Sunday, 16 April 2017

The Jetsons – Rosey’s Boyfriend

“Gosh, mom, robots can like other robots. Can’t they?”

Oh, such an innocent question, young Elroy, in those sunny days of 1960s Futurism, when the world looked forward to a happy, carefree time of machines doing everything, leaving humans with a leisurely life of relaxation.

How grim The Future looks to us today, with people dreading a time when robots are programmed to be so intelligent, they take over and enslave the universe. Or robots treated “like one of the family,” as Jane refers to Rosey, resulting in them being considered essentially human, with lawsuits and special interest groups to protect them. Even today, aren’t dateless scientists trying to develop fake women for sexual purposes?

We humans have certainly screwed up the future, haven’t we?

Oh, yes, we were discussing a cartoon.

The story in brief: Judy Jetson’s in love (again). And it turns out Rosey the robotic maid and caretaker Henry’s mechanical caretaker Mac (made from an old metal filing cabinet) fall in love. Judy can’t concentrate on space walking or even a conversation because she’s lovesick. Mac can’t concentrate on his job. Henry turns him off. Rosey is heartbroken. Elroy turns him back on, figuring out what’s going on. Everyone’s happy. Oh, and Judy gets another new boyfriend.

I must admit as an almost six-year-old when Rosey’s Boyfriend first aired in 1962, I didn’t care much about Judy Jetson and her silly crush on a boy, nor Rosey, who is lovelorn after the robot equivalent of euthanasia of her “man.” I can’t get worked up about it today. There are some nice little sequences, not really incidental to the plot, such as George and Henry playing charades as George is trapped in his bubble-topped car. Or the running gag with Mac the robot not quite certain about the concept of doors. And there’s one scene with a pan across the robotologist’s office of mechanical helpers in various states of disrepair.

One wonders if writer Walter Black was taking a shot at the medical profession. Basically, the doctor settles for some cursory treatment for the ill Rosey and is sceptical that his by-the-numbers diagnosis could be wrong. (“Sad? A robot?” he asks in disbelief. “Ah, no, the factories don’t install emotion tapes...She’ll be fine. Pay on your way out.”)

Rosey was only featured in two of the series’ 24 episodes. Somewhere on the blog, there’s a news clipping about how that didn’t please Marx toys, which had created a Rosey doll before the Jetsons even began airing. It’s been speculated that placating Marx was one of the reasons she was included in the closing animation over the credits.

Speaking of the creepy future, what’s this Police State the Jetsons are living in anyway? Judy being forced to wear a “license” that can tell an officer if the wearer has ever been guilty of a crime?? I’m not sure I’m crazy about that aspect of the future.

And what of George asking his daughter about Booster (who, as the audience has seen, is her boyfriend). “What is it, a new kind of happy pill?” Is it normal in the future for suburban teenagers to do uppers with the knowledge of their parents? Mind you, pill mania kind of reached a high (pun not intended) in the dear old ’60s, didn’t it?

Inventions of the future: an automatic chair that comes right to you when you press a button, a sky lawn (presumably on the roof), an automatic knitting machine and, of course, the Visi-phone.

Here’s the cartoon’s establishing shot. Background artist unknown.

Judy and Booster blast past the same apartments in the background three times.

A robot doctor would have a long poster of the innards of a robot on his wall, wouldn’t he? Exactly.

Ken Muse animated part of the cartoon but I can’t pick out the others. There’s nothing really interesting about the animation in this cartoon. Here are a couple of zoom frames.

A Top Cat cue slips into the soundtrack (during the Judy/Rosey dancing scenes) but most of it is familiar from other Jetsons episodes, though there are stretches with no music at all.

This cartoon involves the Jetsons’ home life, so there’s no Spacely in this one. Astro takes the week off. Howie Morris supplies some voices here, including Booster and a robot that needs rewiring. Jean Vander Pyl supplies her Shirley-Booth-as-Hazel voice for Rosey and one of the other Sky Pad Apartment tenants. And Don Messick gives Mac his robot voice he used for Uniblab.

Booster may be the most “ut,” but I’m afraid this cartoon isn’t.


  1. Dang, can't believe you could tell who did that broken robot's voice.

    1. YOWP, I don't think it 's Howie Morris. It sounds more like Don Messick.

  2. Usually when you can't tell the style, I would say Jerry Hathcock.

  3. As a child, I actually enjoyed the stories that focused on the domestic side of the Jetsons' life more than the office politics, which I was either too young or too naive to understand. And personally I loved this episode. I thought Mac was a cool character. I loved the way he was constructed, and it seemed only natural for him to fall in love with Rosey, and vice-versa. I liked Henry Orbit, too--he seemed like an older man one might know in real life. He seemed credible as the Jetson's superintendent. We had an older next door neighbor who was a little bit like Henry when I was growing up. He was always out tinkering on something, and like Elroy, I would pester him with questions and he didn't mind.

    One thing I didn't pick up on (in those long-ago days) was that Rosey only appeared in 2 of the original episodes. Featuring her in the end credits sequence sure made it look as though she was a much more recurring character...and when the shows were endlessly rerun on Saturday mornings it was easy to lose track of the number of episodes.

    I especially liked (and still like) the ending of this episode. There are only a handful that finish with George and Jane in a clinch, and Jane's closing line is a winner in my book. My parents enjoyed this Jetsons episode, too.

    So while each episode may not be pleasing to all tastes, different ones probably rang a bell for different viewers.

    1. Also, the 80s series did feature in almost every episode, and that also could have distorted people's memories

  4. Most-Ut-Most article..worth waiting till Sunday (in lieu of Saturday) for.SC

  5. Hathcock animated most of the episode that Muse didn't, and Don Patterson does the scenes in which we first see Mac in operation.

    The scene where Henry 'unplugs' Mac (analogous to firing) is genuinely heart-rendering. Messick gives Mac's mechanical voice a lot of 'personality'- much more than he does for Uniblab. Curtin provides his 'sad' trombone cue associated with Fred, Yogi or Top Cat making up a sob story to pull a fast one. And as much as I hate Muse's animation, he effectively convey's Mac's 'agony'.

    1. I'm not a Ken Muse fan either. He makes Fred Flintstone look old

  6. It's amusing how, through the duration of the series, it's not necessary to open a door- they merely rise with the push of a button. But Henry's door opens and closes the old-fashioned way, probably to accommodate the running gag of Mac ruining them. But then, the elderly Henry is pretty old-fashioned judging from the used car he shows George and Jane in "The Space Car".