Category Archives: popular culture

Ten life-lessons from “Jonny Quest”

Hal Sutherland, one of the folks involved in the animated Star Trek series from the early Seventies, recently passed away. His passing got me thinking about the animation I watched as a kid, and I got pretty nostalgic about some of the old shows– Space Ghost, Spiderman, The Jetsons, etc. Looking back on them as a group, I realize many were just ways to anesthetize little kids so they would sit still long enough to notice the commercials, but some shows have found permanent niches in popular culture. A few, though, have special meaning, especially for all those kids who grew up be the geeks who sparked the IT revolution.

For me, one of those special shows was Jonny Quest.

The show (in it’s original incarnation) only ran for two seasons, 1964-1965, but I still remember it as absolutely riveting me to the carpet while it was on. Doubtless its sort of science-fiction, secret-agent adventure had a profound influence on the sort of fiction I write today. And although, when I watch it now, I can see all the stereotyped and even racist elements it casually threw around– pretty much in keeping with American television in general in the Sixties– it still has a special place in my heart.

So much so that I thought I would share a few life-lessons I have derived from it. If you loved the show, you might recognize a few of them.

1. The only way to handle a bully is head-on.
2. Enemy agents are always trying get our goodies.
3. A properly trained eleven-year-old can beat up an enemy frog-man any day.
4. Guys who wear monocles, speak with German accents, and live in South American countries are just up to no good.
5. When pursuing an invisible energy monster, always make sure your rocket pack is in working order.
6. Just because the kid in the turban doesn’t own a pair of pants doesn’t mean he can’t be your best friend.
7. A husky and sardonic bodyguard can come in real handy.
8. Mummies resent being robbed.
9. Listen to the Chinese cook you found hiding in the freezer unit of the derelict ship– he was there for a reason.
10. Science is cool.

If you remember the show with fondness, you’re certainly welcome to share any lessons it taught you. I’d love to hear them.