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Classic Jonny Quest FAQ
© 1998-2008, Lyle P. Blosser. All rights reserved.
On every JQ message board, in every JQ discussion, in nearly every letter I receive
from fans of classic Jonny Quest, are questions. Questions about plot, questions
about the characters, questions about technical details. Questions, questions, questions!
You name it, someone has probably asked it. This page is an attempt to collect in
one convenient place some of the most common questions, and, of course, provide
a few answers, too.
The ultimate sources for answers on this page are, of
course, the episodes themselves
. In those cases where the answer is not
directly given in the episodes, but is in some other source, that source is named.
It is up to you to decide whether the source is reliable, or not. In some cases,
I'll offer my opinion on the validity of the source, but, in the spirit of true
scientific investigation, I'll always let you know it is my opinion, so you can
accept it or reject it appropriately. I have made an effort to keep my opinions
to a minimum...
One more brief statement before we tackle our subject: This page would not be possible
without those fans who have graciously shared the knowledge they have gathered over
the years since the original 1964 episodes. Thank you!
The show, the episodes, and the opening and closing
Characters, main and otherwise
- What is Jonny Quest?
- What is the official title of the show?
- What is Classic Jonny Quest?
- What other kinds of Jonny Quest are there?
- How many episodes of classic Jonny Quest were
- How do I go about getting episodes of Jonny Quest?
- Where do the clips in the opening and closing
credits really come from?
- What about that scene in the closing credits showing
African tribesman chucking spears at some people in a hovercraft as they enter their
- Was the "Jack Armstrong" film ever broadcast?
- What about those letters on the plane's tail
fin in the credits?
- Wasn't there some narration over the opening credits?
- Who are the main characters?
- Why wasn't Hadji in "Mystery of the Lizard Men"?
- So "Mystery of the Lizard Men" was not the pilot
- How exactly did Jonny's mother die?
- How old is Jonny?
- What's the deal with Bandit?
- What are the names of the villains?
- Are there any recurring characters (other than
the main ones)?
- Who did the voices for Jonny Quest?
- Who wrote the theme music and is it commercially
- Who is Doug Wildey and what does he have to do
with Jonny Quest?
- Who are some of the other people involved in making
The show, the episodes and the opening and closing credits
- What is Jonny Quest?
Jonny Quest is all of the following:
- The name of a young boy with blond hair who typically wore a black turtleneck, blue
jeans, and white sneakers. Either that, or a swimsuit.
- The name of an animated TV series developed by Hanna-Barbera and first broadcast
in 1964 detailing the globe-encircling adventures of the young boy mentioned above,
along with his scientist father, his adopted brother from Calcutta, India, his pet
bulldog pup, and the government agent assigned to protect them.
- The first primetime animated series that attempted to portray realistic characters
and real-world (albeit exotic) locales instead of the "cartoon" characters seen
up until that time (e.g. The Flintstones, Yogi Bear, Bugs Bunny, etc.)
For more information about how Jonny Quest came to be, see
the origins of Jonny Quest page on this site.
- What is the official title of the show?
Although some sources list the show as The Adventures
of Jonny Quest, all of the title cards for the show, and the announcement
of the title seen immediately after the opening credits as originally broadcast
simply state Jonny Quest, which is the offical
title of the show. The Adventures of...;
version may have been one of several planned titles for the show prior to its broadcast
in 1964. (See also the reference to a syndication-only
alternate opening below.) Another title version under consideration at one
time was Quest File O-37; this title can
be seen in the small trademark seen on some officially licensed Jonny Quest products.
Did you know that one
very early title (obviously before the Quest character names were set)
was The Saga of Chip Balloo? Now, Jonny
could've been a Chip, I can buy that. But, can you imagine Race, in his serious
dead-pan voice, saying "Yes, Dr. Balloo"? *rofl!*
- What is classic Jonny Quest?
Classic Jonny Quest refers only to those episodes originally aired in primetime
during the 1964-65 season. The first episode, Mystery
of the Lizard Men, aired on September 18, 1964. The last first-run episode,
The Sea Haunt, aired March 11, 1965. The
last primetime episode (a re-broadcast of The Quetong
Missile Mystery with the title card adjusted to read
The "Q" Missile Mystery) aired on September 9, 1965.
- What other kinds of Jonny Quest are there?
- There is the so-called "second season" of Jonny Quest, broadcast on cable in 1987,
which almost everyone prefers to pretend really never existed. (While the previous
statement appears to be factual, I admit I have not done an exhaustive or scientific
study on the matter. My opinion? I tend to agree with what appears to be the majority
-- the "second season" is best forgotten.)
- There are two made-for-cable movies, Jonny's Golden
Quest; (1993), and Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber
Despite several bits of advertising to the contrary, neither the "second season"
episodes nor the made-for-cable movies are considered "classic".
Lance Falk, writer for Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures
(see below) has written one of the best quotes I've seen on the matter (as stated
in his Top 14 FAQ for JQ:TRA):
"Just so you know, Jonny's Golden Quest is SO WRONG
about EVERYTHING, it can never be considered data. That way lies madness. It's version
of Jessie, Dr. Zin and Jade are especially incorrect. They are well made and fun
to watch but not considered accurate by any means. Which also goes for the other
TV movie, Jonny Quest and the Cyber-Insects, and also The 86' Jonny Quest series.
These events never happened to our characters. They are "what-if" stories and in
no way, part of Official Jonny Quest history."
- There is Jonny Quest: The Real Adventures;
which first aired on cable in 1996, and is an attempt (which often succeeds IMHO)
to update the original concept and characters and bring them into a more modern
It is interesting that both the "classic" and the "real adventures" episodes are
still rather widely seen in re-runs to this day, but the "second season" episodes
and the movies are almost never seen. The "classic" episodes are currently being
enjoyed by a 2nd and even a 3rd generation of viewers.
- How many episodes of classic Jonny Quest were made?
There were 26 episodes originally aired during the 1964-65 season. For more information
about those episodes, see the season 1 episode guide
at this site.
- How do I go about getting Jonny Quest episodes?
On May 11, 2004, the complete set of classic 1964-65 Jonny Quest episodes were released
on DVD by Warner Home Video. That is our first recommendation.
Follow this link for details on the DVD set, including some reviews and
ordering information. Amazon, eBay and many other internet retailers have these
DVDs for sale, as do local video retail stores.
If you don't have a DVD player, most (but not all) of the episodes have also been
available on home video at one time or another. The 1996 tapes released by Turner
Entertainment can still be found in some video stores. There are four tapes, each
containing two digitally-remastered episodes. Older tapes are probably unavailable
in retail stores, but can usually be found on
eBay. Please read our Jonny Quest on Home
Video page for information on all commercially-produced episodes.
The cable stations TNT, TBS and Cartoon Network have each shown Jonny Quest, although
not for some time as of this writing (mid-2003). However, Cartoon Network launched
a new station, Boomerang, on April 1, 2000, that specializes in shows like the classic
Jonny Quest. If you have DirecTV, then buy the Family Pack of channels and keep
a lookout for Jonny Quest. If you have Dish Network, Boomerang is on the "America's
Top 150" service tier.
If you don't think getting Boomerang is an option, a number of people offer CJQ
sets on eBay; however, beware of tapes/DVDs recorded during marathons, because they
are most likely edited and time-compressed. Recordings made during the 1980s are
heavily edited and time-compressed and often come with "new" opening and closing
credits. Episodes recorded from Turner stations during non-marathon times are most
likely time-compressed but probably unedited, although six of the episodes have
the wrong closing credits (see Jonny's Credit Problems
for details). If you're going to buy a set of tapes or DVDs from someone, remember
that there has never been a complete set issued (other than the DVDs mentioned as
our first recommendation), so you're getting home-made recordings. Be sure to ask
the source, whether the episodes are guaranteed to be unedited, and so forth. Sets
on eBay have sold for outrageous amounts (up to $395!) in the past, although eBay
often pulls the ads that are obvious pirate recordings. Recently, however, prices
have really dropped and one can usually acquire complete sets (tape or DVD) for
under $50. The release of the official DVD set has really lowered the prices being
asked for these.
Some people have copies of CJQ episodes recorded from 16mm prints that were distributed
to television stations. If the prints date from the 1960s, they may have faded color
or even be in black and white. Ray's Films
has about eight episodes from b&w prints that come with the original network
commercials from showings in the series' 1964-65 season. He has another four that
are in good color without commercials. If you plan to buy recordings from 16mm prints
(called "telecines"), be sure to ask about the strength of the color, the integrity
of the film (are there numerous splices, scratches, etc.) and the quality of the
telecine. If the telecine operator let fuzz stay on screen, or recorded in EP mode,
you won't have a very satisfying print. Some telecine equipment can also cause the
picture to move up and down continuously. Also find out when the film prints were
made. If they're from the 1970s, they may have been edited by the distributor or
television station to make room for more commercials.
CJQ episodes should run about 25 minutes, without the commercials.
Our recommendation: Buy the commercial DVD
set! If you absolutely must have VHS, buy the commercial tapes (if you can find
them). You can click on this link or the "Shop
here for videos" button on our web site's navigation bar at the left of the screen
to see some currently-available selections from Amazon.com.
Some other options are:
Where do the clips shown in the opening and closing
credits really come from?
- do an internet search for Jonny Quest episodes; eBay typically has a number of tapes
up for auction.
- check your local public library; ours has a couple of tapes
- check your local video rental stores; again several stores in our area have Jonny
Quest tapes to rent.
While at first glance the scenes appear to be clips from the episodes themselves,
careful examination shows numerous, often subtle, differences between the scenes
shown in the credits and the corresponding scenes actually in the episodes. It turns
out that the credit clips were created by Tony Sgroi at an early stage of production
before many of the episodes were completed; Tony used various backgrounds and foregrounds
to piece together the memorable sequences for the opening and closing credits.
For a visual and textual look at the scene differences follow
In an interview for Amazing Heroes
, Doug Wildey talks a bit about the credits:
DW: I was working on titles that I wanted
to use as main titles, and one thing and another happened, various pressures from
all sides, long hours, the thing just fell through, so I guess the animation department
selected stock animation and included them in those titles -- where they're riding
the plane and Jonny turns his head and the dog turns his head and someone else does
something else, which I didn't like at all. That was stock at the time and they
used it. I didn't care for that. But it was a title, it was put together, it was
there, and they used it. Now the end titles, which were taken out of the Jack Armstrong
footage we had, seemed okay, it seemed a little more in line with adventure thinking,
let's say, than the other. But Bandit was included, by the way; in those titles,
he was on somebody's lap.
AH: You told me you used rotoscoping on the
credits for Quest. Did you actually wind up using rotoscoping in the show itself?
DW: Yes, there was a little. We took the
smallest guy in the studio, whose name I won't mention, and put him on a treadmill
and ran him. It was in the titles. When people are running through the jungle with
the drums and the jazz theme.
[and in the episode "Dragons of Ashida"
What about that scene in the closing credits showing
African tribesman chucking spears at some people in a hovercraft as they enter their
This question is frequently accompanied by a statement such as "I'm sure I saw the
episode with that scene in it a long time ago, but haven't seen it in any of the
recent re-runs." As unsatisfying as the following may be, it is, as far as I am
able to determine, correct. The scenes were NOT part of any released Jonny Quest
episode. They were definitely (mentioned by several rather unimpeachable sources
including Joe Barbera and Doug Wildey) from the short film produced as part of the
proposal of a "Jack Armstrong" animated series. When this project fell through because
Hanna-Barbera were unable to come to terms with the Jack Armstrong people, the concept
of a boy and his world-wide adventures was changed and grew into what would become
I have no explanation for the apparently strong recollection of seeing these scenes
in an episode by a number of fans, unless it was possibly scenes from
Pursuit of the Po-Ho
; or maybe even A Small
Matter of Pygmies
that over the years has merged with the familiar
Was that "Jack Armstrong" film ever broadcast?
If it had been, this could explain the memories reported by fans, but to my knowledge,
it was not ever seen outside those involved in the Jack Armstrong project. Since
it was part of a failed project, it seems rather unlikely that any part of it would
have been shown to the public, especially since there would have been copyright
issues involved requiring approval from the owners of the Jack Armstrong characters.
The scenes shown in the closing JQ credits, which were apparently generic enough
to be usable without a lot of legal hassles, are apparently the only surviving remnants
of this film.
If anyone has definite, provable information regarding the existence of the film,
in whole or in part, please let me know! It would be an extraordinary find to discover
that this pre-JQ film has not been lost to antiquity -- the interest in seeing it
would be tremendous!
What about those letters on the plane's tail fin
in the credits?
There is a lot of controversy regarding the letters that appear on the tail fin
of the plane as seen in the closing credits. The scene is part of the segment now
pretty much established to be from the Jack Armstrong pilot effort. Unfortunately,
the letters are rather difficult to make out. Some folks think they are the letters
"JQ" (for Jonny Quest), others think they are a script "JA" (for Jack Armstrong).
It is not obvious what they are, or what they are intended to represent.
I have always thought those letters looked more like script JA than anything else.
Others have argued that the letters are "JQ" and were added to the clip for copyright
reasons; I have, in the past, let myself be swayed by those arguments.
To be honest, if one looks at an enlargement
of the plane
, the letters could very well be
"JQ". It seems to be pretty clear when looked at with a fresh eye. (I asked a non-JQ
fan to look at the image, and asked "What do you see?" The response: "The letters
J and Q.") However, they also could be
stylized/script "JA" or something completely different. The second letter looks
pretty close to the Quest "Q", but the first letter could be a "J" or a reversed
"C", or something else entirely. One possibility is that the symbols are actually
"X2", written closely together to provide some sort of logo effect. (No idea what
"X2" might mean, of course.)
However, any resolution with have to involve not only a visual check but also a
logical one. And:
- No one has come forward with the official explanation of why those letters are there
in that clip (known to be from the Jack Armstrong pilot effort). I think we are
unlikely to get one.
- No letters appear on the plane in the rest of the Jonny Quest episodes. (And actually,
the letters are even missing from the tail fin during another part of the Jack Armstrong
clip - the part where the hovercraft enters the plane.)
Recent conversations with fans have led me to reconsider both sides but not reach
any firm conclusions. Not that any of this will settle the matter once and for all;
to the contrary, I think this debate will continue for the indefinite future, until
some authority or technology arises to resolve the discussion. My new thinking (as
I said: for what it's worth) goes something like this:
The "JA" arguments
The "JQ" arguments
- If those letters really are a stylized/script
JA, then they are remnants from the original clip when work was done for the Jack
Armstrong project. It makes sense to me that the letters are JA, because Jack Armstrong
was a very well-known franchise at the time, having spent years in production on
radio. (Some have questioned why the initials of a high-school student (as originally
presented in the Jack Armstrong radio programs) would be emblazoned on the tail
fin of a plane owned and operated by someone by the name of Jim Fairfield (the uncle
of friends of Jack, Billy and Betty Fairfield). I agree that it does not make much
sense from that context. However, at the time Hanna-Barbera was working on the pilot
effort, the radio program had moved on from its initial premise. Jack Armstrong
had graduated from high school and was now working for a government agency called
the Science Bureau of Investigation (SBI). Perhaps this was now the venue for the
series being developed by Hanna-Barbera? If so, it is
slightly more likely that Jack would have his own plane, and would
possibly have those "JA" letters on the tail fin. Possibly.)
- There were no copyright issues raised when the clip was used for Jonny Quest, probably
because the Jack Armstrong folks did not own the copyright on the clip -- rather
Hanna-Barbera (if anyone) did. And the letters are so small and unclear (especially
when viewed on TV screens typical in the 1960s) and the duration of the scene is
so short, that no one ever thought there was (or would be) a problem.
- It can be argued that the removal of the letters for all appearances of the plane
in the episodes proper points to Hanna-Barbera's actions to make sure there would
be no copyright issues in the future with the Jonny Quest franchise. For, if the
letters were JQ and they were
added to the clip, one would certainly think they would subsequently
appear in the show as well - but they did not.
The bottom line
- a visual check of an enlarged image seems to show the letters "JQ" rather clearly
- The letters appear only in one segment. If they were part of the original segment,
one would expect them to show up in both segments of the clip that show the tail
- The letters are not drawn the the same clarity of line that the rest of the artwork
shows. The very fact that they are a bit fuzzy makes me inclined to believe they
were added after the clip's initial production. It makes sense that this would only
occur if the clip was going to be re-used for the Jonny Quest project; therefore
the argument is for the letters "JQ".
- There werecopyright issues raised when the clip was used for Jonny Quest,
probably by the Jack Armstrong folks. So Hanna-Barbera attempted to differentiate
the original clip from the Jack Armstrong effort by adding "JQ" in that single place.
That may have been enough to satisfy the Jack Armstrong folks, and so no other symbols
were added to the ending credits or to the episodes.
It really comes down to visual arguments vs. logical arguments. Each type seems
to indicate a different answer. The fact is: We don't absolutely
what those symbols on the tail fin are, and why they only appear
in that one segment. Visual purists will say it's obviously "JQ" and it's just that
we don't know why. Arguing from logic says it makes no sense for "JQ" to be on one
segment only, that H-B did not do any unnecessary work (and so left the "JA" in
place), and that by enlarging the image beyond normal expectations may also be distorting
Unfortunately, your guess is as good as mine.
Wasn't there some narration over the opening credits?
Not originally (that is, not during the initial prime-time run); this only appeared
during syndication airings of the series, probably during the 1970's and 1980's.
Mike Road was the narrator. Please check out the Real Media clips presented on the
ClassicJQ media page
to see several of these alternate
credit sequences (one from 1972 and another from 1978).
Note: The 1972 clip referenced
contains the often-recalled narration ("The adventures of...Jonny Quest")
that folks remember as the title narration. This, however, was not part of the original
opening credits. In the original series broadcast, Mike Road narrated simply
"Jonny Quest...brought to you by..."
which was then followed by a sponsor
announcement (usually with a different voice).
Thanks to all the folks who contributed to the forum
discussion on this topic. Special thanks to Paul Bollenbacher for providing additional
details and corrections to the information previously recorded here and on the media
Characters, main and otherwise
- Who are the main characters?
- Jonathan "Jonny" Quest (Note: it's Jonny, never Johnny!)
- Dr. Benton C. Quest, Jonny's father
- Roger T. "Race" Bannon, a government agent assigned to guard the Quests
- Hadji, Jonny's friend from Calcutta, India
- Bandit, Jonny's bulldog pup aka "Adventure's Best Friend"
For detailed information about the characters, see the character
at this site.
Why didn't Hadji appear in
The Mystery of the Lizard Men?
It is not known for certain why this happened. Even though
The Mystery of the Lizard Men
was the first broadcast episode, it was
not the first produced. The episode entitled Double
, with Hadji, was actually the first episode produced, even though
it was aired somewhat later. It may be that both episodes were under production
at the same time, and the reason "MLM" was aired first was because Hadji was not
in it. The MLM
story is a straight-forward
and simple one, and obviously works well despite Hadji's absence (it is often near
the top of fans favorite episode lists). It may have developed from early show proposals,
before the creative team realized that Jonny needed a companion other than Bandit
to talk to, and brought Hadji onto the scene.
So Mystery of the
Lizard Men was not the Jonny Quest pilot episode?
There's still some disagreement over this. Jonny Quest really can't be said to have
had a "pilot"episode, as we think of them today. Double
, the first episode in production (even though it was not the first
episode aired) has all of the main characters, including Hadji, plus Dr. Zin and
Jade, two other characters that would re-appear in other episodes. It also set the
standard for future Jonny Quest stories by having it take place in a colorful, exotic
locale (Thailand), with danger and derring-do in abundance. Hadji practices a little
magic, Dr. Quest shows the inner strength of his character, and Jonny and Race show
what a well-rounded team effort can accomplish. So, in a sense,
could be considered the pilot. In another sense, though,
Mystery of the Lizard Men
is like a pilot,
too; it introduced the characters (except for Hadji) with a bit of exposition about
the information in their Intelligence-1 file. Plus the fact that Hadji was absent
from this episode lends credence to the theory that it was the first episode developed,
if not the first one produced. That, plus the fact that many of the promotional
images for Jonny Quest that were displayed before the
show went on the air
come from this episode, makes many think (including
this writer) that Mystery of the Lizard Men
really should be considered the pilot episode.
Thanks to Craig Fuqua for valuable input on this topic.
An interesting tid-bit is the appearance of Kogo the monkey in the
episode. Why interesting? Doug Wildey originally wanted
Jonny's pet to be more exotic than a dog; he strongly pushed for a monkey.
But H-B insisted on the dog, and Bandit was created.
But, I wonder if Kogo,
with the way he tormented Bandit and was always showing him up, wasn't Wildey's
way of "getting even" just a little.
How exactly did Jonny's mother die?
This was never explicitly detailed in any of the classic episodes. The only time
it was mentioned was in The Mystery of the Lizard Men
when Mr. Corvin and Mr. Roberts were on their way to Palm Key to visit Dr. Quest,
and they were going over the Quest dossiers. More about this later.
Over 20 years later, in 1986, a small publishing company called Comico, under the
direction of Hanna-Barbera, and with their monitoring and approval of the storylines,
began producing a Jonny Quest comic book, with episodes told in the classic episode
style. (For details on these comic books, see the
JQ comics page
on this site.)
was dedicated to telling, for the first time as far as I am
aware, the story of who Jonny's mother was, and how she died. It also told how Race
Bannon came to be assigned to the Quests. In the book, Jonny's mother was the former
Judith Waterston, a free spirit who swept into Benton Quest's life, and inspired
him to become the acclaimed scientist we've come to know. It was she that surprised
the newly-married Dr. Quest with their home and labs at Palm Key (she was from a
wealthy family, although Benton didn't know exactly how wealthy at the time they
married). She also was Jonny's guide into the adventures that the world could offer
- a perfect companion for a young boy. Her death in Paris from an inexplicable and
incurable disease made for a touching story that, to this observer, fit in fairly
well with the classic JQ mythos. This version of the story was approved by H-B,
as were all stories told in the Comico JQ comic books. But, there were still some
problems, as we'll see shortly.
In 1993, the made-for-cable film Jonny's Golden Quest
attempted to rewrite history, as it were. Now instead of an incurable disease, or
even letting the matter simply remain a mystery, the death of Jonny's mother involved
Dr. Zin. This revamping of the JQ world was not well received by many JQ fans. Also,
her identity was changed from Judith Waterston to Rachel Wildey (the Wildey surname
being used as a tribute to original series architect Doug Wildey). This has now
become the official version of what happened and is reported as such in such reference
material as the Jonny Quest Character Reference Guide
published by H-B in 1995.
So what's a Quest fan to believe?
In an effort
to base the answers in this FAQ on information found within the classic episodes
themselves, let's review the conversation between Roberts and Corvin from
The Mystery of the Lizard Men
The conversation went something like this:
"Is our man Race Bannon still assigned to guard the
"Twenty-four hours a day as tutor, companion, and all-around
watch-dog! You see, since Jonny lost his mother, the government is taking no chances
with the boy's security."
"Yes. You see, if Jonny fell into the hands of enemy
agents, Dr. Quest's value to science would be seriously impaired."
- We learn that Race Bannon is assigned specifically to guard Jonny, not Dr. Quest.
One would normally think that Dr. Quest would have all the security surrounding
him, unless something had happened to change that. That "something" could have been
an attempt to get to Dr. Quest through a family member such as his wife.
- The previous hypothesis is lent further credibility when Corvin talks about Jonny
losing his mother, and the government taking no chances with his security. Maybe
security had not been all it should have been earlier, and Jonny's mother ended
up paying the ultimate price. This is unknown, but is certainly within the realm
- Why do they think Dr. Quest's value to science would be impaired if anything happened
to Jonny? Possibly because this is exactly what happened in the situation where
Jonny's mother died.
Putting it all together: it is consistent with the clues given that Jonny's mother
died as a result of falling into the hands of some enemy agents (possibly due to
a lack of security). We still don't know the details of Mrs. Quest's death, exactly
when or how it happened, or who was involved...that story is still to be told.
to Mr. Lance Falk, writer
for JQ:TRA, who originally proposed something very like this in one of the answers
in his JQ:TRA FAQ.
However, I have
come up with a personal theory that ties a few pieces together.
What if Mrs. Quest's illness was caused by the same terrorists that were stalking
Dr. Quest as shown in Comico's issue #2? It's likely she wasn't sick when they arrived
in Paris. But the terrorists had already tried to shoot and kidnap Dr. Quest, and
steal his anti-hijacker weapon designs. They could have slipped some biological
pathogen into her coffee or other drink; something with no taste, nothing to give
it away. Combating this pathogen would likely be beyond the talents of the doctors
at the hospital in Paris, especially if they didn't suspect foul play. There would
be nothing they could do except try to make her comfortable.
But why attack Mrs. Quest? If she were confined to a hospital bed, it would be very
likely that Dr. Quest would remain near her at all times. It's very helpful to know
where your target is, and the terrorists would have time to plant someone to get
to Dr. Quest. They probably knew Dr. Quest would be distracted by his wife's illness,
and thus become less alert, more accessible as a target. It's also apparent that
they had some inside information about Race's pending arrival, even finding someone
that looked like him to try to get close to Dr. Quest. Fortunately, the real Race
Bannon arrived in the nick of time to save Dr. Quest, even though nothing could
be done to save Mrs. Quest.
And remember, in the comic this was all being told from Jonny's point of view, being
recalled from a time when he was at least several years younger than his current
age of 10 years. What does a young child know of espionage, and terrorism, and the
fanatical lengths to which some will go to reach their goals? All he knew was that
his mother, with whom he had a very close relationship, was dying. One wonders if
even Dr. Quest was thinking clearly enough at the time to consider the cause of
his beloved wife's illness -- he is quoted in the comic as being unable to work,
unable to concentrate. Was his value to science being impaired? It certainly seemed
The bottom line: if Mrs. Quest was killed via a fast-acting pathogen used by a terrorist
- The story as presented in Comico's issue #2 could still have happened as described.
- The reasons for the government sending Race as told in the episodes would still
- The reasons for Mrs. Quest's death would have been due to a lack of security during
actions taken by enemy agents, which is consistent with everything else that's known
about the incident.
For all those reasons, and because it just "feels right" and is consistent with
the known Jonny Quest universe, I'm choosing to believe this is how (and why) it
happened. Of course, in the final analysis, it's still just my opinion.
How old is Jonny?
This, too, is never specifically
mentioned in the episodes, leaving room once again for supposition. Hadji's age
we know from dialogue in the episode Pirates from Below
he is eleven. Also, we learn in Double Danger
that Race is thirty-two. But we are never told how old Jonny and Dr. Quest are.
Various references, including the Jonny Quest Character
from Hanna-Barbera, state that Jonny is eleven. Many
folks have assumed that Jonny and Hadji are "the same age" which tends to re-inforce
the Jonny-is-eleven position. And there it would rest, but for one rather significant
In an interview given to Comico (the producers of the Jonny Quest comic books in
1986-88) and appearing in the back of the Classic Jonny Quest book #3,
Werewolf of the Timberland
, Doug Wildey is quoted thusly on the subject
of Jonny's age:
"Well, Jonny himself was suppossed to be ten. Everybody
claims he was eleven. I don't know where that came from. I just figured a ten-year-old
kid. Well, eleven's close enough."
So, the issue is not as cut-and-dried as it may have seemed. Whom to believe, the
producers of the show, or the creative force behind the show? Let's say, for the
sake of compromise, that Jonny started the series at age ten, and turned eleven
sometime during the 1964-65 season.
What's the deal with Bandit?
Amidst all of the effort to produce a realistically-drawn animated feature, there's
this cartoon of a dog. His actions and mannerisms are far beyond the abilities of
a real canine, his intelligence is on a par with humans, and he's often drawn in
a more traditional "cartoony" style. Why is that? Why wasn't he animated more like
a real dog? Good questions! It has been reported that the animators of JQ originally
had some adjustments to make from the usual animated fare they were accustomed to
producing, but that alone cannot explain the situation.
So what's going on? Here are my thoughts on the subject:
What are the names of the villians?
- Bandit was intended mainly to provide "comic relief". Drawing him more realistically
would have made it harder to fulfill this clownish role. It is my opinion that this
may even explain why Bandit is a bulldog pup with a pug nose, wide mouth, and black
markings about the eyes, rather than some other, less comical breed such as a beagle,
collie, etc. In an interview printed in the back of the Classic Jonny Quest book
#2, Calcutta Adventure comic book from Comico,
Doug Wildey elaborates:
"Once I started working on this show and I got into
the characters and their relationships with one another,
I kind of got stuck with a cartoon dog. The dog was heavily involved because
the animators could work stuff like that. The human figures were tougher, so there
was a lot of the dog - and I realized it wasn't going to work."
"So that left Bandit to serve primarily as comic relief?"
"That was the idea."
- Animating animals realistically is very difficult, and may have been seen as not
being worth the continual effort it would have taken. Doug Wildey alludes to this
when asked about doing a "western" JQ episode in the interview printed in back of
the Comico Classic Jonny Quest book #3, Werewolf of
So this may have been a contributing factor to Bandit's appearance. There were numerous
episodes in which other animals (including a dachshund, and a wolf) were portrayed
more realistically, but these were all relatively limited appearances, not like
Bandit, who was in many, many scenes.
"Did you want to do any Jonny Quest shows around western
"Well, the one thing everybody in animation avoids,
at all costs, is horses. Horses are murder to animate."
"Even cute cartoon horses?"
"You couldn't have a horse that didn't look realistic
in Jonny Quest. The vehicles were supposed to look realistic, and if you had a cartoon
horse in there, somehow it wouldn't work."
- Bandit was made that way because H-B felt it could be made into a decent marketable
toy. This idea is further detailed by Bill Messner-Loebs (writer for
the Comico Jonny Quest comic books):
This is how Doug Wildley related the birth of Bandit
"A friend of Joe Barbara's took him out to lunch one afternoon and sang him a tale
of woe. It seems the friend was involved in a factory that manufactured stuffed
animals. They had produced truckloads of a small bulldog model for a deal that had
since fallen through. Was there any way Joe could think of to [help] him get rid
of those tons of unsaleable toys?" Here Doug would stoop low so he could look me
in the eyes with a steely stare and voice would quaver from the sheer horror of
it. "At that moment, Bandit was born!" - Bill Messner-Loebs,
Most, though not all, are given in the episode in which they appear. There are two
bad guys, however, that were not mentioned by name in the episode:
- Deen, the wheelchair-bound baddie in Turu the Terrible;
- Osom, the leader of the fake yeti in Monster in
The names for these two come from some production sketches and other reference material,
such as the Jonny Quest Character Reference Guide
For details, see the bad guys of Jonny Quest
at this site.
Are there any recurring characters (other than the
Oh! You want their names? <g> OK, here's the list of characters that appeared
in more than one classic JQ episode.
- Dr. Zin, the international bad guy and nemesis of Dr. Quest (Double
Danger, The Robot Spy, Riddle of the Gold, The Fraudulent Volcano)
- Jade, the slightly shady lady who could be counted on to help -- for a price. (Double Danger, Terror Island)
- Mr. Corvin, Race's Intelligence One boss (Mystery
of the Lizard Men, Riddle of the Gold)
- Who did the voices for Jonny Quest?
Some very talented people!
- Jonny Quest - Tim Matthieson (later known as Tim Matheson)
- Hadji - Danny Bravo
- Dr. Quest - John Stephenson, then Don Messick
- Race Bannon - Mike Road
- Bandit - Don Messick
Other voice characterizations were performed by Henry Corden, Vic Perrin (Dr. Zin),
Cathy Lewis (Jade), Doug Young, Everett Sloane, and others.
Others of note:
- John Stephenson (early Dr. Quest) also provided the voice for Dr. Isaiah Norman
in The Invisible Monster.
- Mike Road (Race) was also used for numerous "bit" parts, such as:
- a radar technician in The Robot Spy;
- White Feather, a mysterious Indian in Werewolf
of the Timberland;
- a submarine bad-guy in House of Seven Gargoyles;
For a lot more details on both the actors and the parts they played, please
follow this link
Who wrote the theme music? Is it commercially available?
Although Joseph Barbera, William Hanna, and Hoyt Curtin all appear as creators of
the popular Jonny Quest theme song, it is generally accepted that
was the creative force behind the theme, and the distinctive
underscores heard throughout the series. The theme has appeared on a number of albums,
most notably in the "Pic-A-Nic Basket"
produced by Hanna-Barbera. Of special interest to fans, this
collection also includes about 10 minutes of underscore tracks as well as the beginning
and ending themes. The tracks on the CD represent about 10-15% of the total tracks
heard on classic Jonny Quest; it is not known if the remainder of these tracks were
ever made publically available.
The liner notes from the "Pic-A-Nic Basket" CD collection have this to say about
the music from Jonny Quest:
The Jonny Quest main title is the most requested and
memorable tune from the Hanna-Barbera library and certainly one of Hoyt's triumphs.
It's presented here as recorded, with a short extra section never heard before.
One of the first action-adventure cartoons since Fleischer's Superman, Jonny Quest
required a different kind of underscore. Most of it was nonmelodic and could be
categorized as, well, underscore. It is definitely less "listenable" than the others
[not if you're a fan! - LPB] There are
some cute melodies to represent Bandit, the dog.
Here is a link to an "e-mail interview" with
. Thanks to Gary Karpinski!
Finally, Doug Wildey had this to say about the music in an interview for Amazing
AH: The music in Quest was very distinctive.
DW: It was excellent. The music to me is
most important. All cartoon or animated adventure shows have wall-to-wall music
-- the music never stops. What I wanted for the Jonny Quest theme music to do was
the same job that other shows' music had done. On Maverick, 77 Sunset Strip and
on and on, you could remember the music. When you heard that music it signaled when
the show was going on the air. What I wanted was heavy drums -- jazz drums. They
put out a record, by the way, "The jazz theme from Jonny Quest." Hoyt Curtin was
the musical director and did a fine job.
Music was a big problem at the beginning, though. I was doing an exciting dramatic
show and would see some of the footage that was shot and then the music would come
in a little like Little Red Riding Hood -- very innocuous music. I had a scene where
Jonny comes up out of cabin on an old ship and is standing there with his back to
the audience and this huge hand comes onto the foreground and grabs the wood and
water drips down off the hand ... and the music was wimpy instead of having a sting.
The music can make a scene or kill it. But we got that straightened out. This was
drama so we hit the drama. If we had Bandit playing with a bone in the desert the
other music worked fine. But the "cues" were there and once the music cutter understood
it, we got it worked out, just like the layout guys understood how important it
was to have dramatic poses of people.
AH: Did someone compose new music every week
for the show?
DW: No, the way it works is that the composer
composes a song. He'll compose an original -- however long he wants it to run. Then
he will, out of his own composition, furnish the producer with "cues," which are
bars of music -- some quiet, some strong -- so that the music cutter can take what
he thinks is appropriate for the scene and drop that onto the track.
Who is Doug Wildey, and what does he have to do
with Jonny Quest?
- "Interview with Doug Wildey", Amazing Heroes, issue #95 (May 15, 1986.)
- "Remembering Doug Wildey", by Mark Evanier, Toon
(vol.1, No. 8, Fall 1995, Black Bear Press)
- "My Adventures with Jonny Quest", by Doug Wildey,
Encyclopedia of Animated Saturday Superheroes (1993, CB Publications and
Bill Barry Enterprises)
- "Wildey Rides Again" by John Weeks, Rio At Bay,
(July 1992, Dark Horse Comics)
- Doug Wildey and the Creation of JONNY QUEST", by James Van Hise,
Comics Feature (issue #30, July 1984 and #31, Sept 1984)
- "By Design", by Alex Toth and Darrell McNeil, Gold medal Publications, 1996.
Links to the full text of some articles
are provided as a service to fans. We respect the copyrights of the various published
authors and publications; however, when these articles are out of print (and often
the publication itself is no longer being produced) and there is no longer any way
for the average fan to obtain this information otherwise, we have provided a link
to the article text. For all other cases, contact the appropriate publisher for
courtesy "CJQ Friend"
In a nutshell, Doug Wildey is the man who is responsible for the Jonny Quest we
know and love, having designed the main character models, produced many of the storylines,
and even developed the look-and-feel of the show, the atmosphere and style which
fans instantly recognize today. See Jonny Quest Origins
for more details on the genesis of the show, including comments from Wildey on various
For an excellent
article on Wildey's life
and career, visit Ken Quattro's
The Forgotten Art of
Doug Wildey was born May 2, 1922 in Yonkers, New York. A self-taught artist who
started in comics books with Buffalo Bill
in 1949, he is well-known for his work on The Outlaw
, and the newspaper strips The Saint
. Wildey drew inspiration from
three of the most highly-respected comic strip artists --- Hal Foster (Prince Valiant),
Alex Raymond (Flash Gordon), and Milton Caniff (Terry and the Pirates, Steve Canyon).
The dramatic style, use of bold shadows, realisticly-drawn figures (no bulging muscles,
etc.), and exotic locales are all signatures of Wildey-produced art, and show a
close family relationship to the styles of the afore-mentioned artists.
Wildey produced and styled several animated series for television in addition to
Planet of the Apes, Jana of the Jungle
. In the 1970s he worked on the Jonah
and Sgt. Rock
and, in the 1980s, developed his own Western, Rio
a showcase of his unique style and talent. Rio
has been called a "beautiful, naturalistic series with some of the most breathtaking
western imagery ever in comics." His reputation as an outstanding talent is well-founded,
evidenced by decades of consistently high quality work. The "Wildey Rides Again"
article listed above as a reference is an article written in 1992 about Doug's career,
and gives some idea of the high regard in which he was held.
Alex Toth, artist and illustrator of no small repute in his own right, had
this to say about Doug
in his book "Alex Toth: By Design". (Thanks
to Scott for making this material available to us.
Doug Wildey passed away on October 4th, 1994. A disciplined, demanding artist who
held himself and his co-workers to a high standard, he could be cantancerous and
genial, and was held in high esteem by many of his colleagues and his legions of
fans. He will be sorely missed.
Who are some of the other people involved in making Jonny Quest?
There were a large number of people who contributed to the show. Everyone from directors
to writers to layout artists to background painters to sound mixers and many others
worked very hard to produce the kind of show that lives far, far beyond its original
scope. As we research this great assembly of talent, we will add information as
it becomes available.
Please follow this link
to see the results
of our research.
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