These thoughts regarding the Warner Archive June 11, 2019 3-disc incredibly vibrant Blu-ray release of the 1964-65 "Jonny Quest" OS aptly evoke strong thoughts of a conversation with a Warner Bros employee several years ago. Our discussion turned to "Star Trek: TNG" star Wil Wheaton. As I always do under such circumstances, I remarked that I hated the Wheaton smug teen character Wesley Crusher. The Warner guys stated that his adult self agreed, but that his 12 year-old self fantasized about being Crusher while watching "TNG" during its initial broadcast run. He added that every tween boy of the era wanted to be Crusher.
It is apparent from the get-go that roughly 12 year-old brave, energetic, bright, and out-spoken blonde-haired. blue-eyed Jonny (Tim Matheson) is the ideal for his peers of the era of his prime-time days. A modern-day animator makes the same observation in "Jonny Quest Adventures in Animation," which is one of several special features in the Archive release. A related less-pure thought of your not-so-humble reviewer is that a direct-to-DVD film "Jonny Quest at Neverland Ranch" has tremendous comic potential.
The moderate homo-erotic elements of "Quest" provide additional dark humor regarding the series. This starts with the concept of our titular boy-next-door living on the Florida island of Palm Key with widowed scientific genius/do-gooder father Dr. Benton C. Quest, bodyguard/tutor/surrogate big-brother/long-time companion Roger "Race" Bannon, and 11 year-old India native Hadji. Cute pup Bandit rounds out this all-male community.
We first meet Jonny and Race wearing just their bathing trunks on the beach while studying before engaging in judo practice. That scene is completely innocent compared to one in an early episode in which Jonny and Hadji minimally are shirtless under the covers in bed together. This is not to mention oft-absent Race girlfriend Jade being as fierce as the toughest drag queen.
The bigger picture is that "Quest" is the fourth Hanna-Barbera ready-for-primetime animated series after the "Flintstones." "The Jetsons," and "Top Cat." This one that is set in our time even more than "Cat" further is a ground-breaking animated action-adventure sci-fi series that represents the beginning of the end regarding the Hanna-Barbera transition from talking animals to people. This relates to this legendary animation team reacting in kind when Spider-man and his amazing friends invade Saturday morning.
All of the above aptly makes this BD part of Archive making June a Pride Month for classic animation. An equally spectacular (reviewed) BD "Popeye the Sailor: The 1940s Volume 2" come out on June 11.We get "Wally Gator" on DVD a week later.
We learn in "Animation" that the awesomely titled "The Mystery of the Lizard Men," which is the first aired episode, is not the first one that is made. The exposition regarding how Race comes to live with the Quests likely is why it moves to the front of the line.
"Lizard" also is notable for following the "Quest" formula. A bright red light preceding the blowing up of a ship in the (wide) Saragossa Sea sets the stage for calling in Dr. Quest to figure out what is going on and to put a stop to the nefarious goings on. This prompts Team Quest (sans Hadji) to spring into action, only to soon have at least a couple of members get subdued. This leads to a thrilling climax in the form of each of our heroes using his special talents to save the day in the nick of time.
The aptly named "Treasure of the Temple" six episodes later starts with the gang (avec Hadji) watching home movies triggering a memory of the Quests and Race meeting Hadji on his home turf. Of course, the lads who soon become brothers from other mothers initially badly clash. The intrigue this time centers around a covert nerve gas laboratory that is negatively impacting the locals.
"The Robot Spy" is a classic that features the spider-like cyclops with very long legs that is prominent in the opening credits with the very catchy theme. This is one of the best outings that features arch-nemesis mad scientist Dr. Zin. Much of the fun this time literally relates to Zin getting away with it if not for the meddling kids (and their dog).
"Double Trouble, which is the ninth episode of "Quest" and the final in the total of 26 episodes watched for the review, is notable for being the first one made. It additionally provides the fun of having Jade play an important role. The voice of experience here is that it is better to watch the pop-up video version of "Double" that is titled "Jonny Quest Files Fun Facts and Trivia" that is a BD extra. You will learn everything about the show that you ever wanted to ask.
The fact that everything that this post discusses about "Quest" 55 years after its premiere still is relevant shows that some thing never get old. The BD format that showcases the detailed and genuinely nuanced animation far better than DVD, streaming, and cable can ever hope to do prove that that option is the way to go.