The original Jetsons was always on TV. For decades the show ran on weekend mornings. Surprisingly enough Hanna-Barbera only produced 24 episodes during its single primetime season in 1962. Whenever you point that fact out to someone, theyre shocked. There had to be more. They produced 166 episodes of The Flintstones. How could there be so few Jetsons? In the mid-’80s, Hanna-Barbera remedied this situation by reviving The Jetsons as an afternoon syndicated series. Instead of hiring new blood to voice the characters, the original actors breathed new life to their old animated images. George OHanlon was once more George Jetson. George Jetson was patterned on OHanlons Joe McDoakes character from an extensive series of live action shorts. You can find these 10 minute gems on various Warner classic movie boxsets. The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1 has the first 21 of the 51 “new” episodes.
The 23 year difference between seasons is extremely noticeable on “Elroy Meets Orbitty.” They use the original title footage, but the theme song has been synthed up to bring it into the 80s. The animation has changed from the classic H-B primetime style to the character designs and motion used on Richie Rich. The new version contains Orbitty, the new character. Elroy Jetson goes on a class field trip to the moon. While picking up a few rocks, the snags a strange rock. Back home, the rock becomes alive as this odd furry creature with springs for legs. Astro gets jealous of the new pet and runs off. He gets snagged by the dog catcher. Its up to Elroy and Orbitty to save the beloved pup from the cruel fate of the animal shelter. On the scale of annoying new characters, Oribitty isnt nearly as bad as Scrappy Doo.
“Rosie Come Home” has their mechanical maid unable to do things right. The problem isnt that shes outdated hardware. She merely needs her software upgraded. One of the odd things about the original Jetsons was outside of the end credits, Rosie and Astro were never in the same episode. Now the duo have scenes together. “Solar Snoops” makes George once more the corporate spy for Mr. Spacely. This time his mission is to sneak into Cogswell Cogs disguised as a woman. “Jetsons Millions” have them strike it rich from a lottery ticket. But theres a catch.
“The Cosmic Courtship of George and Jane” has them recounting their wedding. Doesnt help that George forgets its his anniversary. Youd figure in the future Georges iPhone would remind him of such dates and automatically send flowers to her. Things go really bad when they discover their original minister was a fraud. They have to get hitched to make it legal. However Jane likes her little dose of freedom. George gets extra nervous when Jane dines with her old boyfriend. Is this the end of The Jetsons? Will they be another couple that break up thanks to reality TV? “Haunted Halloween” has what looks like a vampire and an evil doctor attempting to capture Orbitty. George has to find the most scary costume for Mr. Spacely to wear at a masquerade ball. Both stories interlace.
The Jetson: Season 2, Volume 1 brings back the futuristic family without too many changes. Most of the scripts have George as a center of attention and not merely the dad figure to two kids, a dog and that Orbitty thing. The best part is hearing all the classic voices behind the animated characters. This truly is a second season and not an update to completely jazz up the series for modern viewers.
“Elroy Meets Orbitty,” “Rosie Come Home,” “Solar Snoops,” “Judy’s Birthday Surprise,” “SuperGeorge,” “Family Fallout,” “S.M.A.S.H.,” “The Mirrormorph,” “Mother’s Day for Rosie,” “Jetson’s Millions,” “Fugitive Fleas,” “Rip-Off Rosie,” “Far-Out Father,” “Astro’s Big Moment,” “The Cosmic Courtship of George and Jane,” “Fantasy Planet,” “S’no Relative,” “Instant Replay,” “Haunted Halloween,” “Future Tense” and “The Wrong Stuff.”
The video is 1.33:1 full frame. The transfers vary from very good to a few episodes that seemed captured from analog video sources. The audio is Dolby Digital mono. There are dub tracks in Spanish and Portuguese. The subtitles are in English, French and Portuguese.
The Jetsons Return to the Future (8:33) has Jerry Beck and others discuss how Hanna-Barbera revived the series nearly 20 years later. Since this new version was created for afternoons, the scripts were aimed more for kids than families. They have stills of the vocal cast back in the booth. Turns out George OHalon had an eye problem so he had his lines read to him and hed repeat them.
The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1 brings back the family of the future with the voices of the past. For folks who enjoyed the original 24 episodes that ran for decades on Saturday morning, you finally get to see more Elroy. While Orbitty isnt original to the show, hes only mildly annoying instead of offensively distracting. Its just so beautiful to hear George OHanlon scream for Jane to fix something.
Warner Home Entertainment presents The Jetsons: Season 2, Volume 1. George OHanlon, Mel Blanc, Janet Waldo, Daws Buler, Don Messick and Foster Brooks. Boxset Contents: 21 episodes on 3 DVDs. Released on DVD: June 2, 2009. Available at Amazon.com