It wasn’t unusual for Hanna-Barbera cartoons to open with an establishing shot of a background drawing before getting to the first bit of action. There are some nice pan shots of Jellystone Park that start off a number of Yogi Bear episodes. And “The Jetsons” was no exception. Let’s give you a few examples. Captions are below the screen grabs.
A shot of the camera moving in on Skypad Apartments greets viewers at the outset of “Rosie the Robot.”
The second scene of “The Coming of Astro” features a shot of the apartments again. I can only presume that in the Jetsons’ era, construction crews ripped down and put up apartments almost instantly. The other apartments around the Skypad always change. Or maybe it’s just a different camera angle on the building.
“A Date With Jet Screamer” starts off with a slow pan over two paintings of some buildings, with space cars animated over top.
Here’s the opening of “The Space Car.”
Rain is animated over the darkened colours of the Skypad in “Jetson’s Night Out.”
You must remember the scene where Henry throws a switch and the apartment building rises above the rain clouds into the blue sky. This bothered me as a kid. What if someone else wanted the building lowered because they liked the rain? Wouldn’t the building be constantly going up and down at the whim of people living in it? Yes, I asked myself this kind of stuff 50 years ago.
And here’s the familiar sight of the Spacely Sprockets building. I’m not geeky enough to count how many times this drawing was used, but it opens “The Flying Suit.”
You’ve probably noticed stylised clouds in several of the drawings. Similar ones can be found (albeit not in various pastel shades) in Quick Draw McGraw and other cartoons. Here’s a good look at them from “A Date With Jet Screamer.”
Unfortunately, the people who put together the Jetsons DVD thought it’d be a great idea to take credits from one show and paste them on all the others, so I have no idea exactly who was responsible for each background drawing you see here. Art Lozzi worked on the show. So did Fernando Montealegre and Bob Gentle. There were others, like Fernando Arce, Rene Garcia, Lee Branscombe and Bob Abrams. The Space Needle-y homes and other “futuristic” backgrounds are one of the reasons this is such a fun series to watch.