Recently Boomerang has been showing episodes of Jonny Quest @ 12:30AM/Eastern. I wasn’t born yet when the original series was on and never saw reruns, but I was in my 20s by the time the parody of Jonny Quest, The Venture Brothers, was on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim and became a huge fan. When the reruns of the original started recently, I had to watch. I had to know what The Venture Bros. is based off of,- if for no other reason than to understand the hidden jokes.
Last week while watching JQ it occurred to me that the character of “Race” Bannon looked an awful-lot like a character from Wendy Pini’s Masque of the Red Death, Steffan, with the stark white hair, dark eyebrows and dreamy green eyes. So I mentioned it to Wendy. Turns out Wendy was alive when the original JQ aired and was a fan of Race Bannon, JQ’s creator, and the actor the character was based on, Jeff Chandler.
Wendy had this to say: Masque of the Red Death Back in the 80s I was very fortunate to meet Doug Wildey, “Jonny Quest’s” creator, and have several long, wonderful conversations with him about the show. When I asked if he based Race Bannon on the famous ’50s actor Jeff Chandler, Doug was surprised. “How did you know?” he asked.
I explained that Jeff Chandler’s distinctive white hair and heavy, black eyebrows were the visual clue. But also the personality. Doug said, “yeah. It always seemed to me like Jeff Chandler would be the ideal big brother. And that’s what Race was to the boys.” I, of course, had an enormous crush on Race as a teeny bopper. It was an unbelievable thrill, years later, to draw “The Origin of Race Bannon” for Comico. All that said, Race Bannon was an ode to white Republican male supremacy (as is the original “Jonny Quest” show in general…Yellow Peril, and all that). It’s embarrassingly racist to watch nowadays. So, if Race IS Steffan’s papa, no wonder the poor boy is so messed up! http://www.starscolor.com/images/jeff-chandler-01.jpg
So now, I’m really curious about a certain character in the show and you know me, I gotta do research, so here is what Wikipedia has to say about Jonny Quest and the characters involved in his adventures, including the dreamy “Race”.
Jonny Quest – often casually referred to as The Adventures of Jonny Quest – is an American science fiction/adventure animated television series about a boy who accompanies his father on extraordinary adventures. It was produced by Hanna-Barbera Productions for Screen Gems, and created and designed by comic book artist Doug Wildey.
Inspired by radio serials and comics in the action-adventure genre, it featured more realistic art, characters, and stories than Hanna-Barbera’s previous cartoon programs. It was the first of several Hanna-Barbera action-based adventure shows – which would later include Space Ghost, The Herculoids, and Birdman and the Galaxy Trio – and ran on ABC in prime time on early Friday nights for one season in 1964–65.
After spending two decades in reruns, during which time it appeared on all 3 major US television networks of the time, new episodes were produced for syndication in 1986. Two telefilms, a comic book series, and a more modern revival series, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, were produced in the 1990s.
Hadji Quest is a streetwise, 12-year-old Calcutta orphan, who becomes the adopted son of Dr. Benton Quest and is also Jonny’s best friend.Rarely depicted without his bejeweled turban and Nehru jacket, he is proficient in judo, which he learned from an American Marine. The seventh son of a seventh son, Hadji seems to possess mystical powers (including snake charming, levitation, magic, and hypnotism) which may or may not be attributed to parlor trickery. The Quests meet Hadji while Dr. Quest is lecturing at Calcutta University; he saves Dr. Quest’s life (by blocking a thrown knife intended for the doctor with a basket lid) and is subsequently adopted into the Quest family. Though slightly more circumspect than Jonny, he can reliably be talked into participating in most any adventure by his adoptive brother. He is voiced by Danny Bravo. In the sequel series The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, Hadji is revealed to be an Indian prince, and is given the last name Singh.
Jade is Race’s old friend and love interest. She is a natural born spy and is a recurring character. In one episode, it shown that Jade knows how to detect who a man really is by kissing them. She is as intelligent as she is sneaky. Jade is voiced by Cathy Lewis.
The Quests have a home compound in the Florida Keys (on the island of Palm Key), but their adventures take them all over the world. The Quest team travels the globe studying scientific mysteries, which generally end up being explained as the work of various bad guys. Such pursuits get them into scrapes with foes that range from espionage robots and electrical monsters to Egyptian mummies and pterosaurs. Although most menaces appeared in only one episode each, one recurring nemesis is known as Dr. Zin, an Asian criminal mastermind. With yellow skin and a diabolical laugh, Zin was an example of the Yellow Peril villains common in Cold War-era fiction. The voices of Dr. Zin and other assorted characters were done by Vic Perrin. Race’s mysterious old flame, Jade, appears in two episodes, as do the characters of Corbin (an Intelligence One agent) and the Professor (a scientist colleague of Dr. Quest’s). The 1993 made-for-TV feature Jonny’s Golden Quest included in its plot-line the concept that Race and Jade had been briefly married years earlier, but it also depicted Race and Hadji in place with the family at Mrs. Quest’s death, in direct contradiction to explicit statements in the original series.
For the complete history of the show, go HERE.