Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Jonny Quest Cuts Suspenders

Many TV columnists were pretty kind to Jonny Quest after it debuted in 1964—even the guy at the New York Times who called The Flintstones “an inked disaster” described the show as “a welcome addition”—but that didn’t make a lot of difference. The Flintstones were getting kicked in the ratings by The Munsters, so to save the show, ABC moved it to the Quest time slot. Fred, Barney and Dino did well enough in the ratings to get renewed, but Jonny, Race and Bandit got cancelled.

Quest was ground-breaking. It was the first real action-adventure cartoon show on television. It was well-written; there was enough suspense, mystery and even comic relief for any young viewer. And it has stood the test of time. Cancellation didn’t kill Jonny Quest. After years of reruns, the show spawned reboots and off-and-on talk of a live-action movie version.

Here’s a story from the Syracuse Post-Standard of June 21, 1964, just part of a barrage of advance publicity for the show. Joe Barbera was interviewed by what was likely a freelance reporter but there are no direct quotes about the show by him. However, salesman Joe does a fine job of promoting the success of his company, which takes up about as much as the feature story as the Quest preview does. The comment about the kind of justice meted out to the bad guys on the show is interesting. My recollection is a number of them met their deaths, something a little different than the “cut suspenders” justice referred to in the story.

Animated TV Adventure
Hanna-Barbera Plans New Show
Staff Correspondent
HOLLYWOOD — Joseph Barbera "set the government back 20 years" when he worked for the Internal Revenue Service because he couldn't add. But add or not, Barbera, along with partner Bill Hanna, heads a multi-million dollar organization—Hanna-Barbera Productions Inc.
Hanna-Barbera will have 14 animated shows on television this coming season, including "The Flintstones," "Magilla Gorilla" and an all new high adventure series titled “Jonny Quest.”
We met with Barbera at his office here last Monday at the new $1,250,000 Hanna-Barbera Studios. He explained to us the “Jonny Quest” series, which premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 18, on WNYS-TV, and the many-faceted production departments of the company.
Much Research
"Jonny Quest" will be the product of more than two years of research by Hanna-Barbera artists. The series will bring animated, up-to-date adventure to television for the first time and will feature an art style never seen before in animation.
The style will be illustrative rather than cartoon art and every attempt will be made to make the series visually attractive and exciting.
Jonny Quest, 11 year old, is the son of Dr. Benton Quest, one of the three top scientists in the world. Because of the nature of Dr. Quest's work and his importance to the scientific world, Roger (Race) Bannon has been assigned by Intelligence I as permanent bodyguard for the Quests, as well as, tutor and friend to Johnny who travels with his father at all times. Haki [sic], an Indian boy, adopted by the doctor and Jonny’s dog Bandit complete the family album.
Viewers will join Jonny as he travels to the North Pole, Tibet, the Sargasso Sea area, and wherever else adventure leads him
The new series will be designed to reach adults as well as children, but due justice will come to each culprit in the "cut suspenders-fallen pants" style, sticking with the Hanna-Barbera tradition of no violence.
The company is far-reaching. More than 500 licensed manufacturers of some 2,500 products, ranging from "Yogi Bear" widdow [sic] shades to “Huckleberry Hound” bubble bath, have grossed more than $120 million so far this year.
The cartoons are not just for television, as a syndicated cartoon strip of "Yogi Bear" is a Sunday comic feature of The Post-Standard.
First Feature Film
Hanna-Barbera's first feature film was released this month—"Hey There, It's Yogi Bear." The company also does commercials and industrial films, both animated and live-action.
Although mainly company artists come up with the ideas for the plots of the animated shows, Hanna-Barbera does accept ideas from outside many times in peculiar ways. One of the company's mail boys made $450 in three days for submitting ideas and the maid of a close friend of Barbera's promptly received a check for an idea she submitted.
The Bill Hanna-Joe Barbera success dates back 25 years when they created the seven-time Oscar winning cartoon short "Tom & Jerry" at MGM Studios. But the partnership was really formed in 1957 when the two left MGM to do their own cartoons.
Their first television offering was in 1957 when they made "Ruff and Reddy." Today their production budget will hit approximately $12 million. They employ some 250 artists, technicians, writers and directors in their new studios, which have already become so packed they are forced to rent buildings across the street. Hanna-Barbera better be prepared. The way people are laughing at their cartoons, they're going to need a lot more room.


  1. Jonny Quest was INSANELY violent!! I wonder if the interviewer is just assuming the show will be "cut suspenders" style, or if Joe actually SAID that! If he did say that he was lying through his teeth! (I'm pretty sure those yeti's in that one episode didn't kill all those bad guys by cutting their suspenders!) Sure, the deaths took place offscreen but you could never, EVER have gotten away with the stuff they did in a 70's or 80's cartoon!

    1. Very good point (and very pithy of you to make your point twice.)

      Very good point (and very pithy of you to make your point twice.)

      (sorry, couldn't resist).

      Were these critics just being treated to a heavily BUTCHERED Johnny Quest???????SC


  2. "....sticking with the Hanna-Barbera tradition of no violence." Ha!

  3. Sorry, I was posting from my phone, somehow it must have hit "post" twice or something. Lets hope this one only goes up once! I wish I could say I was posting twice as a metaphorical protest of Hanna Barbera's practice of doing the same thing over and over ( ala Muttley, Mumbly,) but really I just suck at typing on my phone.

    1. I have that very same problem TOO!:D

  4. Yes, I got a chuckle out of that one also. Electrocutions, blown up, carried off by a giant crab, attacked by a live mummy, WW1 style dog fights ending in a plane crashing into the side of a mountain, bazooka blasts, fist beatings.. ....those are some pretty impressive suspenders-Ha!

  5. 7/21/16 Wrote:
    Can anyone confirm if Doug Wildley's original idea with Jack Armstrong would have continued with the additions added by H-B after he was asked to leave the project? Also, it's been over 40 years, but I barely recall seeing syndicated re-runs of JQ on local TV. Can anyone confirm that the Screen Gems "S From Hell" logo was used in these repeated episodes before Worldvision Enterprises took over the series in the 1980's. I know that the 1963 "dancing sticks" logo had appeared on original ABC TV airings followed by an "ABC Presentation" logo. So far, only one end credits print has turned up on You Tube withe the dancing sticks logo, but no ABC logo. It is sad that these original logos are gone forever today on DVD and Cable Station prints. (somehow, the 1990's H-B logos are nice, but not the same.)

  6. Oh well violence or other wise...Jonny quest was a cool show..Great stories realistically drawn characters....great music score...and hey! Who cares what happens to the bad.guys....they faced the consequences of their crimes.....a show that says good over evil.