Just about every kid of the 70s, at least those who had access to a TV on Saturday morning, remembers Jonny Quest. The reason is simple: there was hardly a time that the Hanna-Barbera produced series wasn’t on TV. From 1967 through most of the 70s, and even into the 80s, kids have been following the adventures of Johnny and his pals. That’s some surprising longevity considering that only 26 episodes of the original animated series were ever produced.
Each episode was a blend of mystery, intrigue, action, and a little comic relief. The show revolved around Jonny, an 11-year-old boy who traveled the world with his cohorts, investigating strange happenings. Accompanying the lad were his best friend Hadji, an Indian mystic; his dog Bandit; his father, scientist Dr. Benton Quest and pilot and bodyguard Race Bannon who worked for the Intelligence Once agency. Together they covered the globe from Egypt to Asia and beyond, utilizing their special talents to solve various scientific mysteries that included everything from electric-powered monsters to mummies, dinosaurs and robots.
When it debuted in 1964, Jonny Quest didn’t find much success in its original primetime slot. Wisely, the show took a cue from The Jetsons, who had suffered the same fate before catapulting to stardom on Saturday mornings, and followed suit. It was a match made in heaven for the exotic cartoon series. First, there was a three-year stint on CBS starting in 1967, then in 1970, it returned to ABC (where it had run in prime-time) for another two years. It returned in 1978 as a part of The Godzilla Power Hour then moved on to the remaining network, NBC, for another 3 years.
In 1986, 13 new episodes were created and broadcast under the title, The New Adventures of Jonny Quest. While the original series did have some gratuitous violence from time to time (and, as a result, earned the ire of a few parent groups) this was a kinder Jonny with some new friends as well, including Hardrock, an ancient man made of solid stone and a young girl named Jessie Bradshaw. Then, in 1996, Turner Broadcasting brought the group back yet again, this time as teenagers in The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest. For the first season, they tried a more futuristic look but by the second, reverted back to a more 60s feel. Both seasons incorporated extensive use of computer animation, which met with mixed reviews from hardcore Jonny fans.
Rumors have circulated in recent years of a feature film based on the beloved cartoon series, but to date, none have materialized. In the meantime, Jonny Quest can still be occasionally viewed on the Boomerang channel, as well as DVD, and remains firmly entrenched in the memories of millions of former kids.
If you were a loyal fan of Jonny and the gang back in your cartoon watching youth, we welcome all of your recollections of this memorable show in our comments section.