Next year will mark 50 years since the first broadcast of one of the greatest TV series ever made. Not a straight ahead drama, romance, historical piece or chiller but all of these and more. I speak, of course, of Scooby-Doo.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was the first incarnation of the long-running Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon series, Scooby-Doo. Created by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, the cartoon premiered on CBS September 13, 1969, and ran for two seasons for a total of twenty-five episodes. The punctuation-sensitive will note the early episodes utilise neither a question mark nor a hyphen in the title!
Scooby Doo, Where Are You! was the result of CBS and Hanna-Barbera’s plans to create a non-violent Saturday morning program that would appease the parent watch groups that had protested the superhero-based programs of the mid-1960s. Originally titled Mysteries Five (after the band the featured teenagers were a member of), and later Who’s S-S-Scared?, Scooby Doo, Where Are You! underwent a number of changes from script to screen, the most notable of which was the downplaying of the musical group angle borrowed from The Archie Show. However, the basic concept — four teenagers (Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy) and a cowardly, clumsy Great Dane (Scooby-Doo) solving supernatural-related mysteries — was always in place.
Scooby-Doo creators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears served as the story supervisors on the series. Ruby, Spears, and Bill Lutz wrote all of the scripts for the first-season episodes, while Lutz, Larz Bourne, and Tom Dagenais wrote the second season episodes with Ruby and Spears. Ruby and Spears had already had an animated TV hit with Space Ghost, a show which had a similar style of animation, as well as monsters, ‘mild peril’ and a theremin-heavy soundtrack – the programme’s musical director, Ted Nichols, composed the intended theme for Scooby Doo, Where Are You! though ultimately this was only used for the fleeting still title card sequence. Dagenais and Larz had also written off-kilter cartoons such as Wacky Races, whilst Lutz had written several episodes of the live-action hit series, The Addams Family.
1. The Mystery, Inc. gang is driving in the Mystery Machine, their psychedelically-painted van, returning from or going to a regular teenage function, when their van develops engine trouble or breaks down for any of a variety of reasons (overheating, flat tire, out of gas, etc.), in the immediate vicinity of a large, mostly vacated property (ski lodge, hotel, factory, mansion, cruise ship, etc.).
3. The gang splits up to cover more ground, with Fred and Velma finding clues, Daphne finding danger, and Shaggy and Scooby finding food, fun, and the ghost/monster, who chases them. Scooby and Shaggy love to eat, including dog treats called Scooby Snacks which are a favourite of both the dog and the teenage boy. Casey Kasem, a staunch vegetarian and the voice of Shaggy, objected to the mass consumption of meat products in the show and insisted this stopped. This argument rumbled on in one form or another for the next 35 years!
4. Eventually, enough clues are found to convince the gang that the ghost/monster is a fake, and a trap is set (usually by Fred) to capture it; or, they may occasionally call the local sheriff, only to get stopped by the villain half-way.
5. If a trap is used, it may or may not work (more often than not, Scooby-Doo and/or Shaggy falls into the trap and/or they accidentally catch the monster another way). Invariably, the ghost/monster is apprehended and unmasked. The person in the ghost or monster suit turns out to be an apparently blameless authority figure or otherwise innocuous local who is using the disguise to cover up something such as a crime or a scam.
6. After giving the parting shot of “And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren’t for you meddling kids” (sometimes adding “…and your stupid dog!”), the offender is then taken away to jail, and the gang is allowed to continue on the way to their destination. The episodes actually had much in common with the emergent Italian giallo genre, or Edgar Wallace mysteries, with the damsel (Daphne) often pursued by black-gloved miscreants who are revealed, via a series of red herrings, to be the most unlikely suspect.
The memorably infectious theme tune was written by David Mook and Ben Raleigh, who also supplied the lyrics. Mook had previously written some of the dancier tunes used in The Banana Splits TV show, though oddly, little else after Scooby Doo – it was he who supplied the vocals for the early incarnations of the theme tune. Raleigh was more successful, his lyrics appearing in many successful pop songs, including Ricky Valance’s “Tell Laura, I Love Her”. Though Hanna-Barbera attempted to buy the rights from him, he opted to retain them whilst receiving a royalty, a very shrewd move. The theme was a last minute replacement for Ted Nichols instrumental piece and was recorded just three days before the first episode aired.
The second season featured “chase scene” songs produced by La La Productions (which had originally been contracted to create the music for Josie and the Pussycats, the first of many shows made from the same mould as Scooby-Doo). These songs were written by Danny Janssen and Austin Roberts, and were performed by Roberts, who also made a new recording of the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! theme song for the second season. He had a relatively successful career as a singer songwriter, in the easy listening vein. The tune was later covered by Matthew Sweet as part of the Saturday Morning: Cartoons’ Greatest Hits album.
Episodes contained a laugh track, one of the first Saturday morning cartoon shows to do so. It was removed for syndication in the 1980s. Unfortunately, not long after the Turner networks (TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network) began airing the show in 1994, the crass laugh track was reinstated in 1997.
By 1972, the format had evolved into hour-long episodes, known as The New Scooby-Doo Movies, which also featured the introduction of special guests celebrities, such as Don Knotts, Dick Van Dyke, Sandy Duncan, Sonny and Cher, and The Harlem Globetrotters, often voicing themselves. Meanwhile, imitators provided the voices of past comedy acts The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy. The characters from Josie and the Pussycats, Jeannie, and Speed Buggy all appeared on the show during or after their own shows’ original runs; The Addams Family and Batman and Robin both appeared on the show a year before they were incorporated into Hanna-Barbera shows of their own.
Sadly, the length proved a little too testing to be as consistent as its predecessors and the sometimes crow-barred in celebrities diluted the monster’s time onscreen and changed the darker feel to a more light-hearted romp.
Some of the key changes were literally that – changes in key. The incidental music to Scooby Doo was from the start a step beyond standard cartoons – there were references to well-used musical techniques used in horror films, from the ethereal theremin to wistful, carefree motifs making way for brash exaggerated brass when the monster appeared. The background artwork too was often surprisingly ‘un-childlike’, the mist-filled woods and eerily-lit ruined buildings being oddly atmospheric for was was merely intended to be Saturday morning fodder.
For many, the monsters and villains of Scooby Doo, Where Are You! also remain superior to those who followed in later series, despite their sometimes quaint appearance and ludicrous un-maskings, they did hold genuine menace. Indeed, it is these elements which were abandoned in favour of rather sillier creations towards the late 1980’s.
Episode 1 – “What a Night for a Knight” – The Black Knight
Episode 2 – “A Clue for Scooby Doo” – The Ghost of Captain Cutler
Episode 3 – “Hassle in the Castle” – The Phantom
Episode 4 – “Mine Your Own Business” – Miner Forty-Niner
Episode 5 – “Decoy for a Dognapper” – Indian Witch Doctor
Episode 6 – “What the Hex Going On?” – The Ghost of Elias Kingston
Episode 7 – “Never Ape an Ape Man” – Ape Man
Episode 8 – “Foul Play in Funland” – Charlie (the Golem-like robot)
Episode 9 – “The Backstage Rage” – The Puppet Master
Episode 10 – “Bedlam in the Big Top” – Clown Ghost
Episode 11 – “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts” – Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, Werewolf and the Gypsy
Episode 12 – “Scooby Doo and a Mummy Too” – The Mummy of Ankha
Episode 13 – “Which Witch is Which?” – A Witch and a Zombie
Episode 14 – “Spooky Space Kook” – Spooky Space Kook (a skull-headed alien)
Episode 15 – “Go Away, Ghost Ship” – The Ghost of Redbeard
Episode 16 – “A Night of Fright is No Delight” – Phantom Shadows/Green Ghosts
Episode 17 – “That’s Snow Ghost” – Snow Ghost
Episode 18 – “Nowhere to Hyde” – Ghost of Mr Hyde
Episode 19 – “Mystery Mask Mix-Up” – The Ghost of Zen Tuo
Episode 20 – “Scooby’s Night With a Frozen Fright” – Neanderthal
Episode 21 – “Jeepers, It’s The Creeper” – The Creeper
Episode 22 – “Haunted House Hang-Up” – Headless Spectre and The Phantom
Episode 23 – “A Tiki Scare is No Fair” – Witch Doctor
Episode 24 – “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Werewolf?” – Werewolf
Episode 25 – “Don’t Fool With a Phantom” – Wax Phantom
Characters and voice cast
Don Messick – Scoobert “Scooby” Doo.
Famously, Scooby’s name was taken from the fade-out scat-singing of Frank Sinatra’s classic, “Strangers in the Night”, though it is worth pointing out that there had already been a Scooby (a seal) in the two-part cartoon, Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor, also voiced by Messick. It was CBS execution Fred Silverman who suggested the name, indeed without his intervention we may well have been left with the initial concept, a bongo-playing sheepdog named Too Much who was far more of a minor sidekick than a pop culture icon.
Messick was already legendary in the voice acting world, from Ranger Smith and Boo Boo in Yogi Bear, to Griswald in Top Cat, to Muttley in Wacky Races, it’s difficult to imagine children’s television without him. Characterising Scooby with a slight speech impediment (well, he is a Great Dane) that sees him starting many words with an ‘r’ (scientifically, this is known as rhoticization), his enthusiastic “Rooby Rooby Roo!” concluded many episodes. Messick voiced Scooby until 1994 when ill-health and stopping smoking led to both a change in his delivery and ultimately his death in 1997.
Another notable voice actor who contributed to the show around the world is Orlando Drummond, who has voiced Scooby from the first episode until the last in 2010 in his native Brazil (a world record for one actor voicing the same character).
1. Scrappy-Doo: Scooby’s young nephew (and son of Scooby’s sister Ruby-Doo), Scrappy is the bravest of Scooby’s relatives. Scrappy became a recurring character in the Scooby-Doo series beginning in 1979, and was noted for being quite headstrong and always wanting to face off in a fight with the various villains (unlike his uncle). He has several catch phrases, the one he uses the most is “Puppy Power!” Scooby and Shaggy were present at Scrappy’s birth.
2. Yabba-Doo: According to Scrappy and Yabba-Doo Yabba is Scooby’s brother, a white dog owned by Deputy Dusty in the American Southwest. Unlike Scooby, Yabba is brave. Unlike Scooby’s and Scrappy’s, his typical custom catchphrase at the end is “Yippity-Yabbity-Doooo!!!” (and not “Yabba-Dabba-Doo!”, presumably due to Fred Flintstone’s usage of that phrase).
3. Scooby-Dum: Scooby’s cousin (according to Shaggy in “Headless Horseman of Halloween“), a blue-grey dog who longed to be a detective, he was actually rather dimwitted (he would keep looking for clues even after the mystery was solved). His catch-phrase was also different than Scooby’s and Scrappy’s. Instead of “Scooby-Dooby-Dum” his typical custom catch-phrase is “Dum dum Dum DUM!”, an intoning the opening four notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which he would do after someone said the word “clue”.
5. Dooby-Doo: Scooby’s cousin, a singer. He is one of Scooby’s few relatives to have hair on his head. Only appeared in “The ‘Dooby Dooby Doo’ Ado”.
6. Momsy and Dada Doo: Scooby’s parents. His mother is the only one who calls him by his full name, “Scoobert”.
8. Ruby-Doo: Scooby’s sister, and mother of Scrappy-Doo.
10. Howdy-Doo: Scooby’s brother. Enjoyed reading supermarket tabloid newspapers.
11. Horton-Doo: Scooby’s uncle. Interested in monsters and science.
12. Dixie-Doo: Scooby’s cousin and the pet of Betty Lou, Shaggy’s Southern cousin.
13. Grandad Scooby: Scooby’s grandfather.
14. Great-Grandpa Scooby: Scooby’s ghostly great-grandfather.
16. Spooky-Doo: Scooby’s uncle. He was the former owner of Doo Manor
Casey Kasem – Norville “Shaggy” Rogers
Slacker/hippy-type, Rogers, is the only ever-present cast member apart from Scooby Doo to last each series of the show, his distinctive, seemingly never completed goatee beard and catchphrases of “zoinks!” and “like” voiced by Kasem from first episode through to near the end of the run, interrupted only by vegetable-related conflicts with the studio.
As with the other human characters, Shaggy was based on the characters in the early 60’s sitcom, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, in this case, that of Maynard Krebs. Pre-production, Shaggy was known as W.W. though retained the voracious appetite, often the rumbling stomach that led both he and Scooby off the beaten track and into danger. In some series Shaggy is born in Coolsville and his relationship with Scooby began when at school when adopted Scooby Doo from the Knittingham Puppy Farm.
Kasem was initially unhappy with being cast as Shaggy, preferring the role of Fred, said to be because he had no idea how hippies behaved (ironic perhaps for the voice of the American Top 40 for so many years). Kasem also clashed with the show’s writers over Shaggy’s consumption of meat, insisting he should be portrayed as a vegetarian. This led to Kasem occasionally not performing the role in protest. Despite urban legends, there is no truth in drugs playing a part in Shaggy’s behaviour, appetite or appearance.
1. Samuel Chastain Rogers and Wendy Rogers (“Mom and Pops”): Shaggy’s parents. Shaggy’s father is a police officer in most incarnations, except for Mystery Incorporated. At one point, Shaggy’s parents lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. In Mystery Incorporated, however, Shaggy’s parents are named Colton and Paula Rogers. Casey Kasem (using his natural, American Top 40 voice) voiced “Pops” from The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show through to Mystery Incorporated. Grey DeLisle voices “Mom” in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
2. Maggie “Sugie” Rogers: Shaggy’s younger sister. Seen in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.
3. Wilfred: Maggie’s fiancé/husband, and Shaggy’s brother-in-law.
4. Gaggy Rogers: Shaggy’s uncle, who likes to play practical jokes.
5. Uncle Shagworthy: Shaggy’s rich uncle. Not only does he look like his nephew — he has the same appetite and cowardice. He keeps his most precious possession, food, in a secret refrigerator with valuable jewels. Voiced by Casey Kasem.
6. Great Uncle Nat (Nathaniel): Shaggy’s great-uncle. Voiced by Lennie Weinrib.
7. Uncle Beauregard: Shaggy’s late uncle, who left his entire fortune and his Southern mansion and plantation to Shaggy in his will. He was referred to in Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers, although he never made an appearance when he was living. He appeared as a ghost and was one of the villains in the movie.
8. Fearless Shagaford: Shaggy’s uncle, who owns the Fearless Detective Agency
9. Shaggy the First – a ancestor who possessed a medallion which could turn the wearer into a werewolf.
11. McBaggy Rogers: Shaggy’s ancestor. Founder of the Rogers household and settled in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts. He is the owner of Scooby’s ancestor, Yankee-Doodle Doo. Made an appearance in The New Scooby and Scrappy Doo Show episode Wedding Bell Boos. Appears to be a Pilgrim.
12. Betty Lou: Shaggy’s Southern cousin.
Frank Welker – Frederick (or Fredward) Fred Herman Jones
Named after the same executive who gave Scooby his name, his character was based on Dobie, Dwayne Hickman’s character in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Put before a public vote, it’s quite likely Fred wouldn’t figure too highly in a favourite character poll; cravat-wearing, bossy and regularly opting to pair himself up with Daphne to look for clues, there is a school jock smugness about him which comes to the fore when unmasking the villain – quick to piece together the clues after Scooby and Shaggy have done the legwork. Though rumours have long persisted that Fred and Daphne are in some kind of relationship, the given reason for the pairings is that the creators found Fred and Daphne quite boring, so always looked for a way to keep them off-screen whenever possible.
Fred was originally set to be named “Geoff”, then “Ronnie”, Silverman requesting that his legend carry on in cartoon form with his Christian name. Although Kasem had touted himself for vocal duties, the job instead went to voice-acting newcomer, Frank Welker, then plying his trade as a comedian and radio announcer, with small onscreen roles on television and film. Impressing during an open casting, he won the role of Fred, a role he continues to play, though the character of Fred has not been an ever-present character. Welker has since contributed his voice for a huge number of cartoon characters, ranging from the post-Scooby, Wonderdog, Fangface, the villainous Dr. Claw in Inspector Gadget to more recent characters in the animated Transformers series and those of Ray Stantz and Slimer in The Real Ghostbusters.
Relatives of Fred’s shown or mentioned during the series include:
1. Mayor Frederick Jones Sr.: Fred’s illegal “father” in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, voiced by Gary Cole. InScooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Fred’s fake father is the mayor of Crystal Cove. He is self-centered and more interested in his status as town mayor and keeping the town’s tourist industry going, something he tries to force on his son. In the season 1 finale, it is revealed Mayor Jones was masquerading as a monster known as “the Freak of Crystal Cove”, and is the person responsible for the disappearance of the original Mystery Incorporated 20 years prior. In order to make sure two members never returned, he kidnapped Fred as an infant as blackmail, raising him as his own son. He is later arrested for his crimes. Later, in “Come Undone,” he becomes the coach at Crystal Cove High School, and says that he always has loved Fred and feels like a father figure to Fred.
2. Skip and Peggy Jones: Fred’s father and mother in the movie Scooby-Doo! Pirates Ahoy!
3. Brad Chiles and Judy Reeves.: Fred’s real father and mother in Mystery Incorporated, voiced by Tim Matheson and Tia Carrere (younger selves voiced by Nolan North and Kari Wahlgren). Both were members of the original Mystery Incorporated searching for the haunted treasure of Crystal Cove, until they were blackmailed by Mayor Jones into leaving Crystal Cove forever.
4. Eddie Jones: Fred’s uncle from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, voiced by Frank Welker. The publisher of the tabloid newspaper The National Exaggerator.
5. The Count von Jones: Fred’s uncle who lives in a castle near a factory that makes specialized coffins, and runs a museum. Fred intended to visit him during one episode of What’s New Scooby-Doo but was outvoted by the gang, who decided to watch a dog show instead. He is never seen in the series.
6. Uncle Karl: Fred’s uncle who runs a cheese shop near Lake Michigan in Wisconsin. He is better than Fred at bench-pressing.
8. An uncle who is first cymbalist in the United States Marine Corps band.
9. A 3 year-old nephew. Mentioned in The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode that guest-starred Monkees member Davy Jones, “The Haunted Horseman of Hagglethorn Hall“.
10. Jed Jones: Fred’s cousin working for Monstrous, Fright, and Magic. He is voiced by Chris Edgerly in Scooby-Doo! Unmasked
Stefanianna Christopherson (season 1 – Heather North, season 2) – Daphne Anne Blake
Fashionista, Blake, the sex siren of the show, is often the magnet for criminal activity in the show. Frequently used as a sounding-board for Fred, it is suggested she comes from a wealthy family, indeed in later appearances, she regularly calls upon her butler, Jenkins. The inspiration for her character comes from that of Thalia Menninger in The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. As with the other characters, her name was changed from the initial pitch, her intended name being Kelly. Though at the beginning of the cartoon’s run, she was often seen to be clumsy and weak-willed, she evolved to be savvy, smart and in Fred’s absence, the non-canine star of the show.
Daphne was originally voiced by Christopherson, an American of Icelandic extraction who left after one series to get married, relocating to New York. Post-Scooby, she has also voiced several characters in the animated series, Captain Caveman, as well as an on-screen role in the innovative horror film, Wicked, Wicked. Her replacement, North, also appeared in Captain Caveman (though neither as the glamorous Teen Angels), her other roles also being on the small screen and rarely in anything other than supporting roles.
Relatives of Daphne, including her four identical sisters, shown during the series’ run include:
1. George Robert Nedley Blake and Elizabeth Blake: Daphne’s parents. In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, however, the two are named Barty Blake and Nan Blake. Voiced by Frank Welker and Kath Soucie.
3. Dawn: Daphne’s sister, a model.
4. Dorothy: Daphne’s sister, a race car driver.
5. Delilah: Daphne’s sister, in the Marine Corps. Voiced by Jennifer Hale.
6. Uncle Matt Blake: Daphne’s uncle, a cattle rancher.
7. John “J.J.” Maxwell: Daphne’s uncle, a movie director.
8. Olivia Dervy: Daphne’s aunt.
9. Jennifer: Daphne’s cousin.
10. Danica LaBlake: Daphne’s cousin, a famous French model. Voiced by Vanessa Marshall.
12. Thornton Blake V: Daphne’s uncle, owner of a Golf Course near Lake Erie.
Nicole Jaffe – Velma Dinkley (nee Von Dinkenstein)
The somewhat frumpier, cleverer counterpoint to Daphne, the near-sighted Dinkley is most regularly seen losing her glasses, often resulting in either the discovery of the monster they’re chasing or clues and hidden rooms. She has a keen interest in science and in several niche subjects, from local history to world mythology, all of which helps the gang in their weekly quests. Her cross to bear is to be the one to have to deal with Scooby and Shaggy’s antics, often carrying them to safety in her arms, despite the size differences, often whilst exclaiming, “jinkies”, a catchphrase which has yet to be adopted by the masses.The Velma character was inspired by the brainy tomboy Zelda Gilroy, as played by Sheila James, from the late 1950s/early 1960s American sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. Her name is regularly mistaken as “Wilma” or “Thelma”.
Jaffe played the role until 1973, when she moved from acting to artist representation, becoming wildly successful in the process – her clients have included John Travolta and Elijah Wood. Jaffe also played a part in getting North the role as Christopherson’s replacement as Daphne. The part of Velma then fell to Patricia Stevens, who had a regular onscreen role as Nurse Baker in the long-running M*A*S*H. Replaced again by different actors over subsequent years, Velma was the least constant character, regularly making way for Scrappy-Doo or guest appearances.
Her inconsistent character history sees her being the somewhat unwanted girlfriend of Shaggy in the regrettable twilight years of the show, though this comes to an end as Shaggy finds it impossible to abandon his canine chum. Velma originally had the name “Linda”. Relatives of Velma shown during the series’ run include:
1. Dale and Angie Dinkley, Velma’s parents, voiced by Kevin Dunn and Frances Conroy. They own the Crystal Cove Mystery Museum, which has in its display all of the costumes from the villains the gang has defeated over the years, as well as other objects that have connections to the supernatural or the unexplainable. Angie constantly tries to help her daughter in any way she can, while Dale tends to reprimand Velma.
2. Madelyn Dinkley, Velma’s younger sister voiced by Danica McKellar. She appears to be in her late teens and somewhat resembles her older sister in appearance & personality. Ironically, Velma herself refers to Madelyn as a nerd and does not seem to realize how much alike they really are. Unlike Velma, Madelyn was not exactly sure what she wanted to do for a living and had previously attended clown college until she discovered a fondness for stage magic and enrolls in a school for stage magicians. Madelyn has a huge crush on Shaggy Rogers and as a result of this, Shaggy refers to Madelyn as “Doe-eyed Dinkley” or by simply “Madds”. She plays an important role in Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo, when the magic school she’s enrolled in is being terrorized by a giant griffin.
3. Aunt Meg and Uncle Evan, Velma’s aunt and uncle (voiced by Julia Sweeney and Diedrich Bader), who live in a small town called Banning Junction which features in a Halloween episode of What’s New, Scooby-Doo?
4. Marcy, Velma’s cousin and the daughter of Meg and Evan. She is studying mechanical engineering in college, but unlike Velma she is fashionable. This, along with Marcy’s interest in Fred, made her Daphne’s rival of sorts. She was born on Halloween which over time led to her hatred of the holiday as it usually upstaged her birthday (even her parents have forgotten it). Consequently, she used local legend and her engineering background to create Mechanical Scarecrow Monsters to terrorize the town on her eighteenth birthday.
5. Aunt Thelma: works with dolphins at a marine institute.
6. Uncle John: works as an archaeologist.
7. Uncle Cosmo: also works as an archaeologist.
9. Uncle Ted: also works as an archaeologist.
10. Great Uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein: Velma’s infamous great uncle, resembling Frankenstein. He’s the reason for Velma’s crime solving business.
So successful was the cartoon that it formed the basis for series such as Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics (from 1977-1978), which saw the first of his canine side-kicks, Scooby Dum. At this stage, the character had already moved away significantly from the mystery-solving gang member to knock-around laugh machine, the oddly believable environs of the early cartoons now outlandish and ultra-slapstick, with little of the supernatural. This was to achieve new heights of cringe-worthiness in 1979 when the hour-long Scooby Goes Hollywood introduced the character of Scrappy-Doo, the young son of Scooby’s sister, Ruby-Doo.
Partly due to his unwarranted enthusiasm but also due to the constant over-use of his catchphrases (“Scrappy Dappy Doo”, “Let me at ’em!” and “Puppy Power!” etc), it seems the aspect that most angered fans of the original series was that the programme-makers had opted to make any fundamental changes at all – very much a case of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. ABC would gladly have argued this point, the viewing figures in 1979 being only a fraction of those at the beginning of the decade. Even more perplexingly, the studio was proved right, the diminutive star becoming a fixture until 1988, even eclipsing the titular star of the show.
History has proven the fans of the early years of the cartoon right; Scrappy-Doo is now regularly used as a term by writers to describe the unwanted addition of a formula to ‘freshen it up’, a distinction previously held by Cousin Oliver, a late addition to The Brady Bunch, which was met with similar jeers or derision. Whilst the early episodes of Scooby Doo utilised distinctive and often innovative monsters as the threat, from the mid to late 80’s the opportunity to use monsters recognisible from more recent horror films was lost.
The dubious accolade of voicing the character fell to Lennie Weinrib, best known as the voice of H.R. Pufnstuf, although the especially keen-eared may recognise his tones amongst the blood-geysers of Shogun Assassin. From 1980-1988, Scrappy was voiced by Don Messick.
Though more recent, feature-length animated efforts have seen something of a return to form, the influence of the original television series cannot be overlooked, from the ritual unmasking of the unlikely villain to the mysterious Scooby Snacks, the characters and story arcs are now used, not only in cartoons but live-action television and film in one form or another. For many a child it was their first exposure to the world of monsters.
In cartoon for alone, Scooby-Doo would be an influence on many other Saturday morning cartoons of the 1970s, many featuring teenage detectives solving mysteries with a pet or mascot of some sort, including Josie and the Pussycats(1970–71), The Funky Phantom (1971–72), The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan (1972–73), Speed Buggy (1973–74), Goober and the Ghost Chasers (1973–74), Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (1977–80), among others.
The chronology of Scooby on television runs as follows:
1969 – 1975 – Scooby Doo, Where are You!
1972 – 1976 –The New Scooby-Doo Movies
1976 – 1991 –The Scooby-Doo Show and Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics (from 1976-1977 it was The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show)
1979 – Scooby Goes Hollywood
1979 – 1980 – Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo
1983 – 1985 – The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show
1985 – The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo
1988 – 1991 – A Pup Named Scooby-Doo
2002 – What’s New, Scooby-Doo?
2006 – Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!
2010 – 2014 – Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
2015 – Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!
Daz Lawrence’s original article first appeared on www.horrorpedia.com