After bouncing around cartoon purgatory for 23 years, "The Jetsons" is returning to television this fall with 41 new episodes. Coupled with the show's original 24 episodes, they will air Monday through Friday in late afternoon time slots. The program already is signed up for 80 U.S. markets, including the top 30. In Chicago, it will be telecast from 4-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning Sept. 23 and from 10-10:30 a.m. Sundays beginning Sept. 29 on WPWR-Ch. 60.
When "The Jetsons" premiered in prime time, 7:30-8 p.m. Sundays, on ABC in September, 1962, all was peachy with the American dream. Handsome guy John F. Kennedy was in the White House, preparing to stare down the Russians in Cuba. Space hero John Glenn jauntily cruised around the Earth. Likable Arnie Palmer won the Masters and the British Open golf tournies. And Chubby Checker's dance craze "The Twist" was the No. 1 record of the year. Life was good. Simple, too. Hanna-Barbera, creators of such notable period characters as Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw, took the upbeat spirit of the era and grafted it onto the futuristic nuclear family.
Work began on the 41 new episodes late last year at a cost of approximately $300,000 a show, says Hanna-Barbera spokesperson Sarah Baisley. All of the actors and actresses who provided the voices for the original show have returned to work on the new episodes: George O'Hanlon (George); Penny Singleton (Jane); Janet Waldo (Judy); Daws Butler (Elroy); Don Messick (Astro); and the ubiquitous Mel Blanc (George's boss, Cosmo G. Spacely). Most are cartoon voiceover veterans, especially Blanc, who is responsible for the voices of Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Tweety, Roadrunner, Daffy Duck and a gaggle of other Warner Bros. cartoon characters. Messick has done time as the voice of Bamm-Bamm on "The Flintstones" and as Dr. Benton Quest on "Jonny Quest," while 77-year-old Singleton is best known for her portrayal of Blondie in a slew of '30s and '40s films.