In chariot, l-r: Groovia, Happius, Precocia, Laurie, Brutus. On ground: Gus.


Original Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Hanna-Barbera
First Appeared: 1972
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As an animated sitcom set in another time period, Hanna-Barbera's 1972 half-hour The Roman Holidays has been compared to The Flintstones and …

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The Jetsons. Like those shows, the main use of the setting was a source of gags — in family structure, economic conditions, etc., this one made a poor fit with its time period, but could easily have been set in modern America.

The show's title came from the setting (ancient Rome) and the protagonists' family name (Holiday, which was just ever so typical a family name back then). Dad's first name was Gus and Mom's was Laurie. They had a teenage daughter named Groovia, an in-house son-in-law named Happius (usually called Happy) and a younger daughter named Precocia. Their pet cat, Brutus (no relation), was actually a lion. Like modern nuclear family heads, Gus went to work every day, where his boss was Mr. Tycoonus, and came home each night to the Venus de Milo Arms, where his landlord was Mr. Evictus. The show ran on NBC, and debuted Saturday, September 9, 1972 (the same day The Amazing Chan & the Chan Clan began on CBS).

If the family set-up sounds a little like the contemporary sitcom All in the Family, that's not surprising. Hanna-Barbera was notorious for swiping set-ups from sitcoms (and every other possible source). But it wasn't the only animated All in the Family knock-off to start that day. DePatie-Freleng's The Barkleys started the same day on the same network as The Roman Holidays.

Gus's voice was done by Dave Willock, who also narrated Hanna-Barbera's Wacky Races. Laurie's was by Shirley Mitchell, mostly a face actress, tho she did do a voice or two in the mid-'70s show Scooby Doo shared with Dynomutt. Groovia was Judy Strangis (Rota in Wheelie & the Chopper Bunch), Happius was Stanley Livingston (several voices in Devlin) and Precocia was Pamelyn Ferdin (Lucy in some of the Charlie Brown specials). Brutus was Daws Butler (Huckleberry Hound). Tycoonus and Evictus were Hal Smith (Gyro Gearloose) and Dom DeLuise (Tiger in An American Tail), respectively.

One way The Roman Holidays did not resemble The Flintstones and The Jetsons (and All in the Family, for that matter) was in staying power. It lasted one season of 13 episodes. Gold Key published a comic book version, but it ran only four issues. The show is scarcely remembered today, even by many Hanna-Barbera fans.


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Text ©2004-05 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Hanna-Barbera.