“Break out the rocket-belts while I go through Dr. Norman’s notebooks!”
A phrase exclaimed by Dr. Quest in the Adventures of Jonny Quest episode #20 The Invisible Monster. It immediately brought to mind Wes Anderson’s ‘A Life Aquatic’ when Alistair Hennessey says something like “Fetch me my elephant gun and fill it with buckshot!”
I wonder if Anderson was at all inspired by the series which originally aired in 1964 prime time (the fourth prime-time cartoon behind The Flintstones, Top Cat and The Jetsons). I’m sure Brad Bird recieved inspirato as The Incredibles appears to be a blending of Jonny Quest and the Superfriends.
This cartoon is a throwback. It’s not out for laughs and there is no laughtrack. It takes itself seriously as an action-adventure-drama and the amazing animation and background art are a testament. It is the sort of cartoon in which the badguys are almost inevitably killed at the end – not handed over to authorities (although it must be said, they baddies usually die as a result of their own wicked machinations – and this was an era before network self-censorship).
The overall theme of the show is the wonder and advancement of science and knowledge – which is why Jonny, his pal Hadji and his bodyguard/tutor Race Bannon follow Dr. Quest to such locales as the Arcitc, the Himalayas, the Amazon, Hong Kong and Norway. Dr. Quest’s experiments and examinations often lead them into confrontations with Yetis, Pirates, flying Dinosaurs, evil scientists, anthropoids, mythic creatures from the deep and more.
And who can forget Bandit the dog… a good boy if there ever was one.
The man brain behind The Adventures of Jonny Quest was a animator named Doug Wildey who apparently drew inspiration for the sleek jets, rocket packs and other cutting edge material from a towering stack of Popular Mechanics.
If your cable channel has the boomerang network (channel 109 in Manhattan) I highly recommend catching this show… its the only thing I go out of my way to catch on tv these days.