Sunday, December 14, 2014

Jonny Quest: Music From The Original Television Series

by G. Jack Urso



My love of jazz can be traced to one influential piece of music – the theme for Jonny Quest, the ground-breaking Hanna-Barbara animated TV show that ran from 1964 to 1965, followed by two revival series and a couple full-length TV movies. Breaking away from the steady diet of anthropomorphic animals and stone-age families that populated Saturday morning television in the early 1960s, Jonny Quest featured a realistic animation style and was designed to look and sound as though it was a live-action, prime time program. In fact, the show ran in an early prime time slot on Friday nights during its original run. The show is an iconic portrayal of the era in which it was made and remains an animated classic to this day. The complete soundtrack, including themes and incidental music, can be found on the 2-CD set, Jonny Quest: Music From The Original Television Series (see below for the complete recording streamed from the Aeolus 13 Umbra YouTube channel).

For the space-age baby-boomer generation living in the immediate post-Kennedy era Jonny Quest modeled our highest aspirations at the time: science and technology, a global community, and rugged individualism. The enemies ranged from primitive fire-god worshippers and organized criminal syndicates to mad scientists and monsters. The show was also arguably ahead of its time in that the name of Jonny's constant companion – Hadji – suggests the boy is Muslim, though his faith is never explicitly discussed. Then again, Jonny's faith, other than in science and adventure, is also never discussed.


What got me hooked though was that music – that glorious, pulse-pounding opening theme kicks in with the steady beat of tom-toms, followed by the by a tight brass ensemble to create  a sense of action and  adventure with just a hint of danger and mystery. Ok, so it was a highly polished, commercial big-band brass sound, but the piece perfectly captures the action-adventure theme music that typified the 1960s sound, which also includes such themes as those from the TV shows Hawaii Five-O, Mission: Impossible, and The Mod Squad.

Composer Hoyt Curtin created the opening title music for many of the Hanna-Barbera TV shows that baby boomers grew up with, including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Superfriends, and many more. The Jonny Quest theme proved so popular that it was recycled by ever thrifty Hanna-Barbara in other shows for decades to come, including the incidental music.

 
Indeed, it is the incidental music from Jonny Quest where Curtin’s real genius shines. Rather than being thematically unrelated pieces of music serving as forgettable background noise, the incidental music here establishes mood and pacing using memorable note progressions and minor themes – some of which could well be expanded into full-length compositions. By repeating these themes throughout the series, the incidental music becomes part of the narrative. In this sense, one is reminded how the multimedia aspects of video can provide a more fully immersive story-telling experience. With the 2-CD set running nearly 1 hour 49 minutes, we can see that the incidental music played a larger role in the series than the more memorable opening and closing themes.

Curtin revealed some secrets behind the production of the music in a 1999 interview with ClassicJonnyQuest.com. The band used for the sessions was a jazz ensemble consisting of four trumpets, six trombones, five woodwind doublers, and a five-man rhythm section including percussion. Two of the drummers were Alvin Stohler and Frankie Capp. According to Curtain, the opening theme took about an hour to produce; however, the shorter “cues” were usually done in one take after a quick rehearsal. The titles of the cues themselves were not named by Curtin, but rather by the sound editors. At the time, Curtin, who died in 2000, thought that most of the cues one can hear on this recording had been lost, so we can only wonder what his response would be to these rare CDs!

While perusing the racks at the New York Comic Book Convention a couple years ago, it was to my delight that I happened to find Jonny Quest: Music From The Original Television Series. Here, we can hear not just the classic opening and closing themes, but also all the incidental music, including cues and dialog tracks. The full recording is provided below from my personal archives:

 
Track List (Click for larger image)

Jonny Quest: Music From The Original Television Series Track List

Disc One Disc Two
1
JONNY QUEST MT v. 1
1:54
1
JONNY QUEST MT v. 2
1:55
2
Our Man Race Bannon*
0:23
2
How Did You Learn English*
0:19
3
Enroute to Adventure
0:45
3
Intro in India
0:20
4
It's Dad Calling…*
0:19
4
Flute/Horn Intro
1:00
5
Ski-Foil Ride
1:05
5
A Drive In the Country
2:03
6
Light Jazzy Music
0:55
6
Quest for Adventure
1:20
7
Quest Jet Takes Off
1:00
7
Bandit at Play
1:13
8
Bandit's Misadventures #1
0:31
8
Light Chase Action
1:33
9
Romance Into Mystery
0:40
9
Finale Cue #4
1:06
10
Something Suspicious
0:50
10
Bandit's Misadventures #3
0:55
11
Driving to Danger #1
0:56
11
Unused Trumpet Cue
1:47
12
You Are Intruders!
0:37
12
The Venerable Pasha*
0:24
13
Escape
0:36
13
Bandit's Curiosity
1:06
14
Triumphant Finish
0:26
14
Bandit Makes A Friend
1:24
15
More Light Jazzy Music
0:52
15
I Want That Formula*
0:25
16
Stalking in the Jungle
0:49
16
Evil Villain Cue #1
1:22
17
Adders Go Home
0:42
17
Cry Of The Yeti
0:46
18
Bandit's Misadventures #2
0:44
18
Yeti Ambush
0:37
19
Sending An S.O.S.
1:03
19
Attack Of The Yeti/Yeti's Castle
1:29
20
Intrigue in India
1:20
20
Chased By The Yeti
1:26
21
Military March Finale
0:56
21
Hadji Hypnotizes Guard
1:45
22
Finale #2
0:28
22
Action/Chase Cue #1
0:57
23
Feed The Facts To EUNICE*
0:16
23
Action/Chase Cue #2
1:10
24
Underwater Mystery
0:45
24
Look What Happened To Him!*
0:09
25
Captured By The Villains
0:46
25
Lighthearted Into Mysterious
1:21
26
Anubis Walks
0:33
26
Unused Light Action Cue
1:05
27
Tense Struggle
1:13
27
Meeting Dr. Ashida
0:53
28
What The… An Eye!!*
0:08
28
Dragons On The Hunt
1:36
29
Creepy and Mysterious
0:54
29
Is Everything Ready?*
0:21
30
Danger Cue #1
1:03
30
Dark Mystery Cue
1:24
31
Bannon, Race Bannon
0:52
31
Monster Stalks
0:52
32
Jazzy Trumpet Cue
0:59
32
Eluding the Villains
1:20
33
Driving To Danger #2
1:47
33
Creepy and Mysterious #1
1:21
34
Escape #2
1:02
34
Creepy and Mysterious #2
1:08
35
The Villains Attack
0:52
35
Action/Chase Cue #3
0:50
36
Dr. Zin's Plan
0:35
36
Action/Chase Cue #4
1:28
37
Does It Hurt, Race?*
0:11
37
Watching The Clock
0:34
38
Midnight Escape
1:35
38
Oriental Mystery
1:21
39
Mysterioso into Piccolo
1:35
39
Speedboat Chase
1:22
40
Discovering A Clue
0:37
40
The Para-Power Ray Gun
1:04
41
What Do You Make Of it?*
0:09
41
You're Not Very Complimentary*
0:27
42
Jungle Drumbeats #1
0:53
42
Race and Jade
1:25
43
Stalking - Fast Version
0:36
43
Race and Jade #2
1:08
44
Drumbeats #2
0:49
44
Sneaking Around
1:43
45
Downhill Chase
1:05
45
Finale Cue #5
1:22
46
Tense Brass and Strings
0:38
46
Villains In The Submarine
1:22
47
Jungle Drumbeats #3
0:19
47
In The Snowspeeder
0:54
48
Jungle Drumbeats #4
0:32
48
Boys In The Snow
1:09
49
To The Rescue
0:55
49
Unused Action Cue
2:14
50
Quest Action Theme
0:59
50
Action/Chase Cue #5
1:03
51
Light Parade Cue
0:37
51
Drumbeats #3
0:31
52
Our Heroes Triumphant
0:32
52
Driving To Danger #3
0:33
53
Finale Cue #3
1:00
53
Driving To Danger #4
1:01
54
JONNY QUEST End Credit
0:54
54
Action/Chase Cue #6
1:02
55
Flintstone Harmony
0:47
55
Finale Cue #6
0:23
56
Christmas Snow
1:10
56
Finale Cue #7
0:31
57
We Will Meet Again!*
0:47
57
JONNY QUEST End Credit v. 2
0:52
 
 
 
58
Wait Til You Get My Bill*
0:10
*
Dialogue Track
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
*
Dialogue Track

Note: There are a few very minor differences between the order of the tracks provided with the liner notes of the recording and the actual tracks on the CDs. The list above reflects the correct order. Very special thanks to Aeolus 13 Umbra reader Cathy S. for her help in compiling this list!
 
 

21 comments:

  1. Anyway you can reload this and get these tracks individually?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd have too look into a way to do that without reposting each track. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Delete
  2. Just take the entire file, and chop it up into sections, then into each individual tracks 9don't forget to add a bit of lead in/lead out to each one. Wow, i was listening to the music, and the track at 56:00 sounds as if it was inspired by Richard Rodgers (Victory At Sea).

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  3. If it were only a dozen tracks or so it would be doable, but 115 tracks, all of which would have to be edited and reposted, is just a bit too much, though I absolutely appreciate any frustration at not being able to jump to a specific track. Still, it may be a project I'll get into prior to the LIVE ACTION JONNY QUEST movie to be directed by Robert Rodriquez [http://variety.com/2015/film/news/jonny-quest-movie-director-robert-rodriguez-1201505107/]

    Glad the one with the Rock didn't pan out - I wanted to be spared the sight of him with white hair trying to be Race Bannon!


    I actually have Victory at Sea somewhere, and love that series. I'll have to check it out. Thanks!

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  4. Thank you for sharing such great music!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hey is there anyway I can get this entire track? Is there a download link?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Justin - Thanks for asking, but I'm not sure where this recording is available. I've searched for it online, as have others, but it seems to be a very rare item.

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  6. I sure would like to know who the musicians were.

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  7. Thanks for your collection, it is very cool. I want to add that if you are looking for more music from other tv show then I can advise you next one resource http://www.melodyloops.com which I found very complete

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  8. I finally found a copy of this at the Salt Lake Comic Con last week, and it is fantastic.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Holy Cow - There are other copies! I wish I knew something about the history of this disc. I got mine at the NY Comic Con. It's a VERY rare find indeed.

      Delete
  9. For those interested:
    http://www.lalalandrecords.com/Site/JonnyQuest.html,

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I ordered a copy. I look forward to reviewing it and comparing the two releases!

      Delete
  10. Hadji is Sikh. Not Muslim. Big difference. His full name is Hadji Singh. Parents were Sikh too. He did practice yoga though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was a later retcon. In the original series, which this article addresses, Hadji's specific faith, nor his last name (Singh), are revealed - only than his name first Hadji suggesting a Muslim connection. The assertion he is Sikh seems to run counter to his first name "Hadji" which reflects the Islamic journey to Mecca, which Sikh's do not do. The retcon of Hadji being a Sikh seems to be an invention of Westren authors unfamiliar with both Islam and Sikhism. At the time of the initial broadcast in 1964, and for decades thereafter (which I'm old enough to remember), the presumption was Hadji was Muslim.

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    2. Hadji's last name Singh was not revealed until "The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest" three decades after the initial series and probably not coincidently following the First Gulf War when Western antipathy towards Islam was on the rise. My belief is that the producers likely choose Sikhism as Hadji's to avoid politics and this created the problem of a Sikh given a first name which reflects a pilgrimage to Mecca - Hadji. The producer's lacked any real knowledge of either faith, or hoped Western audiences were ignorant enough not to know the difference.

      Delete
  11. Can you shed some light here, and tell me about THIS CD soundtrack of "JONNY QUEST" as compared to the LaLa Land CD that was recently released. i paid for this two disc set, but i was very disappointed when it did not include other Hoyt Curtin and Ted Nichols soundtracks that i had so hoped for, so tell me, is it in anyway possible to buy THIS soundtrack set, or is that impossible? get back to me on that, because i'll pay within reason, if this CD set is in anyway available!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can e-mail me at the e-mail link on my "About ME" page - whose link is available on the right margin links.

      I was about to put it up for auction on eBay, but if you're interested I'll entertain an offer. It is very rare and you likely won't find it anywhere else!

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  12. Thanks a million for posting this. Like you this was one of my favorite soundtracks growing up and still is. Is there any chance you can post the entire set in lossless format somewhere. As you said, it's pretty unlikely I'll find a copy of it since it's rare and out of print.

    Thanks in advance!
    -Bob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Bob,

      I had to look that one up. I'm always up to explore a new format, but don't know anything about converting it to a lossless format. If you know of any good articles or software tools, please share the link! I was going to sell it on eBay in the next few weeks. Reserve will be high. If interested you can e-mail me through my About Me link on the right side bar.

      Delete