Monday, September 18, 2006

THIS DAY IN 1964: JONNY QUEST

Hanna Barbera wanted to create an action/adventure cartoon based on the popular radio serial Jack Armstrong but when licensing fell through the show was re-worked into Jonny Quest. The show ran on ABC's prime time line-up and was a huge hit. It was cancelled after one season not because of poor ratings, but because each episode went over budget due to the high attention to detail unfamiliar to other Hanna Barbera productions.

Jonny Quest was about an eleven-year-old boy named Jonny and his friend, Hadji, who tag along on every one of his father's dangerous missions. Jonny's father, Dr. Benton Quest, is one of the top scientists in the world. This causes him to be the target of many assassination attempts on various scientific explorations. For some reason he always brings the kids and their dog, Bandit, along on these trips and they always get into trouble. But Dr. Quest's bodyguard, Race Banon, was always around to save the day. Race Banon is the Jack Bauer of the cartoon world and is the fan-favourite of the show.

When the show fell into Saturday morning reruns in the 70s many parental groups demanded the show not to be aired due to its violent content often involving children in peril, on-screen murders and firearms. In fact, one scene has Dr. Quest telling Jonny and Hadji to grab the rifles and start shooting the crocodiles that are attacking their boat! Remember, this show was originally a prime time show where this content could be shown. It was not meant for a Saturday morning audience. But the networks edited the episodes and the show ran many more years.

In the eighties thirteen new episodes were made and shown with reruns called The New Adventures of Jonny Quest. The new episodes were way more kid-friendly and introduced a new female character, a young girl named Jessie.

Two telefilms were produced in the nineties, Jonny's Golden Quest in 1993, and Jonny Quest vs. The Cyber Insects in 1996. The former dealt with the Quest's past and the death of Mrs. Quest at the hands of Dr. Zin and introduced Jessie as Race's daughter. The latter telefilm was promoted as the last appearance of the classic Jonny Quest characters as a new Quest show was premiering that fall.

The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest followed teenage versions of Jonny, Hadji and Jessie. Season one had the team in futuristic outfits and adventures often led them to a computer animated "Questworld". Season two brought back elements of the original series as the team would travel the world on scientific exploration. This show only lasted two seasons.

If you haven't seen Jonny Quest (1964) I would recommend you rent the dvds. The show has great stories and wonderful character designs. Comicbook fans especially should tune in.

2 comments:

Katie said...

I've never even heard of "The Real Adventures". I'd be interested in seeing it... even if it sucks compared to the original.

The draw of the original show is just the pure 60's adventure of it. And the ridiculousness of the situations they get themselves into. I have my dad to thank for introducing me to the show. I'm sure he loved it as a kid.

toast said...

The Real Adventures is a good show. But not as good as the original IMO.

If they had created new characters then I'm sure the show would have seen more success. Instead, it felt prey to comparison to the original.