Hanna-Barbera brought in a special animator to craft the colorful, surreal sequence for Jet Screamer's song "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah"
It was a "revolutionary" creation and essentially one of the first television music videos.
Though the original Jetsons series only lasted one season, it wasted no time creating some of the most memorable moments in 1960s animation. Jet Screamer's colorful, surreal performance in the second episode, "A Date with Jet Screamer," is a great example.
The story revolves around Judy entering a song contest to win a date with rock star Jet Screamer, a Ricky Nelson-type teen pop idol who encourages everyone to "turn on the anti-gravity floor and do the solar swivel." George hates the idea so he substitutes Judy's entry with Elroy's nonsensical secret code. Little does George know, pop music doesn't need real words to be catchy! Judy wins the contest and Jet Screamer performs the resulting song, "Eep Opp Ork Ah-Ah."
Howard Morris, a year before becoming Ernest T. Bass on The Andy Griffith Show, voiced Jet Screamer. Morris was no stranger to Hanna-Barbera — he voiced more than 100 characters on The Flintstones! He might seem like an odd choice to play a teen heartthrob but Jet Screamer is no ordinary pop singer. The wacky lyrics worked perfectly with Morris' wild inflections. The resulting song is a hilarious, loving and extremely catchy sendup of late-'50s and early-'60s pop music.
Other shows might have staged the performance in a traditional way, or not bothered to use the whole song at all. But not The Jetsons. What starts off as a normal concert, with George on the drums, turns into a vibrant sequence with floating words and abstract musical visualizations.
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera wanted something special for this episode so they brought in Robert "Bobe" Cannon, an Oscar-winning animator who had a knack for the surreal.
Iwao Takamoto (also a legendary figure in animation who worked on Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and designed both Scooby-Doo and Astro) wrote in his book Iwo Takamoto: My Life with a Thousand Characters that Cannon "was completely fascinated with movement for its own sake, a fascination that spread into an abstract type of movement."
The Jet Screamer sequence in The Jetsons "had that kind of stylized, almost abstract, design and movement that Bobe loved, which was a bit revolutionary for television of the time."
Bobe Cannon worked with layout artist Jerry Eisenberg to blend music and images into what could be seen as a television music video two decades before MTV!