In 1962, having "Jet" in a name still felt futuristic

Andrew Gelman recently did a post on Saturday Morning cartoons of yesteryear, so you know there had to be something that would set off my inner-nerd. In this case:

It’s been often noted that The Jetsons have had an outsized influence on popular memory given that it was only on the air for one season (later forgettable reboots notwithstanding).

The Jetsons didn't just run for one season. It ran for decades. It was just that all those years consisted of the same 24 episodes over and over again, part of the Saturday morning lineup of all three networks. This was very much par for the course for Hanna-Barbera. You see the same thing with shows like Johnny Quest or Space Ghost. The studio was notorious for cost cutting and for squeezing every last drop out of a piece of intellectual property. Since the audience for Saturday morning cartoons was constantly cycling through, it made sense to just keep rerunning the same episodes of popular shows until the ratings started to fall.

When people talk about the Jetsons having one season, they are talking about its original prime time run. ABC in the 50s and 60s was more or less in the same position as Fox in the '90s, a perennial last place and a bit of a joke. This was partially due to the network's origin. It was carved off from NBC as the result of an antitrust action from the government against NBC. Like Fox, ABC tried a lot (Read more...)