Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Another Childhood Favourite: Jonny Quest, Featuring a McFarlane Action Figure, a Hallmark Ornament, and Other Cool Stuff!

   Around Christmas I came across my Hallmark ornament from the classic 60's cartoon series Jonny Quest. For the last few weeks my Jonny Quest action figure has been lurking, demanding attention.Then about a week ago I happened upon a webpage I've seen before,belonging to a guy named Roger Evans,a huge Jonny Quest fan who decided to take it upon himself to make a stop  motion version of the classic Jonny Quest opening sequence.
This is a still from Roger Evans' stop motion version of the Jonny Quest opening. Jonny and Dr. Quest are wearing Journey Girl doll clothes!
This involved one-of-a-kinding various dolls and action figures The page details his creation of the backgrounds and characters for the opening. (How to make Race Bannon from a Paul Newman lookalike 12" figure! How to make Jonny, Hadji, and Dr. Quest from---wait for it!--- Journey Girl dolls! How to make a wall torch out of a caulk nozzle!) So, if nothing else, those of you who like to make one of a kind dolls and accessories might get something out of this.Who knew you could cure Super Sculpy on objects,even doll heads, that can't be put in an oven by leaving it under a 40 watt light over night?) I wanted to show you his amazing work,so there's a link below, and I'll also be showing you the action figure and ornament, but before I do, let me give you some JQ background.
    The original "Jonny Quest" is one of my all time favourite shows. The 'Jonny' of the title is the son of a scientist, who travels the world with his father, his body guard, and his adopted brother/pal, getting into dangerous adventures.The show had everything: kid heroes, (even if they did have to be saved a lot.), excitement,mystery, monsters,adventure, travel,and even humour.The show was brought back as a time compressed, edited version of itself in the 80's, remade in the 90's, and new tv movies in the style of the original were made in 1993. Nothing compares to the original though. Amazingly, for all the interest and rehashing at various points, the original series ran only one year, from 1964 to 1965. My son Fuzz and I bought the DVD years ago and spent ages waiting for the 'second season' to come out on DVD. Finally I researched and found out there was only one. I couldn't believe that there are only 26 episodes. It always seemed like more.
  Before we go any further, here's some background on the characters:

 .
  Dr Benton Quest:
 A scientist who has invented a boatload of cool gadgets, (Dr. Quest invented video phones and jet packs!),knows more miscellaneous junk than The Professor from Gilligan's Island, and is constantly being called on by the bigwigs of the world to check out their cool inventions and solve mysteries for them. Dr. Quest looks like Jack Cassidy A-Go-Go.

The real 'Mr. Partridge': Jack Cassidy was married to Shirley Jones and fathered David. 


'Race' Bannon:

Race was a secret agent when he was assigned to be Jonny's body guard, lest some evil villain use Jonny to make Dr. Quest work for them. Race was apparently modeled on actor Jeff Chandler. I always thought Race looked like a white haired G.I. Joe doll. But then, I guess Jeff Chandler did too.



As a secret agent  Race lived in a world of intrigue,danger,and beautiful women.Now he has all that, plus 2 kids and a scientist to look after. And as tough as Race is, he still managed to let someone steal the buttons off his Monkees shirt.

One, two, three, four...



                                                    Race Bannon, the Fifth Monkee.

 I love that Roger Evans described Race's three quarter length shirt sleeves as 'the capris of sleeves'!

 I always wondered why Jonny looked more like Race than Dr. Quest, but we won't go there.

Jonny Quest:

 Jonny is a chinless wonder with big hair, (Sometimes with less chin and bigger hair than others, due to the animation!),who always manages to get himself, (and often others), into trouble. Jonny's favourite words are "But Dad." As in, "Stay here boys, where you'll be safe." "But Dad!"
  Jonny is constantly getting kidnapped and having to be saved. By Race.You have to think that's going to play havoc with Jonny's relationship with Dr. Quest eventually. Plus Dr. Quest is going to develop guilt like Jason Robards in "Something Wicked This Way Comes".  At least Jonny has the fashion sense to get everyone into trouble while wearing a black turtle neck. (Those close to me know my opinion of black turtle neck shirts: All guys look better in a black turtle neck.)

Black turtlenecks are cool...way more cool than bow ties.
Not everybody looks great in one.

Even a black turtle neck can't work miracles. But everybody looks better.

By the way, Jonny was voiced by actor Tim Matheson, who went on to have an adult career in movies like "Animal House".

Tim Matheson was 16 when he voiced 10 year old Jonny.

             Hadji:

 Hadji gave up doing rope tricks in his underwear on the streets of Calcutta to live and travel with the Quest clan. Now he lives the high life of Nehru jackets, turban jewels, and slip on sneakers.Question: if Hadji was rich enough to have that jewel, how come he was living on the streets?
  Hadji's favourite words are, "I don't know Jonny." as in "I don't know Jonny. Maybe we should stay here like your dad and Race told us to." This is usually followed by Jonny's "Oh come on Hadji." You can imagine where this leads.
  Hadji has some sort of magical powers and occasionally saves the day by using the magic words "Sim sim salabim". Sometimes he doesn't really have to perform magic, just fool someone into thinking he can.(For the record, Doug Wildey wanted the series to be very believable, and didn't like some of the more extreme uses Hanna and Barbera had Hadji make of his magical powers, like inexplicably popping in and out of various huge urns he was hiding in.) He's very smart too.(Other than falling for that "Oh come on Hadji." stuff.) Basically I think Hadji might have grown up to be a con artist if it weren't for the Quests.
  Hadji was voiced by a young actor with the cool name, Danny Bravo. Bravo's real name was Daniel Zaldivar, and he was actually a Native American, not an East Indian. Other than Hadji's voice, his biggest claim to fame is a small role in The Magnificent Seven.

Bandit:

  Bandit is Jonny's dog. He's really cute, and I always wanted a toy of him. But this dog is a pain. He has given them away by barking at the bad guys, or running out into danger Jonny has to save him from, more times than I can mention. And how do they cross so many international borders and stay in nice hotels with a dog anyway?

  Dr Zin:

   Dr Zin is the only reoccurring villain, mostly because the series only ran one season. He only appeared in two episodes of the original series. That always seemed like more too.
  Dr Zin is bald, because of course, baldness makes a good villian. Think Mussolini, Batman's Mr. Freeze, and Erich Von Stroheim.
Erich Von Stroheim with Gloria Swanson in"Sunset Boulevard"
  The series was created and designed by Doug Wildey for Hanna Barbera, of Scooby Doo fame. Wildey was a comic book creator and artist, and the artwork in Jonny Quest consequently looks more like comic book artwork than it looks like other cartoons of the time. This made it very unique. Wildey later worked as writer, producer, director,storyboard artist, character designer, and other positions on other cartoon series', including "Exosquad",the 1982 "Incredible Hulk" and "Spiderman and His Amazing Friends" series',"Return to the Planet of the Apes", "Godzilla", and even the later Jonny Quest reincarnations.
  "Jonny Quest" also had just about the best theme music ever, composed by Hoyt Curtin. Curtin also composed the theme music to many other Hanna Barbera's shows, including The Flintstones and The Jetsons.The full jazz orchestra that performs the JQ theme consisted of  4 trumpets, 6 trombones, 5 woodwind doublers,(Whatever those are!), and a 5-man rhythm section, including percussion  You can watch the opening and closing credits with that great music by Hoyt Curtin HERE.
  Kids would never be allowed to watch a cartoon like Jonny Quest these days. Waaaay too violent. I'm pretty sure Race kills at least one guy every episode. Sometimes Jonny and Hadji even kill bad guys!  And Social Services would definitely be looking into Jonny and Hadji's upbringing: exposed to constant danger, and home schooled by a guy who let's them break off for Judo lessons whenever they get bored. If you're interested you can  watch a great fan made documentary on the original series on YouTube HERE.
 And now to the toys!Years ago I came across some proposed Jonny Quest action figures online. The Jonny and Hadji were a little muscley, but the Dr. Quest and Race were pretty good. (There was even a Bandit figure!) With the decided lack of JQ figures I wasn't going to complain anyway. I really wanted them, but they never materialized. You can see the prototype figures, which were to be produced by Playing Mantis, HERE .
  The Jonny Quest figure I do own was made by McFarlane  in 2006, as part of a series of classic Hanna Barbera cartoon characters.

Yes, $5 from Big Lots! This was years ago.
Others in the series included Tom and Jerry,The Flintstones,and Yogi Bear.

The figure of Jonny is about  6" tall. Actually, he's more like the 90's redo of Jonny, than the 60's version. But with the scarcity of Jonny Quest toys, I'll take it! And what really matters is the Bandit figure!I always wanted a Bandit toy!

And finally! A Bandit toy!

I haven't opened this figure because I kind of like having the whole package displayed. That makes it hard for me to show you, but Jonny has a jet pack!

 But you can see the neat pteranodon he's fighting.



The Hallmark ornament is from 2008, and oddly enough, is exactly the same figure!

Sort of the action figure in doll size!
See?

 I always tell my kids that I had to have all three of them to have someone to share all my interests.Emma loved spies,The Muppets, and dolls, and we made many a miniature together. She loved the old series "The Avengers", and watched loads of old movies with me. Ivy loved Shirley Temple, and watched more old movies than Emma, who concentrated mainly on musicals. Fuzz loved pirates, knights,spies,and dinosaurs. And while Emma was never very into Jonny Quest, Fuzz loved it. Even Ivy liked it, and Ivy likes very little. (She's worse than "Mikey" who "hates everything". Even he liked Life cereal. Ivy's only response to this is, "I like spies.")
  Apparently Roger Evans wanted to remake a whole episode of the original Jonny Quest series in stop motion. He started a Kickstarter campaign in 2012, but unfortunately he didn't manage to raise enough money in the 30 days of the campaign.
  And now for that link to Roger Evans' page, detailing the making of his amazing stop motion version of the JQ opening, Enjoy!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks in advance for your comments.