Monday, 1 August 2022

Farewell, Jane Jetson 1.0

July 31st may not have been the birthday of George Jetson, but it was the day after the death of the first woman to play George’s wife.

Comic actress Pat Carroll died on the weekend of pneumonia at age 95.

There are some readers who may have missed the posts some years ago about this, but Penny Singleton was not the first person cast as Jane Jetson. Hank Grant’s syndicated TV column (in the Binghamton Press), dated May 13, 1962, revealed:

Starring “voices” for the new “The Jetsons” animated cartoon series, now signed for Sunday nights on ABC-TV, will be Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll. Since they will be required to work only one day a week, Morey will continue as a regular on the Dick Van Dyke Show and Pat hopes to do the same on the Danny Thomas Show.
That didn’t last long. Grant wrote in the Hollywood Reporter two days later:
Casting of voices for Hanna-Barbera’s new “The Jetsons” series is now wide open, even for the top Jane & George Jetson roles. Begging off their firmed deals because of sponsor conflicts were Morey Amsterdam (Dick Van Dyke Show) and Pat Carroll (Danny Thomas Show).
Well, apparently it wasn’t all that tidy. Or placid. Here’s a wire service story from almost a year later.
Cartoon Firm Sued by Two
LOS ANGELES, April 12—(UPI)—Actress Pat Carroll and comedian Morey Amsterdam filed $27,600 suit Friday claiming breach of their contract to do voice characterizations for a television cartoon series.
Miss Carroll and Amsterdam contended in their superior court suit that they entered into a contract last April 28 with Hanna-Barbera Productions to do voice characterizations for the “Jetsons” and were to receive $500 a segment—with a guarantee of 24 segments for 1962-63.
Both said the defendant, Hanna-Barbera, failed to use them for the voice work.
It took months for the case to end up in court. This is from January 25, 1965.
TV firm sued
LOS ANGELES (AP)—Comedian Morey Amsterdam and actress Pat Carroll are seeking $12,000 each from Hanna-Barbera Productions, charging the firm signed them to provide the voices for an animated television show called “The Jetsons”—but used their services only once, not 24 times as called for in their contracts.
The case went to trial Tuesday, Amsterdam and Miss Carroll said their contracts called for them to get $500 each for each of the shows, planned for the 1962-63 season.
The Associated Press reported on January 29th the two of them lost their suits.

When we originally posted about this in 2010, it spurred author and fellow CITR alum Kliph Nesteroff to ask Carroll about it. You can read what she had to say over on his blog.

It took about a month to re-cast the main roles. The TV writer for the Alton Evening Telegraph of June 15, 1962 reported Penny Singleton was now Jane and George O’Hanlon had been hired as George. You’ll notice, by the way, the character was named “George” before O’Hanlon was cast.

The firing wasn’t really a setback for Carroll; she carried on with a long career in live action and animation. But we can’t help but think how different The Jetsons would have been with Carroll and Amsterdam as the lead characters.

1 comment:

  1. Hans Christian Brando2 August 2022 at 17:22

    Did y'all know Pat Carroll's sister was a nun?