Roger "Race" Bannon wass an ex-secret agent who served as the personal bodyguard to Dr. Benton Quest, one of the most intelligent and well-respected scientists in the world. He also helped out in tutoring Dr. Quest's two sons, Jonny and Hadji, training them in all the awesome shit that they need to know to become well-adjusted adults: über-manly skills like shooting, driving and punching.
I remember watching the original Jonny Quest episodes every Saturday morning with my dad and my brother and thinking that Race Bannon was the most badass guy I had ever seen. First off, he's a former employee of the Intelligence One agency, so he's well-versed in covert actions, intelligence gathering, security, electronics and espionage. On top of that, the guy can fucking pilot anything. He can fly fighter jets, drive hovercrafts, ride wild alpacas... you name it. If it can be driven, he knows how to pilot it. Plus he's a master of small arms, capable of holding his own with all manner of pistols, rifles, slingshots, blowguns and machine guns, and unlike a lot of wussy cartoons out there these days he doesn't have any compunctions about getting his hands dirty and blasting a quarter-sized hole in anything that he deems a threat to the Quest family. He's also an expert in hand-to-hand combat, willing to punch the shit out of anything that even looks at him cross-eyed.
Race busts through a motherfuckin' window and kicks some idiot in the back.
Now a lot of people out there think that since Jonny's mother never appeared in the show, Race was actually more than just Dr. Quest's bodyguard. Bullshit. First off, Mrs. Quest was killed by Dr. Quest's arch-nemesis. How can any man remarry in good conscience knowing that the death of his first wife was an indirect result of his own actions? Impossible. If you're looking for hard evidence, this article disproves the theory while further illustrating the badassery of Race Bannon:
Two scenes stood out in the series and would never make it onto any kind of children's programming today, or in the future. The first was when CIA agent and Dr. Quest protector Race Bannon is in Hong Kong to meet a contact to pump them for some information. The contact is a hot Chinese babe who invites him back to her private boat to discuss the info he needs. Cut to the Jonny/Hadji/Bandit storyline for a scene. Cut to the Dr. Quest for a moment. Go to commercial. When we come back, Race's "informant" is standing near him wearing a robe while he is sitting on the corner of her bed putting his boots on. He thanks her for the information and leaves. Even at a young age I knew that Race had just "pumped" her for all the info he needed to get the job done. Jonny couldn't have a better role model and neither could I.
That's fucking awesome. Race is the fucking man. Even his name is badass. You don't see too many guys named "Race" anymore. That's a fucking name you can set your watch to. Well Race travels around the world having all sorts of crazy adventures and bailing out the Quest family whenever they get in over their heads. He's fought everything from pirates to mad scientists to sea monsters to Nazis... you name it and he's probably punched it so hard that it's teeth came out it's urethra. He doesn't even give a shit. You throw Race Bannon in a room full of two-legged air-breathing bloodthirsty mutant piranhas armed only with a broken-off table leg and he'll spend the next half hour building a four foot high pyramid of bludgeoned fish carcassas. He's an unstoppable killing machine.
Race fights a pack of goddamn dinosaurs with a torch while everyone else stands around being useless.
He also has the sorts of adventures that would make James Bond crap his pants. The nature of Dr. Quest's crazy inexplicable science work takes him to the edges of civilization, deep into uncharted territory, and to all manner of hostile environments. Through it all, Race is ready and able to take on whatever challenges come up, to pilot anything that moves, to get it on with hot babes and to serve up a nice warm knuckle sandwich to anything that's capable of feeling pain. He's the brawn to Dr. Quest's brains, and the sort of manly man that all kids want to be when they grow up. He's awesome.
Race Bannon sized up perfectly in one picture.
Note: All the pictures from this update came from classicjq.com.