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TV Legends: The Bizarre Origin Behind Partridge Family 2200 A.D.

TV URBAN LEGEND: A spinoff of the Jetsons ended up becoming Partridge Family 2200 A.D.

The 1970s were a strange period in the history of American animation. During the 1960s, there was a greater deal of freedom with content, but that freedom led to a major backlash from parents groups over the violence in cartoons. Then, President Reagan's relaxation of broadcast standards in the early 1980s changed the game again. So the 1970s sort of stood out in terms of being just a sort of congenial, inoffensive cartoons. Honestly, the most popular cartoons of the era were just the acceptable shows of the 1960s - Looney Tunes, Flinstones and Jetsons were all big hits in the 1970s despite them not actually doing NEW episodes of these shows. Their reruns did as well as anything. Actually, when the decade began, only the Looney Tunes cartoons were actually airing on Saturday Mornings.

It took a a spin-off of the Flintstones for Hanna-Barbera to realize how popular their 1960s series would be to a new generation. In the early 1970s, Hanna-Barbera did a Flinstones spinoff called Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, with the babies from the original series now being teenagers...

Here's how weird this stuff was - Pebbles and Bamm Bamm was a big hit. Big enough that they didn't bother doing another season, as it showed them that they could just bring back the Flintstones and rerun them, plus the Pebbles and Bamm Bamm episodes and new shows.

The Jetsons then came back the next year.

The decade continued with lots of adaptations of TV shows, as the networks figured that that was acceptable to the parents groups. A I Dream of Jeannie adaptation did well, as did a My Favorite Martian adaptation.

With the success of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, Hanna-Barbera tried to pitch a similar versions for the Jetsons for the 1974 Saturday Morning season (a year after the Jetsons returned), with Elroy now being a teenager, Judy a young reporter and Astro's son their dog.

When they pitched it to CBS, they loved the idea, but thought that it would do better if the Jetsons characters were, instead, the Partridge Family!!

And so we had Partridge Family 2200 A.D. (with a robot dog instead of Astro's dog).

Amazing, right?

The Partridge Family wasn't even on the AIR by 1974 (and it was a LITTLE bit before it became a big hit in syndication, a la The Brady Bunch), and sure enough, the series did not do well. It is one of the very rare Saturday Morning cartoon series to be canceled midseason (since the episodes are almost always all completed before a cartoon season begins, you have to be REALLY bad for the network to just eat the cost - the unaired episodes later aired as part of a Flintstones variety hour).

All of the younger kids returned to do their voices, but David Cassidy and Shirley Jones did not (and Susan Dey had to leave after two episodes).

There were some original songs written by the folks who did the music for Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space.

The legend is...

STATUS: True

Be sure to check out my archive of TV Legends Revealed for more urban legends about the world of TV. Click here for more legends specifically about animated TV shows.

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is bcronin@legendsrevealed.com.

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