Saturday, 23 February 2019

Flintstones Vs Jonny Quest

Doug Wildey, who gets credit for creating Jonny Quest, once grumbled about the artists working on the series as being, to paraphrase him, “Flintstones animators.”

That was true, but some of them had also come from Walt Disney, where they had animated on Sleeping Beauty. They weren’t hack artists who could draw nothing but talking animal caricatures.

I thought of that when I ran across this newspaper piece about the difference between Jonny Quest and The Flintstones. It’s unbylined, so it may have been a publicity handout from the PR department working alongside Wildey at Hanna-Barbera, or it could have been from ABC. It would seem self-evident what the differences are between the styles of the two shows, but perhaps it was written for publication before Quest debuted. It appeared in several papers; this one is from the News Leader of Staunton, Virginia, November 27, 1964.

There was one similarity between the two series, besides being made by the same studio. In a way, they had the same time-slots at ABC. The Flintstones was getting, er, stoned in the ratings by The Munsters on CBS, so ABC swapped time-slots. That saved The Flintstones from cancellation, allowing its huge merchandising to get another season of free TV publicity. Poor Jonny and Bandit didn’t attract enough adults in its new slot to entice sponsors to put up the kind of advertising money Quest needed to stay in production for another season, so it came to an end in 1965. (Later incarnations notwithstanding). Even if it had stayed on, one wonders how much longer Tim Matheson’s voice could hold out from the effects of time.

Cartoonist Compares Shows
HOLLYWOOD—"There's a big contrast between 'Jonny Quest' and 'The Flintstones,' and that's what makes the two series so much fun to work on," said Joe Barbera, co-producer with William Hanna of the two animated series airing in prime time on ABC-TV.
"I hate having the word educational used in connection with one of our shows, but truly, 'Jonny Quest' has many educational aspects for youngsters," stated Barbera.
"First of all, there's the magnificent art work which we used as backgrounds. It would be impossible for a live or filmed TV show to show such authentic and thoroughly beautiful surroundings as backgrounds for their shows. It would be far too expensive. In 'Jonny Quest,' we take viewers to all parts of the world with our unique backgrounds."
A product of over two years of research by Hanna-Barbera artists and story editors, "Jonny Quest" brings up-to-date adventure to the television screens. "The Flintstones" deals with adventures in the stone age.
The type of art work is different, also. In "Jonny Quest," the art style is illustrative, while "The Flintstones" is pure cartoon-art, using strictly cartoon characters. The characters in "Jonny Quest" are more life-like.
Explaining this difference in the type of characters, Bill Hanna said, "The idea actually stemmed from the beautiful color background drawings for 'Jonny Quest' which Joe and I thought were so stimulating. We realized that here was a different approach to animation, so we decided that the characters should be different by animating them in a life-like manner.
"In 'The Flintstones' it's entirely different," Hanna continued. "The backgrounds are strictly caricature, and we designed the characters to conform."
The stories used on "Jonny Quest" and "The Flintstones" also are contrasting. The only parallel drawn is that the stories for both series are written expressly for family viewing and not toward one age group above another. Barbera and Hanna insist that there be something for every member of the family in every story on both series.
The differences between the two series point up Bill Hanna's and Joe Barbera's versatility. The pair have parlayed two strongly contrasting shows into a real success story. "That's what keeps us going," concluded Barbera. "The contrast makes for more stimulating work and keeps us on our toes. That's what I mean by our work being fun."


  1. I'd say Matheson's voice might have held out for one more season, but that would have been it unless Bill and Joe had been willing to let Jonny age along with his voice actor. By the 1966 premiere of Space Ghost, in which Matheson voiced the hero's teenage sidekick Jace, Matheson's voice had already begun to deepen.

    1. Don't forget Tim Matheson also voiced Samson in Young Samson & Goliath (1967), and the young sailor Sinbad Jr. in the HB verson of Sinbad Jr. (1965).

  2. Tim Matheson's voice had changed by the time he reprised the role of Jonny Quest for Hanna-Barbera records in "Jonny Quest in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." We definitely get an older Jonny, and with no mention whatsoever of Hadji, one gets the impression that time has moved on for the Quests. For the album, John Stephenson reprised his original role as Dr. Quest, which he performed for the first handful of JQ television episodes. Mike Road provided the voice of Race Bannon on the album, as in the series.

    Then in the Tom & Jerry "Spy Quest" movie about 3 years ago, Tim did the voice of the President as a nod to his original involvement in the first Jonny Quest series.

  3. I much prefer The Flintstones but I also must say that both shoes changed animation.

  4. Hans Christian Brando24 February 2019 at 16:25

    "Jonny Quest" was much more a natural for live action that "The Flintstones" (which, you may recall, was the top grossing film of 1994, and provided Elizabeth Taylor with her last theatrical film role as Wilma's mother). How did they miss Macauley Culkin as Jonny?

    1. Agreed on the live action issue about JQ vs Flintstones. It was a great idea for Johnny, but was misused starting few years later on COMEDY shows.

  5. Except for "The Impossibles" (and maybe "Frankenstein Jr."), I think Jonny Quest-type artists did the show that were later syndicated as Hanna-Barbera's World of Super Adventure: though the Impossibles, at least, were redesigned later for DC Comics' "Future Quest".