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Jonny Quest

Classic cartoon adventures for grade-schoolers.

What parents need to know

Educational value

Meant to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

Many of the foreign characters are one dimensional and suffer from some dated stereotyping (reflecting the show's 1960s origins). But the show also embraces the idea that there are many different types of families.

Positive role models

The Quest's unusual family unit is tight and supportive, and they're always there for each other in the clinches. Unfortunately, the difference between the good guys (strong-jawed, usually white, unfailingly noble and brave) and the bad guys (rumpled, ill-dressed, uncomfortably often an ethnic or racial minority) is pretty stereotypical.

Violence & scariness

The characters use guns and other, often-futuristic weapons, and there are many on-screen deaths. Some scary monsters.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this classic action cartoon -- which originally aired in the '60s and had another TV incarnation in the mid-'80s -- includes some violence and dated stereotypes. But none of what's here is too iffy, and many modern kids will be able to relate to Jonny, who doesn't come from a traditional nuclear family.

What's the story?

JONNY QUEST (also known as The Adventures of Jonny Quest), follows 11-year-old Jonny (voiced by Tim Matheson) as he accompanies his famous scientist father, Dr. Benton Quest (John Stephenson and Don Messick shared the role), on expeditions around the world. Also along for the ride are Jonny's adopted brother Hadji (Danny Bravo), family bodyguard Roger "Race" Bannon (Mike Road), and pet bulldog Bandit (Messick).

Is it any good?


Overall, this classic series provides lots of vintage humor and a surprisingly contemporary take on family life, given the Quests' atypical (for the '60s, anyway) family unit. But keep an eye out for futuristic weapons and glamorized violence (fights among villains sometimes include robots and scary mummies), as well as some awfully dated stereotyping.

Many of the show's foreign characters are one-dimensional; you may want to explain to kids that the concept of political correctness didn't exist back in Jonny's day, and tell them why labels and clichés aren't OK. On the plus side, the serial- and comic book-inspired Jonny Quest is filled with exciting adventures, and it succeeds in sending the message that "family" can take many forms.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the meaning of family. What does it mean to be a part of a family? Do you have to be related to someone for them be part of your family? Who makes up Jonny's family? How is his family similar to yours? How is it different?

  • Families can also discuss how the show stereotypes its foreign characters. Why is the way they're portrayed no longer acceptable? How do these kinds of labels and assumptions get started, anyway?

TV details

Premiere date:September 18, 1964
Cast:Don Messick, Mike Road, Tim Matheson
Genre:Kids' Animation
TV rating:TV-G
Available on:DVD

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Teen, 13 years old Written byYlndgomez June 30, 2009


What other families should know
Great messages
Kid, 11 years old July 6, 2009
What other families should know
Too much violence
Educational value
Great messages
Adult Written byLowe's man June 10, 2014

mildy wild adventures

For all the talk you've made about stereotyping on this series, you've conveniently forgotten about Hadji. At the time it was rare for any Arab character to be portrayed in a positive light rather than a derogatory light. But Hadji was a positive character, even bringing some special skills to the others. As for what you say about the villians being portrayed in a stereotypical light, they weren't. I can see why you and perhaps others think they were, but I think otherwise because the villians were always that country's "locals". In other words, the villians in Egypt were never from Canada, the villians from Japan were never from Mexico, etc. In Egypt, the villians were always Egyptians, in Japan the villians were always Japanese, etc. But if you're concerned that younger children might see it the way you do and pick up on it, the best thing to do is to watch with younger children and then talk to them about it. Jonny is only 11 or 12 and can't be on his own full-time yet. That's why Race Bannon comes along to help Dr. Benton Quest, Jonny's father. The various locations are interesting. Even the violence is rather tame compared to what's in many of today's cartoons. A fine choice for kids who know fantasy from reality but aren't yet ready for stronger action-adventure movies or cartoons or other such tv shows.