Friday, January 3, 2020

Jonny Quest BluRay Review

It is no secret that one of my two favorite animated cartoons is Jonny Quest, televised over ABC from 1964-1965. Short lived and lasting a mere 26 half-hour episodes, the series has remained in syndication for decades, along with multiple revivals. The classic series, with superb art and style, along with the music of Hoyt Curtin, provides us with action, excitement and the best of blood n' thunder.

In the 1950s, Cambria Studios, Inc., produced an animated cartoon series titled Captain Fathom which extended to a live action unsold television pilot with Don Megowan and Kenneth Tobey. With primitive vox pop style animation similar to Clutch Cargo, the company filed a lawsuit against Hanna-Barbera in January of 1965 on charges of "plagiarism, misappropriation of trade secrets, inducing breach of contract and false advertising." The suit claimed substantial parts and portions of Clutch Cargo and the pilot film, Captain Fathom, was stolen for the Jonny Quest program. Cambria felt their original techniques and know-how in the use of illustration of comic strip art in production of animated films, and that Hanna Barbera induced former Cambria employees to reveal this confidential information in breach of employment contracts, was enough to file what today we refer to as a "nuisance suit." Naturally, the lawsuit was not valid but such tid-bits make fascinating reading for fans of Jonny Quest. And it seems not a year goes by that something new about the television series comes to the forefront.

A few months ago Warner Bros. Studios released Jonny Quest on BluRay. The program had been released on DVD (twice) but fans who knew the program by heart -- courtesy of television reruns -- noticed a number of imperfections. For one, the original end credits for almost every episode was copied from the episode, "Pursuit of the Po-Ho." Series creator Doug Wildey was not credited on that episode which meant he was not credited on most of the episodes on the DVD releases. In the episode "Pursuit of the Po-Ho," Race Bannon's insults of "heathen monkeys" and "ignorant savages" when rising from the water, covered in berry juice, had been deleted. Jonny's references to "Orientals" in another episode was removed. More than likely the edits were a result of whitewashing the past for a more politically correct environment. 

There were other minor concerns from purists but the DVDs contained superior picture and sound to ensure fans were happy. Even casual fans of the program never noticed the minor edits and revisions. With the new BluRay release available, purists can rejoice. After careful review of the first disc alone I am pleased to report that the uncut, unedited versions are now available as we prayed for. The original closing credits are intact for each episode, the racial slurs were not deleted, both versions of the opening credits are intact, and extensive restoration was made to ensure better picture and sound. The tags and bumpers for commercial sponsors remain intact. The original telecast aspect ratio was maintained. 

Yes, there is a disclaimer on the back of the packaging reminding people of the politically incorrect phrases used in some episodes. No, there are few bonus extras beyond what was included in the DVD release. But with improved and superior picture and sound, this is at good as it will ever get. Even if you have the DVD release, treat yourself by ordering the BluRay today. 

No comments:

Post a Comment