Thursday, April 27, 2017

Jonny Quest Soundtrack: Really? 3,000 Units?

Cover of the La-La Land commercial 2-CD set. 
Music never sounded this good. As a fan of Jonny Quest anyone can understand my excitement when, a few weekends ago, a friend told me that the soundtrack to the television series was released commercially on CD. Using my smartphone I quickly put the set into my shopping cart and waited two days until I was home to place the order. There I was about to finalize the order when I discovered the worst case scenario: it was sold out!

In October 2016, La-La Land Records (not to be confused with the movie of similar name) released the original television score for the 1964-65 animated series, Jonny Quest, with music by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera and Hoyt Curtin. The genius of Hoyt Curtin, the same man responsible for The Flintstones and Scooby-Doo, is revealed not just in the remastered soundtrack but also a 24-page booklet documenting the development of the music. Jon Burlingame, author of "The Mystery of the Music Men," did a bang-up job with the liner notes. Well worth the $34.95 retail price. And listed on the back of the CD?  "Limited to 3,000."  You read that correctly, only 3,000 CD sets were minted. And there lies the problem. With a full-color booklet, remastered tracks that sound like they were recorded yesterday in the studio and gorgeous packaging, fans of Jonny Quest may find this elusive in the coming years. Thanks to a friend on Facebook I was able to order the CD set from another website. But in the coming months you may find difficulty in seeking out this set for a bargain price. As most of you are aware... when a commercial set of anything goes out of print, the marketplace value grows. And there will certainly be a demand for this set.

A quick bit of trivia for those not aware of how soundtracks work: Every movie and television program includes dialogue, sound effects and music -- each on it own separate track. (Dialogue track, sound effects track and music track.) All three are mixed together to form what is called a composite track, which is heard on the film. This is how movie studios are able to release a music track commercially without the dialogue or sound effects. On certain DVD releases the music track is offered as a bonus, isolated from the dialogue and sound effects. We are so used to VHS, DVD, 16mm prints and other forms of viewing that we sometimes forget that archival prints of movies and television programs often have three tracks separate from the film itself. So for Jonny Quest the music tracks were carefully removed and remastered in a studio.

Seek this one out. An LP record of an additional adventure!
The jazz-infused action scoring, brimming with excitement, were also recycled for use on other Hanna-Barbera cartoons such as Birdman and the Galaxy Trio and The Herculoids. I remember an episode of Space Ghost from the mid-late sixties having the Jonny Quest theme song during an action sequence. Really? Did they not think about using any other score? Did they think young children would not recognize the Jonny Quest theme song? Regardless, all of the original music composed for 23 of the 26 episodes are enclosed on this two-CD set. (Three episodes consisted of music recycled from prior Jonny Quest episodes so there was no need for repetition.) Also included are bonus tracks such as promos, bumpers, art cards and sponsor identification. 

Yes, this is a five-star review. A direct link to the web page for the CD set is enclosed below but I am not sure how beneficial this will be. Unless La-La Land chooses to re-release this set again I recommend fans of Jonny Quest who want to own everything related to the program start shopping. And do not delay.

1 comment:

Greg said...

I wonder if companies like La-La Land, who specialize in this sort of limited edition release, limit the number of copies any one individual can purchase. I can imagine multiple copies of these limited edition CDs being snapped up by unscrupulous individuals who plan to hang onto them for awhile and then sell them for wildly inflated prices on auction sites.

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