Jonny Quest is one of my favorite cartoons but I've never seen all the episodes. Here I'll just be looking at the original series. I'm going to be sharing thoughts as I go.
We start off in the jungle (honestly, it feels like so many episodes take place in the jungle?) and after seeing a black panther pad its way through the undergrowth we then segue to a couple of tribesmen paddling a canoe. They're in trouble though because a pteranodon swoops down from a plateau and makes off with one of the tribesmen. From there we check in with Jonny and Hadji, who are fishing, and we get more of Bandit's inane antics. Why are the Quests hanging out in the jungle again? Well, it turns out Dr. Quest is looking for the source of a mineral trinoxide, which is essential for the space program. Naturally, the trinoxide comes from the "land of the Turu" upriver- Turu being the aforementioned pterosaur, of course. They soon spy a canoe floating by with a body in it- and after rescuing the guy they find out it's Aku, who gave the trinoxide sample to Dr. Quest initially.
Aku relays his story, how the pteranodon took his brother, and Quest realizes Turu is from the same area that the trinoxide comes from. So they charter a boat African Queen style and head upriver to check it out. Ooh, and the boat is called Amazon Queen as well, I see, so my instincts were right regarding the classic movie nod. Anyway, they are warned by the skipper about crocodiles, and before long the boat is attacked by a whole bunch. They shoot them all though so that's easily sorted. After making camp they hear some unearthly screeching- Turu is here- but they don't actually see it. We then get some moonlight shots of Turu flying around.
Turu then attacks the boat before flying back to the plateau, where we find his master. Some white haired dude who treats it as a pet and who has a bunch of locals mining something for him- trinoxide no doubt. Dr. Quest and Race soon spot the old man, but he sees them too and sends Turu to kill 'em. There's a cool moment when Quest and Race use rocket belts to get up there- this was the 60's, after all, and James Bond- style rocket belts were all the rage, I guess- and the pteranodon gets ahold of Quest and carries him off, but Race shoots it with his bazooka and frees Quest.
They go up again under cover of darkness and soon discover the miners- and the rare trinoxide ore they're digging. They're discovered though and it's a fight to the end with Turu. Race hits it twice with the bazooka- I'm actually feeling for Turu here- but the creature ends up trashing the boat again before coming back. I imagine this was kind of intense for kids, with the creature squawking up a storm and the dramatic battle. They end up taking out Turu with a few more hits, and the poor thing falls into a tar pit. Despondent and anxious to rescue it, the old man falls into the pit too! As I've mentioned previously, this cartoon was a little more hard hitting than a lot of its contemporaries.
So... with Turu gone the tribesmen are free. We never do find out who the old guy was, or how he tamed Turu, but whatever. Soon the Quest group are heading back downriver, and other than a run-in with a crocodile their adventures seem to be over. Not a bad installment- the tense music and Turu antics were pretty fun.
I give this one 3 of 5 stars.