Until the networks started bowing to pressure groups that wanted to dictate what every kid should watch on TV, cartoons on Saturday morning meant action-adventure as well as comedy.
Hanna-Barbera was at the forefront of this type of cartoon with the prime time airing of Jonny Quest in 1964. Others followed on Saturday mornings. The only one I really watched was The Herculoids because of the odd collection of characters (my sister, not being impressed with the characters’ names, made fun of Dorno by calling him “Doorknob”). I couldn’t tell you a plot of any of the episodes, to be honest.
Doug Wildey is quoted in a documentary on Jonny Quest that the series was, in his estimation, a failure. Did he expect it to feature the kind of elaborate, posed comic book artwork that could never be duplicated on a TV budget?
Wildey was certainly good at it. So was Alex Toth, who joined the studio to work on Quest. Their impressive presentation art has been all over the internet, and now one of the on-line web auction sites has some of it for sale. Let me repost some of it here.
First off, Jonny Quest. These are credited to Wildey. The “File 0-37” was used for a brief period when the show was in development before it was decided to go back to just “Jonny Quest.”
More artwork. Quest fans may recognise the episodes that used the ideas contained in some of these drawings.
Now, some from The Herculoids by Toth. I presume these were done for the series and not later commissions.
A secret agent show called Danger Plus Two made it to the presentation stage. Here’s Doug Wildey again.
Two more proposed shows. Yankee Doodle Daring is signed by Alex Toth.
And from The Great Undersea Race proposal by Doug Wildey, as well as a second, unidentified piece of art.
You can see the full catalogue by clicking here. There’s some great work by Eyvind Earle at Disney and items that were owned by the late Stan Freberg.