Johnny Quasar (partially found prototype "Jimmy Neutron" animated short; 1994-95)
|The first screenshot showing Johnny Quasar.|
Johnny Quasar, sometimes known as The Adventures of Johnny Quasar is a 40-second demo that is a precursor for Jimmy Neutron. It was created sometime in 1994-95 by John Davis and his partner Keith Alcorn with initial designs by Paul Claerhout. The demo was first shown publicly at the 1995 SIGGRAPH conference, and won two awards for the LightWave 3D engine- called "Waveys". The demo won awards in two categories; Best in Character Animation and Best in Show.
Impressed with the demo, series producer Steve Oedekerk partnered with DNA Productions and helped with the production of a new, 13-minute pilot to pitch to Nickelodeon. The new pilot (titled Runaway Rocketboy) marked the first appearance of Jimmy Neutron. Apparently, his name was changed to avoid parallels being drawn to other popular characters Jonny Quest and Captain Quasar.
Current status and search
Despite how notable it was at the time, only the first 11 seconds of the 40-second demo have surfaced to this day, and what has surfaced is of very poor quality. The first 3 seconds lack original audio and were found on a 1994 VHS demo reel for LightWave 3D. The following 8-second clip came from the old DNA Productions website, from sometime after 1995.
In addition, several poor quality stills featuring Johnny Quasar were also on the old DNA website. Previously, they are often presumed to be part of the original demo animation. However, this has been confirmed false by series character designer and storyboard artist Paul Claerhout.
Additionally, several magazine articles have been discovered talking about this animation to varying degrees of detail, sometimes accompanied by images from the demo, scans are available below.
For a time, it was thought the lost demo might've been on a rare CD-ROM from the 1995 SIGGRAPH conference, but it has since come out that this is- in fact, false. (It was confirmed by Redditor /u/siliconclassics and the V&A Archive of Art and Design- who both have copies of the discs)
Fortunately, Youtube User LSuperSonicQ has apparently made contact with series co-creator Keith Alcorn, who talked to Davis briefly about the demo, and found that he believes it's in a particularly large file storage area. Alcorn also said that he'll look in when he has the chance, so there may be hope yet of the full demo surfacing, someday.
Most recently, Lost Media Wiki user CheatFreak made contact with Paul Claerhout about the possibility of him having a copy- sadly he didn't seem to have one, but he did give several new details about the demo, the character designs, and the aforementioned renders from the DNA website.
According to Paul, these stills are actually early production test renders for the later pilot Runaway Rocketboy- and were made to help sell the pilot to Nickelodeon. They were produced a bit before the revised designs were put into full effect, a bit before the switch to the Jimmy Neutron name, and were thus discarded when they adopted the new designs that Claerhout and Alcorn came up with.
The initial character designs for Johnny Quasar pictured below were inspired by George Pal's Puppetoons, a series of 1940s stop motion puppet show films. The revised designs that were eventually used (also shown below) were created in collaboration between both Claerhout and Alcorn together.
The actual demo features only Johnny Quasar flying in, introducing himself and Goddard before looking into the camera saying "Gotta Blast!" and flying off into space- a line later reused for tons of promotional material and other Jimmy Neutron media.
Footage, stills, and artwork
Magazine and booklet scans
Scans courtesy of computerarchive.org, redditor /u/siliconclassics and a 4chan anon.