Jonny Quest-High Concept Fun and Action Ahead of its Time!! Now in HD!!!

Above — what was on between shows…

The ‘60s was a turbulent time- Vietnam War and the long drawn out Cold War. People wanted an escape from the worlds problems and be able to enjoy with their family.TV was gaining even more so in popularity. Cartoons were part of prime time with the Flintstones as one of the most watched. And long running- 1960–1966.

Newspaper Ad -60’s Color TV

There was no Saturday Morning cartoons and none like what would come to pass as Kids Domain in the mid to late ‘60s and beyond. But a new concept was on the horizon. It would be the kick starter and the blueprint for animated action/adventure shows.

Jonny Quest(64–65) broke new ground in TV animation in the early 1960’s and that a half hour cartoon series could capture the attention of the adult population and was able to bring together families of all ages for a night of entertainment and now the 1st season has landed on Boomerang’s streaming service. The show is a boys kids dream come true capturing the spirit of high flying adventure along the way. Making this for a perfect midnight snack of action and intrigue.This is a series that has endured the test of time-truly a classic. Becoming an endearing part of ‘60s pop culture. Often imitated but never duplicated.

Above-Goldfinger Trailer- Obvious overtones in the Jonny Quest series and Race Bannon’s character

Above : The complete 15 chapters -Jack Armstrong, The All American Boy

Jonny Quest enthralled all the young boys and and pre-teens and fathers alike. The series was inspired by Dr No-Joe Barbera after seeing the first James Bond wanted to do a show with all the action and intrigue of 007 , but put a couple of smart — self preserving kids in the middle of all the subterfuge and throw in shades of

Jack Armstrong ( Radio, Serial & Comic),

Doc Savage: books, Comic Books (Trailer 1975) and

Tom Swift and you have one of the greatest action adventure cartoons of all time …

The 1960’s was a glorious time ..and this was also a first in featuring Judo and karate in a realistic vein within animation…pure escapism sprinkled with lasers, robot spies, sea monsters and Pterosaurs …. .all this just in the opening titles.

Dr Quest, Jonny’s father- is a respected and world renowned scientist who occasionally does work for the U.S government as well as other countries and fellow scientists. This takes him, the boys-Jonny and Hadji (orphaned -from India and adopted at age 11 by Dr Quest)plus Race Bannon (tutor and bodyguard)all over the world.. For transportation the Quests get around in one the coolest jet planes ever conceived. And when required- jet packs, snow sleds and hydrofoils. How could you not like this show. The most remarkable accomplishment is it all is told in a half hour format.

Above- fan art of the Quests featuring some of the famous scenes a more than noticeable image of Bandit.

Oh and don’t leave Bandit out. Trusted sidekick and all around pouch. He is brave when needed to be and a pretty god good judge of character. If he growls at you odds are you are either hiding something or up to no good. Bandit has saved the day on many occasions. In the episode entitled Arctic Splashdown he literally saves the day and the very ship the Quest gang is traveling on. Finding a ticking object that turns out to be a bomb. Bringing it to Race just in the nick of time. Only moments before it was to explode. Whew…There is another factoid I should mention here. Over the course of several decades Hanna Barbera perfected the relationship with mans best friend. Going way back to Spike and Tyke, Yakkey Doodle, Huckleberry Hound and Droopy. For our friend Bandit he was a vital part of the family and paved the way for the likes of Astro and Scooby Doo.

To this day it still has one of the scariest episodes for a cartoon. The Invisible Monster. You may hear others talk about the scary tone of the series based on the realism of the villains and even the monsters that make appearances. Some of the episodes even bringing in real concepts including lasers that were in development at the time.

Below- includes one intense scene from The Invisible Monster- Official from Boomerang-all 26 episodes streaming now…

In fact mentioning the benefit of microsurgery. But the one for me was the aforementioned story above. Just thought of some creature or entity that is completely transparent or opaque, blending in with the surrounding background has always spooked me. Really one just has to reflect on Predator-1987’s blockbuster starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. This is no exception. A lab experiment on a remote island has resulted in a new kind of life based on energy. Capable of feeding off of almost any kind including people. It is highly volatile as well. And the only thing that can be seen is the destruction it leaves behind. This one has some intense moments. Real nail biters. My favorite one is involving Race, the boys and some misfiring jet packs. The music is intense and the creature almost gets his lunch. And the boys narrowly escape with their lives still intact. Talk about close calls. But not going to spoil this-you just have to watch this one. Whew this one gets me every time. I’m yelling at the TV get out quick…Nothing short of goosebumps.

The animation is rich and detailed. Giving it depth and life. You truly believe that somewhere out there in the world is this young teen dishing it out to some maniacal, crazy mad scientist or villain with plans to conquer the world. To achieve all this Doug Wildey was brought in. This was a most unusual move for Doug had worked only in the field of comics.This is something had never been done before. The Icing on the cake is that he brought others from that medium as well. Each of them were trained in the field of animation.

Not only creating a visual masterpiece but paving the way for many future adventure series from Hanna Barbera including

Space Ghost, Birdman and the Arabian Knights( part of the Banana Splits hour). This why the series looked like a comic book come to life. Lots of black including backgrounds broke the traditional rules of animation. These “guys” didn’t care and thank goodness. The show would not have been as exciting and may very well never attained the cult flowing and the large fan base it has today. And highly collectible at that.

Below- Milton Bradley Jonny Quest Card Game

But let us not forget about the other part of what made this show click. The talent behind the characters. The cast-voices provided by Don Messick as Bandit and Dr Quest, Tim Matheson(Animal House)as Jonny Quest.

This is a property crying out to see the big screen. There has been a lot of buzz over the years on various parties and many names have been attached at one time or another, but to no avail..any and every attempt has proven unfruitful so far. It is a shame because you would think that Jonny Quest would translate easily to celluloid. There is definitely an audience for it and think about the immediate fan base built in and still growing.

The good news is that Warner Archive on their recently release of this action packed series for Bluray went all out and newly remastered and restored Jonny Quest in HD. It has never looked better. Along with all 26 episodes are 4 very unique bonus features. Two of my favorites is a vintage commercial for PF Flyer Sneakers,

another is a mini documentary — Jonny Quest: Adventures in Animation. The documentary is a treasure in to it’s own right just for the fact of interviews, insights from some of the top people in animation today from Brad Bird(The Incredibles & The Iron Giant), Dan Riba ( Director of Justice League), Lance Falk-writer, Steve Rubin artist and illustrator and legendary comic artist — Alex Ross... Hearing these guys discuss what either influenced them or what literally blew them away about this classic series is a must. I have watched this over and over again. Always picking up something new.

So let’s hope Jonny and crew are still out there saving the world from would -be mad scientist- dictator- Dr Zin or some snap-crackling pop electric ooze of a monster!!Don’t worry Bandit I got you …and let La La Land know here you heard it first … just little oh me…Humble , lovable Doc ! You thought I was talking about someone else perhaps with long ears , a cold nose and a power pill ..nope ..

But as the end titles suggest the Quests have narrowly escaped again hopefully to return again next week…

Links-

Related reading-

Warner Archive

https://twitter.com/WarnerArchive

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Chris Nersinger

Chris Nersinger

Was born the same year that DR. NO (1962) premiered. His first movie, viewed at age 3 was MONSTER ON THE CAMPUS(1958).