Cartoon Research Books
October 21, 2017 posted by Kevin Scott Collier

An Interview with Jonny Quest

I was 7-years-old when Hanna-Barbera’s cartoon “Jonny Quest” made its debut. I was hooked with the first episode. A couple of years later, I used to run home after school to make it in time to see “Sinbad Jr. and His Magic Belt” cartoons.

I noticed “Sinbad Jr.” featured the recognizable voice of Jonny Quest. Then I became a huge fan of “Space Ghost,” and noticed the voice of Jace was Jonny and Sinbad Jr. Afterward, tuning in to “Young Samson and Goliath,” there was that voice again.

It wasn’t until age 11, when I saw a theatrical picture titled “Yours, Mine and Ours,” that I put a face to the voice. In the movie, which starred Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, there was a character named Mike Beardsley, played by a young actor named Tim Matheson. I recognized the voice immediately. I leaned over to my mom during the film’s projection and whispered in her ear, “Mom, that’s the guy who played Jonny Quest!”

Speaking with Tim Matheson for the book Jonny, Sinbad Jr. & Me was a pleasant surprise. Not only did he vividly recall his years at Hanna-Barbera, over 50 years ago, but they were a special part of his life. It helped create opportunities in his career and changed the way he viewed the entertainment industry.

Matheson at the time he recorded for Jonny Quest

Since he was just a couple of years older than the Jonny Quest character, Tim’s employment was, as he put it, a real-life “adventure” for him. Being in the company of some of animation’s greatest voice actors greatly influenced Matheson. Joe Barbera mentored him. Mel Blanc showed him what character acting was all about.

One of the most amazing aspects of Matheson’s involvement with Jonny Quest is that he has only been to two events in his lifetime concerning the series. The first was when the series made its debut in September 1964. The second was 50 years later, at a silver anniversary celebration at a Los Angeles Comics and Sci-Fi Convention.

Intriguing was the process of receiving animation scripts with little preparation, and recording in the sound both with the rest of the Jonny Quest cast, much like a radio show.

Tim speaks of how Joe Barbera mentored him, and how doing voice acting provided the resources to allow him to buy his first home at the age of 17.

As a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Matheson talked about animation today, both good and bad, and its presence at the Oscars.

Working for Hanna-Barbera was more than just a gig for young Tim Matheson. It was an experience and opportunity of a lifetime. It’s a memory he does not trivialize, but cherishes and sees significance in. Give a listen to a piece of the interview, embed below, and consider ordering the latest “Cartoon Research” book which contains the entire interview and a complete overview of Matheson’s career in animation voice-over.

 

 

EDITOR’S NOTE: Jonny, Sinbad Jr. & Me is available starting today on Amazon.com. You can order it via the Amazon link here. It’s sixty pages and costs $8.95. It contains rare photos and illustrations – and several unusual public domain images relating to Jonny Quest.

“After wrangling with Hanna-Barbera over the legal use of Jonny Quest images for my book, they ended up not granting a license use for images. Thus, I had to blow out all screenshots of episodes, even change the cover and title,” author Collier wrote me. “If its any consolation, Sinbad Jr. was fine to use for the book.”

Hey, that’s fine with me. And the book is a great addition to the library – and I highly recommend it if you are a Quest or Matheson fan, a general H-B aficionado, or are simply curious about Sinbad Jr, Space Ghost or Young Samson.

P.S. We’d love to hear your feedback on these mini-books. So far your support is encouraging us to continue.

– Jerry Beck

 

11 Comments

  • Matheson recently played the President in the crossover film Tom and Jerry: Spy Quest..

  • Great interview.

    Keep doing these e-books. Although, I don’t buy them (I prefer physical books), I think these books are nice projects and a great way to support the site. I still suggest doing a book about Stephen Bosustow Productions as I want to know more about this independent post-UPA studio (i.e. all their storybook adaption films).

    • They are “print books,” Nick. Not ebooks. So, just what you’re looking for.

    • I didn’t know that. In that case, I’ll consider buying a copy of “Tom Terrific” book. My dad would get a kick out of that.

  • I was at that 2014 LA Comic Con appearance, in fact, I made sure I was first in a very long line to get Tim’s autograph. I brought a large JQ poster with Doug Wildey art and had him sign it with a metallic sharpie and he was just delighted with the image, he asked about it, asked me about my love of the Quest series and seemed genuinely grateful that those of us in line truly loved this iconic series and his role in it. He couldn’t have been nicer.

  • I remember the Jonny Quest “P.F. Flyers” shoe commercials from back then. It was just like having a mini Jonny Quest episode.

  • Terrific! Another book I didn’t know that I was going to buy. Just ordered it on Amazon.

  • I have enjoyed all of the books so far and this has been ordered. Keep up the great work. I love seeing topics that aren’t really covered in traditional books on animation.

  • I would buy this if it was an e-book. I have to have large type in order to read with my eyesight. It’s a great subject to write about and hopefully an e-book will be coming soon.

  • I love these! Just bought it! I’d love to read more!

  • Kevin, I don’t understand why H-B wouldn’t allow you to use any Jonny Quest images, especially since Tim is part of the history of Jonny Quest – and Hanna-Barbera!! Ugh. Shame on them.

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