Originally running from September 18, 1964 – March 11, 1965, Jonny Quest is an animated, science fiction/adventure series from Hanna-Barbera Productions. It was created by artist Douglas S. Wildey at the behest of the studio when they couldn’t get the rights to create an adaptation of the popular radio drama, Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy. The TV series presents 26 thrilling, boys’ adventures set around the world in the (then) near future.
In the first episode, “The Mystery of the Lizard Men,” the main characters are introduced: the 11-year-old titular character (Tim Matheson); his widowed father, scientist Dr. Benton Quest (voiced by John Stephenson for five episodes and by Don Messick for the others); Roger “Race” Bannon (Mike Road), a bodyguard from an unnamed government agency; and Bandit, the dog. Ships exploding in the Sargasso Sea by a red beam of light come to the attention of the Quest team. Jonny gets involved in the investigation and fight against the villains more than would be expected from a young boy, but that’s what makes the cartoon so fun for viewers around Jonny’s age.
In the following episode, “Arctic Splashdown,” 11-year-old Indian orphan Hadji (Danny Bravo), the seventh son of a seventh son, first appears but they act like he has always been around. There’s no mention of how he joined the Quest team until the seventh episode, “Calcutta Adventure,” which is mainly a flashback. Hadji saves the life of Dr. Quest and by the end of the adventure, he gets adopted.
In the ninth episode, “Double Danger,” the Quest gang battles in Thailand against Dr. Zin (Vic Perrin), who they also deal with in Riddle of the Gold,” and “The Fraudulent Volcano.” They also cross paths with Jade (Cathy Lewis), an old friend of Race’s. She returns in “Terror Island.”
The video has been given a1080p/MPEG-4 AVC encoded transfer displayed at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1. The cartoons feature fantastic artwork. The colors pop off the screen in bold hues and the blacks are inky. There are small specks of black and white that appear throughout the series. Gray splotches can be seen in places like on Bandit’s fur and Hadji’s turban.
The audio is available in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0. Dialogue is clear. The sound effects are solid as they bring the action to life. The evocative jazz score augments the mood of the scenes. There are no noticeable hiss or audio defects.
Previously released extras from the 2004 DVD are
- The Jonny Quest Files: Fun, Facts & Trivia (25 min) – “Double Danger” is given the Pop-Up Video treatment as trivia appears on screen during the episode
- Jonny Quest: Adventures in Animation (15 min) – A remembrance of the series by folks like director Brad Bird and artist Alex Ross.
- The Jonny Quest Video Handbook (17 min) – Ten featurettes cover different aspects of the series, such as the characters and their equipment.
- P.F. Flyer Sneaker Commercial (1 min) – Jonny and Race promote “actions shoes” and a P.F. magic ring in this vintage ad.
Jonny Quest: The Complete Original Series is an imaginative, Saturday morning, boys’ adventure series. The Blu-ray from Warner Archive delivers satisfying high-definition video that will please long-time fans and should help attract new ones.