Friday, January 2, 2009

Friday's Forgotten Books: Jonny Quest's Adventure with the Secret Tunnel

Ok, I’m making another offbeat choice for this week’s FFB, and before I get into the book, here I go again, digressing... !

I’m always searching into what originally sparked my interest in reading and writing crime/detective stories. I’ve mentioned before that when I was young, reading the Hardy Boys led into Robert B. Parker novels, which, in turn, led me to the stories of Raymond Chandler. Prior to the Hardy Boys, I remember watching a Dirk Benedict police show called Chopper One, but, as far as reading is concerned, I always thought it was the boys from Bayport who started the ball rolling -— though I may have uncovered an even earlier influence.

Over the Christmas holiday, I was digging through more of my boxes stored at Mom’s house and came across something I had completely forgotten about: Jonny Quest’s Adventure with the Secret Tunnel from 1972 (when I was just knee-high to a grasshopper). This Hanna-Barbera storybook is only twelve pages long, and as a youngster, I read it over and over, never tiring of it. In the story, Professor Boris Krantz plans to raid Dr. Benton Quest’s island, Palm Key, and kidnap Benton in order to learn the secret of his anti-laser device. Of course, Jonny and special agent/bodyguard, Race Bannon, are on top of the situation and, in the end, foil the Professor’s diabolical plan. The tunnel in the title doesn’t really figure into the plot all that much but many kindergarten aged kids would never notice -– whereas this thirty-eight year old did. The story was written by Horace J. Elias, who had a very successful career writing children’s books.

The little book contained a special dedication from my parents, written by Dad. The extra “h” at the end of “with” is from my unskilled hand in an attempt to learn how to write by mimicking his letter.

Next week, I’ll choose a more appropriate FFB, but, for me, Adventure with the Secret Tunnel was a very personal rediscovery that I wanted to share.

Head over to Patti Abbott's site for more Friday's Forgotten Books.

16 comments:

Barrie said...

Weren't there Johnny Quest cartoons too? Fun trip down memory lane!

Barrie said...

Oh, and Happy New Year, David!

ARCHAVIST said...

I love the writing your mum and dad put in the book - I always insist that when books are bought as presents whoever is giving them writes inside them. Collectors may cringe at this but it shows how personal books can be.

I've got an old Eagle that the writing inside says this book belongs to Gary age 8.

That's great

David Cranmer said...

Barrie, Yes it ran on primetime for one season in the mid sixties. To my generation, we were clueless that this series seemed to be based on The Rick Brant SCIENCE Adventures.

Archavist, Most of my books growing up have inscriptions and they are nice little time capsules.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I love this pick. We need to do kid's books again soon. The books I have from my childhood all say Patti's Library and have a number on them. I guess I was planning on being a librarian.

David Cranmer said...

I have so many old books like this Jonny Quest with special messages from various family members. Patti's Library... I like that.

Barbara Martin said...

This was a nice touch of nostalgia with the personal inscription. The books we read in childhood are the basis of our reading and writing interests today.

Scott Parker said...

Kids books. Duh! Other than my Three Investigators review, I never considered doing kids' books. A-ha! I have my first one in my head already...

BTW, here's how out of it I am: I never knew Johnny Quest made it into books. Weird.

Charles Gramlich said...

What a cool gift, and for you to still have it. I would have loved something like this as a kid. I really enjoyed Johnny quest, although not till I was a little older than you there did I get to see it.

David Cranmer said...

Barbara, without a doubt but I wonder, where did Curious George lead to? Hmmm...

Scott, doing this post I watched a Jonny Quest episode on YouTube and comfortably slipped into the past.

Charles, My wife and I still watch a lot of animation. "Never grow up, never surrender" is my motto.

Dave King said...

I have enjoyed a first visit to your blog and will be back.

Sarah Hina said...

I love seeing these childhood treasures that writers later uncover. To know what engrossed us then, and set us on the path we're on now (I was obsessed with Nancy Drew, though...maybe I haven't been stretching my mystery muscles enough).

And the dedication surrounded by all those beloved characters is really sweet. Nice h! ;)

Thanks for sharing, David.

Todd Mason said...

My childhood enjoyment of JONNY QUEST, which was pretty easily the best non-humorous Hanna-Barbera production (and better than nearly all of those, too), makes me the target audience for the current THE VENTURE BROTHERS, in part affectionate tribute, in part perverse and ferocious parody (and not just of JQ).

David Cranmer said...

Dave, Thanks for stopping by and I'm looking forward to checking out your blog.

Sarah, These little messages from my dad and mom really are touching and I'm grateful for them. I confess I only read one Nancy Drew adventure but the Hardy Boys was an obsession for years. (I did have a major boyhood crush on Pamela Sue Martin's TV portrayal.)

Todd, I've watched two old episodes of JQ this week and the show definitely calls out for a parody.

Barbara Martin said...

David, I never read Curious George. I'm more of a Rupert Bear book fan, or a Winnie the Pooh or Black Beauty or Wind in the Willows.

David Cranmer said...

And I've never read Rupert Bear. Barbara, I think this is the first time we are not simpatico!