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10 Out-Of-This-World Facts About The Jetsons

A nuclear family named the Jetsons—George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, Astro the dog, and Rosie the robot maid—lived in Orbit City in the year 2062 (according to press materials, though not stated on the show). Created by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera (Hanna-Barbera), the show explored life in the Space Age, which was more embedded in the 1960s than the far-off future.

Ahead of its time, the show featured flying cars, moving walkways, smart homes, smart watches, talking robots, video conferencing—things that actually were invented in the 21st century. Twenty-four episodes aired on ABC in primetime from September 1962 to March 1963, but the show got canceled. However, it aired in syndication on Saturday mornings for two decades and was revived for an additional 51 episodes from 1985 to 1987.

The Jetsons’ final episode came in the form of a 1990 animated movie—with pop star Tiffany voicing Judy Jetson—which only grossed $20.3 million at the box office. The show’s lasting legacy stems from when people reference the future, they speak of it being “like The Jetsons,” in terms of architecture, technology, and livability. Here are 10 out-of-this-world facts about the iconic animated program.

1. THE JETSONS HAD A HIT THEME SONG.

Hoyt Curtin composed the catchy theme song, which first appeared on TeeVee Tunes’ compilation album Television’s Greatest Hits, Vol. I. In 1986, the song was re-recorded and released to radio stations. It was so popular it peaked at number nine on the Billboard charts, and an animated video featuring the Jetsons played on MTV. “Every time I hear that damn thing I’m amazed,” Curtin told the Los Angeles Times. Curtin composed music for practically all of Hanna-Barbera's cartoons.

Karyn Ulman, who was vice president of music at Taft Entertainment, which owned Hanna-Barbera, had a hunch the song would succeed. “Over the years jazz artists have played it live,” she said. “We’ve had requests from pop and New Wave bands to use The Jetsons. We’ve had so many requests from radio stations and individuals across the nation, we knew it was going to be a hit.”

2. OTHER ACTORS WERE ORIGINALLY HIRED TO VOICE GEORGE AND JANE JETSON.

Everybody knows George O’Hanlon and Penny Singleton as the voices of the married Jetsons, but in 1962 actors Morey Amsterdam and Pat Carroll (who later voiced Ursula in The Little Mermaid) were initially hired to voice the show’s leads. “We were cast as the Jetsons and then they pulled us,” Carroll said in an interview. “I don't know if we weren’t any good or what. Nobody ever told us. As far as I was concerned, that was inappropriate. I don’t care if it’s the biggest agency in the world or the biggest producer. When it’s wrong, it’s wrong, and if I have to spend the money to litigate, I will.”

Carroll kept her word, and she and Amsterdam sued Hanna-Barbera Productions for breach of contract. They sued for $12,000 apiece, saying their contracts stated they’d be paid $500 per episode for 24 of them, not just one. “I knew full well we wouldn’t win, but I wanted my voice to be heard that this was wrong. Even my agents lied. So, you know. There you are. You’re not going to win when you fight the big fellas, but at least you can put up a little yowling.”

She was most upset at the fact the producers weren’t transparent with her. “If somebody had had the guts to say, ‘Listen, you two stink and we’re going to let you go.’ If anybody had the guts to say that I would have said, ‘Fine.’ And no lawsuit.”

According to a June 1962 news article, though, the reason the two were let go was because of “too many sponsor conflicts, what with Morey being a regular on The Dick Van Dyke Show and Pat likewise on The Danny Thomas Show."

3. THE JETSONS WAS CANCELED BECAUSE OF “LACK OF COLOR.”

In 1962, less than three percent of American homes had a color TV set, but The Jetsons was broadcast in color—ABC’s first show to air that way. Smithsonian magazine theorized the color situation caused issues, and a 1962 New York Times article wrote that people who had access to ABC affiliates in New York, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco, and Los Angeles were the only markets guaranteed to see the show broadcast in color, even if they had a color TV. For those watching on a black-and-white TV, they missed out on the vibrant world Hanna-Barbera had created. “The Jetsons’ future is bright; it’s shiny; and it’s in color,” wrote Smithsonian. But most people watching on Sunday nights obviously didn’t see it like that. The immersive world of The Jetsons looks far more flat and unengaging in black and white.”

4. LOS ANGELES’ GOOGIE ARCHITECTURE INFLUENCED THE JETSONS’ DESIGN.

Googie architecture rose to prominence in Southern California in the late 1940s and spread nationwide, but many Googie structures no longer remain. Smithsonian magazine surmised that because Hanna-Barbera Studios was located in Hollywood, the artists who worked on the show took inspiration from around town. Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Theme Building was fashioned in Googie style, as were Norms Restaurants, Johnie’s Coffee Shop, a McDonald’s in Downey, California, and even the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign.

5. FLYING CARS AND SPACE TRAVEL ARE PROBABLY ON THE WAY.

The year 2062 will be here before we know it, and hopefully by then so will flying cars. The Jetsons operate a flying saucer-like car, but actual flying cars look much different. Terrafugia has made prototypes for cars that “Transformer” themselves into street-legal airplanes. In December 2015, the FAA approved the company’s request to test a small-scale model of a TF-X at altitudes below 400 feet and speeds below 100 miles per hour. Aero Mobil also manufactures cars that change into planes, and Moller’s Skycar 200 will be an “autonomous aircraft utilizing advanced onboard environment scanning and precise positioning system.” Of course, no prices are listed for any of these vehicles.

As for space travel, Sir Richard Branson of Virgin is working on Virgin Galactic suborbital space travel, which costs about $250,000 per person. So far, 580 people have put down deposits to travel into deep space. In a race to put rich people into space, Tesla founder Elon Musk founded SpaceX, to launch rockets into orbit and to someday help people live on other planets … maybe by 2062?

6. MOVING WALKWAYS EXISTED BEFORE THE JETSONS.

The characters on The Jetsons traverse moving walkways. Known as moveable pavement, inventor Alfred Speer patented it in 1871, though it wasn’t until 1958 that the first moving walkway appeared at an airport. Dallas’ Love Field was the first airport to install a moving walkway, which are now the norm in most airports.

7. IN THE 21ST CENTURY, SPACELY SPACE SPROCKETS WOULD BE WORTH OVER $1 BILLION.

In 2007, Forbes figured out what 25 fictional companies would be worth in today’s market. Spacely Space Sprockets, where George Jetson worked, ranked number 25 on their list. Factoring in inflation and algorithms, Forbes stated the sprocket manufacturing company would be worth about $1.3 billion. “[CEO] Cosmo Spacely’s coddled employees said to only work three-hour-a-day, three-day-a-week jobs, but workers must suffer his notoriously volatile temper and endure incessant termination threats,” reads the article.

8. THE JETSONS PREDICTED TANNING BEDS.

On the show, tanning beds exist, in three different settings: Miami, Honolulu, and Riviera. But in the ’60s, tanning beds hadn’t arrived in the U.S. yet. In 1978, Friedrich Wolff realized how nice tanned skin looked, so he founded the indoor tanning industry and became “the father of indoor tanning.” He brought his European equipment of lamps and a reflector system to the U.S., and now Americans have the luxury of looking orange.

9. A LIVE-ACTION VERSION IS IN THE WORKS (MAYBE).

Since 2001, a script for a live-action Jetsons movie has gone through several rewrites and directors. In 2003, Adam Shankman of Hairspray fame considered directing the movie, and Robert Rodriguez also flirted with the idea. In 2012, Van Robichaux and Evan Susser were attached to write the movie, but in 2015 the producers announced the live-action film would now be an animated one, and that writer Matt Lieberman would take over the script.

10. KANYE WEST WAS ALMOST THE “CREATIVE DIRECTOR” FOR THE JETSONS MOVIE.

During one of Kanye West’s sporadic Twitter rants, back in 2012, he tweeted: “I was just discussing becoming the creative director for the Jetson movie and someone on the call yelled out … you should do a Jetsons tour!”

Jetsons movie producer Donald De Line clarified West’s statement in a 2012 interview with Vulture. “The last two years I had various forms of communication from the studio that he had this real love and interest in The Jetsons as an artist,” De Line said. “My response was always through representatives, ‘Well, that’s great. We’ll let him know when we have a screenplay.’ I was thinking he was interested in it on a musical level, but apparently he’s deeply interested in art and architecture and wanted to be involved.”

He ended up having a 10-minute conference call with Warner Bros., De Line, and the film’s other producer, Denise Di Novi. “He’s not the creative director on the movie, but I loved his passion for The Jetsons,” Di Novi said. “He’s just a friend of the court.” She said that the call ended in a "If you come up with any ideas, let us know,' kind of way."

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16 Geeky Coasters to Keep Your Coffee Table Safe
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iStock

Avoid unsightly ring stains on your coffee table with this delightful selection of coasters:

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

1. FLOPPY DISKS; $22.79

Floppy disks are not obsolete—at least in your living room area.

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2. MARIO; $20

Mario Question Mark Block Coaster Set
Etsy

Unfortunately, no coins will be coming out of these coasters, but they will keep your table dry.

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3. GAME OF THRONES; $12.99

Game of Thrones coasters
HBO Shop

Avoid a royal mess with house sigils of houses Targaryen, Stark, Baratheon, and Lannister.

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4. PACMAN; $20.95

Use these on a black table to recreate the retro video game.

Buy on Epic Giftables.

5. AGATE; $35

Rock on: These fancy agate coasters will look solid resting under your glass.

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6. ELEMENTS; $56.99

These glowing coasters are perfect for chemists, Breaking Bad fans, and anyone who forgot to pay their electric bill.

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7. BUILDING BLOCKS; $19.99

Build your own coaster with this LEGO-esque design.

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8. STAR TREK; $16.63

Star Trek ship coasters
Amazon

This ceramic set celebrates all the best ships from Star Trek.

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9. DR. WHO; $22.99

Just make sure you don’t accidentally send your glass into a different time period when you set it down.

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10. RILAKKUMA; $1.95

Rilakkuma coaster
Bonanza

Cover your counter space with the cute face of Rilakkuma.

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11. HARRY POTTER; $50

Set of wood burned coasters featuring the crest of each Harry Potter house
Etsy

All the houses are present in this set of wood coasters.

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12. FALLOUT; $25

fallout coasters
Etsy

Just because it’s the end of the world doesn’t mean all manners go out the door: Never forget to use a coaster!

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13. BRAIN; $19.99

This set comes with 10 coasters, each with a slice of brain specimen. When you’re not using them, you can stack them together to create a full brain.

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14. THE LAST AIRBENDER; FROM $13

Aang and his entourage face off on these wooden coasters.

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15. BUFFY AND CO; $20

Getting totally wigged by the idea of a stained table? All your favorite characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer can give you an assist.

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16. STUDIO GHIBLI; $25

Studio Ghibli Stone Tile Coasters
Etsy

These coasters feature scenes from the classics My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, and Howl's Moving Castle.

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15 Educational Facts About Old School
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DreamWorks

Old School starred Luke Wilson as Mitch Martin, an attorney who—after catching his girlfriend cheating, and through some real estate and bitter dean-related circumstances—becomes the leader of a not-quite-official college fraternity. Along with his fellow thirtysomething friends Bernard (Vince Vaughn) and newlywed Frank (Will Ferrell), they end up having to fight for their right to maintain their status as a party-loving frat on campus.

The film, which was released 15 years ago today, marked Vaughn’s return to major comedies and Ferrell’s first major starring role after seven years on Saturday Night Live. Here are some facts about the movie for everyone, but particularly for my boy, Blue.

1. THE IDEA ORIGINATED WITH AN AD GUY.

Writer-director Todd Phillips was talking to a friend of his from the advertising industry named Court Crandall one day. Crandall had seen and enjoyed Phillips's movie Frat House (1998) and told his director buddy, “You know what would be funny is a movie about older guys who start a fraternity of their own.” After being told by Phillips to write it, he presented Phillips with a “loose version” of the finished product.

2. SOME OF THE FRAT SHENANIGANS WERE REAL.

While Crandall received the story credit for Old School, Phillips and Scot Armstrong received the credit for writing the script. Armstrong put his own college fraternity experiences into the script. “We were in Peoria, Illinois, so it was up to us to entertain ourselves," Armstrong shared in the movie's official production notes. "A lot of ideas for Old School came from things that really happened. When it was cold, everyone would go stir crazy and it inspired some moments of brilliance. Of course, my definition of ‘brilliance' might be different from other people's.”

3. IVAN REITMAN HELPED OUT.

Ivan Reitman, director of Stripes and Ghostbusters, was an executive producer on the film. Phillips and Armstrong wrote and rewrote every day for two months at Reitman’s house, an experience Phillips described as comedy writing “boot camp.”

4. THE STUDIO DIDN’T WANT VINCE VAUGHN.

Vince Vaughn in 'Old School' (2003)
DreamWorks

It didn’t seem to make a difference to DreamWorks that Phillips and Armstrong had written the role of Bernard with Vince Vaughn in mind—the studio didn't want him. After his breakout success in Swingers, Vaughn had taken roles in dramas like the 1998 remake of Psycho. “So when Todd Phillips wanted me for Old School, the studio didn’t want me,” Vaughn told Variety in 2015. “They didn’t think I could do comedy! They said, ‘He’s a dramatic actor from smaller films.’ Todd really had to push for me.”

5. RECYCLED SHOTS OF HARVARD UNIVERSITY WERE USED.

The film was mainly shot on the Westwood campus of UCLA. The aerial shots of the fictitious Harrison University, however, were of Harvard; they had been shot for Road Trip (2000).

6. VINCE VAUGHN FANS MIGHT RECOGNIZE THE CHURCH.

In the film, Frank gets married at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California. Vaughn and Owen Wilson were in that same church two years later for Wedding Crashers (2005).

7. WILL FERRELL SCARED MEMBERS OF A 24-HOUR GYM.

Frank’s streaking scene was shot on a city street. As Ferrell remembered it, one of the storefronts was a 24-hour gym with Stairmasters and treadmills in the window. “I was rehearsing in a robe, and all these people are in the gym, watching me. I asked one of the production assistants, ‘Shouldn’t we tell them I’m going to be naked?’ Sure enough, I dropped my robe and there were shrieks of pure horror. After the first take, nobody was at the window anymore. I took that as a sign of approval.”

8. FERRELL REALLY WAS NAKED.

Ferrell justified it by saying it showed his character falling off the wagon. “The fact that it made sense was the reason I was really into doing it, and why I was able to commit on that level," Ferrell told the BBC. "If it was just for the sake of doing a crazy shot, then I don't think it makes sense.” Still, Ferrell needed some liquid courage, and was intimidated by the presence of Snoop Dogg.

9. ROB CORDDRY WAS NOT NAKED, BUT HE STILL HAD TO SIGN AWAY HIS NUDITY RIGHTS.

Old School marked the first major film role for Rob Corddry, who at the time was best known as a correspondent for The Daily Show. He had a jewel bag around his private parts for his nude scene, but his butt made it into the final cut. He had to sign a nudity clause, which gave the film the right to use his naked image “in any part of the universe, in any form, even that which is not devised.”

10. SNOOP DOGG AGREED TO CAMEO SO HE COULD PLAY HUGGY BEAR IN STARSKY & HUTCH.

Phillips admitted to essentially bribing the hip-hop artist/actor, using Snoop Dogg’s desire to play the street informant in the modern movie adaptation of the classic TV show (which Phillips was also directing) to his advantage. “So when I went to him I said, 'I want you to do Huggy Bear,' he was really excited. And I said, 'Oh yeah, also will you do this little thing for me in Old School a little cameo?' So he kind of had to do it I think."

11. SNOOP WANTED TO HANG OUT WITH VINCE VAUGHN ON SET, BUT NOT LUKE WILSON.

Snoop Dogg in 'Old School' (2003)
Richard Foreman, Dreamworks

Vaughn and his friends accepted an invitation to hang out in Snoop Dogg’s trailer to play video games on the last day of shooting. Vaughn recalled seeing Luke Wilson later watching the news alone in his trailer; he had not been informed of the get-together.

12. WILSON WAS TEASED BY HIS CO-STARS.

Vaughn, Wilson, and Ferrell dubbed themselves “The Wolfpack”—years before Phillips directed The Hangover—because they would always make fun of each other. A particularly stinging exchange had Ferrell refer to Legally Blonde (which Wilson had starred in) as Legally Bland. Wilson said it didn’t make him feel great. Wilson retorted by telling Ferrell that "the transition from TV to the movies isn't a very easy one, so you might just want to keep one foot back in TV just in case this whole movie thing falls through!"

13. TERRY O’QUINN SCARED HIS SONS INTO THINKING THEY WERE TRIPPING.

Terry O’Quinn (who went on to play John Locke on Lost the following year) agreed to play Goldberg, uncredited, in what was a two-day job for him. He neglected to inform his sons he was in the movie, and when they saw it, one of them called their father. “I got a call from my sons one night, and they said, ‘What were you doing in Old School? We didn’t even know you were in it!’ They said, ‘We’re sitting there, and the first time we see you, it’s, like, in a reflection in a window. And when we saw it, and we both thought we were, like, tripping or something!’”

14. THE EARMUFFS WERE IMPROVISED.

Before filming, Vaughn worked with Ferrell to figure out their characters' backstories and how they knew each other; he credited that with helping him figure out who Bernard was, which led to several ad-libbed moments. “The earmuff scene where he swears in front of the kids, and then I tell the kid to earmuff, that all is off the cuff. But that stuff is a lot easier to do when you know who you are and your circumstances, and who your characters are,” Vaughn explained.

15. FERRELL AND VAUGHN DIDN’T LOVE A SCRIPT FOR A SEQUEL.

Armstrong had written Old School Dos in 2006, which saw the frat going to Spring Break. Ferrell said that he and Vaughn read the script but felt like they would just be “kind of doing the same thing again.” Wilson, on the other hand, was excited over the new script.

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