“Jonny Quest” debuted on this date in 1964. Hanna-Barbera had a time of it deciding what to name the show, as you can see from the trade industry ad to the right. Some TV listings into October were still calling it “Jonny Quest: File 037.” The first newspaper reference I can find to the show is an Associated Press fall-schedule speculation column from early February 1964 which simply calls it “Jonny Quest” (Broadcasting Magazine, on February 17, quotes a Screen Gems news release from a week earlier saying “Jonny Quest” had already been sold to ABC). Prior to that, I’ve found no evidence in the popular press that the studio was even considering the show but, of course, it had to be in the planning stages for months.
We don’t talk about Jonny all that much here because it’s outside the years the blog is supposed to be touching on and because there’s a web site with a huge amount of information which renders further comment unnecessary. But I’ve had shots of some art that is/was available on the Van Eaton Gallery site that I thought I’d post in honour of the occasion.
Lovely artwork here. You can see the production numbers. Z-3 was “The Mystery of the Lizard Men,” the show premiere, and Z-4 was “Riddle of the Gold,” the fifth episode to air.
Bandit from “Riddle of the Gold,” presumably by Dick Bickenbach. The hind-quarters gallop is an interesting angle. The story’s probably well known about how Joe Barbera wanted comic relief on the show, so ignored all of Doug Wildey’s exotic character suggestions and had Bick draw up a cartoon dog with a design that’s out of place with the surroundings but somehow works. Craig Fuqua at ClassicJQ.com has some 1963 model sheets initialled “E.B.,” presumable by Ed Benedict, but a Quest documentary states the dog was designed by Bick.
What? A Jonny Quest game?! And no one told my parents? I found this while tooling around e-Bay. I had no idea anything like it existed. Did anyone reading have one of these? How did you play it? Could you kill Bandit and make Doug Wildey happy?
The Quest show, unfortunately, failed ratings-wise in prime-time, especially after being moved opposite “The Munsters,” and was shuttled into the Saturday Morning Home for Retired Prime Time Cartoons. Jonny was the forerunner of a bunch of Hanna-Barbera action/adventure shows until do-gooder groups touting their own television fantasy world of butterflies and multiplication tables forced them off the air. For a while, anyway.