Scooby-Doo information

Production history

Creation and development

Very early designs by Iwao Takamoto for the Mysteries Five characters. Left to right, top row: Kelly (Daphne) and Geoff (Fred). Left to right, bottom row: W.W. (Shaggy) and Linda (Velma).In 1968, a number of parent-run organizations, most notably Action for Children's Television (ACT), began vocally protesting what they perceived as an excessive amount of gratuitous violence in Saturday morning cartoons during the mid-to-late 1960s.

Most of these shows were Hanna-Barbera action cartoons such as Space Ghost and The Herculoids, and virtually all of them were canceled by 1969 because of pressure from the parent groups. Members of these watchgroups served as advisers to Hanna-Barbera and other animation studios to ensure that their new programs would be safe for children.

Fred Silverman, executive in charge of children's programming for the CBS network at the time, was looking for a show that would revitalize his Saturday morning line-up and please the watchgroups at the same time. The result was The Archie Show, based upon Bob Montana's teenage humor comic book Archie. Also successful were the musical numbers The Archies performed during each program (one of which, "Sugar, Sugar", was the most successful Billboard number-one hit of 1969). 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.

scooby doo picture scooby-doo pic scooby doo image

Hanna 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" were not performing at gigs, they were out solving spooky mysteries involving ghosts, zombies, and other supernatural creatures. Ruby and Spears were unable to decide whether Too Much would be a large cowardly dog or a small feisty dog. When the former was chosen, the options became 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). Ruby and Spears feared the Great Dane would be too similar to the comic strip character Marmaduke, but Barbera assured them it would not be a problem.

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 1969–1970 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 the ad-lib "doo-be-doo-be-doo" he heard at the end of 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-rechristen the show Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! The revised show was re-presented to CBS executives, who approved it for production.

Scooby-Doo television series

The CBS years

Shaggy and Scooby-Doo register fear after being confronted by a typical Scooby-Doo villain, a ghost from outer space. From Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! season one, episode fourteen ("Spooky Space Kook", December 20, 1969).Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! made its CBS network debut on Saturday, September 13, 1969 with its first episode, "What a Night for a Knight". The original voice cast featured Don Messick as Scooby-Doo, Casey Kasem as Shaggy, Frank Welker as Fred, Nicole Jaffe as Velma, and Stefanianna Christopherson as Daphne. Seventeen episodes of Scooby-Doo were produced in 1969.

The influences of I Love a Mystery and Dobie Gillis were especially apparent in these early episodes; Mark Evanier, who would write Scooby-Doo teleplays and comic book scripts in the 1970s and 1980s, identified each of the four teenagers with their corresponding Dobie Gillis character: "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.

Velma scooby dooThe 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 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 particular 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, often with the use of a Rube Goldberg-type contraption built by Fred - and bring him to the police. Upon learning the villain's true identity, the fiendish plot is fully explained, and the apprehended criminal would utter the famous catchphrase, or a variation thereof: "And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn't for you meddling kids!"

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, Archie Show-like "chase songs" during climactic sequences, Heather North performing the voice of Daphne in place of Christopherson, and a re-recorded theme song. Both seasons contained a laugh track, which was the standard practice for U.S. cartoon series during the 1960s and 1970s.

In 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, Sonny & Cher and Batman & Robin, each of whom 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.

The Scooby clones

Every episode of the original Scooby-Doo format contains a penultimate scene in which the kids unmask the ghost-of-the-week to reveal a real person in a costume. From Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! season two, episode one ("Nowhere to Hyde", September 12, 1970).Having 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.

Later cartoons such as The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan (1972); Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Speed Buggy, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids, and Inch High, Private Eye (all 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 Comedy Show (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 in a futuristic underwater environment. 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 ABC years

The addition of Scrappy-Doo (right) to the series in 1979 would coincide with a change in the Scooby-Doo formula. From the opening credits of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo.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 Hanna-Barbera 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. For the Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics and Scooby's All-Stars programming blocks, Scooby-Doo was packaged alongside Laff-A-Lympics, a new Hanna-Barbera cartoon featuring many of its characters in parodies of Olympic sporting events. Scooby-Doo appeared on the show as the team captain of the "Scooby Doobies" team, with Shaggy and Scooby-Dum among his teammates.

In 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 1979–1980 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 more upon 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 the series.

Daphne returned to the cast for The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show in 1983, 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 and Velma.

1985 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 final first-run episode of The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo aired in March 1986, and no new Scooby series aired on the network for the next two years. Reruns of previous Scooby episodes, however, continued to air, both as part of the Scooby-Doo Mystery Funhouse package and under the New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show banner.

Hanna-Barbera reincarnated 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 and revival

Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, in a scene from What's New, Scooby-Doo?Reruns of the show have been in syndication since the mid-1980s, and have also been shown on cable television networks such as TBS Superstation (until 1989) and USA Network (as part of the USA Cartoon Express from 1990 to 1994). In 1993, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, having just recently ended its network run on ABC, began reruns on the Cartoon Network; the other versions of Scooby-Doo joined it the following year and became exclusive to Turner networks such as the Cartoon Network, TBS Superstation, and TNT. Canadian network Teletoon began airing Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1997, with the other Scooby series soon following. When TBS and TNT ended their broadcasts of H-B cartoons in 1998, Scooby-Doo became the exclusive property of both Cartoon Network and sister station Boomerang.

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 was produced at Warner Bros. 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, digitally-recorded sound effects and music. With Don Messick having died in 1997, Frank Welker took over as Scooby's voice actor, while continuing to provide the voice of Fred as well, and Casey Kasem returned as Shaggy. Grey DeLisle provided the voice of Daphne (she first took the role on Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, replacing Mary Kay Bergman, who committed suicide shortly before the release of Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders) and former Facts of Life star Mindy Cohn voiced Velma.

After three seasons, What's New, Scooby-Doo was replaced in September 2006 with Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, a major revamping of the series which debuted on The CW's Kids' WB Saturday morning programming block. The premise centers around Shaggy inheriting money and a mansion from an uncle, an inventor who has gone into hiding from villains trying to steal his secret invention. The villains, led by "Dr. Phibes" (based primarily upon Dr. Evil from the Austin Powers series), then use different schemes to try to get the invention from Shaggy and Scooby, who handle the plots alone. Fred, Daphne, and Velma are normally absent, but do make appearances at times to help. The characters were redesigned and the art style revised for the new series.

Television specials, telefilms, and direct-to-video features

The direct-to-video film Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island marked the first time the original quintet of Scooby characters had appeared together in their original forms since 1984.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. The special revolved around Shaggy and Scooby's attempts to have the network move Scooby out of Saturday morning and into a prime-time series, and featured spoofs of then-current TV shows and films such as Happy Days, Superman, Laverne & Shirley, and Charlie's Angels.

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 Arabian Nights.

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, Mark Hamill and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy.

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! Pirates Ahoy! (2006).

A number of these Scooby-Doo telefilms and direct-to-video features, as well as many of the early-1980s shows featuring Scrappy-Doo, feature the gang encountering actual supernatural beings. In Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School (1988), Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy sign up as gym teachers for Miss Grimwood's school for girls, only to find it is actually a school for ghouls, where the trio end up teaching the daughters of Frankenstein's monster, Dracula, the Werewolf, The Mummy, and the stereotypical ghost monster (Phantasma the Phantom). Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998) featured the original 1969 gang, reunited after years of being apart, battling voodoo-worshiping cat creatures in the Louisiana bayou. Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost featured an author (Tim Curry) returning to his home with the gang, to find out that an event is being haunted by the author's dead grandmother; who was an actual witch. The later What's New, Scooby-Doo-based entries in the direct-to-video series returned to the original formula, and are basically extended episodes of the What's New, Scooby-Doo series.

Live-action Warner Bros. feature films
A feature-length live-action film version of Scooby-Doo was released by Warner Bros. in 2002. The cast included Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Fred, Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Matthew Lillard as Shaggy, and Linda Cardellini as Velma. Scooby-Doo was created on-screen by computer-generated special effects. Scooby-Doo was a successful release, with a domestic box office gross of over $130 million. However, the film was not well reviewed: film critic Roger Ebert, who stated that he had never seen the original television series, gave Scooby-Doo one star (on a scale of zero to four), saying: "I feel no sympathy with any of the characters, I am unable to generate the slightest interest in the plot, and I laughed not a single time." A sequel, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, followed in March 2004, and earned $84 million at the U.S. box office.


Warner Bros.' 2002 live-action Scooby-Doo feature film was a box office success, and resulted in a sequel two years later.The 2002 film version departed considerably from the standard Scooby-Doo formula in that the paranormal is real and the skepticism of the original series is ridiculed. Various elements of that formula are parodied in both movies. 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, the Miner 49er, and Chickenstein.

Source Wikipedia. All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

 
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