Jetsons will be on MeTV, perhaps after the Flintstones on weekdays or maybe on Sunday morning? The Flintstones are on overkill and with adding another 1/2 hour on Sunday nights, maybe there should be more cartoon variety instead of 2 hours of the Flintstones on Sunday mornings? Or The Flintstones/Jetsons hour Mon-Fri before M*A*S*H and after Adam 12? What about bringing back "Emergency?" Or "WKRP?" Just suggesting.
Yuuji ItalGal68 42 months ago
Im try to say that The Jetsons gonna be on Weeknights just like The Flintstones, even they should have a new series called "Jetsons: The Anime", MeTV will like if it gonna air on weeknights
VaughnBaskin 54 months ago
Uh MeTV, The Jetsons did return in 1985 as part of the weekday/weekend cartoon block The Funtastic World Of Hanna-Barbera!
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