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Quest For Adventure.

Discussion in 'Hanna-Barbera' started by emeraldisle, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. emeraldisle

    emeraldisle Moderator Staff Member I SUPPORT BCDB!

    Nov 3, 2013
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    If February 9th, 1964 was the night that changed America, then September 18, 1964 was the night that changed Hanna-Barbera.

    For on that eventful Friday evening, Hanna-Barbera introduced "Jonny Quest" to the public. This marked the beginning of a change of pace for the studio. There were no goofy characters, unless you see Bandit as one. There was no catchy vocal theme song. Kind of hard to come up with lyrics for that pulsating jazz, don't you think? Note: The opening narration by Mike Road wasn't used until 1978, when the show became part of "The Godzilla Power Hour/Super 90." It's also the only H-B animated series to ever show the main characters' names onscreen. And it was the first show other than their funny animal cartoons to have title cards. And it was also the first whose opening and closing showed clips from various episodes, including the exceedingly rare pilot film for an animated version of "Jack Armstrong." Which, by the way, was what the show almost became. On a more personal note, it was also the first animated series that I didn't see in the comfort of my own home. As I recall, the first time I saw it was in the late '60's, during a visit to my maternal grandparents' home in Fort Lauderdale. The episodes I saw there included "Pirates From Below," "The Dreadful Doll," and "The Devil's Tower." I was, naturally, hooked for life.

    Another outstanding part of this series was the music. The suspenseful underscore was subsequently used not only in H-B's many superhero cartoons, but also episodes of "The Flintstones," "The Man Called Flintstone," and several of the studio's comedy/adventure/mystery cartoons of the late '60's and early '70's.

    My Hanna-Barbera books often include this show with the superhero cartoons. But the only one who comes close to a superhero is Hadji Singh with his magical skills. During the show's iterations, I've seen him levitate Jonny and Bandit with ease, hypnotize a guard with an enchanted ruby, get rid of deadly
    snakes by playing a flute, move inanimate objects and even himself from one place to another, and in the '80's version, bring a man's dragon tattoo to life. I'll bet if somone were to walk up to him and ask, "How do you do it?," he'd smile and reply, "By saying 'Sim sim salabim!'"

    Although I like all the episodes, I prefer the ones that had Don Messick voicing Dr. Quest. I consider him better than John Stephenson, who voiced him for but a handful of episodes. Messick should have voiced him from day one.

    The show also had an incredible body count, thought corpses were rarely shown. The deaths were caused by homicide, being killed by wild animals or monsters, or in some cases, by the villain's own hand. Unfortunately, some good guys were killed off, too.

    And Roger T. "Race Bannon" was easily the most protective one in the group. It was usually he who accompanied Jonny often, and was totally capable of taking out the bad guys, including his own doppelganger, Mr. Korchek.

    Speaking of villains, I consider Dr. Zin the most ruthless villain of ANY H-B series, not just JQ. I mean, here was an enemy, who, like all the other baddies, was unconcerned about killing two boys and a dog! He was also evil enough to create an indestructible, sentient robot.

    The one character I feel deserved more screen time was Jezebel Jade. She was the first woman, animated or live action to not be a damsel in distress. Instead of "Help! Save me!" her attitude was, "Hold on! I'll save you!" She was truly a force to be reckoned with. For example, in "Terror Island," she threatened to SHOOT one of her contacts if he didn't reveal Dr. Quest's whereabouts!

    But I'm sure my fellow H-B fans here will agree that "The Invisible Monster" was not only the show's most original episode, but also the scariest. I know I felt like biting my nails when Hadji's rocket pack malfunctioned, and later, when Jonny ran outside, AT THE RISK OF HIS OWN LIFE to save Bandit from the approaching monster. And believe me, I liked the creature better before it was painted.

    As for the 80's version, the first time I saw it was when I returned to New York for my brother's wedding in October 1986. The episode that aired that weekend was "Forty Fathoms Into Yesterday." I came to like the new episodes, and was favorably impressed by newcomers Jessie Bradshaw and Hardrock. But I guess H-B decided Jessie was the more popular one, for Hardrock didn't return in the '90's. During that decade, Jessie Bradshaw became Jessie Bannon in the movie "Jonny's Golden Quest," which, among other things, revealed that Jonny's mom Rachel was murdered by Dr. Zin. This was followed by "Jonny Quest Vs. The Cyber Insects," which was just as thrilling.

    Finally, there were "The Real Adventures." Not only did I see this one on TV, but, at a friend's urging, went to Tower Records, and bought two videotapes of it shortly after it premiered. While I was delighted to see the Quest team take on new adversaries like Jeremiah Surd and Ezekiel Rage, and enter Quest World for virtual adventures, I yearned for the old school episodes, which I have on DVD, along with the TV movies. I especially liked "The Robot Spies," which I consider the only true homage to the original series. And I wish they'd stayed on Palm Key instead of relocating to Maine.

    There now. I know I said a lot more in this thread than the others, but it's just impossible to talk about "Jonny Quest" in one or two sentences.

    Trivia Question 52: Why did Dietrich Sorensen disguise himself as a gargoyle, and why did Ivar shoot and kill him?

    Answer: To steal Professor Erikson's anti-gravity formula. Ivar shot him when he threatened him after being denied payment.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2014
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  2. Minotaur714

    Minotaur714 Intern Forum Member New Member

    Mar 1, 2014
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    I liked Johnny Quest very much. I was amazed at how often people were actually killed, and respected the show for being realistic that way--not always a happy ending, as mentioned the good guys sometimes died too.
  3. peterhale

    peterhale Moderator Staff Member I SUPPORT BCDB!

    Nov 3, 2013
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    I remember watching the 1964 Jonny Quest. By this time I had fallen out of love with H-B's 'funny' cartoon shorts - I had realised that they weren't actually funny at all: they just did stock 'cartoony' things, things that had been funny in cinema shorts (running on the spot, standing on empty space before falling, vibrating like a gong when they hit an obstacle, etc.) but in the H-B shorts they weren't actually gags. And action tended to happen offscreen, on the basis that what the audience imagined was funnier any gag they could draw. (Obviously I am excluding the sitcom and story-based shows - Top Cat and The Flintstones - I still loved them, and the TV specials.)

    So I looked forward to Jonny Quest being a real adventure series, free from the 'cartoon' restraints. The titles promised a lot, but H-B could not completely break free from their cartoon background.

    To be fair, drawing in a realistic style has always been hard for those animators used to working with cartoon simplicity, but not only was Bandit an out-and-out cartoon dog - the worst part was that the effects were cartoony! Comics in those days were full of realistically drawn smoke, fire and explosions - but in Jonny Quest the illusion of reality was destroyed totally for me by those puffy cartoon clouds of smoke (or dust, or anything)! It was the fact that no attempt at all was made to make the effects match the character design that got to me. They just reverted automatically to the crudest of stock cartoon-style effects, apparently unaware how inappropriate it looked. (I think it took the Japanese to show the world of TV animation that it was even possible to do effects in any other way!)
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  4. artytoons

    artytoons Administrator I SUPPORT BCDB! Forum Member New Member

    Nov 5, 2013
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    Don Messick played Dr. Quest and Bandit in both 60s and 80s series.

    Tim Matthieson played Jonny in the original series. Scott Menville played Jonny in the 1980s series...Menville later played young Freddie Flintstone in "The Flintstone Kids", Shaggy in "Scooby Doo Gets A Clue", and currently playing Robin in "Teen Titans Go"...Menville is the son of frequent Saturday cartoon writer Chuck Menville.

    Danny Bravo played Hadji in the original series. Rob Paulsen played Hadji in the 1980s series.

    Mike Road played Race Bannon in the original version while Granville Van Dusen played Race in the 1980s series.
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  5. MattPriceTime

    MattPriceTime Intern Forum Member New Member

    Jun 11, 2014
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    Jonny Quest. Another staple show i recall watching quite a lot. Jonny Quest the original run of the series was usually on the weekends in my youth. I think in the evening hours. I remember digging the theme but i'm afraid like some others maybe i wrote it off a little too much when i was younger. I had actually skipped it when it first came out to DVD (mostly due to wanting to buy other things and it slipped my mind for several years) but upon the reminder i did pick it up again and realize i did in fact I did overlook it.

    There's so much to like about Jonny Quest. It's got an excellent mix of action, adventure and humor. With a lot of memorable episodes. My favorite being the yeti one especially with the creepy yet fitting ending for the yeti impersonators. Yet also the gargoyle episode, the invisible monster episode, and even the Turu episode. So many fun memories of the Quest gang in action.

    -As far as classifying it, i'd make an adventure sub-section under the action grouping (with the super hero's getting the other split and then you can divide serious and silly from that)

    Jonny Quest to me now rates up pretty high. I enjoy reliving the original 60s adventures a lot.


    For the New Adventures of Jonny Quest, i find myself a bit less powered on all the fronts, but not in a bad way. While I had some memories of a few of the episodes, i'm not sure exactly when i saw them. I'm honestly sure they weren't aired in the same time slot as the 60s ones, when i was a kid. Even though according to the Boomerang schedules i looked at earlier this year they were doing it there. But i get the feeling they were on less.

    And to me i see that while the show was a nice little show, i notice the new episodes weren't as good as the 60s ones. That is not me calling them bad, but just a not as good observation. There is still a lot of fun episodes within the batch. The addition of Hardrock himself is also an oddity but a cool one at that.

    This is of course a still relatively new dvd pick up at the time of my writing this, so maybe my opinion will grow some more in future rewatches.


    Now onto the Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. As per usual Hanna Barbera and it's continuity game is as fun as it ever was. Damn silly faulty timeline but oh well, fun is where it's at. The Real Adventures in itself of course as it's own identidy crisis between seasons but we know externally why that is what it was. But just like the past two series, the Real Adventures still delivers. I'd say still not to the level of the 60s but better than the 80s.

    A lot of these newer episodes make good use of legends and monsters for the then times could. Which i do appreciate a lot. I'd also like to say Ezekiel Rage is an amazing bad guy. I enjoy his doomsday preaching and yet understandable origin. I really wish he had been used more than he was. Surd is a nice new foe but i was also happy to get Dr Zin back in season 2. I think Zin was better especially with his odes to literary villains of the past.

    All in all, i feel like Jonny's changes over time are for better or worse, but all around pretty good. This is Jonny's big 50 year also, so i'm hoping we still have a shot for Real Adventures Season 2 to make it out this year too.

    I will talk about the two films later on
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