Classic Jonny Quest
"The Jonny Quest Files"

Cartoon Files Magazine Spotlight on the Jonny Quest Files by James Van Hise.
-- Canoga Park, CA : Psi Fi Movie Press, 1986. 51 p.
-- Includes

  • an episode guide
  • model sketches
  • interview with Doug Wildey, creator of the 1964 series
  • interview with Mark Young, story editor for the 1986 series
  • interview with Joe Barbera, producer and director of 1964 series

I finally was able to examime a copy of "The Jonny Quest Files" publication recently. That's the good news. The bad news is...well...the book's pretty bad. There are no color pictures, it's all in B&W. They did have a few classic series model sketches, but about half of the sketches were for hardware used in the pretend-it-never-happened "2nd season." Nice to see sketches for the diving bell, the VTOL plane and a couple of others, but not much else.

The episode descriptions are almost word-for-word the same as in the H-B Jonny Quest Character Reference Guide -- so, if I noted an error in that book, it's in this one, too! Kinda makes you wonder who copied from who -- the H-B book is dated 1995, while this one is 1986, but I guess there could've been an earlier edition of the H-B book (even though nothing indicates that in the H-B book). Quite a few typos, misspelled names (like Dr. Zinn, with 2 n's, Pash instead of Pasha), and other less-than-professional (IMHO) mistakes make for a disappointing outing. (For example, who ever thought of printing an article on top of large line drawings? Not only was the article a letdown, but it was hard to read, too!)

The author, James van Hise, tries to come across as an expert, but even in his introduction, he gets a number of things wrong; things that anyone who has actually watched the episodes would know were wrong. A particularly bad example: "That original opening of Jonny Quest with a montage of action scenes, including a man being chased through the jungle by lizard-drawn chariots..." (p.11). Lizard-drawn chariots?!? UNBELIEVABLE!! There are more errors...I'll leave locating them as an exercise for the student.

I was looking forward to the interview sections, especially the Doug Wildey interview, but there was precious little to like there, either. A few of the same, tired old questions (about the ending credits, about the violence, etc.) The majority of the interview talked about how the networks interfere with cartoon shows, and how they have silly rules about what can and can't be in a cartoon, etc., etc., ETC. They also went quite a bit into "the future of Jonny Quest" (read: plug for new 1986 show). There were a few good tidbits from Wildey, but not nearly enough to satisfy this fan. This is a Jonny Quest book, right? So let's concentrate on Jonny, not the industry, political correctness, or other topics.

Bottom line: If you can find this book at a garage sale for something less than the cover price of $6.95, it may be nice to snap it up. Anything above a couple of dollars, though, and you'd be better off keeping your money, unless you can find a copy autographed by Doug Wildey as seen in this image; the signature alone is worth more than the book.

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