Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Space Car

Get ready for bank interest payments of 44 3/4ths per cent. It’s going to happen. Why? Because it was on The Jetsons. And just about every other futuristic invention on that show is now a reality.

This is the episode where George reads his news off a large screen, no different really than checking out innumerable news sites on the web.

This is also the episode where Jane and her friend wear masks of their own faces so they don’t look like they just rolled out of bed. Oh, speaking of bed...

Wait a minute! George and Jane are in the same bed. They can’t show that on TV in 1962! Oh, that’s right. It’s not 1962. It’s the future.

Let’s post some exteriors from the cartoon. Unfortunately, the versions on DVD had the original credits taken off so I can’t tell you who handled the backgrounds. Here’s the opening pan shot.

More buildings, bubble-top flying cars, some kind of asteroid/lunar body, and clouds that are royal blue.

What’s fascinating is part of the plot involves George Jetson buying a new car. And that’s the plot of a John Sutherland industrial cartoon released in 1956 called “Your Safety First.” Not only does it parallel some of the story-line in the Jetsons cartoon, it also stars the voice of George O’Hanlon. In it, a family of the future (that distant year 2000) watches a Cinemascope-size TV which tells the story of the automobile. In this cartoon, George and Jane do the same thing at a car dealership.

Barry Blitzer now strings together some car gags, reminiscent not only of Your Safety First but that fun adventure into automobiling of the future, Tex Avery’s Car of Tomorrow (released in 1951). The most Avery-esque gag in the Jetsons cartoon is the one about the special seat for the shrewish mother-in-law—which can be conveniently ejected when she gets too bossy. (The mother-in-law continues to badger her daughter in the car long after the seat has been detached and is floating toward Earth).

Favourite gag? That’s easy. George being hauled before a TV screen where traffic judge appears to hand out justice—but first breaks for a commercial. The judge himself endorses the product, “Come Clean, the spot remover with the applicator top.”

Blitzer caps the gag. The commercial ends. Says the judge: “Okay, Jetson, come clean. Uh, I mean guilty or not guilty.”

I thought I detected a bit of Carlo Vinci animation (when George is attacked by an automatic mop and pail) but your guess is better than mine on who else might have worked on this cartoon.


  1. This is one of the best Jetsons episodes, and mostly for the reasons mentioned above. The Knuckles Nuclear portion of the story actually takes up less air time than this elaborate parody of car salesmanship. Like many early episodes of The Flintstones, there are several Jetsons episodes that devote a lengthy amount of the story to development of atmosphere and setting. These details of life in the "21st" Century are more fun and interesting to me than many of the plot elements. Just showing the Jetsons going through their daily routine makes for delightful entertainment.

  2. There again it was a rather large bed!

  3. Animators were Carlo Vinci, Harry Holt and George Goepper.

  4. In the part animated by Carlo Vinci from this episode, I remember of the scene where the Nuclear Knuckles shoots a pistol of childish gas over the policemen and the bank manager, what ended making them acting as little babies.

  5. "Come Clean, the spot remover with the application top."
    If the folks from Reckitt Benckiser saw this...

  6. I did love the Molecular Car presentation, especially the Mother-In-Law gag, with George clapping while Jane glares at him, and then attempts to get out of his faux pas with her.

  7. The design of the First National Fly-In Bank seems to vaguely resemble that of the TWA Flight Center, which opened a few months before the Jetsons premiered.

  8. It's not in this episode but I like the bed that folds up and George pops out like a slice of toast because he over slept.

  9. the baby gas gun! that and the freeze gun were my favorite props