The look of The Jetsons was largely inspired by a book about the far future of… 1975?!
Take a look at the architecture and technology that sparked the imagination of Hanna-Barbera.
Much of the joy and wonder of The Jetsons comes from its optimistic vision of the future. The primetime series, which premiered in 1962, looked one hundred years forward and imagined us living in the clouds, flying in glass-dome saucers, moving on conveyor belts. The architecture is all curves, rings and circles. The fashion is bold colors. Well, it is a cartoon.
Though the show envisioned the year 2062, the creators behind the Hanna-Barbera favorite looked to a more near future for inspiration. They look all the way to… 1975? Yep. Thirteen whole years!
According to Danny Graydon's The Jetsons: The Official Cartoon Guide, the artists looked to books about futurism for a creative spark. A primary source was 1975: And the Changes to Come by Arnold B. Barach.
You can see the cover of this long-out-of-print coffee table book above. A man soars on a jetpack on the left. In the upper right, there is a ground view of the iconic Chemosphere House in Los Angeles. Classic television lovers might recognize the UFO-like home from an episode of The Outer Limits, "The Duplicate Man." The modernist marvel was constructed in 1960, so it was undoubtedly fresh on the minds of Hanna-Barbera artists.
You can see more photos from inside the book on the Flickr page of Derrick Bostrom. 1975: And the Changes to Come tantalized futurists with shots of towering mainframe computers (which you can see often in The Jetsons, like at George's work station), a spherical oven, and… erm, bacon toasters. The future of 1975 was truly marvelous! In 1961, when the book was written.
Imagine (or remember) how disappointing it must have been in 1975 when we, in fact, we not flying around in jetpacks. We're still waiting on those jetpacks. But, then again, we've got 40 years to go before we hit Jetsons age.