Nuclear Netherworld

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The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest
"Nuclear Netherworld"
Episode no. H00616-94023
Airdate December 26, 1996
Chief locations Las Cruces, New Mexico 107.05W, 32.61N (N/A miles)
Writer(s) Lance Falk & Chip Baloo
Guest roles Quinton Flynn (Worker / Sentry #1)
Rob Paulsen (Noah Ryan / Driver)
Frank Welker (Federal Agent / Sentry #3)
Ed Asner (Von Romme / Sentry #4)
Jerry Doyle (Corey / Driver #2 / Felipe)
Harve Presnell (Doug / NRC Man #2)
Kevin Richardson (Computer Voice / Sentry #2 / Tech #1)
Michael Stanton (Hank / NRC Man #1 / Sentry #5)
Episode sequence Ghost Quest <--> Eclipse
Other episodes

Near Las Cruces, New Mexico, an ecological dome complex has been linked with the radioactive contamination of water and other mysterious events—a problem that Hadji, Jonny, and his grandfather Doug Wildey will soon become intimate with.

Plot Summary


Felipe takes pictures of the operation

At an ecological dome experiment by the Von Romme corporation, a worker from the Doug Wildey ranch takes pictures of the domes, finding radioactive material being transported inside. A camera detects his presence, and two land hovercraft are deployed to dispatch him while making his death seem an accident. He flees in his pickup truck as the men in the craft follow with flamethrowers. They force him off the road; the man's killed when the pickup goes over a cliff. The men in the craft ensure the camera is destroyed.

Act One

Doug, Jonny, and Hadji evade capture

Jonny Quest helps Doug Wildey vaccinate his cattle against blackhoof disease at the Doug Wildey ranch; Hadji Singh watches and appreciates the scenery. Another ranch hand shows up and notifies Doug of Felipe the photographer's death. Doug, Jonny, and Hadji take to the skies in a helicopter to locate the wreck. Doug explains that the ecodomes have been trouble to the locals, and that the water supply became irradiated after the domes were constructed. They find the wreck from rising smoke. Meanwhile, Von Romme, leader of the ecodome front, hears that Doug Wildey is investigating the crash; he instructs his chief of security, Mr. Corey, to fetch Wildey so they can determine if he's blown the whistle on any of their activities, and tells a mole named Hank in Doug Wildey's ranch to reach him at the crash site. A scientist reveals that the contaminated water supply is the result of a leak at the domes.

At the crash site, Hank arrives and detains Wildey, Jonny, and Hadji after Wildey states that he'll request a federal investigation. Men in hovercraft arrive to take him to the domes, and Wildey knocks Hank to the ground in retribution. The hovercrafts descend into a massive cave complex and go through a fake wall en route to the underground dome operation; Jonny, Hadji, and Doug push their drivers and bail, and the crafts crash. Doug recovers a flamethrower, while Jonny finds three flashlights; when Doug hears more crafts coming, he throws a flashlight down a passage to distract them, then collapses the passage with the flamethrower. Mr. Corey, aboard one of the crashed hovercraft, makes his way to tell Von Romme of the Quests' escape; he's brutally reprimanded. More craft arrive to detain the Quests on a subterranean cliff, but Bandit becomes frightened and accidentally falls; Jonny follows when the outcropping beneath him collapses.

Act Two

Mr. Corey attacks the Quests

Jonny recovers from the fall, and he and Bandit make their way to the central cavern, filled with a mining operation. He sneaks into a laboratory, discovering that Von Romme is mining uranium ore to sell to buyers who wish to manufacture nuclear weapons. Von Romme meanwhile confronts Wildey and Hadji in his office, but they resist his questions. He leaves as Jonny climbs on the roof, peeking in the window to let Doug and Hadji know he's alive. He has Bandit claw on the door to distract the guards, then bursts in, knocking both out. The Quests make their way to the laboratory lift, but a scientist sounds the alarm. Hadji programs an empty hovercraft to crash into their pursuers, then begin rising in the main elevator. Mr. Corey and another guard take jetpack units and attack them with missiles and guns while Von Romme takes a hovercraft up in an express elevator.

Doug shoots his flamethrower at a chain counterbalance high above; it disconnects from the elevator infrastructure and falls, taking out Mr. Corey and his companion, and starts a chain reaction of explosions below. Three hovercraft and Von Romme chase them topside; as Doug distracts them, Jonny and Hadji let a flexible tree branch fly at an opportune moment to neutralize two. The Quests get in one of the downed hovercraft and evade Von Romme's shots. Their hovercraft is damaged, and they jump to the safety of rafters as it explodes; Von Romme is caught off-guard by the blast and crashes into a store of radioactive material. Ambulances and police vehicles take away the operation's agents that evening; back at the Wildey ranch, Doug sits with Jonny and Hadji and compliments Benton's parenting. The episode closes with a memorial dedication to the real Doug Wildey.



  • Doug - "How much are they paying you, Hank?"
  • Hank - "Enough."


  • Guard - "Enjoy the daylight, boys! It'll be the last you ever see."
  • Jonny - "I've heard that one a few times."


  • Von Romme - "First off, it's important to understand that I'm not a nice guy."
  • Doug - "Not too bright either from where I'm sitting."


  • Doug - "They won't shoot the elevators!"
  • Mr. Corey launches missiles
  • Doug - "Forget what I just said."


  • Doug - "I wouldn't waste that, even on him."


  • Doug - "You tell that egghead dad of yours I think he did a pretty swell job raising you."


  • Dr. Quest, Race, and Jessie do not appear at all in this episode.
  • The Quest Byte plays clips from several competitive segments of Questworld as if they were part of one game.

Lance Falk's Episode Commentary

#7 Nuclear Netherworld

Subj: Behind the Scenes # 7
Date: 97-03-06 10:35:11 EST

Hi gang. Here's the skinny on "Nuclear Netherworld". To fans of Classic Quest, this episode will be an obvious labor of love and tribute to that great show. (Still my all time favorite "kid's show"). It was a deliberate attempt to do a Classic-style show right out of '64. (Lots of "Calcutta Adventure" and "Fraudulent Volcano" elements are in it.)

When I got this job, I knew that I wanted to somehow tribute the Late, great Doug Wildey, who, of course created the Jonny Quest show way back when. Doug was also the producer, art director, and primary story plotter as well. (talented guy). I had the pleasure of knowing Doug for the last few years of his life and am proud to consider him a friend. Dave Stevens' "The Rocketeer" comic stories feature Doug's likeness and personality in the character of "Peevy" so I thought, I should put Doug in a show he created. I really envy Dave. He use to work for Doug. His widow, the incredibly sweet Ellen Wildey, gave me her blessing to use him.


1. The show is co-written by "Chip Baloo". Actually a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. The very first working title of the JQ show was "The Saga of Chip Baloo". Really. Doug wisely changed Chip's name to Jonny back in 1963.

2. Doug was a real fan of the old west, so I made "Grandpa Doug" a modern day cowboy. His ranch logo is a variation of the Wildey signature.

3. The character model was designed by master comic book artist and good friend Steve Rude (who was also Doug's pal).

4. Doug's voice was Harve Presnell. Some of you more mature viewers may know him as the grumpy, wealthy dad from "Fargo" (my best picture hopeful). Harve was called in to play a helicopter flying, cattle rancher. So, knowing NOTHING about the character, he comes to recording wearing a flightsuit. He says something like "Well, I just flew in from my ranch". Davis and I looked to Donna, our casting director and asked "Where do you find these guys?" Born for the part, Harve did one the best voice jobs of the series. His line that begins "VonRomme, I hold you personally responsible for what happened to my Grandson..." was amazing. His voice was actually cracking with rage and grief. It was on his face. Incredible.

5. His Security Cheif, Mr. Corey (named after my computer doctor) was voiced by Jerry Doyle, Babylon 5's security cheif, Garibaldi. (I wish I gave him a bigger role before killing him!) JD is also the voice of "Captian Simian". Very funny, nice guy.

6. The locations are assumed to be a section of Carlsbad Caverns which is a mostly unexplored network of 300 miles of subterranean caverns. I LOVE CC! I've made a few visits. Incredible.

7. Some "cut for violence" bits include: Doug grabbing the flamethrower from a dead guard's hand while saying "That's for Felipe, you rat". Originally, there were THREE jetpack guys sent after Jonny and Co. Doug blasted the first one. Couldn't do that. A "Mystery of the Lizardmen"-like downshot of VonRomme's men covering up their faces as the cave collapses. Actually, we got away with a lot in this show, mostly in dialogue. "Plenty of chores where you're going, Hank". Heh heh.....

8. A related note. I had a line which begins "VonRommes Foreign customers will pay whatever we want...." The word "Foriegn" is considered a no-no, aparrently. So we changed it to "International". I have NO IDEA how "foriegn" made the bad word list. It's pretty neutral for "not from here".

9. I like to put Jonny in situations where Race would have been handy and THEN leave Mr. Bannon out of the episode. I'm kinda' mean that way.

10. No. VonRomme will not return as some irradiated bad guy. He's paid the ultimate price for his evil. Ironically too, considering how he kept threatening his underlings with radiation exposure.

11. Voice director, Kris Zimmerman actually got teary-eyed about the ending. She's so sweet. she called me a "sentimental guy". That's good, right?

12. Doug "rides into the sunset."

As do I. Next time: "Diamonds and Jade"

From: Episodes