"I could never keep
that dog off the couch."
- W.J. Flywheel, Webporium
is a popular and long-running American animated television series
produced for Saturday morning television by Hanna-Barbera Productions
(now Cartoon Network Studios) in several different versions from 1969
to the present. Though the format of the show and the cast (and ages)
of characters have varied significantly over the years, the most
familiar versions of the show feature a talking Great Dane named
Scooby-Doo and four teenagers : Fred "Freddie" Jones,
Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville "Shaggy" Rogers.
five characters (officially referred to collectively as "Mystery,
Inc.", but never referred to as such in the original series)
drive around the world in a van called the "Mystery
Machine," and solve mysteries typically involving tales of
ghosts and other supernatural forces. At the end of each episode, the
supernatural forces turn out to have a rational explanation (usually
a criminal of some sort trying to scare people away so that they can
commit crimes). Later versions of the show featured different
variations on the supernatural theme of the show, and include
additional characters, such as Scooby's cousin Scooby-Dum and nephew
Scrappy-Doo, in addition to or instead of some of the original characters.
was originally broadcast on CBS from 1969 to 1976, when it moved to
ABC. ABC cancelled the show in 1986, but presented a spin-off, A Pup
Named Scooby-Doo, from 1988 until 1991. A new Scooby-Doo series,
What's New, Scooby-Doo?, aired on the WB Network during the Kids' WB!
programming block from 2002 until 2005, with Shaggy & Scooby-Doo
Get a Clue! set to take its place on the new CW network in fall 2006.
Repeats of the original series, as well as second-run episodes of the
current series, are broadcast frequently on the Cartoon Network in
the United States and other countries.
1968, a number of parental watchdog groups began vocally protesting
what they perceived as an excessive amount of gratuitous violence in
Saturday morning cartoons. Most of these shows were action cartoons
such as Space Ghost (later reinvented on The Cartoon Network as the
slightly addled host of a celebrity gabfest) and The Herculoids, and
virtually all of them were cancelled by 1969 because of pressure from
the watchgroups. Fred Silverman, executive in charge of children's
programming for the CBS network, was looking for a show that would
revitalize his Saturday morning line-up and please the watchdog
groups at the same time. The result was The Archie Show. Silverman
was eager to expand upon this success, and contacted producers
William Hanna and Joseph Barbera about possibly creating another show
based around a teenage rock-group, but with an extra element: the
kids would solve mysteries in-between their gigs. Silverman
envisioned the show as a cross between the popular I Love a Mystery
radio serials of the 1940s and the popular early 1960s TV show The
Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
and Barbera passed this task along to two of their head storymen,
Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, and artist/character designer Iwao Takamoto.
Their original concept of the show bore the title Mysteries Five, and
featured five teens (Geoff, Mike, Kelly, Linda, and Linda's brother
"W.W.") and their dog, Too Much, who were all in a band
called "The Mysteries Five" (even the dog; he played the
bongos). When "The Mysteries Five" weren't performing at
gigs, they were out solving spooky mysteries involving ghosts,
zombies, and other supernatural creatures. Ruby and Spears couldn't
decide whether to make their dog a large goofy Great Dane or a big
shaggy sheepdog. After consulting with Barbera on the issue, Too Much
was finally set as a Great Dane, primarily to avoid a direct
correlation to The Archies, who had a sheepdog, Hot Dog, in their band.
Takamoto consulted a studio
colleague who happened to be a breeder of Great Danes. After learning
the characteristics of a prize-winning Great Dane from her, Takamoto
proceeded to break most of the rules and designed Too Much with
overly bowed legs, a double-chin, and a sloped back, among other abnormalities.
By the time the show was
ready for presentation by Silverman, a few more things had changed:
Geoff and Mike were merged into one character called
"Ronnie" (later renamed "Fred", at Silverman's
behest), Kelly was renamed to "Daphne", Linda was now
called "Velma", and Shaggy (formerly "W.W.") was
no longer her brother. Also, Silverman, not being very fond of the
name Mysteries Five, had rechristened the show Who's S-S-Scared?
Using storyboards, presentation boards, and a short completed
animation sequence, Silverman presented Who's S-S-Scared? to the CBS
executives as the centerpiece for the upcoming 19691970
season's Saturday morning cartoon block. The executives felt that the
presentation artwork was far too frightening for young viewers, and,
thinking the show would be the same, decided to pass on it.
Now without a centerpiece
for the upcoming season's programming, Silverman turned to Ruby and
Spears, who reworked the show to make it more comedic and less
frightening. They dropped the rock band element, and began to focus
more attention on Shaggy and Too Much. According to Ruby and Spears,
Silverman was inspired by an ad-lib he heard in Frank Sinatra's
interpretation of Bert Kaempfert's song "Strangers in the
Night" on the way out to one of their meetings, and decided to
rename the dog "Scooby-Doo" and re-rechristened the show
Scooby-Doo, Where are You! The revised show was re-presented to CBS
executives, who approved it for production.
Where are You! made its CBS network debut on Saturday, September 13,
1969 and seventeen episodes of Scooby-Doo were produced. The
influences of I Love a Mystery and Dobie Gillis were especially
apparent in these early episodes. Fred was based on Dobie, Velma on
Zelda, Daphne on Thalia and Shaggy on Maynard. The similarities
between Shaggy and Maynard are the most noticeable; both characters
share the same beatnik-style goatee, similar hairstyles, and
demeanours. The roles of each character are strongly defined in the
series: Fred is the leader and the determined detective, Velma is the
intelligent analyst, Daphne is danger-prone and vain, and Shaggy and
Scooby-Doo are cowardly types more motivated by hunger than any
desire to solve mysteries. Later versions of the show would make
slight changes to the characters' established roles, most notably in
the character of Daphne, shown in 1990s and 2000s Scooby-Doo
productions as knowing many forms of karate and being able to defend herself.
The plot of each Scooby-Doo
episode followed a formula that would serve as a template for many of
the later incarnations of the series. At the beginning of the
episode, the Mystery, Inc. gang bump into some type of evil ghost or
a monster, which they learn has been terrorizing the local populace.
The teens offer to help solve the mystery behind the creature, but
while looking for clues and suspects, the gang (and in particularly
Shaggy and Scooby) run into the monster, who always gives chase.
However, after analyzing the clues they have found, the gang
determines that this monster is simply a mere mortal in disguise.
They capture the monster and have the criminal behind the mask or
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
was a major ratings success for CBS, and they renewed it for a second
season in 1970. The eight 1970 episodes of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
differed slightly from the first-season episodes in their uses of
more slapstick humor. Both seasons contained a laugh track, which was
the standard practice for U.S. cartoon series during the 1960s and 1970s.
1972, after 25 half-hour episodes, the program was doubled to a full
hour and called The New Scooby-Doo Movies; each episode of which
featured a different guest star helping the gang solve mysteries.
Among the most notable of these guest stars were The Harlem
Globetrotters, The Three Stooges, Don Knotts, and Batman & Robin,
who all appeared at least twice on the show. After two seasons and 24
episodes of the New Movies format from 1972 to 1974, the show went to
reruns of the original series until Scooby moved to ABC in 1976.
On ABC, the show went
through almost yearly format changes. For their 1976 - 1977 season,
new episodes of Scooby-Doo were joined with a new H-B show, Dynomutt,
Dog Wonder, to create The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour (It became The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt
Show when a bonus Scooby-Doo,
Where are You! rerun was added to it in November 1976). This
hour-long package show later evolved into the longer programming
blocks Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-Lympics (1977 - 1978) and Scooby's
All-Stars (1978 - 1979).
New Scooby episodes, in the
original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! format, were produced for each of
these three seasons. Four of these episodes featured Scooby's dim-witted
country cousin Scooby-Dum as a semi-regular character. The
Scooby-Doo episodes produced during these three seasons were later
packaged together for syndication as The Scooby-Doo Show, under which
title they continue to air.
1979, Scooby's tiny nephew Scrappy-Doo was added to both the series
and the billing, in an attempt to boost Scooby-Doo's slipping
ratings. The 19791980 episodes, aired under the title
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo, succeeded in regenerating interest in the
show, and as a result, the entire show was overhauled in 1980 to
focus on Scrappy-Doo. Fred, Daphne, and Velma were dropped from the
series, and the new Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo format was now
comprised of three seven-minute comedic adventures starring Scooby,
Scrappy, and Shaggy instead of one half-hour mystery. This version of
Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo aired as part of The Richie
Rich/Scooby-Doo Show from 1980 to 1982, and as part of The
Scooby-Doo/Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour from 1982 to 1983. Most of the
supernatural villains in the seven-minute Scooby and Scrappy
cartoons, who in previous Scooby series had been revealed to be human
criminals in costume, were now "real" within the context of
Daphne returned to the cast
for The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, which comprised two
11-minute episodes in a format reminiscent of the original Scooby-Doo,
Where Are You! mysteries. This version of the show lasted for two
seasons, with the second season airing under the title The New
Scooby-Doo Mysteries and featuring semi-regular appearances from Fred
saw the debut of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, which featured Daphne,
Shaggy, Scooby, Scrappy, and new characters Flim-Flam and Vincent Van
Ghoul (based upon and voiced by Vincent Price) traveling the globe to
capture "thirteen of the most terrifying ghosts and ghouls on
the face of the earth." The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo was cancelled
in March 1986, and no new Scooby series aired on the network for the
next two years.
the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! cast as junior high school
students for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, which debuted on ABC in 1988. A
Pup Named Scooby-Doo was an irreverent, zany re-imagining of the
series, heavily inspired by the classic cartoons of Tex Avery and Bob
Clampett, and eschewed the quasi-reality of the original Scooby
series for a more Looney Tunes-like style. The retooled show was a
success, and lasted until 1991. Reruns of the show have been in
syndication since the mid-1980s, and have also been shown on cable
established a successful formula, Hanna-Barbera then proceeded to
repeat it many times over. By the time Scooby-Doo had its first
format change in 1972, Hanna-Barbera had produced three other
teenager-based shows that were very similar to Scooby in concept and
execution: Josie and the Pussycats (1970), which resurrected the idea
of the rock band to the teenage-crime-fighter formula; The Pebbles
and Bamm-Bamm Show (1971), which re-imagined the toddlers from The
Flintstones as high-school students; and the most blatant Scooby
clone, The Funky Phantom (also 1971), which featured three teens, a
real ghost and his ghostly cat solving spooky mysteries.
cartoons such as The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan (1972); Goober
and the Ghost Chasers, Speed Buggy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance
Kids (1973); Clue Club and Jabberjaw (both 1976); Captain Caveman and
the Teen Angels (1977); Buford and the Galloping Ghost (1978); and
the Pebbles, Dino, and Bamm-Bamm segments of The Flintstone Funnies
(1980) would all involve groups of teenagers solving mysteries or
fighting crime in the same vein as Scooby-Doo, usually with the help
of a wacky animal, ghost, etc. For example, Speed Buggy featured
three teens and a talking dune buggy in the role of
"Scooby", while Jabberjaw used four teens and a talking
shark. Some of these shows even used the same voice actors and score
cues. Even outside studios got in on the act: when Joe Ruby and Ken
Spears left H-B in 1977 and started Ruby-Spears Productions, their
first cartoon was Fangface, yet another mystery-solving Scooby clone.
During the 1970s, the imitating programs successfully coexisted
alongside Scooby on Saturday mornings. Most of the mystery-solving
Hanna-Barbera shows made before 1975 were featured on CBS, and when
Fred Silverman moved from CBS to ABC in 1975, the mystery-solving
shows, including Scooby-Doo, followed him.
The Scooby-Doo characters
first appeared outside of their regular Saturday morning format in
Scooby Goes Hollywood, an hour-long ABC television special aired in prime-time
on December 13, 1979.
From 1986 to 1988,
Hanna-Barbera Productions produced Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10, a
series of syndicated telefilms featuring their most popular
characters, including Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, The Flintstones,
and The Jetsons. Scooby-Doo, Scrappy-Doo, and Shaggy starred in three
of these movies: Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers (1987), Scooby-Doo
and the Reluctant Werewolf (1988), and Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul
School (1988). In addition, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy appeared as the
narrators of the made-for-TV movie Arabian Nights, originally
broadcast by TBS in 1994 and later released on video as Scooby-Doo in
Starting in 1998, Warner
Bros. Animation and Hanna-Barbera (by then a subsidiary of Warner
Bros.), began producing one new Scooby-Doo direct-to-video movie a
year. These movies featured a slightly older version of the original
five-character cast from the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! days, and
disregards the later Scrappy-Doo years as non-canonical. The movies
include Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998), Scooby-Doo and the
Witch's Ghost (1999), Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders (2000), and
Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase (2001). Also in 2001, the Cartoon
Network produced Night of the Living Doo, a half-hour parody of the
New Scooby-Doo Movies format featuring "Special guest stars"
David Cross, Gary Coleman, and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.
In 2002, following the
successes of the Cartoon Network reruns and four late-1990s
direct-to-video Scooby-Doo releases, the original version of the gang
was updated for the 21st century for What's New, Scooby-Doo?, which
aired on Kids WB from 2002 until 2005, with second-run episodes also
appearing on Cartoon Network. Unlike previous Scooby series, the show
at Warner Bros. Television Animation, which had absorbed
Hanna-Barbera in 2001. The show returned to the familiar format of
the original series for the first time since 1978, with modern-day
technology and culture added to the mix to give the series a more
contemporary feel, along with new sound effects and music.
The success of the
direct-to-video movies led to Scooby's return to Saturday morning,
What's New, Scooby-Doo?, and Hanna-Barbera based later entries in
this series of Scooby movies on it rather than the previous editions.
The series continued with Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire
(2003), Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico (2003), Scooby-Doo and
the Loch Ness Monster (2004), Aloha, Scooby-Doo! (2005), Scooby Doo
in Where's My Mummy? (2005) and Scooby Doo in Pirates Ahoy! (2006).
& Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! is the tenth and current incarnation of
Hanna-Barbera's Scooby-Doo cartoon. The program will begin broadcasts
on The CW's Kids WB prgramming block in the fall of 2006.
Produced by Warner Bros.
Animation, the new show will focus solely on the characters of Shaggy
and Scooby-Doo. The format will shift towards more of an action-based
format: the Mystery Machine now has the ability to transform itself
into a number of other vehicles, and Scooby himself can transform and
gain powers by consuming special Scooby Snacks containing nano
technology. Fred, Velma, Daphne and the original Mystery Machine will
occasionally make guest appearances.
This show will also mark
Scooby-Doo being on four different networks in almost 4 decades. The
channels in question are CBS, which aired the original show and the
second incarnation, ABC, which aired the preceeding 7 incarnations,
The WB, which aired the 9th, and The CW, which will air the tenth in
feature-length live-action film version of Scooby-Doo was released
by Warner Bros. in 2002. The cast included Freddie Prinze Jr. (Fred),
Sarah Michelle Gellar (Daphne), Matthew Lillard (Shaggy) and Linda
Cardellini (Velma). Scooby-Doo was created on-screen by
computer-generated special effects. Scooby-Doo was extremely
successful, with a domestic box office gross of over $130 million. A
sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, followed in March 2004.
Both of these films followed the standard Scooby-Doo formula, while
at the same time parodying various elements of that formula. While
the first film had generally original characters as the villains
(except for one villain revealed as a surprise plot twist), the
second film featured several of the monsters from the television
series, including the Black Knight, the 10,000 Volt Ghost, the
Pterodactyl Ghost, and the Miner 49er.
a successful series during its three separate tenures on Saturday
morning, Scooby-Doo cartoons won no awards for artistic merit during
its original series runs. The series has received only one Emmy
nomination in its four-decade history. Like many Hanna-Barbera shows,
Scooby-Doo was criticized for poor production values and formulaic
storytelling. In 2002, Jamie Malanowski of the New York Times
commented that "[Scooby-Doo's] mysteries are not very
mysterious, and the humor is hardly humorous. As for the animation --
well, the drawings on your refrigerator may give it competition."
Even proponents of the series often comment negatively about the
formula inherent in most Scooby episodes. Nevertheless, Scooby-Doo
has maintained a significant fan base, which has grown steadily since
the 1990s due to the show's popularity among both young children and
nostalgic adults who grew up with the series. In recent years,
Scooby-Doo has received recognition for its popularity by placing in
a number of "top cartoon" or "top cartoon
Scooby-Doo is responsible
for many pop-culture catchphrases, such as "Scooby Snacks"
and variants of the phrase "I'd've gotten away with it, too, if
it weren't for you meddling kids," a line traditionally spouted
by the culprit when caught and unmasked. This phrase has become so
well-known that only the words "meddling kids" need be said
to constitute a reference. Subsequent television shows and films
often make reference to Scooby-Doo, for example Wayne's World and the
television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which Buffy and her
monster-slaying friends refer to themselves as the "Scooby
Gang" or "Scoobies," a knowing reference to Scooby-Doo.
(Coincidentally, Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Buffy, later
played Daphne in the live-action movies.) Even South Park paid homage
to Scooby-Doo in an episode entitled "Ko?n's Groovy Pirate Ghost
Mystery". The Kevin Smith film Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back
included a scene where Jay and Silent Bob are picked up in the
Mystery Machine while hitchhiking and both they and Mystery, Inc. get
"high" off of "dooby snacks". The TV Funhouse
segment of NBC's Saturday Night Live poked fun at the Pup Named
Scooby-Doo depiction of the characters, with its own, even
younger-aged version, Fetal Scooby-Doo. Family Guy has featured
several brief Scooby-Doo parodies, and The Simpsons has parodied the
Scooby-Doo character in dialogue.