Jonny Quest: The First Adventure Cartoon, Facts And Trivia

By | October 9, 2020

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Hadji and Jonny Quest. Source: Flickr

Jonny Quest aired for one season, just 26 episodes in prime time in 1964-65, and was unlike the Disney-type shorts and sitcom-based cartoons that animation studios had previously produced. It featured suspenseful plots and anatomically accurate humans -- these were cartoons but not caricatures or talking animals. It was inspired by comic strips and James Bond, and it was a hit -- unfortunately, it was too expensive, so it was canceled after one season. Jonny Quest then ran in syndication on all three major networks for the next 20 years. 

Prior to the mid-‘60s, cartoons tended to fall on the kookier side, entertaining young children with slapstick comedy. Hanna Barbera then came around to change animation forever with the 1964 series Jonny Quest, the hit show that introduced the world to action cartoons. Jonny Quest interested audiences of all ages with a new adventurous tone that had never been seen before. The groundbreaking series was a massive influence on adventure and superhero cartoons that followed and are still produced today. Any cartoon that isn't so, well, cartoony.

Radio Dramas And Comic Books Inspire A New Type of Series

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Funny animal characters from classic children's cartoons. Source: Flickr

Radio serials, dramatic tales told over radio airwaves, TV serials including The Lone Ranger, and comic books were all the rage during the 1950s and early 1960s. Hanna-Barbera Productions was making kids' entertainment in cartoon form in the early '60s, but it was all of a certain type; the company's lineup of shows up to 1963 was built around characters Huckleberry Hound, Quick Draw McGraw, the Flintstones, Top Cat, Yogi Bear and the Jetsons. The company saw action and adventure as a trend that had yet to be attempted in cartoon form; it would mean creating an entirely different series from all of their previous works.