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A Cartoon Christmas - "A Jetson Christmas Carol" (1985)

I enjoyed writing "A Cartoon Christmas" last year, and reviewing "A Flintstone Christmas" from 1977 so much (CLICK HERE) that I decided to continue the series again this year.  What better to pair our first two entries into the series than the Flintstones and Jetsons!  

Technically, this is the third entry in the series.  In 2019, I made a short list of my Top Five Favorite Cartoons, which you can find HERE.  

The Hanna-Barbera cartoons get a bad rap these days, but I love the simple animation and old-time, clean, family fun.  The Jetsons (and The Flintstones) were from before my time, but when I was younger, both shows would air on TBS in morning reruns before school.  I remember many times during elementary school that I would have my bowl of cereal or Granny's English muffin sandwiches and dread the closing credits because that meant the bus was coming any minute to take me to school.

As I get older, I get more enjoyment from Christmas television specials, especially the older ones from long ago when things were so different it seems like we all lived in a different universe.  These older ones just seem like charming, innocent family fun.  Isn't that what Christmas (and the TV specials) should be all about?

This animated show features a slightly different take on the familiar storyline of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol."  In it, we find the Jetson family and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Yet-To-Be, and Present, teaching the Scrooge-like Mr. Spacely the true meaning of Christmas.  

Originally airing in syndication on December 13, 1985, this 22-minute cartoon was later released in 1996 on VHS.  The 1996 VHS tape incorrectly calls this episode "The Jetson's Christmas Carol."  

By the way, before we start, based on the show's history, George Jetson was born earlier this year, on July 31, 2022.  It's kind of depressing that in this episode, he's approximately 40 and living in such a futuristic world just 40 years from where we currently sit.  

Oh well, maybe there are significant advances in technology made very quickly right around the bend!  It's Christmas, and I don't mean to be a downer, so positive thoughts!

Please click "Keep Reading" to check out "A Jetson Christmas Carol!"  

Christmas Eve is upon the folks of Orbit City, and the Jetsons are planning to spend it together as a family.  George and the other employees of Spacely Space Sprockets are busy being hounded by the Scrooge-like Mr. Spacely, who cannot stand the holiday season.  He dislikes Christmas so much that he forces George and everyone else to work overtime and head home late... on Christmas Eve!  

Mr. Spacely makes George stay late on Christmas Eve

Meanwhile, Jane, Judy, and Elroy go out for some last-minute Christmas shopping.  After returning home, they discover Astro, the dog, has already opened his Christmas presents under the tree and has begun playing with his new robot cat.  He really enjoys chasing the robot cat back and forth in the house until he crashes into the wall, wrecking the toy, and himself.  In the process, he accidentally swallows one of the toy's gears and falls gravely ill.  

Astro sneaks a peak at his Christmas present

When George finally gets home, he discovers what has happened to Astro.  Distraught, George has no hope for his best friend since all of the veterinarian offices have closed for the holiday.  

At the Sprocket plant, Mr. Spacely counts his money and takes a nap before making his bank deposits.  Between dreamland and the real world, he is suddenly visited by the ghost of his old, never-before-mentioned business partner, Marsley.  Marsley warns Spacely that three more ghosts will visit during the night to show him the error of his ways.  

The Ghost of Christmas Past arrives first.  It's a talking adding machine that shows Spacely his younger self was petty and selfish.  He also reveals that young Spacely nearly drove away his wife-to-be due to his love of money.  In a cute little bit of trivia, Fred and Wilma Flintstone are on the screen during the drive-in movie scene of the Ghost of Christmas Past.

A young Spacely makes George's life difficult

After the first ghost leaves, the Ghost of Christmas Present arrives.  Funny enough, the Ghost of Christmas "Present" is a talking gift box "present."  I see what they did there.  He shows Spacely that the Jetsons are sadly watching Astro suffer in pain and facing the thought of losing him.  

Spacely admiring a new mansion with the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Be

Spacely, afraid of what he's seen, attempts to escape with his money.  The Ghost of Christmas Yet To Be then arrives to show him his future.  At first, Mr. Spacely believes the future looks bright because he sees a large mansion but is stunned to find out it belongs to the Jetsons and not himself.  George had sued Spacely Sprockets for the death of his best friend and family pet, Astro, because the swallowed gear made by Spacely ended up killing him.

Spacely's vet heals Astro!

After realizing he would be ruined, personally and financially, should Astro die, Spacely hurries to the Jetsons' home, bringing his personal veterinarian.  The vet quickly extracts the machinery from Astro's stomach and cures him.  Mr. Spacely also presents Jane, Judy, Elroy, and Rosie with the gifts they had wanted for Christmas.  For George, though, Mr. Spacely promises a big raise and promotion, wishing him a Merry Christmas.  The cartoon ends with the Jetsons all singing, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," with Astro barking out the final line.  

Jane gets her ring and George gets a raise!

Well... that was fun!  I was born slightly before this was released in 1985, so there's little chance I saw it during its first airing.  My nostalgia towards this toon comes from, as mentioned above when I would watch the Jetsons and Flintstones in the morning before school.  

The Jetsons would eventually be used for another take on Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol" in a 1996 comic book by Archie Comics.  The Cartoon Network Christmas Spectacular Issue #1 featured Mr. Spacely again being visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve.  This time, he doesn't learn anything from them, and they all give up.  Once the ghosts leave, we, the readers, learn that Mr. Spacely has secretly been sending money to Santa Claus so he can afford to make toys for the galaxy's children, but he doesn't want anyone to know.  I guess he learned something after all.  

I don't particularly remember this episode during my viewings of the Jetsons reruns, so it was fun spending a few minutes and taking a look back at Hanna-Barbera's futuristic take on the classic "Christmas Carol" story.  All in all, it's an entertaining entry into the collection of Christmas specials.  I enjoy the simple Hannah Barbera animation, and the excellent voice work from its era makes it a nostalgia hit.  This special is worth watching at least once, and I highly recommend adding it to your holiday viewing rotation.