Warren Foster’s story for Elroy’s TV Show is highlighted by a wonderful satire of what things would be like if Minow and the other do-gooders got their way, and television broadcast nothing but classical music concerts, live drama and nature documentaries.
Mr Transistor: I’ve just read these scripts you guys turned in as ideas for a new show. There’s not one of them worth doing. TV Geometry lessons! Chemistry course! Animals of the World! What are you trying to do to me?Later, at the Jetsons’ apartment:
Writer 2: Ah, but chief, those shows are all educational.
Transistor: Educational! Whatever happened to entertainment?
Writer 2: Well, we’ve been writing educational programmes for so long...
Writer 3: We’ve forgotten entertainment.
Writer 1: Our mission has been to educate people.
Transistor: You’ve educated them so much, they’re too smart to watch TV.
Writer 2: How about a cowboy series?
Writer 1: Or a doctor programme?
Transistor: Hmmm. It’s tempting, but we don’t dare start that stuff again. That’s what brought on educational programmes.
Transistor: I’m Mr Transistor, president of Asteroid TV Productions.The plot’s easy to sum up. Transistor and his lazy writers see Elroy and Astro and picture a Lassie-type show. (“But, boss, it’s got to be educational.” “It is, it is! It teaches a lesson—be nice to your dog and he won’t bite you.”) Astro’s non-plussed about the whole idea but signs anyway. George decides to become Elroy’s manager and is such a pest, Transitor puts him in Elroy’s show, where he’s attacked by a robot. George quits and Elroy decides he’d rather go home and watch TV. Meanwhile, Spacely’s wife (Jean Vander Pyl does a great job with her snooty voice) demands that he get a TV show for their son, Arthur (Dick Beals in a very good outing). Arthur ends up taking over the show, pest Spacely gets put in the show and attacked by the robot. But he won’t quit. (“What? And give up show biz? Never.”). The robot attack continues off camera to end the cartoon.
Jane: Oh, I don’t watch TV any more. It’s over my head. Why don’t you bring back doctor and cowboy shows?
Besides Foster’s great satire, I really enjoy the artwork in this cartoon. Art Lozzi painted some of the backgrounds from Dick Bickenbach’s layouts. The blue trees are pretty much a Lozzi trademark. And, yes, they showed the ground in part of the cartoon.
These two frames are the beginning and ending of a long background pan. Notice how the road is empty. Why is a road there anyway? In all the Jetsons cartoons, people drive in the atmosphere.
The same here. Lozzi uses a bit of yellow to break up the monotony of the blue colours.
The last third of the cartoon takes place on Jupiter. I don’t know who did the backgrounds here but they’re great. Wonderfully bleak. Browns and purples. Here’s the start of another pan.
And here’s part of the rest of the pan snipped together. I couldn’t do all of it and make the colours match.
And more of Jupiter. Elroy’s dressing room is on an overlay, as is the slab of stone on the right side of the cave, as well as the big rock in the foreground of the last painting.
Inventions. There’s the televisor system to spy on workers, a nuclear-powered drone that carries drinks to your table, a radio communicator to speak to your child away from home (no need to dial a cell phone number), a masking film across a door that allows you to see the silhouette of a person to help you decide whether you want to let them in.
An electric train set is, naturally, in the air. Secretaries are robots (but still take coffee breaks). People travel from office to office in a pneumatic tube. And windows are automatically washed and squeegeed clean by pushing a button.
Some character designs. Arthur Spacely and his dog Zero.
The evil robot.
And Mrs. Spacely. Her diamond ring appears only when needed for a scene; it disappears the rest of the time.
I couldn’t tell you who animated this cartoon. My wild guess is whoever it was, they did the whole show. I didn’t see any variation in character drawings.
George doesn’t meet up with a traffic cop in this cartoon, but he does have trouble getting onto the freeway. I like how pieces of his car break off as he tries to shove his way into traffic.
George O’Hanlon, Penny Singleton, Daws Butler and Janet Waldo are here, along with Don Messick in a pile of roles, the forementioned Vander Pyl and, of course, Mel Blanc as Spacely. There’s a screw-up in one scene where the wrong writer’s voice comes out of the wrong mouth.
Hoyt Curtin’s score perks along in the usual fashion.