Saturday, 12 November 2016

Hanna-Barbera Action Adventure

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.


  1. This is great stuff; it makes me wish that Wildey had drawn a Jonny Quest comic strip. (He only drew the first issue of Comico's Jonny Quest comic book from the '80s. More's the pity, as it was a well-done comic.)

  2. You can inform Yowpette that, due to their mucus-like appearance, I used to refer to Gloop and Gleep as "The Snots".

    I have to wonder if Danger Plus Two was submitted for prime-time consideration - it looks a bit "adult" for Saturday mornings. And I can't help being amused by the Yankee Doodle Daring presentation. Not only because of the ridiculous title, but that it resembles a "straight/dramatic" version of Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines!

    Yes, I concur - some gorgeous illustration work here.

  3. I’m wondering if Danger Plus Two was going to be an animated series or rather these preproduction drawings and storyboards were for a live-action program. The two blondes in the first drawing both look strikingly like actress Joi Lansing.

    1. TV screens back then weren't large enough to accommodate two Joi Lansings.

    2. Ha!!! So true, the hairstyles of the two blondes look like they would have been two of Bob Cummings models in " Love That Bob ". Yowp, love that picture of the mummy standing far off on the hill. That was the one scene that really gave me a chill when that episode originally aired. Great artwork!