September 23 marks the 50th anniversary of the premiere of the animated television sitcom, "The Jetsons." While the original incarnation of the Hanna-Barbera series lasted only one season, the adventures of George Jetson, his boy Elroy, his daughter Judy, Jane his wife, and his trusty dog, Elroy, have stood the test of time.
Here are 10 far-out facts about "The Jetsons."
1. The first season of "The Jetsons" premiered in 1962 with 24 episodes. It wasn't until a full two decades later, in 1985, that the second season of the series debuted! According to the website for the Federal Communications Commission, "The Jetsons" and its prehistoric counterpart, "The Flintstones," were the first programs on ABC to be aired in color.
2. Speaking of "The Flintstones," two alums from that show did double duty as voice actors on "The Jetsons." Jean Vander Pyl (Wilma on "The Flintstones") voiced several "Jetsons" characters, including Rosie the Maid and Mrs. Spacely, while Mel Blanc (Barney Rubble) voiced Mr. Spacely. Jean Vander Pyl once revealed that she made a mere $250 per episode for her voice work, and in 1989 she told the Los Angeles Times, "Nobody knew that TV shows would go on forever, so our old contracts didn't call for much in the way of residuals. That's why I'm not wealthy."
3. Jane was a blondie! The character of "The Jetsons" #1 mom, Jane, was voiced by none other than actress Penny Singleton. Singleton was famous for her role as Blondie Bumstead in the iconic series of 28 big screen "Blondie" movies produced from 1938 to 1950.
4. In an interview with Archive of American Television, "Jetsons" creator Joseph Barbera revealed how he came up with the idea of the Jetson's jet-setting digs, the Sky Pad Apartments. "I created a living quarters that were based on the remnants of the 1936 New York City World Fair," he said. Barbera told the Cartoon Network: "I saw round buildings kind of on a pedestal. I decided to add hydraulics to the pedestal so you could lift the apartment above the smog of clouds into the fresh, clean air."
5. In 2007, "The Jetsons" made Forbes list of the 25 Largest Fictional Companies. Cosmo G. Spacely's capital goods biz was dubbed the "perfection of one-button sprocket manufacturing," with estimated 2007 sales of $1.3 billion. Clampett Oil ("The Beverly Hillbillies") and Wonka Industries ("Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory") also made the list.
6. Talk about Jetson's placement! The show's characters have appeared in a bevy of TV commercials. George Jetson starred in a commercial for Tums -- after he devoured a chili dog with the works -- and he was seen plugging Saran Wrap on an early episode of the show. The family was featured in ads for Electrosol and Radio Shack. And Jane Jetson appeared alongside two more of Hanna-Barbera's most famous classic cartoon females -- Wilma Flintstone and Scooby Doo's Velma Dinkley -- in an ad for Dove shampoo.
7. Large portraits of "Jetsons" characters George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Astro, and Rosie are featured in the the animated music video for Kanye West's "Heartless." According to the Daily Mail, the pop culture-loving West boasts specially commissioned pop-art portraits of the Jetson clan in his L.A. home.
8. The Season 1 episode, "A Date With Jet Screamer," features Judy Jetson's memorable song contest entry, "Eep, Opp, Ork, Ah-ah!" The song was later recorded by the Violent Femmes for the "Saturday Morning Cartoons' Greatest Hits" compilation. (The Butthole Surfers sang the "Underdog" theme and Sublime sang about "Hong Kong Phooey," so go figure!)
9. Probably the biggest "Jetsons" "scandal" was the replacement of original Judy Jetson -- Janet Waldo -- in the 1990 movie version of the series. The voice of then-popular teen star, Tiffany, was used in the role instead -- after Waldo had already recorded the voice track. Waldo told the Los Angeles Times that she was "totally crushed" by the incident. "I originated the character, and I feel very sentimental about Judy," she said. "If they had recast the whole show, there wouldn't have been any problem at all. But the fact that my part was the only one that was changed just threw me."
10. Plans for a live action movie version of "The Jetsons" have long been on the table. According to MTV, Jetson's fan Kanye West was even in talks to be the flick's creative director, while Variety reported that writers Van Robichaux and Evan Susser have been hired to rework an existing script. With any luck, fans will see the project come to fruition before 2062 -- the year the original "Jetsons" series was set in!
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