Wednesday, June 10, 2015

The Jetsons and American Culture

I had another doctor's appointment today (I love my gynecologist!)  It's so nice when your doctor remembers you out of the multitudes of patients she has.

A topic of conversation came up yesterday when I was having lunch with my friend, Ellen.  We mentioned The Jetsons, and it got me thinking. How much of the life we have now got its inspiration in 1962, when 24 episodes of The Jetsons were produced. The show only lasted for one season (until it was reprised in the mid-80s) but those 24 episodes played over and over on TV in the childhood of every Baby Boomer.  Video Phones! Robots To Clean Your House! Flying Cars! We loved it all, and dreamed of the day when it would all come true. Even the clothing worn has been emulated as "standard future wear" whenever people dress up in costume. The term "The Jetsons" is code for "the future" and everyone understands what that means.

In 1962 color TV shows were rare because few homes had color TV, and it wasn't until 1972 before 50% of American homes had a color TV.  The Jetsons was ABC's first show produced in color and was aired opposite "Disney's Wonderful World of Color," a very popular show that had very high ratings. It's rather funny to even think of The a Jetsons being a prime time TV show, when you look at today's prime time lineup.  After just one season The Jetsons was cancelled and sent into re-run land where it became a wildly successful show, if you define "wildly successful" not in monetary terms but as something that became a part of the psyche of every young American.
Another thought that occurred to me was that the Baby Boomers think of The Jetsons as a show for our generation, but it was the brainchild of our parents' generation. Not too bad for the folks we thought as "uncool!"  And this morning I asked my 12 year old grandson about The Jetsons and, while he think he's only seen one episode, he still knew about it and could describe it. So more than 50 years later the show is still impacting American culture. Amazing.

Ok, we have FaceTime and Roombas, where is my flying car?

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