While The Flintstones live in a world with machines powered by birds and dinosaurs, The Jetsons live in the year 2062 in a futuristic utopia (100 years in the future at the time of the show's debut) of elaborate robotic contraptions, aliens, holograms, and whimsical inventions.
The original series comprised 24 episodes and aired on Sunday nights on ABC from September 23, 1962, to March 17, 1963, with primetime reruns continuing through September 8, 1963. At the time of its debut, it was the first program ever to be broadcast in color on ABC-TV. (Only a handful of ABC-TV stations were capable of broadcasting in color in the early 1960s.) In contrast, The Flintstones, while always produced in color, was broadcast in black-and-white for its first two seasons. Following its primetime run, the series aired on Saturday mornings for decades, starting on ABC for the 1963-64 season and then in future seasons on CBS and NBC.
Further episodes were produced for syndication between 1985 and 1987 as one the original lineup of the weekday/weekend morning programming block known as The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera.
Cartoon Network began airing reruns of the series in 1992 and continued to do so until 2004. On January 11, 2001, Cartoon Network's sister channel Boomerang also began airing reruns of The Jetsons and continues to do so.
The Jetsons are a family residing in Orbit City in the year 2062. The city's architecture is rendered in the Googie style, and all homes and businesses are raised high above the ground on adjustable columns. George Jetson lives with his family in the Skypad Apartments: his wife Jane is a homemaker, their teenage daughter Judy attends Orbit High School, and their early-childhood son Elroy attends Little Dipper School. Housekeeping is seen to by a robot maid, Rosie, which handles chores not otherwise rendered trivial by the home's numerous push-button Space Age-envisioned conveniences. The family has a dog named Astro, which talks with an initial consonant mutation in which every word begins with an "R", as if speaking with a growl.
George Jetson's workweek is typical of his era: an hour a day, two days a week. His boss is Cosmo Spacely, the diminutive yet bombastic owner of Spacely Space Sprockets. Spacely has a competitor, H. G. Cogswell, owner of the rival company Cogswell Cogs (sometimes known as Cogswell's Cosmic Cogs). Jetson commutes to work in an aerocar that resembles a flying saucer with a transparent bubble top. Daily life is leisurely, assisted by numerous labor-saving devices, which occasionally break down with humorous results. Despite this, everyone complains of exhausting hard labor and difficulties living with the remaining inconveniences.
- George Jetson — George O'Hanlon
- Jane Jetson — Penny Singleton
- Elroy Jetson — Daws Butler
- Judy Jetson — Janet Waldo
- Astro the Dog/RUDI/Uniblab/Mac — Don Messick
- Rosie/Mrs. Spacely /Miss Galaxy — Jean Vander Pyl
- Cosmo Spacely — Mel Blanc
In later productions, Jeff Bergman has voiced George, Elroy, and Mr. Spacely. Bergman completed voice work as George and Spacely for Jetsons: The Movie (1990) after George O'Hanlon and Mel Blanc died during production. Controversially, Janet Waldo was replaced — after recording all of her dialogue — by then-popular singer Tiffany for Jetsons: The Movie. Lori Frazier has provided the voice of Jane Jetson in television commercials for Radio Shack.
The show's original run consisted of 24 episodes that first aired on ABC from September 23, 1962 to March 17, 1963. In 1984, Hanna-Barbera began producing new episodes specifically for syndication; by September 1985, the 24 episodes from the first season were combined with 41 new episodes and began airing in late afternoon time slots in 80 U.S. media markets, including the 30 largest. The 41 new episodes were produced at a cost of $300,000 an episode, and featured all of the voice actors from the 1962–1963 show. Starting in 1987, ten additional "season 3" episodes were also made available for syndication.
Specials & Film Adaptations
- The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones (1987)
- Rockin' with Judy Jetson (1988)
- Hanna-Barbera's 50th: A Yabba Dabba Doo Celebration (1989)
- Jetsons: The Movie (1990)
- The Jetsons & WWE: Robo-WrestleMania! (2017)