Western Animation: Jonny Quest

Doug Wildey created this 1964 animated Adventure Series, the first produced by Hanna-Barbera and the first to use realistically drawn human characters in Science Fiction or adventure settings. The series aired in prime time on ABC.

The young hero Jonny Quest (voiced by future Animal House star Tim Matheson) traveled the world with his father, Dr. Benton Quest; Roger "Race" Bannon, a friend and bodyguard of Dr. Quest; Hadji, Jonny's adopted brother from India, and Bandit, the family dog. (The first episode establishes that Jonny's mother, Rachel, died before the series began.)

A second Jonny Quest series was syndicated in 1986-87 as part of the second season of The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, with two new characters: Jessie Bradshaw, whose father was a colleague of Dr. Quest, and Hard Rock, a man made of living stone. This series culminated in two made-for-TV movies - Jonny's Golden Quest and Jonny Quest vs. the Cyber Insects - which introduced Race Bannon's daughter, Jessie (not the same character as Jessie Bradshaw), who would become a recurring character in subsequent incarnations.

Cartoon Network made some changes to the format when it debuted Jonny Quest The Real Adventures (also known as "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest") in 1996. New characters included the recurring villains Jeremiah Surd and Ezekiel Rage, and the twin daughters of Dr. Zin (who, of course, was from the original series). Also, the characters had access to Questworld, a virtual reality realm represented in most episodes by 3-D computer animation. According to this Wikipedia article, development began in 1992, but the series went through three production teams over the next four years.

A Live-Action Adaptation of Jonny Quest was announced in August 2007, with recent news placing Zac Efron as Jonny and The Rock as Race Bannon. However, after that lingered for years it was announced in 2015 that Warner Bros. would be trying again with Robert Rodriguez directing and co-writing with Pirates of the Caribbean screenwriter Terry Rossio. In the meantime, 2015 saw the classic characters return in a DTV movie crossover with Tom and Jerry- Tom & Jerry: Spy Quest.

Not to be confused with Johnny Test.


  • Animal Assassin: A tarantula in "The Fraudulent Volcano" (a la Dr. No) and a tiger in "Riddle of the Gold".
  • Anti-Sneeze Finger: "Monster in the Monastery". Jonny does it to himself so he doesn't sneeze and alert the "yeti". He doesn't sneeze afterwards, but Bandit does.
  • Big Red Button: Used to signal the Red Scramble in "The Robot Spy".
  • Blow Gun: In "The Dreadful Doll", the villain Korbay uses a blowgun to fire darts that have a poison that causes its victims to enter a coma.
  • Bodyguard Betrayal: In "Dragons of Ashida," Sumi throws Ashida to his own dragons.
  • Bollywood Nerd: Hadji, even before the stereotype was around.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Many times, including 70+ shots from an automatic pistol.
  • Brainwashed: In "Pirates from Below," Hadji hypnotizes a guard with a flashing ruby.
  • Caught in a Snare: "Treasure of the Temple". While the Quest team is traveling to the temple, one of the native bearers is hauled into the air by the ankle.
  • The Cavalry: "A Small Matter of Pygmies". Dr. Quest and a group of helicopters arrive just in time.
  • Chiaroscuro: The animation style used very heavy blacks. (This is especially obvious when a character's face is in shadow, eliminating the need to animate their mouth.)
  • Choke Holds: In "The Quetong Missile Mystery", Race Bannon uses a sleeper hold on a Mook guard.
  • Coffin Contraband: "The Sea Haunt". A deserted freighter has a cargo hold full of coffins, each of which contains gold bars.
  • Coincidental Broadcast: "Attack of the Tree People". Topper turns on the radio just in time to hear about Jonny and Hadji being shipwrecked.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: In "The Robot Spy," Dr. Quest's Para-Power Raygun stops the robot spy, but considering it was designed to drain the power of the machine, not destroy it as it did, he notes that there is no point to the gun as a glorified artillery piece until he can perfect it for its true purpose.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: What set it apart from other cartoons in its time. Or other cartoons today, for that matter. At least one villain dies in nearly every episode. Some of the deaths inflicted on the bad guys are a massive ship explosion, a collision into the side of a mountain, a feasting on by his own lizards, electrocution by a high-voltage fence, a burial in a cave-in, a drop over a creaky bridge, and that's just a few. None of the deaths are ever shown on-screen, of course.
  • For the Evulz: Seems to be the raison d'etre for some of the villains.
  • Government Agency of Fiction: Intelligence One, the U.S. Government agency Race Bannon works for and Dr. Quest occasionally helps.
  • The Grand Hunt: In "Riddle of the Gold", the fake maharajah sets up a tiger hunt in honor of Dr. Quest's visit. He plans to use have Dr. Quest assassinated during the hunt by having him "accidentally" shot.
  • Invincible Incompetent: Jonny is pretty powerless through the show's whole run, and is constantly being plucked from danger by his father and Race.
  • Juggernaut: Dr. Zin's robot spy that is big, spidery and unstoppable!
  • Jungle Drums: "Pursuit of the Po-Ho". Used by the title tribe.
  • Just Between You and Me: Dr. Zin in "The Robot Spy" and "The Fraudulent Volcano."
  • Karmic Death: Multiple episodes.
  • Knockout Gas: In the episode "The Quetong Missile Mystery". Sleep gas knocks out General Fong in a couple of seconds.
  • Life Energy: In "The Invisible Monster", this is one of the forms of energy the titular creature can devour.
  • Plunger Detonator: General Fong's guards use them to detonate mines in "The Quetong Missile Mystery".
  • The Precarious Ledge: This trope appears in the episode "The Devil's Tower". During their escape the Quest team must ease their way along a narrow trail in a cliff with the mad war criminal Von Duffel bombing them with grenades from the air.
  • Puppy Love: In the two movies based on the 80's series, Race's daughter Jesse and Jonny appear to be about 10 to 12 years old. She kisses him in both movies.
  • Put Their Heads Together: "Terror Island". Race kicks a guard in the butt and causes his head to collide with that of another guard, knocking them both out.
  • Reflective Eyes: "Pirates from Below". A guard's eyes reflect glints from Hadji's ruby.
  • Remember the New Guy: Hadji at first, until a 1960s episode where they talk about how they all first met.note 
  • Retcon: Jessie Bradshaw in the 80s series -> Race Bannon's daughter in the TV movies.note 
    • "Deadly Junket" was essentially a copy of "The Dreadful Doll". So it's Denise Lor -> Jessie Bradshaw -> Jessie Bannon
  • Scooby-Dooby Doors: Done in at least one episode with Johnny on a motorbike being chased by villains in a jeep.
  • Shout-Out: "That's a horse of a different color!" in "Attack of the Tree People".
  • Siege Engines: Catapults flinging flaming missiles in "Monster in the Monastery".
  • Silicon-Based Life: Not quite. Hard Rock, the man of living stone, was an ancient human whose body had been changed by radiation into solid carbon.
  • Snake Charmer: Hadji. When the Quests first meet Hadji in India in the episode "Calcutta Adventure" he is charming a cobra while playing a recorder-like instrument. In the episode "The Curse of Anubis" Hadji uses his flute to control deadly snakes and send them away.
  • Submarine Pirates: "Pirates from Below". They arrive in a submarine and steal the Underwater Prober. Later they attack the Prober in torpedo-firing one man subs.
  • Timmy in a Well: Bandit and Superintendent Owens in "Skull and Double Crossbones."
  • Title Sequence Replacement: Much like what had been done with The Jetsons a year before, when the original series and the 1986 revival were syndicated together on The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera, the original show's Title Sequence was replaced with the revival's. Even the Episode Title Cards were redone in the new series' style, with the writers' names added.
  • Tranquilizer Dart: "The Quetong Missile Mystery" and "Pirates from Below"
  • Toxic Friend Influence: In the original series Jonny was sometimes this to Hadji. Jonny would come up with crazy ideas that got them into danger (often against the wishes of his father and Race Bannon) and Hadji would reluctantly go along with him.
  • Trap Door: The title Villain uses one in "Dragons of Ashida."
  • Trojan Horse: In "The Robot Spy" Dr. Zin tricks Dr. Quest into taking the title device inside a military base.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Possibly. The date is never explicitly stated, and aside from the sci-fi gadgetry the series looks like it's set in the era it was made in.
  • Vampiric Draining: "The Invisible Monster". The title creature can drain the energy from a human body by touch, thus "consuming" the person.
  • Van in Black: One is keeping an eye on the Quests in "The Quetong Missile Mystery."