Classic Jonny Quest
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 credits
  1. What is Jonny Quest?
  2. What is the official title of the show?
  3. What is Classic Jonny Quest?
  4. What other kinds of Jonny Quest are there?
  5. How many episodes of classic Jonny Quest were made?
  6. How do I go about getting episodes of Jonny Quest?
  7. Where do the clips in the opening and closing credits really come from?
  8. What about that scene in the closing credits showing African tribesman chucking spears at some people in a hovercraft as they enter their jet plane?
  9. Was the "Jack Armstrong" film ever broadcast?
  10. What about those letters on the plane's tail fin in the credits?
  11. Wasn't there some narration over the opening credits?
Characters, main and otherwise
  1. Who are the main characters?
  2. Why wasn't Hadji in "Mystery of the Lizard Men"?
  3. So "Mystery of the Lizard Men" was not the pilot episode?
  4. How exactly did Jonny's mother die?
  5. How old is Jonny?
  6. What's the deal with Bandit?
  7. What are the names of the villains?
  8. Are there any recurring characters (other than the main ones)?
Technical Stuff
  1. Who did the voices for Jonny Quest?
  2. Who wrote the theme music and is it commercially available?
  3. Who is Doug Wildey and what does he have to do with Jonny Quest?
  4. Who are some of the other people involved in making Jonny Quest?

The show, the episodes and the opening and closing credits

  1. What is Jonny Quest?
    Jonny Quest is all of the following:
    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. 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.

  2. 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!*

  3. 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.

  4. What other kinds of Jonny Quest are there?
    1. 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.)

    2. There are two made-for-cable movies, Jonny's Golden Quest; (1993), and Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects (1995).

      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."

    3. 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 interpretation.

    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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

    Some other options are:
    • 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.

  7. Where do the clips shown in the opening and closing credits really come from?
    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 this link.

    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" - LPB]

  8. What about that scene in the closing credits showing African tribesman chucking spears at some people in a hovercraft as they enter their jet plane?
    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 Jonny Quest.

    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 ending credits.

  9. 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!

  10. 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 a 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
    • 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 "JQ" arguments
    • 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 fin.
    • 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.

    The bottom line
    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 know 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 it.

    Unfortunately, your guess is as good as mine.

  11. 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 above 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 page.

Characters, main and otherwise

  1. 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 bios page at this site.

  2. 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 Danger, 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.

  3. 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 Danger, 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, Double Danger 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 Double Danger 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.

  4. 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.) Issue 2 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:
    Roberts: "Is our man Race Bannon still assigned to guard the doctor's boy?"
    Corvin: "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."
    Roberts: "Security?"
    Corvin: "Yes. You see, if Jonny fell into the hands of enemy agents, Dr. Quest's value to science would be seriously impaired."
    1. 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.
    2. 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 of possibility.
    3. 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.

    Special thanks 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 so.

    The bottom line: if Mrs. Quest was killed via a fast-acting pathogen used by a terrorist organization, then:
    1. The story as presented in Comico's issue #2 could still have happened as described.
    2. The reasons for the government sending Race as told in the episodes would still be valid.
    3. 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.

  5. 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 Reference Guide 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 dissention.

    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.

  6. 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:
    1. 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:
      Wildey: "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."
      Interviewer: "So that left Bandit to serve primarily as comic relief?"
      Wildey: "That was the idea."

    2. 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 the Timberland:
      Interviewer: "Did you want to do any Jonny Quest shows around western themes?"
      Wildey: "Well, the one thing everybody in animation avoids, at all costs, is horses. Horses are murder to animate."
      Interviewer: "Even cute cartoon horses?"
      Wildey: "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."
      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.

    3. 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 to me:

      "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, pers.comm.

  7. What are the names of the villians?
    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:
    1. Deen, the wheelchair-bound baddie in Turu the Terrible;
    2. Osom, the leader of the fake yeti in Monster in the Monastery
    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.

  8. Are there any recurring characters (other than the main ones)?

    Oh! You want their names? <g> OK, here's the list of characters that appeared in more than one classic JQ episode.
    1. Dr. Zin, the international bad guy and nemesis of Dr. Quest (Double Danger, The Robot Spy, Riddle of the Gold, The Fraudulent Volcano)
    2. Jade, the slightly shady lady who could be counted on to help -- for a price. (Double Danger, Terror Island)
    3. Mr. Corvin, Race's Intelligence One boss (Mystery of the Lizard Men, Riddle of the Gold)

Technical stuff

  1. 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.

  2. 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 Hoyt Curtin 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" CD Collection 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 scores.
    [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 Hoyt Curtin. Thanks to Gary Karpinski!

    Finally, Doug Wildey had this to say about the music in an interview for Amazing Heroes:
    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.

  3. 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.

    (Note: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 back-issue availability.)

    (image 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 topics.

    For an excellent article on Wildey's life and career, visit Ken Quattro's The Forgotten Art of Doug Wildey.

    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 Kid, and the newspaper strips The Saint and Ambler. 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 Jonny Quest, including Planet of the Apes, Jana of the Jungle, and Godzilla. In the 1970s he worked on the Jonah Hex and Sgt. Rock comics 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.

  4. Who are some of the other people involved in making Jonny Quest?

  5. 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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