History for the Rest of Us

The Jetsons

The Jetsons

Sep 22, 2013

On September 23, 1962, The Jetsons debuted on ABC. It was the first program on ABC to be broadcast in color. The show is about a futuristic family from the year 2062. The family lives in the Skypad Apartments in Orbit City and consists of George Jetson, Jane his wife, daughter Judy, and ‘his boy Elroy’. The family also has a pet dog Astro (Rastro in Astro-speak), and a robot maid Rosie. Meet George Jetson George works for Spacely Sprockets a rival company to Cogswell Cogs. As a ‘digital index operator’ George is required to work two days a week for one to three hours. His boss Mr. Spacely constantly blames George for his backfiring business plans, and Spacely’s most famous catchphrase is ‘Jetson! You’re fired!’ George’s job consists of turning the Referential Universal Digital Indexer (RUDI) on and off. Since the cartoon was loosely based on the comic strip Blondie, George exhibits similar characteristics to Dagwood Bumstead. Jane, his Wife Jane, George’s wife, loves to shop at Mooning Dales and is a dedicated mother who loves aquiring the latest time saving gadgets as well as the latest fashions. Jane is an efficient housewife (thanks to her ability to get Rosie to do all the work). Daughter Judy George’s daughter Judy goes to Orbit High School, but she’s dropped off by her father and doesn’t have to fly through ten miles of asteroid storms to get there like George did when he was a child. Judy is sixteen and a fan of the rock singer ‘Jet Screamer’. She is obsessed with clothes and boys, and frequently reveals her secrets to her floating robotic diary named ‘DiDi’. His Boy Elroy Elroy is a first grader in Little Dipper School and is 6 1/2. He is very intelligent, obsessed with the space-age, and studies star geometry, space history, astrophysics and math in school. Rosie Rosie the Robot Maid is a beloved member of the Jetsons family and looks after the household chores, as well as Elroy. While not a cutting-edge robot, she still manages to get the Jetsons’ chores done in record time. She refers to George as “Mr. J”. Rosie, a model XB-500 robot, was...

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner

Sep 17, 2013

On September 17, 1949 Wile E. Coyote (Carnivorous Vulgaris) tried to catch Road Runner (Accelleratii Incredibus) for the first time in their initial cartoon ‘Fast and Furry-ous’. In this first, of nearly 50 animated shorts, Wile E. hasn’t learned the value of Geniune ‘ACME’ products and purchases items from ‘Ace’, and ‘Fleet-Foot’. However, his luck never improved by working almost exclusively with ‘ACME’ as his supplier of gadgets. Wile E. was very loyal to ‘ACME’, notwithstanding the fact that he was constantly defeated by gadgets made with their products. When asked, in a Cartoon Network commercial promoting Looney Tunes, why he continued to purchase products from ACME Corporation when previous purchases had all backfired, Wile E. responded by holding up a wooden sign which said ‘Good line of Credit’. The characters were created by Chuck Jones in 1948 for Warner Bros. Wile E. also appeared as an antagonist of Bugs Bunny in five shorts. Wile E. was mostly silent in the Coyote-Road Runner shorts but spoke with an upper-class English accent (voiced by Mel Blanc) in the Bugs Bunny shorts. Road Runner only made his signature ‘Meep, Meep’ sound with an occasional noise from his tongue. In Chuck Amuck: The Life and Times Of An Animated Cartoonist, it is claimed that the Road Runner and Wile E. cartoons adhered to some simple but strict rules: The Road Runner cannot harm the Coyote except by going “meep, meep.” No outside force can harm the Coyote — only his own ineptitude or the failure of Acme products. Trains and trucks were the exception from time to time. The Coyote could stop anytime — if he were not a fanatic. (Repeat: “A fanatic is one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.” — George Santayana). No dialogue ever, except “meep, meep” and yowling in pain. The Road Runner must stay on the road — for no other reason than that he’s a roadrunner. This rule was broken in Beep, Beep, in a sequence where Wile E. chased the Road Runner into a cactus mine. All action must be confined to the natural environment of the two characters — the southwest American desert. All tools,...