|Like The Flintstones, The Jetsons was based on the premise of a typical family placed in an atypical situation. But this time the action moved from prehistoric Bedrock to the mid-21st century, where cities hovered and cars flew. Also like The Flintstones, the series originated on prime time television before moving to a brighter future on Saturday mornings.
The Jetsons were led by the bread-winning patriarch George, who worked at Spacely Sprockets for the short and short-tempered Cosmo Spacely (voiced by Mel Blanc). Spacely constantly demanded that George work more hours and solve impossible predicaments, or else face the unemployment line.
Though the series was set in the future, George's wife Jane often fit the housewife stereotype that dominated that era's female characters. She was always trying to coerce the credit cards out of her reluctant husband in order to enjoy outlandish shopping sprees with her daughter Judy.
Judy was a model teenager, obsessed with shopping, boys, and getting tickets to the latest Martian rock concert. Son Elroy was a typically inquisitive six-year old, master of the computer-operated gadgets that filled the Jetson household.
Assisting around the house was Rosie the robot maid, whose nasal, New York monotone made her a favorite with viewers. Rounding out the cast was the Jetsonís faithful dog Astro, who became so popular he was eventually given his own series, Astro and the Space Mutts. The speech-impaired pooch ("Rello, Reorge") later became the inspiration for Scooby Doo, with Don Messick providing the voice for both characters.
Due to rival programming, the Jetsons only lasted a year in prime time, but their futuristic ways and their catchy, easy-to-memorize theme song made them popular enough to play for 14 years on Saturday mornings.
In 1985, Hanna-Barbera decided to produce new versions of The Jetsons for syndication. Keeping the original style of the cartoons, but updating the humor to a more 80's sensibility, these later episodes captured a whole new audience. The only major change was the addition of Orbity, an alien pet whose springy legs and fuzzy appearance contributed to the quirky charm of the show.
Throughout the years, the Jetsons have reigned, along with the Flintstones, as one of the most beloved cartoon families of all time, inspiring countless toys and dolls, two television specials, and the 1990 theatrical release, Jetsons: The Movie.