A to Z Challenge: Fictional Favorites, Day 22

V is for — Velma Dinkley, from the Scooby Doo cartoons

When I was growing up, I loved Saturday morning Scooby Doo. The original series, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, ran from 1969 to 1970. Mystery solvers, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and their Great Dane, Scooby Doo, traveled to various places in their psychedelically-painted van, the Mystery Machine. Wherever they went, strange things happened, and Fred would invariably say, “Looks like we’ve got another mystery on our hands.” Or words to that effect. Then the gang would set about gathering clues and solving the mystery.

Velma was the smartest of the group, always figuring out whodunit by the end of the show. “Jinkies!” — her catchphrase — prefaced many a startling discovery or sudden “monster” appearance that sent everyone scrambling. Her one Achilles’ heel was her glasses, which she was forever losing at the most inopportune moment, usually when she was about to run into the ghost or whatever villainous creature they were investigating at the time. And as anyone who has ever watched Scooby Doo knows, she can’t see a thing without her glasses!

The Scooby Doo show went through several incarnations over the years, including animated movies and live-action feature films. I haven’t seen any of the live-action films because I just don’t think they can compare to the cartoons I loved so much. My favorite animated Scooby Doo series are the original Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, the New Scooby Doo Movies with celebrity guest stars (1972-1974), and What’s New, Scooby Doo? (2005-2006).

One of the funniest episodes is A Terrifying Round with a Menacing Metallic Clown, from season three of What’s New, Scooby Doo?. Velma, who is terrified of clowns, swaps roles with the cowardly Shaggy, who wants the mystery solved so he can continue his mini-golf tournament and win the championship. He boldly analyzes the clues and takes on the monstrous clown, while Velma cowers and runs. Other favorites include, from the New Scooby Doo Movies, Episode #15: The Caped Crusader Caper with Batman and Robin and the gang helping a hilariously stuttering professor, and Episode #17: The Mystery of Haunted Island with the Globetrotters.



Fred, Velma, Scooby Doo, Shaggy, and Daphne

Fred, Velma, Scooby Doo, Shaggy, and Daphne

A to Z Challenge: Fictional Favorites, Day 17

Q is for — Jonny Quest, from the original Hanna-Barbera cartoon

I loved watching Saturday morning cartoons when I was growing up. It was so much fun to sit on the couch in my pjs and laugh to the likes of Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, the Jetsons, Scooby Doo, Josie and the Pussycats, and the Funky Phantom, to name a few.

One of my all-time favorites was Jonny Quest. Jonny Quest was different — full of excitement and adventure with much more realism and a fascinating scientific/techno slant. Jonny; his father, scientist Dr. Benton Quest; bodyguard Race Bannon; Hadji, an Indian boy adopted into the family; and cute dog Bandit traveled all over the world, usually either for Dr. Quest’s work or to investigate some dangerous or top secret situation that required his expertise. And what was really neat was that they used all these nifty gadgets like jet packs, videophone communicators, and hover crafts that were on the cutting edge of technology or beyond, at the time.

The cartoons weren’t without controversy, however. Some people objected to the use of firearms in the shows, the scary-looking monsters, and the dangerous and intense situations the Quest group ended up in, as well as the fact that some characters, mostly bad guys, actually died. It is NOT a cartoon for young children.

But for me, a tween craving adventure, the shows were thrilling trips to exotic locations, where peril and intrigue abounded, and kids my own age (Jonny and Hadji were 11) were right in the middle of the action. Humor lightened many of the episodes, and the strong family dynamic between the Quests, Hadji, and Race Bannon anchored them.

My favorites are Episode #3: The Curse of Anubis, about a cursed Egyptian tomb; Episode #1: Mystery of the Lizard Men, about villains using laser to destroy a moon rocket; and Episode #20: The Invisible Monster, about a rampaging creature made of electrical energy. The first two are exciting and funny, the third, eerily suspenseful.

My one complaint about the show (and my daughter’s, as well) is that there aren’t any girls. I would have liked it even more if Jonny had had a sister that shared in his escapades. As it is, the only female character that takes part in their adventures is Jade, a former love of Race Bannon’s with a shady past, and she only appears twice out of 26 episodes. Jonny’s mother died sometime in the past and is never mentioned.

A reboot of the show, The Real Adventures of Jonny Quest, made in the late 1990s, included the new character of Jessie Bannon, purportedly Race Bannon and Jade’s daughter. Unfortunately, I found this version to be a major disappointment with plots that were less coherent, less believable, and much darker, with little, if any, humor and without the warmth of the family unit so prominent in the original.


The Quest team from the 1964-1965 television series. Front row (left to right): Dr. Benton Quest and Roger "Race" Bannon. Back row: Jonny Quest, Hadji, and Bandit

The Quest team from the 1964-1965 television series. Front row (left to right): Dr. Benton Quest and Roger “Race” Bannon. Back row: Jonny Quest, Hadji, and Bandit
Photo Credits: Wikipedia