The Future of the Past Is Here: Reviewing “The Jetsons”

[image credit: Mark Bennett, Home of The Jetsons]

It’s very easy to look back at sci-fi of decades past and ask “Where’s my flying car?” LIFE magazine takes a look at the gadgets featured in “The Jetsons” and notes which ones have become reality since the series first aired in 1962.

A few are a stretch, I think; jet packs and air cars are hardly mainstream, though many of us may be surprised that they exist in any form at all. Saying the Roomba is a robot maid is also a bit of a reach, unless there’s a model in the works that can do windows (in which case sign me up for the beta). But it’s true that videoconferencing, moving walkways and 3-D entertainment are now taken for granted and sometimes even groused about.

LIFE’s slide show is a good reminder that significant technological change doesn’t all happen at once with great fanfare – it proceeds step by step, one clever idea at a time, and before we know it we living every day with gadgets and tools that used to be only a ridiculous fantasy.


Fun Fact: the artwork above is part of the Microsoft Art collection