Jonny Quest (TV series)
- This article is about the TV series. For the character, see Jonny Quest (character). For other uses, see Jonny Quest.
Season 1's title card.
|Created by:||Doug Widley|
|Original release:||September 18, 1964—March 11, 1965; September 14, 1986—March 1, 1987|
|Run time:||25 minutes|
Granville Van Dusen
|Executive producer(s):||William Hanna|
|Music composed by:||Hoyt Curtin|
Ray Patterson (also supervising)
Gordon Hunt (voices)
|Animation director(s):||Charles A. Nichols|
|← Previous||Next →|
|Second title card|
Season 2's title card.
Jonny Quest, also known as The Adventures of Jonny Quest, is an American animated action-adventure TV series produced by Hanna-Barbera (H-B) for ABC. It ran from 1964 to 1965, airing 26 episodes that spanned one season. The series was canceled due to the high production costs, but given another shot between 1986 and 1987, airing 13 episodes on The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera programming block in syndicated markets. It was also referred to as The New Adventures of Jonny Quest to distinguish itself from the original '60s series. The new season is a diluted version of the original series where the danger remains the same, but the violence has been toned down. As a result of being made in the 1980s, there was also more focus on the science-fiction and monster elements taking away the original series realism, as believable or non-believable as it was.
In the series, Jonny's widowed father, Dr. Benton Quest, is a renowned scientist from Florida called on by the fictional U.S. government Intelligence One to investigate paranormal phenomena from a scientific perspective. Due to the danger that comes with Dr. Quest's missions, the aforementioned government assigns Race Bannon to act as Jonny's bodyguard and questionable tutor, as the son tags along, although Race tends to spend more time acting as a sidekick to Dr. Quest. Suffice to say, it's more of a Dr. Quest show than a Jonny Quest show, but kids aren't going to relate to a bearded guy in his 40s. Other characters include Hadji, an Indian child who was adopted by Dr. Quest, and Jonny's yappy, pint-sized dog, Bandit.
In a surprising move for the second season, they are joined by--wait for it--a giant living statue could Hardrock. Hardrock never appeared again after this season, although he was parodied in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest episode "Rock of Rages."
Doug Wildey was assigned by Hanna-Barbera to create a series based on the radio drama adventure of Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. A test film was made, but plans fell through when the studio couldn't get the rights; a couple of shots made it into the opening sequence of Jonny Quest. Wildey then went back and reworked the concept.
Wildey was influenced by Jackie Cooper and Frankie Darrow movies, along with the Terry and the Pirates comic strip, and at the behest of the spy trope started by the film Dr. No, which is why Jonny's file in the pilot is marked 037, in fact, one of the working titles was Quest File 037, with another working title being The Saga of Chip Baloo, although according to Wildey, that was not a serious choice. "Quest" was selected from a phone book, for its adventurous implications.
Wildey added Hadji as a friend to Jonny, after being dissatisfied with Jonny's soundboard being from a dog all the time. Bandit was also meant to be a monkey, but Wildey was vetoed by Hanna-Barbera.
Jonny's mother died off-screen before the start of the series, with Wildey seeing no need to explain what had caused it, although the implication that foul play from his father's enemies may have had something to do with it. In retrospect, he wish he had after not realising he would be asked so many times about it.
According to Joseph Barbera's interview with Comico, the 80s revival may have been initiated due to the growing trend of action-adventure films taking place in exotic locales, such as Indiana Jones and Romancing the Stone, as well as interest in movie studios turning Jonny Quest into a live-action feature.
In the pre-production phase, which was overseen by Mark Young, the second season was intended to last as long as 39 episodes, with more backstory between Race and Jezebel Jade, who ended up being dropped altogether, and a larger role for the one-off character, Jessie Bradshaw. One could say the significant reduction in episodes stopped that from happening, while on the other hand, it seems more like a behind-the-scenes issue. Delving into more fleshed-out roles and the larger presence of females seemed to be less important than Hardrock.
The theme song and a lot of the score were composed by Hoyt Curtin, but he did not remain throughout the season, leaving Ted Nichols to take over, although only Curtin is credited. Curtin returned to his role by the second season. Also in the second season, Joanne Miller was the music coordinator.
- Tim Mathieson (season one) and Scott Menville (season two) as Jonny Quest
- Don Messick as Dr. Benton Quest and Bandit
- Mike Road (season one) and Granville Van Dusen (season two) as Race Bannon
- Danny Bravo (season one) and Rob Paulsen (season two) as Hadji
- Jeffrey Tambor as Hardrock
|Title||Number||Original air date|
|Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: "Bannon Custody Battle"||1||December 30, 2000|
|Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law: "Return of Birdgirl"||2||September 18, 2005|
|Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest||3||June 9, 2015|
In the 1990s, there were several other animated revival attempts, including two televised films, and a 52-episode long TV series called The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, yes, this time the adventures are REAL. The length of episodes was not due to a high viewership, but because of a contracted order that was to coincide with a multi-million dollar merchandising scheme that was expected to take kids by storm, but unfortunately failed to succeed, half the reason being was due to an extremely troubled production from the beginning, requiring a complete overhaul in the middle of the series with a new set of hands. But more on that on the page itself.
Since the 1990s, a live-action film has been in demand, but not enough for an official greenlight, and has simply languished in development hell, despite having writers and directors tapped such as Fred Dekker, Richard Donner, Peyton Reed, Chris Columbus, and Robert Rodriguez. Stay tuned!
In popular culture
- The second episode of Freakazoid! had a segment called "Doomsday Bet," for a one of Toby Danger backup segment, which was a comedic spin on the Jonny Quest property, with Don Messick, Scott Menville, and Granville Van Dusen playing their doppelgangers.
- In the Recess episode "The Coolest Heatwave Ever," Gus revealed that he and his lieutenant father saved the world's economy after they captured DeSilvo while skiing in the Alps. They were also chased by DeSilvo's henchmen referred to as "frogmen" and Gus owned a Bandit-esque dog called Hoodlum. After DeSilvo was captured, Hoodlum barked, causing Gus and his father to laugh.
- In The Fairly OddParents special Channel Chasers, Timmy, Wanda and Cosmo are sent to a parody of Jonny Quest called "Jonny Hunt."
- The series is parodied in the Mike Tyson Mysteries episode "My Favorite Mystery." Season three occasionally used an opening sequence with scenes from "My Favorite Mystery." Mike Tyson Mysteries was a co-production between Williams Street and Warner Bros. Animation and aired on Adult Swim.
Venture Bros. connection
The Cartoon Network/Adult Swim series The Venture Bros. was a homage and parody of the series, with Dr. Venture and Brock Samson acting as parallels to Dr. Quest and Race, and Hank and Dean, the sons of Dr. Venture, were modeled after the adventurous spirit of Jonny (with Dean physically resembling him, combined with Fred Jones from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!). The sons also had a dog called Scamp, who was based on Bandit. As time went on, the series was in fact to be revealed to be set within the same universe, with Brock and Race retconned to be working for the same organization. Adult versions of Jonny and Hadji later appeared, along with a semi-retired Dr. Zin (with Dr. Quest having died), although by that point Cartoon Network believed that further use, especially with Jonny Quest, was "screwing with licenses". The names were then changed, blurring their shared universe somewhat.
- "Escape to the House of Mummies Part II:" There's a Jonny Quest-esque lunch box; Brock looks like Race wearing a red shirt.
- "Fallen Arches:" Dr. Venture has a robot spy from the government.
- "The Doctor is Sin:" Jonny and Hadji (called Rajni) cameo. Raj is an office worker for Jonas Venture, Jr.
- "The Buddy System:" Jonny (now called Action Jonny) guest stars. Bandit and Dr. Quest are referred to.
- "Dr. Quymn, Medicine Woman:" The "Q" insignia on Dr. Qymn's jet is in the same style as the original Jonny Quest logo.
- "Orb:" The Rusty Venture cartoon has a Jonny Quest style intro.
In one-shot comic adapting the first episode was published by Gold Key Comics in 1964. In the 80s, a an ongoing Jonny Quest comic book series was finally published by Comico, which lasted 31 issues, along with several other limited series and specials.