Sci Fi TV Trifles: Jonny Quest was Almost Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy?




 

Tidbits, trivia, anecdotes, little-known nuggets and more from the worlds of sci fi and fantasy television.

Even though it only ran for once season (in Prime Time on ABC from 1964 to 65), Jonny Quest has lived on with genre fans because so many of us grew up watching the show in Saturday morning reruns, and currently Robert Rodriguez is working on a big screen revival of the character (Grindhouse Jonny?). But did you know that Jonny Quest actually first emerged as a completely different show based on the radio series Jack Armstrong, the All-American Boy.

jonny-questJack Armstrong was a popular radio show that had run from 1933 to 1951. The adventures followed the teen-aged lead of the title and his friends Billy and Betty Fairfield as they followed Jack’s industrialist uncle around the world. The radio show provided educational information about the locales this group would visit while also chronicling the adventures of these teenagers during their travels. In the early 60’s, Hanna-Barbara brought on comic book artist Doug Wildey to adapt the radio show into an animated series and a pilot was produced. However, the animation company ran into problems acquiring the rights for the Jack Armstrong character and then decided to spin it into their own show making several notable changes such as having the lead character follow his dad who works as a government agent. In revising the concept, Wildey claimed that he drew upon the movies of Jackie Cooper and Frankie Darrow, as well as the Terry and the Pirates comic strip, and threw in a bit of James Bond as well. And while there’s no telling how much the original Jack Armstrong concept would have diverged from what the Jonny Quest series ultimately delivered (Wildey had already planned on throwing in sci fi elements into the show), but I know we’re definitely glad to have shared in the adventures of Jonny, Hadji, Race, Dr. Quest, and Bandit. We do, however, have a small glimpse of the Jack Armstrong series as the scenes used in the closing credits of the original Jonny Quest series were taken from the pilot footage of that unrealized show.


Useless but essential pop culture tidbits and trivia from the worlds of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror

Did you know that Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski wrote a proposal for a Star Trek reboot years before the J.J. Abrams movies came out? Did you know that Han Solo was originally supposed to be a green-skinned alien or that some of the early actors considered for the role included Billy Dee Williams, Al Pacino, and Chevy Chase? How about that FOX originally wanted someone more like Pamela Anderson to play the roll of Scully on The X-Files? Or that in 1974, science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke predicted the Internet? Ever hear of Varney the Vampire?

Find out the truths about these and more in Sci Fi Trifles.  Trivia, anecdotes, little-known nuggets and more that present an addicting glimpse into the story behind the story of sci fi. Once you’ve started reading them you will wonder how you have managed to live so long without knowing them!

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