Jonny Quest was an animated action series focused on the globe-trotting adventures of US government scientist, Dr. Benton Quest; his 11-year-old son, Jonny; his adopted Indian son, Hadji; family bodyguard, Roger "Race" Bannon; and their pet, black-masked bulldog, Bandit. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions and ran on ABC in primetime on Friday nights for one season, 1964-65.
The Quests had a home compound on a remote island off the coast of Florida, but they spent most of their time flying around the world on various adventures, usually initiated by scientific mysteries that Dr. Quest pursued. These mysteries often had science fiction elements, from espionage robots to Egyptian mummies to pterosaurs come to life. They usually involved the work of various villains, like the evil recurring nemesis Dr. Zin, an Asian criminal mastermind.
One of the defining aspects of Jonny Quest was its use of limited animation. Like the style used in the earlier animated series Clutch Cargo, Hanna-Barbera used this technique in order to cut corners and meet the tighter scheduling and budgetary demands of television. This meant that characters were usually drawn in static form, with just their moving parts, like legs, mouths, and eyes, re-drawn from frame to frame. When characters had to move, they usually moved from side to side while the background behind them shifted. Though the animation was relatively static and limited, the people and backgrounds were drawn in a realistic and detailed way, and a sophisticated palette of bright colors was used that made the show look lush and expensive, despite the limited animation. The jazz music used in the show also added to its air of sophistication.
Jonny Quest was highly controversial because it featured much more realistic violence than other children's cartoons of its day. It became one of the main targets of parental watchdog groups such as Action for Children's Television. The show was cancelled after only one season, but reruns were broadcast on various networks’ Saturday morning lineups from 1967 to 1972, and highly-edited versions appeared sporadically after that. Hanna-Barbera later produced a revival called The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, which aired on the Cartoon Network in 1996-97.
You can watch Jonny Quest on DVD on Jonny Quest - The Complete First Season.
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