"The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay"
The Venture Bros. episode
The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay.png
Episode no. Episode Pilot
Directed by Jackson Publick
Written by Jackson Publick
Original air date February 16, 2003
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List of The Venture Bros. episodes

The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay is the pilot episode of The Venture Bros. It was first aired as a one-off on February 16, 2003. The actual series itself would not begin airing until a year and a half later, in August 7, 2004. The episode was animated with Adobe Flash (formerly Macromedia Flash) and is the only non-traditionally animated episode of the series other than the special From the Ladle to the Grave: The Shallow Gravy Story.[1]


In Japan, news of Doctor Thaddeus Venture's latest invention has spread. A henchmen named Kikai delivers the message to his master, Otaku Senzuri. Senzuri praises Kikai's good work but then apparently attempts to kill him with thrown acupuncture needles. Instead of killing him, however, Kikai rises up from the ground, feeling better than before, and no longer having the craving for nicotine.

Elsewhere, The Monarch, a super-villain whose persona is built around misconceptions about the lethality of monarch butterflies, explains his scheme to destroy his arch-enemy, scientist and former boy adventurer Doctor Thaddeus "Rusty" Venture. The Monarch has constructed a "Trojan horse" (in reality a round, hollow ship) that resembles a meteor and filled it with three of his henchmen. The "meteor" will fall on the grounds of the Venture Compound; when the naturally-curious doctor begins to analyze the vessel, the henchmen will emerge and overwhelm him.

Meanwhile, two wide-eyed teenagers (who are fraternal twin brothers and also the sons of Dr. Thaddeus Venture, named Hank Venture and Dean Venture) are riding hover-bikes and looking for their dog Scamp. The boys, who look and talk as if they are in a sitcom from the 1950s, enter their father's lab and ask him about their pet. Dr. Venture responds with pride that a cosmetics corporation has asked him to solve the problem of test animals that die too quickly; therefore he has performed an experimental procedure on Scamp that removes his fur and skin while keeping him alive. With a flourish, Venture displays the gruesome pet in an isolation tank. The boys are dismayed, but their father convinces them that it is a noble sacrifice in the name of helping young women everywhere look attractive.

Team Venture's bodyguard, Brock Samson, is busy washing and loading equipment into their X-1 private jet in preparation for an upcoming trip. Venture tries to engage him in discussion over their Communicator Watches, but Brock ignores him. Investigating noises from the landing gear area, Brock finds a mummy and beats it savagely (and somewhat gleefully). As the battered figure lies motionless, Samson casually defiles it by urinating on the body to prevent re-animation. Venture examines the "mummy" and discovers that it is merely a man wrapped in Ace bandages and toilet paper pretending to be a mummy, but the revelation seems to garner little interest. With the X-1 loaded for the trip to New York City (where Venture will present his latest invention before a scientific symposium at the United Nations), the family prepares to leave. As Brock taxis the jet down the private runway, The Monarch's fake meteor slams onto the grounds a few yards away. However, Venture is on edge from nerves and the "diet pills" he has taken and says they have no time to investigate. As the X-1 takes off, the henchmen inside the "meteor" discover that they are trapped inside, as the meteor landed face-down, with the door stuck against the ground. They wonder amongst themselves how they will escape, if they will have to resort to cannibalism, and where they will defecate.

Arriving in New York, United Nations guards assist Dr. Venture with unloading his equipment from the X-1. Dr. Venture advises them not to get too close to the X-1's engines, suggesting they cause cancer. Brock opens a panel to discover a large crocodile which leaps out and attacks Brock, which he fights and disembowels to the shock of the United Nations' Guards. A shadowy character follows Dr. Venture's every move in New York: Otaku Senzuri, a ninja intent on acquiring Dr. Venture's new gadget. While Venture is sleeping, Senzuri manages to steal an equipment case but finds that it only contains Hank and Dean, who were pretending it was a submarine. The ninja knocks them unconscious and leaves them in an alley outside the hotel, where two thugs steal their communicator watches. When the boys wake up the next morning, they decide to have a "New York adventure" and set out on their own to explore the city. The Monarch arrives in a taxi and follows them, dealing with any interference through his "Sting of The Monarch" darts. At roughly the same time, Brock sets out to find the boys but heads in a different direction. Using his Venture-provided communicator watch, he locates the two thugs and beats them mercilessly before reclaiming Hank and Dean's stolen watches from the hoods.

Arriving in Times Square, Hank and Dean spot a middle-aged prostitute who propositions them. Misinterpreting her offer, they accompany her back to a seedy apartment. After the boys fail to understand her explanation of her services, she touches Hank's crotch; the two teens respond by fleeing in terror, with Hank screaming, "She touched me where I make sissy!" The Monarch, who had staked out the apartment, begins to follow them again but runs into Brock. The bodyguard questions the villain briefly before savagely beating him. Back at the U.N., Dr. Venture is introduced to explain his new invention, the "Oo-Ray". He cheerfully melts a model city in demonstration and is completely mystified by the audience's negative reaction. The U.N. representative hosting the "Peaceful Scientific Advancement Symposium" scolds Dr. Venture, who fails to see (the very apparent) violent applications for his new Oo-Ray, and apologizes to the crowd.

Hank and Dean's blind panic has somehow led them back to the U.N. building, where they surprise their father. In a foul mood, Venture resigns himself to packing up the Oo-Ray for the trip home but discovers Senzuri masturbating next to the machine. An army general arrives and orders the ninja's arrest; apparently, Senzuri is a techno-fetishist who can only achieve arousal in the presence of advanced technology. The general then cheers Venture up greatly by buying a hundred Oo-Rays for the Army (though Dr. Venture clearly has no idea what use the Army could make of his "harmless" invention). Meanwhile, Brock is spending hundreds of dollars enjoying the middle-aged hooker's services while The Monarch recuperates in the hospital from his Brock-inflicted injuries. The Monarch's costume wings had to be pumped from his stomach, while he also suffered arm, leg, head and eye injuries.

Episode Cast

First Appearances

Episode Transcript

See: The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay (transcript)

Connections to Other Episodes

The Incredible Mr. Brisby

  • This episode features the Mickey Mouse spoof Bizzy Bee, which is a frequently recurring reference throughout the rest of the series. The character is explained in the episode The Incredible Mr. Brisby.[2]

Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!

Return to Spider-Skull Island

  • The two thugs who steal the boys' communicator watches reappear in Return to Spider-Skull Island, as attendees at The Monarch's prison "Scared Straight" program.

Twenty Years to Midnight

Showdown at Cremation Creek (Part I)

Cultural References

Chrysler Building

Colorado Springs, Colorado


Green Goblin

JG Thirlwell

Jonny Quest (1964-1965)

  • Scamp, the Venture family dog, is a parody of Bandit, Jonny's bulldog from the animated series Jonny Quest.
  • The scene where Dr. Venture demonstrates his Oo-Ray is almost identical to a scene in the Jonny Quest episode "Calcutta Adventure", where Dr. Quest shows his Sonic Projector crumble a model city.

Led Zeppelin

  • When Brock is washing the X-1 in the beginning of the episode, he is listening to a Led Zeppelin parody titled "Hobbit Ride (To the Midnight Sun of Valhalla)", performed by Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer, but credited to The Astrobase+Go! Cadet Boys' Fife & Drum Corps (featuring Billy No. 9).

Mickey Mouse

Mister Fantastic

Monarch butterfly

New York Herald (1835-1924)

  • The article about Dr. Venture runs in a fictitious newspaper called The New York Herald. The New York Herald was actually a widely circulated sensationalist newspaper whose height in popularity was the mid-to-late nineteenth century. It ceased to exist in 1924, when it merged with The New-York Tribune to form The New York Herald Tribune. The New York Herald Tribune ran for another four decades before discontinuing publication in 1966 following a newspaper strike.


Otaku / Senzuri


  • Otaku Senzuri's company, Onani Corporation, is a reference to masturbation via the term "onanism", derived from a popular misreading of the Biblical story of Onan.

Pat Giles

Project Gemini

  • Dean and Hank use a paper cup and the bidet in the bathroom of their hotel room to simulate a low Earth orbit launch of a Gemini manned spacecraft. Project Gemini was NASA's second human spaceflight program. Conducted between projects Mercury and Apollo, Gemini started in 1961 and concluded in 1966.

"Smooth move, Ex-Lax!"

Times Square (New York City)

Trojan Horse

  • The Monarch refers to his fake meteor as an "ingeniously modern Trojan Horse". In The Aeneid of Virgil and The Odyssey of Homer, the Trojan Horse was a huge wooden horse built by Greek soldiers following their unsuccessful decade-long siege on the city of Troy. The Greek soldiers left the wooden horse outside of the city gates, apparently as a peace offering, and pretended to sail away in their warships. The Trojans brought the horse inside Troy as a victory trophy, unaware that it hid a force of Greek soldiers within it. After night fell the Greeks crept out of the horse and opened the gates for the rest of their army, which had sailed back under cover of night. The Greeks entered and destroyed the city of Troy, ending the Trojan War.

Turtle Bay, Manhattan

Tycho Brahe

  • One of the attendees of the symposium is modeled after Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe.[1]

United Nations

You Only Live Twice (1967)

  • Otaku Senzuri's assassination attempt is a reference to the film version of You Only Live Twice, when an assassin tries to poison James Bond in his sleep using a piece of string and dribbling poison down the length of it into his mouth.

New York Herald, Science Section

A story on Dr. Venture with accompanying photograph takes up the entire front page of the Science section of The New York Herald:


New York Herald Science Reporter

NEW YORK — Dr. Thaddeus Venture, son of the late Dr. Jonas Venture, appears to be taking his first tentative steps in his renowned father’s considerably accomplished footsteps.

Most will recall Dr. Jonas Venture’s myriad contributions to the scientific community—and the world—throughout his long and illustrious career. From plastics to atomic fission to jet propulsion to microwave ovens, few advancements of twentieth century technology were free of his fingerprints. A friend and advisor to four presidents—and frequently foreign leaders—he was part scholar, part statesman, part philosopher, part explorer and part wizard.

Many will recall Venture’s son from his boyhood, when he was affectionately called “Rusty” and could be seen clinging to his father’s side on numerous occasions. Well, Rusty’s all grown up now, thank you very much, and will be the final presenter in tomorrow night’s “Peace Through Science” science exposition to be held at the United Nations.

The younger Venture was verbose yet hesitant to reveal the details of his latest invention when this reporter interviewed him at his Colorado Springs research facility, preferring to “surprise those stuffy academics and turn international science on its collective ear” when he unveils the device during his presentation. Venture was equally reticent on the subject of his late father, even as he stood in a

Production Notes

  • One of the animation directors (Kimson Albert) gets to have a "nickname" inserted into his credits. The nickname is an unusual line or word from the preceding episode. This is included in all Season One episodes except the pilot where Mr. Albert is credited only as a "Computer Animator".
  • Otaku Senzuri was, according to the commentary on the DVD, supposed to have been a "suspicious Arab". The script was written pre-9/11 (in Spring of 2000); when the time came to create the pilot, Jackson Publick changed him to the ninja CEO that he became.[1]
  • According to the pilot's commentary track, Cartoon Network executives forced Jackson Publick to change the closing scene's dialogue, feeling that Brock telling the prostitute to "turn around" was too lurid, even for a late-night block like Adult Swim.[1]
  • Jackson Publick provides the voices for Master Billy Quizboy and Dr. Girlfriend in this episode. In all subsequent episodes both characters are voiced by Doc Hammer.
  • The Monarch, Brock Samson, and Dr. Girlfriend are drawn differently than in subsequent episodes.
    • In some scenes in this episode, Brock appears to have a unibrow, while in other scenes (and the rest of the series) his eyebrows are separated. Brock is also relatively normal-sized here, whereas in the rest of the series he towers over everyone else. Likewise, while the opening shots emphasize Brock's lack of leg-muscle development especially in comparison with his upper body, in later episodes he is more proportionally developed.
    • Dr. Girlfriend's face is severely angular, with tiny features; she also has an Adam's apple, an animation error that was avoided in later episodes.
    • The Monarch has an entirely different costume. The Monarch's henchmen also have different costumes compared to the rest of the series.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Season 1 DVD commentary for The Terrible Secret of Turtle Bay
  2. The Incredible Mr. Brisby
  3. Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!
  4. Season 2 DVD deleted scenes for Twenty Years to Midnight

Preceded by:
The Venture Bros. episodes
Original Airdate:
16 February 2003
Followed by:
"Dia de los Dangerous!"
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