Lance Falk Dialogue
Lance Falk is an animation artist and writer who cut his teeth on the 1986 Quest series. He wrote several second season episodes and was involved at one time or another in numerous aspects of production.
- 1 The combined press and newspaper reports give the timeline of the show as follows. Is this correct?
- 2 Budget - never could get a clear estimate from the newspapers, which said it was anywhere from $40 million total to $100 million. I guess that's including all the licensees. If they spent $11 million, how much does a NORMAL series cost?
- 3 Did you keep or reuse those designs pitched to Buzz for the "second" season? I've always been intrigued by the idea of second season concept art. There's so much of the first on the Turner Digital Style Guide, but the only thing I've seen of the second are a few low resolution model sheets.
- 4 How did you first get on the show, and how were the in-progress episodes processed?
- 5 I'm tempted to go off on a bunch of crazy plot questions about "what WAS your new season idea for Jonny's mother" or "what happened to Zin in the Egyptian hideout collapse", but I guess I'll hold back for now.
- 6 Is Glenn Leopold still kicking around somewhere? You and he seemed to write the bulk of the episodes.
- 7 Did you write a commentary for THE ROBOT SPIES? ClassicJQ.com says that the #6 commentary is missing, and though I've probably missed a writing credit somewhere, TRS seems to be the only one missing.
- 8 What's with Richard Donner's scrapped live-action movie?
- 9 Any tidbits to summarize what we've covered so far?
- 10 Michael Benyaer wrote that the season one gang recorded dialogue for six episodes beyond the first twenty-six of season one which were scrapped.
- 11 What can you say about the voice actors?
- 12 Who got John de Lancie on board? Was he a classic fan?
- 13 Guess that goes for the others. Any voice actors really stand out in your opinion? I've read about the guest ones in the commentaries. It must have been fun picking and choosing like that!
- 14 Wikipedia has the anecdote that the day Don allegedly had a stroke in the studio (the studio in question isn't named), he (after the stroke) turned to the booth with a deathly pale look on his face and said, "I can't do this anymore" before driving himself home. Did this actually happen?
- 15 Aside from General Winter and Zin, did you have any other recurring villains in the pipe?
- 16 This is unrelated, DePace in The Robot Spies was interesting as a competitor to Dr. Zin. It's a moment where you realize "whoa, it's not just Zin...there's an entire underworld out there."
- 17 Did that Chinook helicopter used in season two have a name?
- 18 I don't want to tempt spoiling something again, but with the time travel program named "Rachel" created in the Edge of Yesterday, was there ever a desire to take it and use it again? Or was that sort of Michael Ryan's creative "property", like the General Winter character?
- 19 There's a Quest hockey jersey on Ebay right now sold from the H-B employee store. Did you make off with any cool swag of your own?
- 20 The writer's bibles list different names for the series.
- 21 I'm guessing that by August 1996, everyone sort of knew that the show had lost a lot of money. Was that unprecedented release on TNT, TBS, and Cartoon network a symptom of that? The TV press sort of picked it up as a confident move by a company who believed in the Quest property, but it sounds like it was a huge attempt to try and recoup losses by absolutely flooding it on Turner stations.
- 22 Another "didja", but did you ever intend to write a script in which the Quests returned to outer space?
- 23 This is probably some kind of legend, but Roger T. Bannon...what's the T? I've heard it's Tiberius. And by god, that's good enough for me.
- 24 Ditto for IMDB's listing Jessie Bannon's name as "Jessie Margaret Leya Bannon". I guess whoever contributed that info to TV.com and IMDB made it up on the spot
- 25 I wish Tim Matheson made his voice acting return to the Quest series on some part of TRAJQ rather than Cyber Insects. Did anyone involved with that telefilm carry over to the TRAJQ team?
The combined press and newspaper reports give the timeline of the show as follows. Is this correct?
- Dick Sebast was on
- Peter Lawrence and Takashi hired
- 1995 to be Year of Jonny Quest? with live-action, Cyber Insects, and new show
- Turner stakes $40 million in the project
- Deadlines are possibly missed
- Firings, 1996 to be Year of Jonny Quest, Cos Anzilotti / John Eng do one set while other producers finish season two, with you and Glenn Leopold writing
- Live-action film dropped
- Buzz F/X drops Questworld, so H-B hires Blur Studios
- Merchandise sort of bottoms out, but Quest World Adventure is a nice success; not enough to renew though
- JQ's quality naturally attracts an older audience which doesn't help the kids' ratings
- "The Robot Spies" is aired before "More Than Zero" (hah, had to throw that in)
- Turner merges, and it's The End!
I don't know why Sebast was let go. I met him briefly when he was brought on board and I liked what he had to say about the direction of the show. He knew the classic series and obviously liked it. I also found him personable and professional.
I met him again briefly at Comic Con this last weekend and filled him in on the time after his departure. He knew most of it, but I filled in some gaps for him. Still a nice guy.
When he was out, Peter and Takashi were brought in. As the new heads of JQ (Something I NEEDED to work on) I arranged a meeting with both guys at separate times.
When I explained to Peter how much I loved the original, he said, then it may not be a great idea for me to be on his version since he himself wasn't crazy about JQ classic. The exact quote is burned into my brain "Well, the old show isn't very good is it? People get nostalgia and quality all mixed up."
To be fair, he was right about at least one thing: I should not be working on HIS version of the show if I had any love for the original.
Well, we all know he took it in an entirely different direction from the original premise. Personally, I detest his "reimagining". Not only as different from something I love and believe works just fine as is, thanks...but plain awful on its own merits. This is MY OPINION.
Your mileage may differ.
When I met Takashi, he was more taciturn in his opinions, but also expressed a strong dislike for the original. His quote to me: "I hate that Doug Wildey style. It has an ugly Milton Caniff look."
Again, I LOVE the way Doug drew....and Milton Caniff was a God of the comic strip form. An artist's artist. Justifiably revered and studied decades after his death.
I doubt Takashi will be similarly regarded. (Though, to be fair, he has some drawing chops, if misguided).
So....I went to work on other stuff. (SWAT Kats namely. maybe a few other misc. HB things.)
From the outside I started seeing a lot of JQ development stuff. It, um, wasn't to my taste.
A few months go by and the show is in some trouble (so I heard). I gather a few like-minded Quest fans at work and we put together a fully realized pitch package in 5 working days. 7 large boards. Two filled with character designs (streamlined Wildey-ish stuff) The other 5 were cell setups with fully painted backgrounds depicting various scenes which demonstrated the show we wanted to make (essentially a 90's update of the SAME series).
I pitched to Buzz Potemkin, telling him that our team would actually be able to get the show done. If he didn't like our direction, we'd do another in 5 more days.
He thanked me and promptly my pitch never saw the light of day. Fred Seibert never saw or heard of it.
One of the biggest mistakes of my life was not pitching directly to Fred. Who knows? I may have been able to prevent the disaster of the next two years.
So, Our crew (the crew that SHOULD have gotten the gig) was all laid off.
I ended up at WB doing prop design for Animaniacs/Pinky & the Brain. The others scattered to various places.
Meanwhile at HB, Takashi and Peter are....well, I don't know WHAT they were doing really. Because, they spent a total of 11 million dollars and 2.5 years working on JQ WITHOUT COMPLETING ONE SINGLE AIRABLE EPISODE. Just bits and pieces. Some almost done ones.
This is a verifiable fact.
For the record, our crew could go from script to finished episode in 8-9 months for the first one, then one a week from then on. Just so you know the norm.
Since Galoob had paid a substantial amount of money to license JQ (centering around that shitty Questworld idea) and had a toy line ready to roll out with agreed upon airdates at CN. HB had no choice but to fire the creative heads of that crew.
They had to bring in people who could actually produce actual product.
Davis Doi was called. He, who should have been FIRST choice. He was offered an impossible schedule, intense scrutiny (since the previous team SHOULD have been supervised more closely....or at all) and a lot of ugly, off-concept, and unworkable material.
They went back and forth a bit. Some conditions were met, some weren't. Some compromises were agreed to, some weren't. At this point, I was hired as a consultant to go over the completed scripts and extant material.
In my professional opinion, they were uniformly awful and I told them so.
The only way the show could be produced on time was to have FOUR full time production crews (instead of the usual ONE).
Crews 1 and 2 (lead by Cos Anziolatti and John Eng) would try to make something airable out of the Takashi/Lawrence scraps, numbering 26 episodes. This was a HUGE job, because the material they had to work with was an utter mess. Whole fully-animated sections had to be dumped, re-written, animated, etc. so they would make some sort of sense. Nothing worked or hooked up.
The fact that those shows are watchable at all, is an enormous testament to John and Cos. A thankless job because no matter what they did, they were still stuck with those ugly designs and off-concept and awkward stories.
Crews 3 and 4 (led by Davis Doi and Larry Houston) got to do another 26, but our condition was new character designs, new voice casting, and basically, a return to actual Jonny Quest type stories.
A few things...
The "Season One" "Season Two" thing is an invention of mine for TRAJQ discussions. It makes it easier to separate the Coz / John finishes on the Takashi/Lawrence episodes from the Doi / Houston ones.
Both batches of episodes were finished simultaneously (which is why they aired the way they did, all mixed up). Though two different versions of the same series were being cranked out at once (a first, I believe) they were all part of the same sale.
in other words...really, it was all "Season One' in the strictest technical sense.
I was just tired of saying 'theirs" and "ours".
The 52 episodes was originally meant, planned, scheduled, and budgeted to be 65...but 13 episodes were cut from the run because of all the money blown in that initial 2.5 year period.
As a matter of fact, the show was considered a failure before it even aired because it would never be able to recoup the cost of all that blown time and money up front. It was just finished because of contractual obligations. An additional batch (A true Second Season, you could say) was never considered.
In fact, there was an overall stink on HB doing adventure-type shows from then on through the studio's demise.
This is another thing that can be laid at the feet of the T/L team.
Of course, if we WERE allowed to do more, I would have pushed to do another overhaul to remove it further from the Season One stuff. (Move 'em back to Florida, no %#*@ Questworld, etc.)
It would have been great!
Budget - never could get a clear estimate from the newspapers, which said it was anywhere from $40 million total to $100 million. I guess that's including all the licensees. If they spent $11 million, how much does a NORMAL series cost?
I don't know a lot about budgets. This is a VERY flexible number. Sometimes they count the costs of advertising, sometimes they don't. A lot of budget is eaten up for executives that may or may not actually contribute to the product. Studio overhead is amortized across all the productions, etc.
I know the early Animaniacs and Batman:TAS episodes cost about a million per episode.
To clarify about the 11 Million. That's how much the initial team had spent to date before they got the boot. Who knows how much more time and money would have been blown before they got even a single episode ready to air.
A normal series episodes starts at a tad under a half million and seldom reaches a million.
Did you keep or reuse those designs pitched to Buzz for the "second" season? I've always been intrigued by the idea of second season concept art. There's so much of the first on the Turner Digital Style Guide, but the only thing I've seen of the second are a few low resolution model sheets.
I was given back the boards I mentioned and have them framed in my home. No copies exist, but the Season 2 models as aired are pretty close to the designs in that pitch. I don't think I have paper copies of any of the actual production models. It's in the WB vault somewhere.
How did you first get on the show, and how were the in-progress episodes processed?
My first involvement on this project was a consultant. When Davis was hired to take over the project, I was hired as a freelance evaluator. My job was to read over ALL the written material from Lawrence and his writers. From premises to final scripts...produced and unproduced. Since HB had paid for this material, was any of it usable? A pretty reasonable request. It took me a few weeks to go through the slush pile (there was quite a bit of it). I admit that by the end, I was skimming.
The final result was a 5 page report explaining why every damned word was wrong, inept, off-concept, impractical to produce, and downright incompetent. Ideas that were clearly non-starters were approved to go to full script then abandoned, ideas that were really impractical (lots of locations and crowd scenes, ect.), shows with the wrong tone for the proposed audience, and so on. It was pure hell....especially if you had any love or understanding of the series. Things like Gated Community murder mysteries.
I gently explained (remember, I wasn't hired yet) how it would be better and less expensive to dump every one of these bloody wretched things and start from scratch. Fortunately, I was convincing enough to get those unproduced scripts shitcanned. Unfortunately...the ones that were already in the animation pipeline were too far along to be strangled and had to be finished. (which is where your First Season came from). A pair of Producers (Cos Anziolatti and John Eng) had the thankless job of getting those 26 finished and airable.
They were a mess...whole completely animated sections had to be discarded and replaced from scratch for the stories to track. All the episodes required lots of new dialogue to be written and dubbed in to explain the inexplicable turns in the stories. The show was a money pit. Fortunately for our team, we got to do stories from scratch, rework the model designs, re-voice cast, ect. The bad news was that ours had to match theirs somewhat because they would air in any order, concurrent with the others...plus we were contractually obligated to use that (pardon me for saying so) fucking Questworld idea and Maine manor.
To dig the Production out of the hole it was in, it took FOUR full-Time Producers, each with their own crews (where one is always the norm, even for large shows like Batman or Animaniacs) to get these things done at the rate of two a week. For a real Quest-lover (in fact, JQ interested me in an animation career in the first place) it was truly hellish to see it happen.
I'm reminded of the scene in Patton where he is taken out of WWII for some transgression. He rails "An entire World at War! ...and I'm not a part of it! God will NOT permit this!" When things were gearing up, I had separate interviews with lawrence and Takashi...presenting myself as an obvious hire for this project. Both sessions went the same: It was clear that they both HATED the original series and had the intention of 'fixing' it. Making it good. (I know, right?) I was rejected as soon as I let them know that not only did I love the original series, I LOVED it. That doomed me.
So, I went on to other things at HB, saw the wretched development hell from the sidelines, worked on some mediocre HB shows before I couldn't take anymore and went over to Warner Bros. Being at HB and seeing the disintegration of Quest was akin to watching a beloved childhood friend on crack...and I was powerless to help. So, I just buried my head as a model designer on Animaniacs/Pinky and the Brain for a year and a half. Nightmare/disaster Quest stories got to me from time to time....and in about a year and a half, I got the call from Davis Doi....first the script evaluation, then a staff writing job should he decide to entertain HB's offer to let him take over the series.
I'm tempted to go off on a bunch of crazy plot questions about "what WAS your new season idea for Jonny's mother" or "what happened to Zin in the Egyptian hideout collapse", but I guess I'll hold back for now.
I'm gonna keep the Rachel Quest story to myself. I have an idea to be sure, but I want to keep it to myself in case I ever get to do it, I'd like it to be a surprise. also, if it's out there, someone else may grab it.
I was gonna worry about Zin when/if we ever got to do more. Probably, he'd find some hi-tech artifact thing that would do the trick....maybe his daughters would dig him out. Make up your own mind.
I always write my characters into corners and figure out the answer when I need to. That goes for commercial hooks WHILE I'm writing an episode. I write to the commercial break...then think: "How in the hell will they get out of this?!" It's a method that's worked for me so far.
What I can tell you is this....
It's all in the first JQ episode "Mystery of the Lizard Men".
There we learn that Race was assigned to the team (and Jonny in particular) to act as tutor and all around bodyguard to the boy. If he should fall into the hands of an unfriendly government or agency, he could be used to get to Dr. Quest and his secrets.
It's an easy thing to extrapolate that's what happened to the late Mrs. Quest and they don't want the same to happen to the boy.
Secondly, it was not Zin. That would be too easy, but also, Dr. Quest would have had a much stronger reaction to Zin in "Riddle of the Gold".
These acts have been in place since the earliest days of the series...just need to fill in the details in an interesting and surprising way.
In a related story, I had a Space Ghost origin pitch at the studio, but it was rendered null and void by me because certain global elements ended up in another series at another studio (no names, sorry), but if I got to do my idea, I would have looked like I was ripping off the other show and I didn't want that perception.
a total coincidence on their part and they got there first. Fair's fair.
There was a Space Ghost origin comic book mini series a few years back...but I couldn't stand the art or story. (Though the covers by my pal Alex Ross were stunning).
Is Glenn Leopold still kicking around somewhere? You and he seemed to write the bulk of the episodes.
I'm not sure where Glenn is, but he has a pretty good agent and I'm sure he's working someplace. I learned a lot from Glenn...plus...he's the fastest word processor in the West! When I started writing for him on SWAT Kats, there were some tense issues between us, (nothing of a personal nature) but by the time JQ was going, he and I got along famously.
For the record, I think his script for "Nemesis" is outstanding...and his others are pretty good too. We made a good team because Glenn would do the sort of supernatural stuff and I would concentrate on the more tech or real world adventures. It gave the series a lot of variety.
Did you write a commentary for THE ROBOT SPIES? ClassicJQ.com says that the #6 commentary is missing, and though I've probably missed a writing credit somewhere, TRS seems to be the only one missing.
By commentary, I assume you mean a written mini-article. I did this for all nine episodes I scripted. Again, I have no copy of it myself, but it must be out there somewhere. A few factoids about the episode come to mind:
That was MEANT to be the last one aired...that's why I was finally allowed to blow up the thrice-damned Maine mansion (I'd begged to do this since day one, but our 26 had to match their 26 to some degree) and hint at a return to Palm Key Island. That's also why I sort of put a button on the Dr. Zin / Dr. Quest rivalry. The Jade / Jessie / Race's Ex relationship, etc.
I plotted it as a two-parter, but because of Questworld obligations, there was only a slot for one. I'm sort of amazed all that we were able to squeeze in.
I think it plays okay, but it would have been richer and more complex if I had more time to tell it. We would have delved into the origin of the city, more Robot Spies, more about the character relationships....I'm sure you can figure out the rest.
Yes. Bandit saves the day. He did this in my first one (Rock of Rages) and so again here....but it's important that he did it by just being a normal dog. In RoR he "Fetched a Stick" in RS he jumped a guy who was clearly a threat to his masters. My love for dogs is boundless and I try to keep Bandit involved when it makes sense. My own two dogs sort of look like him!
The high-tech underground Egyptian city was inspired.... okay, ripped-off from the motion simulator ride "In Search of the Obilesk" at The Luxor in Las Vegas. It's an amazing ride created by FX legend Douglas Trumbull (look him up if you don't know who that is). The design of that attraction is endlessly fascinating to me. In fact, I rode it a few weekends ago when I was in Vegas.
It was SO cool to get Andreas Katsulas from Babylon 5 to do a voice. I'm a HUGE fan of the show and his character in particular.
Guess what? Another victim of cigarettes. They seem to kill all my favorite people.
What's with Richard Donner's scrapped live-action movie?
Here's what I'd heard...
Please remember that animation is kept very separate from the Live Action works, so anything I "know" may be inaccurate rumors.
The Live Action JQ rights have been with Richard Donner for a while now because he wanted to make the film himself. Keep in mind that Donner's early career was in TV...including a lot of work for HB (Danger Island, Banana Splits, etc.) he probably did the live action parts in Huck Finn too.
Sometime ago, I got my hands on a live action JQ script written by Fred Dekker (Monster Squad, Enterprise, etc.). I thought it was pretty good.
It had most of the iconic elements wrapped around a how Race and Hadji joined the team. Jade, Zin, Turu, The Robot Spy, etc. were there.
Basically a pastiche of classic episodes. It was set in 1964 which I thought was a GREAT idea.
A few years ago, Richard Donner was signing the first DVD release of Superman (predating the new megaset) and I made a point of waiting in line to ask him about JQ and that Fred Dekker script. He said that he liked it and was game to do it, but someone at WB did not like it....and that was that.
I don't know about the other guy. Doubtless, many writers were given a crack at the property with varying degrees of success.
Look at the bright side....if they made it in "The Year of Jonny Quest" there's no doubt that would have gotten McCauley Culkin for the title role since he was hot then.
I call that dodging a bullet.
Any tidbits to summarize what we've covered so far?
That 18 months was the best gig of my life. The highest paying, the most challenging, the most diverse. A combination of my favorite boss, co-workers, series, opportunity, etc.
It was also the most difficult and frustrating gig I've ever had.
The most regret is attached to that project as are my greatest career triumphs.
It started badly, it ended badly, but I wouldn't trade the time between for anything in the world this side of true love....and I would have signed a 20 year contract to ride out my entire career on the same job..if it were ever offered.
A time of extremes.
I'm reading fresh rumors of a live action JQ film in the planning stages...but it may just be smoke. It may be someone's agent trying to create buzz by generating rumors. (something that happens ALL the time)
I'll believe it when I see it.
Michael Benyaer wrote that the season one gang recorded dialogue for six episodes beyond the first twenty-six of season one which were scrapped.
As for "Scapped" Episodes...remember that recording is done BEFORE any animation. At that point, there's a script, storyboard and some rough designs. That's about it. None of the designs have even been finalized or color keyed by then.
It's not like there are "Lost" episodes or anything.
There were also a number of unproduced Peter Lawrence Edited scripts in various stages of completion. Going through that material was part of what I was paid to evaluate.
Uniformly off-concept, unproducable, and just freaking awful.
What can you say about the voice actors?
Another thing to mention is that we did not dislike any of the Season 1 Actors…it was their DIRECTION (Lawrence) that didn’t work. If Robert Patrick weren’t forced to do the Montana twang, who knows how well he would have worked out?
It was an awkward situation, replacing a voice cast through no fault of their own. Since we were simultaneously doing a different version of the show, it wouldn’t have worked having any crossover casts. Too confusing. “Okay Robert, Tuesdays you’re doing the version of Race with the twang, Thursdays, you’re doing the one without.”
It also wouldn’t have been fair using some of them but not all.
The notable exception was Frank Welker (Bandit, Surd, and others), but it is important to note that his schedule did not permit him to record with EITHER cast.
Also off the table was having the season two cast loop ALL the animated Season One recordings so they sound alike (if not look alike). That would have been difficult, time consuming and expensive to do that much rerecording.
Besides, it would have really screwed the season one cast out of all their rerun royalties.
Who got John de Lancie on board? Was he a classic fan?
A bit of a story. When the Season Two crew was allowed to recast (quite a battle, believe me), we assembled voices closer to the original series.
Sonny (Granville) VanDusen had been used for Race since the original as an acceptable Mike Road sound-alike. Road had a tremor in his voice and so, was forced to retire a while ago. (Or so I’d heard.)
Larry Houston brought in Quentin Flynn (please check my spelling) with whom he had worked with on his pervious job on Fantastic Four as the Human Torch. Flynn was appropriately youthful and energetic. Nice guy and big fan of the original series.
Rob Paulson was a pal of ours from SWAT Kats and did a pretty good Hadji. Rob is so funny and energetic (in addition to having a hell of a lot of talent) that he brings up everyone he works with.
Leaving Dr. Quest. Of course, we brought in Don Messick. Don was a delightful, sweet guy…….especially for a legend! A few years earlier, he He recorded the first Season Two show: “The Mummies of Malenque” It was difficult for our voice director to get a good performance from him. (Not that he didn’t try). He struggled trough a few more. His fourth recording was my second script: “Race Against Danger”. It was pretty obvious that he could no longer handle even the simplest stage direction. Don was fine doing the gentle dad voice, but he was unable to play tension, anger, concern, urgency, and so on. It was a very sad moment when everyone in the Director’s booth shared a look that said “Shit. We gotta’ let him go.”
Don was let down gently…and he knew it was coming. A week later, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and moved into a Santa Barbara Alzheimer’s Home. (By coincidence, my friend’s wife worked in the home and told me that Don thought of me very fondly.) The only thing more flattering than being well-remembered by a living legend, is being well-remembered by a living legend with Alzheimer’s. I kid you not.
A month (or so) later, he was gone.
Backing the narrative up to right after that unfortunate recording session, we knew we had to find a new Dr. Quest and fast. I wrote up the Sides (a name for the short audition script) to represent the many faces of Benton Quest: The Dad, the Technical Genius, the Man of Action.
We had an interesting collection of candidates besides DeLancie. Dean Jones, James B. Sikking, Robert Foxworth, a few others that I can’t recall. They all gave strong performances, but DeLancie stood out at once…not because he sounded like Don (Others were closer) but because he really evoked the personality of the character. He was also very energetic. Not self-conscious at all about shouting dialogue and other things which look and feel silly, but work great when you combine them with footage. In short, he nailed it for all four of us who had a vote (Davis, Larry, Kris, and I).
I’ve been accused of liking him because I’m a Star Trek fan….but no. He was great. (Besides, I’m only a fan of the original series. The others bore the living hell out of me).
What I’m kicking myself for is not thinking of John Stephenson: The ORIGINAL Dr. Quest. I guess I just assumed he was retired….but he’s still working and sounds great. Ah well.
Another thing was that someone in HB management (I don’t know who exactly) did not like Sonny’s Race Bannon for some reason. Davis remembered my comment when Robert Foxworth read for Benton Quest: “This guy sounds more like Race”.
So, Foxworth and DeLancie were in. I don’t believe either were CJQ fans in particular (it never came up), they just wanted to do the best jobs they could.
Guess that goes for the others. Any voice actors really stand out in your opinion? I've read about the guest ones in the commentaries. It must have been fun picking and choosing like that!
Well, at first, I was resistant to the Jessie character, but I loved Jennifer Hale’s performance so much that I got over my old school prejudice quickly. She LOVED Thoughtscape, Undersea Urgency, and especially Diamonds and Jade. (Got a hug from her for that one). Clearly, I wrote her some good scenes…so, I must have liked her character.
I probably liked Dr. Quest the most. There’s just something appealing to the writer about writing the world’s smartest guy. You can see that I gave him more and more to do as my nine episodes played out.
I never had any say in who our guest actor’s were but the Producers and voice casting director were nice enough to listen to me when I had an idea. Sometimes they indulged me, sometimes they had another idea. Let me be clear, that I was NEVER disappointed by any voice casting.
But, still, it was a HUGE thing for me to get three Babylon 5 actors in there (The show and my interest in it were peaking at then)…and to work with Mark Hamill a few more times…fantastic.
Probably my very, very favorite thing of the whole process is going to voice recording sessions. That's where my story really comes to life for me.
Wikipedia has the anecdote that the day Don allegedly had a stroke in the studio (the studio in question isn't named), he (after the stroke) turned to the booth with a deathly pale look on his face and said, "I can't do this anymore" before driving himself home. Did this actually happen?
I hadn't heard that one. I don't think so. I'm pretty sure his last time in a studio was that Race Against Danger session.
I forgot to mention the obvious that his work on the recorded shows was looped by DeLancie (except for one line that was accidentally kept)
I can tell you that George O'Hanlon had a fatal stroke while doing George Jetson for the rather forgettable Jetsons:The Movie feature. Died right in the booth.
Maybe the stories are crossed up.
Aside from General Winter and Zin, did you have any other recurring villains in the pipe?
No. It’s a CJQ tradition that Jonny Quest villains die. They are established as NEEDING to die by killing or trying to kill our guys, and then they overextend themselves somehow and pay the price.
I like this because it shows our characters as actually accomplishing their mission and making the world a safer, less evil place.
What the hell good does Batman do by tossing The Joker (or whoever) into Arkham Asylum for the thousandth time? He breaks out so frequently that they don’t even bother to mention it. He just shows up the next time..same for most comic book or animated bad guys.
Not so, JQ.
The only recurring villain of old was dr. Zin. But he’s a special case for two reasons:
1. He never met the Quest team face-to-face. He delegated. 2. The delegated agents of Zin WOULD die.
When we did our 26, we made a big deal out of the fact that they met for the first time. Also, we purposely did four Zin episodes and two Jade episodes, echoing the classic series.
I originally killed off Vostok in “Rock of Rages”, but changed my mind late in the game after recording. It only involved swapping out a storyboard panel where you could see his hand sticking out from tons of rubble.
I knew he had one more good story in him. Maybe a Submarine thing, maybe a snow thing. As you know, I did a combination of the two…THEN I killed him off in a much cooler way than he would have died in RoR.
The Season One writers had two repeat bad guys, Surd and Rage. As you know, we killed them both the second we had a chance.
Absolutely. That was exactly the idea. I had a more complex structure when this was conceived as a two-parter.
Saruman makes Sauron more interesting, does he not?
Did that Chinook helicopter used in season two have a name?
No. I only knew that The Dragonfly had a name because Doug himself told me.
I don't want to tempt spoiling something again, but with the time travel program named "Rachel" created in the Edge of Yesterday, was there ever a desire to take it and use it again? Or was that sort of Michael Ryan's creative "property", like the General Winter character?
Nah. I liked the one story, but I think it was a big too SF unreal for the series. Better not to be used again. Good way to get rid of Rage though!
There's a Quest hockey jersey on Ebay right now sold from the H-B employee store. Did you make off with any cool swag of your own?
A few little things, but remember all the merchandise was based on the Season One models and a lot of Questworld. So, I DO have the Hockey Jersey, a tote bag, and a few other goodies. Nothing too cool. Once in a while someone produces a really cool CJQ thing, which I snatch up. (Like the recent McFarlane toy, which I’m looking at now on my desk). I also have a pretty good bootleg garage kit of the Dragonfly and robot spy.
The writer's bibles list different names for the series.
As far as I know, it was always called “The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest”.
If we were allowed to do more, I would have campaigned for “The New Adventures of Jonny Quest”
We all know that only Doug’s 26 are “Real” ; )
I'm guessing that by August 1996, everyone sort of knew that the show had lost a lot of money. Was that unprecedented release on TNT, TBS, and Cartoon network a symptom of that? The TV press sort of picked it up as a confident move by a company who believed in the Quest property, but it sounds like it was a huge attempt to try and recoup losses by absolutely flooding it on Turner stations.
I believe the show was always meant to be aired on all those stations. It was a big push from the beginning.
Another "didja", but did you ever intend to write a script in which the Quests returned to outer space?
Maybe, I'd consider an orbital space station idea. I like the series a lot better when it's grounded in reality (undersea cities aside, I guess). BTW, I never counted Cyber Insects canonical, so they never went to space, to "return" right? For the life of me, I can't see a way to rationalize a way for them to launch a couple of kids and a dog into space....no matter how capable we know they are.
This is probably some kind of legend, but Roger T. Bannon...what's the T? I've heard it's Tiberius. And by god, that's good enough for me.
As a Classic Star Trek FREAK (Man, I just dropped 1,200 bucks on a huge Enterprise replica) I like the sound of it, but his middle name was NEVER established. Was his middle initial even given? If it's a Season One episode, it doesn't count.
Me. I'd probably give them middle names after people who worked on the show in the 60's. Offhand, I'd give Race the middle name of Michael after his original voice actor. But it ain't up to me.
Ditto for IMDB's listing Jessie Bannon's name as "Jessie Margaret Leya Bannon". I guess whoever contributed that info to TV.com and IMDB made it up on the spot
I never heard that middle name either. I guess the same rules apply. If they never said it (or Season One said it) it's wide open.
I wish Tim Matheson made his voice acting return to the Quest series on some part of TRAJQ rather than Cyber Insects. Did anyone involved with that telefilm carry over to the TRAJQ team?
I don't think so. I'm sure we contacted Tim at some point, but the guy is a very busy TV director these days. A friend of mine is a Propmaster on a show on the Warner lot and Tim came in to direct an episode. You bet I got onto the set and chatted him up for a few minutes. He's very proud and fond of that series. He would have contributed to the DVD release but he was working out of the country when they had to tape the interviews.