Tuesday, 18 September 2012

048 Candles For File 037

“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.


  1. It's interesting the ad's character placement seems to be going after local stations more by promoting Magilla than their new network show, which may just mean Columbia thought there was more up-side to the sponsored syndie package than to being on ABC, which was coming off a horrible 1963-64 ratings year.

    In contrast, 64-65 was pretty good for the network and for Screen Gems, especially on Thursdays, where "Bewitched" was the No. 2 show in it's debut season. But that success didn't include 7:30 p.m. Eastern -- Jonny took a header because ABC wasn't ready for CBS counter-programing "The Flinstones" with "The Munsters". Even with the weakening story lines, Fred did OK on Thursdays in 1963-64, but couldn't keep up with the rest of ABC's Thursday comedy lineup (viewers would watch Herman & Lilly and then switch to ABC if they wanted more comedy; Swapping Fred & Jonny seemed to be under the idea that people who wanted drama would watch the Quest family and then switch over to Perry Mason. Didn't work, and neither in the end did moving "The Flintstones" back to Friday, since while it saved the show, we ended up with Gazoo and singing babies in the hyper-gimmicky Season 6 as the end product).

  2. I've been a fan of JQ for years...actually since it first aired. But, I never liked Bandit. Here was a somewhat serious 'toon, and they had to have comic relief? Oy Veh! On a brighter note (sorry) Hoyt Curtain's theme music and music cues were/are great.

  3. Thanks for posting this. I really appreciated it. I'm sitting here with Boomerang and Jonny Quest is on. "A Small Matter of Pygmies" episode. As a struggling artist, it's so good to see the efforts that went into something I enjoyed seeing so much as a kid and as an adult.

    And the Milton Bradley logo on the game brought back a lot of memories.

  4. Jack, Curtin wrote great stuff in the '60s but his Quest cues were the highlight of his career as far as I'm concerned. And they were used extremely well by the studio.

  5. "SIN-SIN-SALABIN!" (according to Hadji Singh)

  6. the Munsters!? Oh well i switched right over to that.

  7. While watching The Wild Wild West: The Second Season on DVD, I noted that the voice of the actor playing Baxter in "The Night of the Tottering Tontine" sounded familiar. Checking the end credits, it turns out that Baxter was played by one Michael Road...aka Race Bannon on Jonny Quest!

    That was a wonderment!