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HTF REVIEW: The Jetsons - The Complete First Season

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#1 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted May 14 2004 - 12:16 PM

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THE JETSONS
The Complete First Season






Studio: Warner Brothers
Year: 1962

U.S. Rating: Not Rated
Canadian Rating: Rating Pending

Length: 629 minutes
Genre: Animated Comedy

Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Audio: English Dolby Digital 1.0 mono
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Closed Captioned: Yes





Release Date: May 11, 2004



Show Rating: Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

Starring Voices: George O’Hanlon (George), Penny Singleton (Jane), Janet Waldo (Judy), Daws Butler (Elroy, W.C. Cogswell), Mel Blanc (Cosmo S. Spacely)

Additional Voices: Jean Vander Pyl, Don Messick


Warner Brothers has released The Jetsons: The Complete First Season as part of their Hanna-Barbera Golden Collection. Season One contains all 24 episodes spread on 4 discs as well as special features too! In 1962, Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera set out to make another evening entertainment show, preaching nothing but giving laughter in people’s homes. The story is of George Jetson, a 21st Century man, and hard working Digital Index Operator putting in his required three hours of work time a day. He is under scrutiny from his penny-pinching boss as he tries to prove to him that he does more than sleep on the job at Spacely Space Sprockets. He needs the money! His lovely wife Jane has a terrible time at home doing housework…I mean instructing robots to do the housework. She must keep her fingers exercised so she can keep pushing buttons for her machines to make breakfast and dinner, and she must have more money to satisfy her daily shopping routine. It must be nice to be a future work-at-home mom!

Both George’s and Jane’s parenting skills are good. They are very kind to their daughter Judy and their boy Elroy. Judy is the typical teenager who is obsessed with boys, rock stars, clothes, and loves to hang out with her friends. She attends Orbit High School, and her musical taste isn’t George’s favorite either. It’s loud, and reflects the parent-child tastes of the early ‘60s (or any generation for that matter). The ‘60s saw a greater diversification in rock instruments, usually three electric guitars and sometimes an electronic piano. It was quite different from the Big Band music from decades past or the earlier rock and roll bands of two guitars, drums, and acoustic piano and bass, and even a saxophone. It’s too bad George Jetson didn’t get a taste of today’s loud music of electric/alternative and thrash metal! That aside, despite the differences in the two generations, they get along very well.

To complete the family, Elroy is the six and a half year old Jetson who’s the smartest one of the group. An exemplary student, he loves anything that is a gadget and a robot. He has the most attachment to Rosie the robot maid, chats with friends on the 14 MGY Oscilloscope (far more advanced than MSN Messenger!), and tends to sneak up on George by wearing his space boots and walking on the ceiling. They all live as one happy family with their attention-loving dog Astro at the Skypad Apartments. They enjoy all of the convenient technologies of the 21st century (some that we’ve seen, and others that seem a little far from the near future). While all of their technologies may never work, it's always fun to see their frustrations when technology fails. I guess that will be one thing in the future that will never change!

Each episode offers a funny view of life in the future with each character having their strengths and weaknesses. Each episode also includes the original laugh tracks that were removed in the ‘80s. The Episodes are listed here, and each feature their original opening and closing credits:

Disc 1

-Rosie The Robot
-A Date With Jeff Sreamer
-The Space Car
-The Coming of Astro
-Jetsons Night Out
-The Good Little Scouts
-The Flying Suit

Disc 2

-Rosie’s Boyfriend
-Elroy’s TV Show
-Uniblab
-A Visit From Grandpa
-Astro’s Top Secret
-Elroy’s Pal
-Test Pilot

Disc 3

-Millionaire Astro
-The Little Man
-Las venus
-Jane’s Driving Lesson
-G.I. Jetson
-Miss Solar System
-TV or Not TV

Disc 4

-Private Property
-Dude Planet
-Elroy’s Mob

The four-disc set is jammed tightly in a thin plastic case. It was very difficult to pull out. I had to open the opposite side of the case and push the set out from the other side just to prevent myself from damaging the inner set while trying grip it and pull it out. Once in my hands and out of the plastic case, the four discs fold out from the middle (two on one side, two on the other) and there are episode names, pictures, and trivia on the flaps. After reading this, I popped the discs in. This is what I found in quality that is consistent of all episodes.


VIDEO QUALITY Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

I’ve never seen this cartoon look so good. There are very few blemishes on this release for an image quality that will stun you as you watch it. My only source of viewing this was the re-runs on the network stations in the mornings back in the ‘80s. While I never judged picture quality back then, nor did I have a fantastic TV, based on clips seen in the special features area of older and worn out footage of the series, I am imagining this is what it used to look like on cable and worse. Aside from a little bit of film specs, the contrast between whites and blacks are excellent. All of the colours are vibrant in comparison to the older footage, and sharpness is exceptional with no distracting edge enhancement (except on the special features). The animation is not blurry like other animations I’ve seen recently on DVD. I still think the Loony Tunes shorts restorations look a touch better than The Jetsons release, but for all this is worth, this is a must have.

AUDIO QUALITY Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

This is a Dolby Digital 1.0 mono release. I am happy to see Warner releasing the monaural audio in the center channel rather than split up in left and right channels. I prefer having the audio anchored in the center speaker if it is mono based. The dialogue through my Martin-Logan Cinema center speaker is clear as can be. It is also a touch on the thin side and it infrequently has distortion. The sound effects are great for the events on screen. Some are quite creative too. Even the music is played back with clarity and good fidelity, but it too is a little lean on the bass. My Mirage LFX-3 multi-channel crossover can take the bass from the center channel and re-direct it to both of my main channel’s subwoofers. In this scenario, as expected for such an old recording (but worth the fun checking out anyways), there was very little bass information below 80Hz except in one musical sequence.


SPECIAL FEATURES Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image / Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image Posted Image

On Episodes 1 & 2 (on disc 1), we get a commentary by Janet Waldo, the voice of Judy Jetson. Her commentary is ok as she seemingly seems to be confused whether or not she should talk in her Judy Jetson voice or as herself as she talks about things in the episodes. I would have rather heard her speak in her real voice as she gives information because I felt like she was talking to children while most of her listening audience will certainly be adults. But her overly happy voice is cheery as she does give some useful information. At times she can be quiet for too long as we watch the show, and that my friend, is the uncomfortable silence…

There are a few featurettes to dip into on disc four. The Jetsons: The Family of the Future (8.42) discusses the show, the direction, the characters, and the similarities of what appeared in the show to what exists today. There is also old and newer interview footage of Hanna and Barbera mixed in.

The Nuclear Family Album is a multi-page featurette that gives a quick run down of who George, Jane, Judy, Elroy, and Astro are. No new information in here for fans, but maybe helpful to a first time Jetsons viewer.

Space Age Gadgets (4.50) talks about contraptions the characters use in this season for their entertainment, convenience, routine, and how its all prone to error. A three and a half minute featurette on Rosie the Robot Maiden is also included just to not leave her out. Trailers and previews of other Family Favourites are also included. What is not included are DVD-ROM features or an insert or any sort about the series.


THOUGHTS…

The Jetsons is a classic Hanna-Barbera cartoon from the ‘60s that fans and preservationists should have on DVD because of the excellent restoration work done on the first season. I’m looking forward to more Hanna-Barbera cartoon releases in the future. While special features are a little slim, this is an excellent release. Be sure to pick it up.

Michael Osadciw
04.05.14

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#2 of 19 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted May 14 2004 - 01:55 PM

thankws for the review.
i noticed very quickly 2 things.
that i mmentioned inn the other thread.

the first thing i noticed is the out of place title card that had orbity on the artwork.
he didnt appear until the series was revived many years later.

and the sound, which is terrible.
lots of distortion and very low.
dont forget to turn the volume down when you put another dvd in or put the tv on.

still glad i have this as with the flintstones.
hopefully soemone will have info on if the set is air order, more likely, or production order, not likley.

and a list of the eps in production order would be great if anyone has it.
we now have fred, george and jonny. what shows that are this format from HB are there still to be released?
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#3 of 19 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted May 14 2004 - 02:13 PM

Quote:
It was very difficult to pull out [the inner case]. I had to open the opposite side of the case and push the set out from the other side just to prevent myself from damaging the inner set while trying [to] grip it and pull it out.
Try just tipping the package (open side facing the floor) and "shaking" like crazy until eventually a small portion of the innards come out enough to grab. I certainly wouldn't recommend grabbing the innards and trying to pry it out. The "shake till it creeps out" method works for me. Posted Image

#4 of 19 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted May 14 2004 - 02:15 PM

Quote:
And the sound, which is terrible. Lots of distortion and very low.
I didn't think the audio was excessively "low". For a 1.0 Mono, I thought it was pretty good, in fact.

#5 of 19 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted May 14 2004 - 02:19 PM

Quote:
Hopefully soemone will have info on if the set is air order, more likely, or production order, not likley.
They are in Production order.
At least they are, based on the info from TV-Tome (which lists an air-date order on their site, which does not match the order on the DVDs).

Also -- Note the error on the packaging re. "Uniblab". Package says "Unilab". They left out a "B".

#6 of 19 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted May 14 2004 - 02:23 PM

thanks david.

+ i also use the shake method to get it out.
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#7 of 19 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted May 14 2004 - 02:31 PM

Quote:
I also use the shake method to get it out.
My...that quote *could* be construed as slightly suggestive if we didn't know you were talking about a hunk of DVD packaging.

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#8 of 19 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted May 14 2004 - 02:35 PM

Michael.....

I think you might want to change this in your "specs" box .....

>> "Audio: Chinese Dolby Digital 1.0 mono." <<

Unless you got a different "Chinese" version than I got.

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#9 of 19 OFFLINE   David Von Pein

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Posted May 14 2004 - 02:37 PM

I'm curious, Michael -- Why do you rate the Audio only "2 Stars", but say how good it sounds (for the most part) on your system?

None of my business, of course. It's just that the 2-Star ranking (IMO) doesn't seem to match the text.

#10 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted May 14 2004 - 04:36 PM

Thanks for the corrections, I was bound to make a few errors off the bat on this one.

-Shaking the case DID NOT work for me the first time out of the box. It was stuck. Trust me, I tried it. I had to open the other side as my last resort. The third time around had it loosened up enough to shake it out.

-Corrected Uniblab and Chinese language...was using my template for "The Missing Gun", a Chinese film.

-regarding the star rating on the audio, which always seems to be a touchy subject on here, is determined by comparing its performance to the best and worst soundtracks I've heard. It's not that its terrible, its just not the best even for being mono. Maybe I was a little too hard on it. I've given it another star like it should deserve. I never noticed the "low" sound and the distortion isn't that bad. I've heard far worse on newer titles.

-Other Hanna-Barbera Cartoons I'd like to see? How about Yogi Bear? Snagglepuss & Huckleberry Hound? Quick Draw McGraw? Tom & Jerry? Or Thundercats for a newer title...all of these I've watched when I was a kid...most were shorts, but they were great. I've never seen Top Cat, but from what I hear that was a popular one too.

Regards,
Mike

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#11 of 19 OFFLINE   Andy Patrizio

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Posted May 15 2004 - 11:55 AM

Quote:
His lovely wife Judy has a terrible time at home doing housework


Judy was his daughter. Jane is his wife.

#12 of 19 OFFLINE   WillG

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Posted May 15 2004 - 04:39 PM

I wonder why they screwed up the "Uniblab" on the sleeve and called it "Unilab" My favorite one

"click.click....try your luck...try your luck...roulette...roulette...click.click"
STOP HIM! He's supposed to die!

#13 of 19 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted May 16 2004 - 03:26 PM

Quote:
Judy was his daughter. Jane is his wife.


yes, I know...another error slipped by. I have no idea how I messed that one up... thanks.

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#14 of 19 OFFLINE   Jeff Robertson

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Posted July 23 2011 - 03:45 PM

I'm curious on the title card changes. If this series ever makes it to Blu-Ray (and it is a possibility) would WB consider restoring the originals? I understand the music in the opening and end credits is original, so that's nice. I've held off on purchasing the series on DVD because I loathe the "orbity" character showing up in the titles.





#15 of 19 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted July 23 2011 - 04:27 PM

Originally Posted by Jeff Robertson 
I'm curious on the title card changes. If this series ever makes it to Blu-Ray (and it is a possibility) would WB consider restoring the originals? I understand the music in the opening and end credits is original, so that's nice. I've held off on purchasing the series on DVD because I loathe the "orbity" character showing up in the titles.


I feel the same way about the "modern" 80s title cards inserted into the original episodes from the 1960s but it was not enough to prevent me from buying the set.

To the credit of the studio, WB did restore the original closing credits with "Jane, stop this crazy thing" which was foolishly removed from the episodes at the time that the title cards were inserted between the opening credits and the episodes.


I would jump at the chance to upgrade this series to Blu-ray, although I would not if the studio failed to use the opportunity to remove those anachronistic title cards with Orbitty.


I would also be very  happy to upgrade The Flintstones and Jonny Quest to Blu-ray if the studio corrects the errors in those sets, which are detailed in my post at http://www.hometheat...ones-on-blu-ray    .




#16 of 19 OFFLINE   Greg Chenoweth

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Posted July 25 2011 - 03:41 AM

This is the only DVD release that I know of where people complain about the studio ADDING something to the shows instead of inadvertently taking out material.

#17 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark Y

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Posted July 25 2011 - 04:58 AM

I'm curious on the title card changes. If this series ever makes it to Blu-Ray (and it is a possibility) would WB consider restoring the originals? I understand the music in the opening and end credits is original, so that's nice. I've held off on purchasing the series on DVD because I loathe the "orbity" character showing up in the titles.



The episodes originally had no title card showing the name of the episode. So those were added, but they aren't replacing anything. But like other Screen Gems shows of the era, the episodes did originally have a "cold opening" with a preview clip of that episode before the opening titles. One episode airs on Boomerang that way. There also is the laugh track/no laugh track business too.

#18 of 19 OFFLINE   ThatDonGuy

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Posted July 25 2011 - 07:28 AM



Originally Posted by Timothy E 

To the credit of the studio, WB did restore the original closing credits with "Jane, stop this crazy thing" which was foolishly removed from the episodes at the time that the title cards were inserted between the opening credits and the episodes.


Yes, but did they restore each individual episode's credits, or just use one set for every episode?  It has been a while since I have watched my set, but I seem to recall that Jean VanderPyl, who voiced Rosie, is not credited in any of the episodes on the DVDs.




#19 of 19 OFFLINE   Mark Y

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Posted July 28 2011 - 04:52 AM



Yes, but did they restore each individual episode's credits, or just use one set for every episode?  It has been a while since I have watched my set, but I seem to recall that Jean VanderPyl, who voiced Rosie, is not credited in any of the episodes on the DVDs.

 

I'd have to look at them again, but I seem to recall that it's just one closing on every show, with the same writer, voice actors, etc. credited. The odd thing is that one episode on Boomerang which has the Screen Gems name in the closing, "cold opening," laugh track and no episode title shown at the beginning also has the same names in the credits, but the credits have a slightly blue tint to them, only on that episode. If I recall correctly, the last time NBC ran the show on Saturday mornings (early 1980s?) the scene with "Jane his wife" taking George's wallet and zipping off, leaving him with a couple bills, was cut out, physically spliced out of the print on most (but not all) episodes.