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Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season

Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season

5.0 5
Director: Joseph Barbera, William Hanna, Charles A. Nichols

Cast: Tim Mathieson

Back in the 1960s, Jonny Quest was the first prime-time network cartoon show that was "cool" to watch -- that is, boys of ages 8 to 11, striving to achieve social acceptance among boys 12 to 13 didn't have to cover up the fact that they watched it, because the show also appealed to 12-, 13-, and 14-year-olds (and even older kids and adults could tolerate it,


Back in the 1960s, Jonny Quest was the first prime-time network cartoon show that was "cool" to watch -- that is, boys of ages 8 to 11, striving to achieve social acceptance among boys 12 to 13 didn't have to cover up the fact that they watched it, because the show also appealed to 12-, 13-, and 14-year-olds (and even older kids and adults could tolerate it, with its science fiction elements, heavy violence, and use of weapons). In point of fact, it was a "serious" animated series generated by Bill Hanna and Joseph Barbera for prime-time network showing. In contrast to the deliberately cartoonish and comical series such as The Flintstones and The Jetsons, Jonny Quest was drawn in a calculatedly realistic style, so much so that it almost looks like it's rotoscoped, à la the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons. An action-adventure series told from the point-of-view of a boy, Jonny Quest, who was the son of renowned scientist Dr. Benton Quest, the series was pitched at a more serious level than preceding cartoons, involving spies, saboteurs, malevolent would-be world-conquering villains, and lots of gunplay, fights, and chases. Characters could be killed off on Jonny Quest, as at least a trio of bystanders are in the first episode, "The Mystery of the Lizard Men"; not that there wasn't some comic relief, provided mostly by Jonny's pet bulldog, Bandit. Influenced as much by James Bond (Jonny Quest's pilot episode was the first cartoon show to make use of lasers as a plot device, much as Goldfinger introduced lasers to movies) as by such distant predecessors as the serial Junior G-Men, the series took on a slightly offbeat, distinctly '60s international quality with the presence in the cast of Jonny's friend, Hadji. In fact, Hadji was the first serious nonwhite character to co-star in an American television cartoon series; his introduction to the Quest family is covered in the flashback episode "Calcutta Adventure" (and it's a sign of just how sophisticated the show was that it could even have a flashback episode). The DVD is amazing in its visual quality and cleverness of design -- the four discs containing the series' original 26 episodes are programmed with menus in the form of the cool-looking control panel on the Quest family jet (a supersonic job with hovering ability as well). In addition to offering access to the individual shows, there's a "play all" function in the menu of each disc. The first three discs offer seven episodes, while the last offers five, plus all of the bonus features. The latter include the debut episode, "Double Danger, with a pop-up trivia function that's delightfully lighthearted yet informative -- reminiscent of the 1990s incarnation of the Cartoon Channel -- and which makes the episode (one of the best of the series) well worth watching a second time in one sitting. The other major bonus feature is a series of full-motion montage/video dossiers on all of the characters in the series (including occasional guests), accessible from an easy-to-use onscreen menu, and also the equipment used by the Quest family and the various adventure locales of the program. There's also an original 1964 vintage PF Flyers sneaker commercial starring Jonny and his friend/teacher/protector Race Bannon (which today would have to be surrounded on both sides by announcements that it was a commercial), plus plugs for other classic cartoon-show releases by Warner Bros. Above all, though, the virtue of this set is the quality of the transfers -- they're full-screen (1.33:1) but very bright and crisp. The animation on the original show was limited, but the producers spent a lot of time getting the color tones of the settings -- from jungles and deserts to the wastes of the arctic -- looking extraordinarily rich, and that's all restored here, perhaps in even better shape than it was in the original broadcasts, and far better than on the laserdisc issues from the series. Additionally, the audio is mastered at a reasonably high volume. There's also a choice of English, French, and Spanish subtitles. Each episode gets a single chapter, which isn't a real problem with the bite-sized 25-minute plots, which tend to move forward in reasonably linear fashion (apart from a few moments of comic relief, usually associated with the dog or some other cute animal). It should also be noted that there's very little presence of females on this show, and they all tend to be of the highly operational type, able to move the plot along. There are no helpless girls or women to slow the action; indeed, a highlight of "Double Danger" is the presence of the adventurer/agent Jade, who knows Race Bannon well enough to identify an imposter who has fooled everyone else -- the producers obviously guessed that boys older than 11 would be watching this cartoon show.

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Donald Liebenson
Are you looking for animated action? Go Quest, young reader: This awesome four-disc set contains all 26 first-season episodes from the 1964 Hanna-Barbera series that boldly went where no prime-time ‘toon had gone before. Unlike the sitcom-styled shenanigans of The Flintstones, The Jetsons, or Top Cat, the Quest family’s globe-trotting adventures were played for drama. Each episode is like a comic book come to life, with distinctive and striking animation and, to the baby boomers’s eye, a surfeit of '60s cool. Jonny’s father is a major scientist, the sort who travels to exotic locations and faces a gallery of sinister villains, gun-wielding thugs, and fearsome monsters. Not only does Jonny go along on these escapades -- take that, child-welfare agencies! -- but so do his tutor-bodyguard, Roger T. "Race" Bannon, his mystical adopted brother, Hadji, and his dog, Bandit. Forty years later, these episodes are as fresh as when they first aired. One of the best episodes, "Double Danger," featuring the sultry adventuress Jade, is given the optional "pop-up" treatment, offering essential facts and triva, as well as priceless life lessons. When Jade remarks, "You can't fool a woman," the pop-up affirms, "This is true." Bravo, Jonny.

Product Details

Release Date:
Turner Home Ent
Region Code:
[Dolby Digital Mono]
Sales rank:

Special Features

Closed Caption; "Jonny Quest: Adventures in Animation" featurette on animators; Jonny Quest Files: Fun, Facts, and Trivia; Jonny Quest Video Handbook: All about the heroes, villains, locations, and more; Vintage TV commercial; Trailers; Languages: English & Español; Subtitles: English, Français, & Español

Cast & Crew

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Jonny Quest: The Complete First Season 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
glad2bdada3 More than 1 year ago
I loved this series when I was a kid. My 7 yr. old son loves it too. If you're looking for an age appropriate action series for your kids, this is it. There are outdated stereotypes here (made in the 60s) but the action is undeniably fun for boys especially. I wish they'd put the second season out!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My husband and I have enjoyed watching these old cartoons and the memories that they bring back. It is nice to see a cartoon with a story, that is not vulgar or simply stupid. They don't make cartoons like this anymore. Totally enjoyed the set.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This set is by far the best DVD purchase I have made this year. The background features are informative and supportive. The remastering of the originals to digital is flawless. And the packaging is exciting! I loved every second! The original JQ, in my opinion, is the ONLY JQ!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I remember watching this show ,and wishing I could go to those exotic locations with jonny and his dad,of course I wish that the people would release the real adventures of jonny quest as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago