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Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Jetsons

I'm going to be absolutely up front here. This blog entry is going to seem somewhat rushed compared to some of my other works. Part of the reason behind this is due to technical problems. My laptop (which I was using to type my blog entries as of late) has decided to pitch a hissy fit, and now it will not even turn on properly. So, I'm using my six-year-old desktop computer that is kind of on its last life to bring this entry to you. Here's hoping that I can find a way to get my laptop working once more, as it is a pain to type this on an old computer, and I really don't want to shell out the hundreds of dollars to replace it. I was thinking that as we evolved in the world, things would become easier to use, and life would end up being more convenient. Instead, it appears as though things get more and more complicated as time goes by.

In many ways, the future can be quite a scary place because of its uncertainty. We don't exactly know what the future will hold for us an hour from now, a week from now, a year from now, or even a century from now.

(Though admittedly for most of us, we won't live long enough to see a century of life.)

There have been dozens of examples of what people have predicted the future to be like, and I'll admit that some of the ideas that people have come up with have been quite creative. Would you believe that some people believed that as we approached the twenty-first century, that we would all be driving flying cars? It's true that aviation has had its innovations over the decades, but alas, no flying cars yet.

We were also lead to believe that we would never have to walk anywhere in the world again because all of the sidewalks would move by themselves. This also has not happened yet...unless you count the fact that “moving sidewalks” are part of the lyrics in Dan Hartman's “I Can Dream About You”.

Oh, and we were also supposed to have our very own robotic servants that would help us make like a little easier. This too has not quite happened yet, although the invention of the Roomba is probably the first step.

It's actually quite funny reading what some of the predictions were going to be for the future. Even Archie Comics got into the act during the 1960s when they published a series of comics that were set in the year 2001...and let's put it this way. I lived through 2001, and I don't recall the world being nearly as technologically advanced as Archie Comics claimed it would be. Why, in 2001, the only blackberry we knew was found in supermarkets displayed in the produce section! I know! How did we ever survive?

(And, yes, that is sarcasm at its finest.)

Of course, there are some questions about the future that remain unanswered, and in the case of today's blog entry, the show is set in the year 2062...which is 49 years away. And, just listen to some of the things that according to this program we can expect to see.

  • Houses and businesses built on gigantic columns high above the Earth's surface which you can adjust to whatever height you wish.
  • Having your home being completely controlled by the push of just a few buttons.
  • Having a work week of just two out of seven days.
  • Only being allowed to work one hour every shift.
  • Driving an aerocar from place to place.
  • Having a digital diary to record your private thoughts.

Well, okay, some of these have come true. I know that in regards to the digital diary...well, let's face it. You're currently reading one right now! And, push-button technology has been a part of our lives for several years now from the keypad of a telephone, to the buttons on microwaves and remote controls. Some people can even adjust the temperatures of their homes and businesses with the push of a button.

We still have a way to go before we are able to put our own homes sky high though. And labour laws in this province at least require most employees to work a minimum of TWELVE hours, so no one hour work day for you yet!

(Seriously, to only work one hour a day and two days a week? You'd have to be making $35,000 an hour to achieve middle class status!)

But that was life in the world of The Jetsons!

The Jetsons was just one of the many creations fronted by the team of William Hanna and Joseph Barbera. And, the Jetsons was an interesting show as far as scheduling goes because it aired in two separate decades, and both times it aired, it was extremely popular.

The original series (contrary to what some might believe) only lasted for a twenty-four episode run, from September 23, 1962 until March 17, 1963. It aired in primetime for the run, then switched over to Saturday mornings on ABC affiliates beginning with the 1963/1964 season. It would air on and off on Saturday mornings on all three major networks before airing in syndication sometime during the mid-1980s. Interestingly enough, brand new episodes of The Jetsons were produced between 1985 and 1987...almost twenty-five years after the original series was shown. Thanks to the new episodes that were produced, the show extended to seventy-five episodes in total, plus a feature film that was released the summer of 1990.

Now, I imagine that a few of you have seen many of the episodes of The Jetsons, and I would hazard a fairly good guess that the vast majority of you have watched at least one episode for sure. So, I won't go into detail over the main characters of the program. You already know George Jetson, who loves his family, but ends up causing great frustration to himself and his loved ones due to his impulsive, not well thought-out decisions. You know his wife Jane, who takes care of the family household while having an eye for fashion and gadgetry.

In short, Jane Jetson is a Real Housewife of the 21st century.

There's George and Jane's two children, teenage Judy Jetson and six and a half year old, Elroy Jetson. Judy is a typical teen girl who loves hanging out at the mall with her friends, and shopping, while Elroy could be considered a bit of a child prodigy when it comes to the maths and sciences.

Oh yeah...there's also the beloved family pet, Astro, and the beloved family maid, Rosie the Robot, to round out the cast.

And, of course, every great show has to have some the case of the Jetson family, that comes in the form of Cosmo G. Spacely, whose ideas often backfire just like George's. I would reckon that George has been fired by Spacely...well...seventy-five times! But, he always manages to get his job back by the end of each show.

So, would you like to know some interesting trivia about “The Jetsons”? I happened to find out quite a bit!

01 – The Jetsons made history on ABC by being the network's first show to be broadcast entirely in colour from the very beginning. Compare that to “The Flintstones”, which only saw colour episodes airing after the first two seasons had already aired in black and white.

02 – A large number of voice actors on The Jetsons also provided the voices for characters on other Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Here's a list.

Daws Butler (Elroy Jetson) also voiced Yogi Bear.
Jean Vander Pyl (Rosie the Maid) also voiced Wilma Flintstone.
Janet Waldo (Judy Jetson) also voiced Josie of Josie and the Pussycats.
Don Messick (Astro) also voiced Scooby-Doo.
Frank Welker (Orbitty) also voiced Freddy from Scooby-Doo.
Mel Blanc (Spacely) also voiced Barney Rubble.

03 – The role of George Jetson was portrayed by George O'Hanlon from the beginning of the series until the 1990 film “The Jetsons” was released. O'Hanlon passed away from a stroke on February 11, 1989...just a few moments after he finished recording his final line for the movie. The film was dedicated in both O'Hanlon and Mel Blanc's memory (Blanc himself passing away in July 1989).

04 – The voice of Judy Jetson in the 1990 film was provided by “I Think We're Alone” and “Could've Been” singer Tiffany.

05 – Unfortunately, Tiffany's contribution to the movie was considered controversial...reportedly Janet Waldo had recorded all of Judy's dialogue prior to Tiffany being brought in!!!

06 – Hoyt Curtin composed the theme song for The Jetsons, which actually became a minor pop hit during the mid-1980s!

07 – According to many sources, there's a live-action film based on The Jetsons on the horizon in the near future. Sources state that the film has a tentative Summer 2014 release date, but we're to stay tuned. I don't know...I did like The Flintstones live-action movie, but The Jetsons? I'm a bit skeptical.

08 – At some point, several comic book publishers released Jetsons comic books. These publishers include Gold Key, Harvey, and Archie Comics.

09 – Penny Singleton voiced the character of Jane Jetson. She passed away in 2003 at the age of 95.

10 – Janet Waldo is the only surviving member of the original Jetsons cast.

11 – Ever wanted to call the Jetsons? Just dial VENUS-1234. Weirdly enough, ten digit phone numbers became necessary in the early 2000s in quite a few places, including Canada.

12 – The family was seen selling Electrasol Dish Washer Tabs in print ads circa 2004/2005.

And, that's our look back... wait...look AHEAD at The Jetsons. Actually, what's really freaky is that as of 2013, George Jetson still hasn't been born yet (he was 40 when the series began, putting his date of birth at 2022).

At any rate, we still have 49 years to see if the future really does go the way of the Jetsons. I'll be eighty-one years old then. If I'm still alive then, I'll let you know how the future is.

Well, provided you lived long enough to see in the 2060s, anyway.

1 comment:

  1. In 2013, the idea of a Jetsons movie has been put on hold because of word that an Indianapolis transgender wanted to audition for the role of Jane Jetson, which began causing controversy.