Happy Saturday Morning! JONNY QUEST Stop Motion Goodness

Sean Smithson, Contributor
Jonny Quest, while only on the air for one season back in 1964-65, has left an incredibly deep imprint on the art of animation, and spawned a surge of serious minded action-adventure cartoons for kids with shows like The Herculoids, Valley Of The Dinosaurs, and Space Ghost. It's influence continues today, with the ironic almost note-for-note take of The Venture Bros. being the most obvious example. Tremors of the original Jonny Quest can also be felt in the films of Spielberg, Lucas, and their ilk.

Hannah-Barbera Productions aimed high, airing on Friday evenings, with obvious hopes for another night-time hit like they had with The Flintstones. Alas, it was not to be. The show folded after the first season, and the brilliant production team, which included stalwart comics artists Doug Wildey and Alex Toth, closed up shop and went home. Jonny Quest refused to die, and through repeated syndication, has deservedly become regarded as a high point in television history, animated or not.

Mummies. Werewolves. Robot soldiers. Megalomaniacal madmen out to destroy the world. Jonny Quest was an homage to action serials and sci-fi films of yesteryear's Golden Age, but in these modern times, is an incredibly fresh breath of air. Smart scripts, cracking art, and A-class voice talent (with then child-actor Tim Matheson voicing Johnny) make Jonny Quest this writer's favorite television cartoon of all time.

Donner/Shuler-Donner Productions even threw their hat in the ring back in the 90's with proposed live action take that never materialized. Zack Effron and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson were reported to be taking on the roles of Jonny and Race Bannon, but that fell by the wayside as well. I pretty much disregard the later incarnations of Quest to be erroneous. Gone is the wonderful visual style of Wildey and Toth, and snappy writing, replaced by a generic looking group of characters, and stories that tried too hard.

The dream is still alive though, in the hearts of us foggeys that remember growing up with the original from it's initial run, and it's inclusion in syndication packages around the world after it's cancellation.

Well, one of those guys, gifted hobbyist animator Roger D. Evans, has picked up the torch, and created one of the single greatest fan tributes of all time. A painstakingly, meticulously made stop motion recreation of the classic Jonny Quest title sequence. Mr. Evans was cool enough to answer a few quick questions, and make an HD version of his work available. Here's a few words from the dedicated (and highly talented) fan and artist.


Is there a dream in here somewhere for you of getting picked up to animate a feature or anything? Or are you already in a career etc?

I own an online company called MovieStuff  that builds scanners to transfer old 8mm and 16mm home movie film to digital. We've done installations for the Academy of Motion Picture Film Archives as well as the UCLA and USC Film Archives, just to name a few.

What possessed you to do this?

I always wanted a set of Jonny Quest action figures but the show was only on for one season; not long enough to spawn any kind of toys. I also am a stop motion junky so this just seemed like a natural combination of the two.

It looks like it was a family affair too from the credits. Is your house full of Quest fans or was this "Awww Dad is so cute with his project!". The level of craftsmanship leads me to believe this is the work of a pro crew of artists.

Actually, it was pretty much just Brandi and me. My family did step in here and there to lend a hand but 99% of it was just the two of us.


 
What's your favorite Jonny Q episode? I think I like the werewolf one Werewolf Of The Timberland.

The Robot Spy!


When is the first time you remember seeing Jonny Q?


I know my family watched it every week when I was about 8 but my best memories were from Saturday morning repeats.

What's next? Could you please redo the credits for the HERCULOIDS now? or THE FLINTSTONES? Please please pretty please?

Not likely. Too tired and too busy with other projects. I've got one sci-fi novel on Amazon right called "The Razz". I'm working on another.


Short and sweet, just like Roger's homage. I post this up on Saturday morning, and there couldn't be a more perfect time. get some cold cereal, sit down, and get ready for the best two minutes a Jonny Quest geek can hope for. To think about an entire episode being redone like this...one can dream, right?

Below you will find the recreation, as well as the original title sequence. Compare and marvel in amazement, this is truly neat stuff.
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