Sunday, September 23, 2012

EEP, OPP, ORK, AH-AH:  Just seven months after John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth from space, The Jetsons debuted on ABC, fifty years ago today. It was the network's first program broadcast in color (The Flintstones was produced in color, but broadcast in b/w for the first two seasons), and its impact goes well beyond its mere twenty-four episodes. The Smithsonian's Matt Novak explains:
Thanks to my Google Alerts for words and phrases like Jetsons, Minority Report, utopia, dystopia, Blade Runner, Star Trek, apocalypse and a host of others, I’ve been monitoring the way that we talk about the future for years. And no point of reference has been more popular and varied as a symbol of tomorrowism than “The Jetsons.”

“The Jetsons” was the distillation of every Space Age promise Americans could muster. People point to “The Jetsons” as the golden age of American futurism because (technologically, at least) it had everything our hearts could desire: jetpacks, flying cars, robot maids, moving sidewalks. But the creators of “The Jetsons” weren’t the first to dream up these futuristic inventions. Virtually nothing presented in the show was a new idea in 1962, but what “The Jetsons” did do successfully was condense and package those inventions into entertaining 25-minute blocks for impressionable, media-hungry kids to consume.
But as Novak explains, because almost all those viewers in 1962-63 saw the show in black and white, the future didn't look as bright as it did to those of us who caught the show in the 1970s/80s in syndicated reruns, which is why it may have only lasted one season, yet made such an impact on the viewers who followed.


  1. Joseph Finn12:59 PM

    Then there's the time they visited Harvey Birdman.

  2. Anonymous9:03 PM

    "Just seven months after John Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth from space..." Is there any other way to orbit the earth?

  3. Paul Tabachneck8:56 AM

    Guest: I'm sure a theoretical physicist could come up with one.

    The idea of there being only 24 episodes didn't run flush with my experience of watching it for years as a kid and not being bored with it, but then it turned out that the first time I saw it, it was paired with two all-new seasons.  The two episodes I remember, however, "A Date With Jet Screamer" and "Rosey's Boyfriend," were original run. 

  4. Joseph Finn9:08 AM

    Mark Evanier, as usual, has some thoughts on the Jetsons.

  5. bella wilfer7:31 PM

    Thanks for getting Elroy's song in my head...