WRITTEN BY CHASE BRIDGES
Scooby Doo is one of the most iconic cartoon characters of all time. His goofy smile and blue collar is instantly recognizable by pretty much everyone, young or old! Scooby Doo has always been a personal favorite of mine, so today we are going to break down a quick history of this iconic dog detective and his pals!
Saturday morning cartoons were a huge staple in the 60’s and kids and adults alike loved watching all of the wacky characters get into trouble! However, towards the end of the decade, cartoons gained a ton of backlash from parent run organizations against all of the violence that took part in cartoons.
Most of these cartoons that were getting so much hate, were Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and they all got cancelled due to it. This caused Hanna-Barbera to start developing cartoons that were safe for children.
Writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears pitched a show called “Mysteries Five” a show featuring five teenagers (Geoff, Mike, Kelly, Linda, and W.W) they also had a pet dog who played the bongos named “Too Much.”
The Mysteries Five were not only a group of teenage friends, but they were also a band! And when they weren’t busy playing gigs, they were solving mysteries! The writers and artist Iwao Takamoto continued to work on the concept, making some big changes.
They got rid of the Mike character, changed Geoff’s name to “Ronnie” and then eventually “Fred.” Kelly became Daphne, Linda became Velma, and W.W became Shaggy! They worked on the title, and ended up naming it “Who’s S-S-Scared?”
The studio decided that it was too scary and passed on the show. The writers kept working on it, deciding to make it more of a comedic tone and dropped the rock band element to focus more on Shaggy and his dog Too Much.
This version is almost the show we know and love today, but it wasn’t until hearing Frank Sinatra scatting “Doo Be Doo Be Doo” that Too Much became Scooby Doo, and the show was renamed “Scooby Doo, Where Are You?” The new version of the show was pitched to CBS, and was picked up!
Scooby Doo, Where Are You? ran from 1969 until 1976 with a total of twenty-five episodes and two seasons. The show was such a success that it inspired tons of other cartoons that follow teenagers solving mysteries. Shows like “Josie and the Pussycats”, and “The Funky Phantom.”
During the shows initial run, it also produced “The New Scooby Doo Movies” which were hour-long episodes featuring guest stars like the Harlem Globetrotters, Batman and Robin, and The Addams Family. The New Scooby Doo Movies ran from 1972-1973 and released twenty-four episodes.
After The New Scooby Doo Movies finished it’s run, and reruns played of Scooby Doo, Where Are You? until 1976. CBS decided not to renew their option with the show, leading ABC to make a deal with Hanna-Barbera to bring a new Scooby Doo show onto their network.
Their ABC era lasted from 1976 until 1991 and went through tons of changes over the years. Starting with new Scooby Doo episodes along with a new show called Dyno-Mutt creating the “Scooby-Doo/Dyno-Mutt Hour.”
The hour program featured an episode of Dyno-Mutt, a rerun from Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, and then a new Scooby Doo episode that was made fresh by introducing Scooby-Dum as a reoccurring character. Scooby-Dum is Scooby-Doo’s dumb country cousin who would show up and be frustratingly stupid.
After awhile the Scooby-Doo/Dyno-Mutt Hour turned into “Scooby Doo’s All-Star Laugh-A-Lympics” which was a two hour slot that included reruns and new episodes of Scooby-Doo, Captain Caveman, and Laff-A-Lympics.
Laff-A-Lympics was a Hanna-Barbera parody of the olympics, which included 45 of their characters competing. Scooby Doo was apart of the Scooby Doobies team which also featured Shaggy and Scooby-Dum.
All of the original Scooby Doo episodes that were created and aired during the ABC run were compiled into a forty episode syndicated show called “The Scooby Doo Show.”
After ratings started to slip for Scooby and the gang, the network threw in a new character to add some excitement to the show. Just like that, Scooby’s nephew Scrappy made his debut. The idea actually worked as the ratings started making their way back up. Causing the studio to rename the show “Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo.”
Scooby Doo and Scrappy (along with Shaggy) found themselves solving actual supernatural mysteries as opposed to just men in masks for the next few iterations of Scooby Doo. The Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo Shorts, and The New Scooby and Scrappy Doo Show.
After these two versions, which were a lot shorter than what we were used to from Scooby, the show returned to a thirty minute format with the show The Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo. This version of the show also brought back a familiar character, Daphne. As well as introducing new characters Flim-Flam and Vincent Van Ghoul. They traveled around the globe trying to capture the thirteen most dangerous ghosts in the world.
After Thirteen Ghost’s aired it’s final episode, it would be two whole years before we saw Scooby again.
In 1988, Hanna-Barbera revamped Scooby and the gang as elementary schoolers (a common television trend at the time), With the show ‘A Pup Named Scooby Doo’. This show was a big hit, going on to air for four seasons. The show added a lot to Scooby lore, as it’s where the town Coolsville got it’s start, as well as being where we found out Scooby’s real name is Scoobert.
For the rest of the eighties and most of the nineties, Scooby Doo reruns were all that you were going to get when it came to Scooby Doo content. It wasn’t until 1998 that Warner Bros, who had acquired Hanna-Barbera, began to release direct to video Scooby Doo movies every year.
These four direct to video movies, are some of the most popular versions of Scooby Doo of all time.
scooby doo on zombie island (1998)
scooby doo and the witches ghost (1999)
scooby doo and the alien invaders (2000)
scooby doo and the cyber chase (2001)
These version of Scooby and the gang were a bit older than the original incarnation, and also featured actual ghosts, and other supernatural elements, as opposed to just men in masks. These were only the first four out of tons of direct to video Scooby Doo movies that are still coming out to this day.
The most recent (as of this article) being Scooby Doo and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon. But these movies aren’t the only Scooby Doo content that has been going on in the past few years.
In 2002 and 2004, two live action Scooby Doo movies were released theatrically. These movies are loved by an entire generation of Scooby Doo fans that were growing up in the early 2000’s. The first film was actually a huge financial success and the second one didn’t do too bad either.
On the television side of things, 2002 was the year that ‘What’s New Scooby Doo’ started airing on the Kid’s WB network. This version of the show was very similar to the original, however it was set in the 21st century. Most of the original voice cast came back to reprise their roles for this series.
After three seasons of What’s New Scooby Doo, which were very successful, a new Scooby Doo show aired titled “Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get A Clue.” This show was very different from what we had seen before, changing up the art style and even the format of the mysteries.
This series went back to just featuring Shaggy and Scooby, although this time Fred, Daphne, and Velma would make appearances from time to time. The show lasted for two seasons, and has become one of the more forgotten versions of Scooby Doo television.
It was time for a new version of Scooby Doo and the gang to hit the small screen, and in 2010 on Cartoon Network, it came back in a big way. ‘Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated’ was a complete reboot of the classic franchise.
The show reintroduced the classic characters, villains, relationships, and stories while expanding the world of Scooby and giving us tons of new characters and lore. One of the most fun things about the show, is how it used the long and intense history of Scooby Doo to build a proper Scooby Doo universe.
The show also introduced a long arcing story format. Each episode acting as a chapter in one huge mystery. The show was a huge fan favorite, and my personal favorite adaptation of Scooby Doo. It ran for fifty-two episodes over the course of two seasons.
After the huge success of Mystery Incorporated, a new Scooby Doo series was released. Be Cool Scooby Doo hit Cartoon Network in 2014. The show saw our favorite crime solving best friends, kicking it back the summer after graduation. And of course, monsters and mayhem get in the way.
The most recent Scooby Doo series is called ‘Scooby Doo and Guess Who?’ and features tons of guest stars, much like in ‘The New Scooby Doo Movies’ show from the seventies. The show is currently airing on the Boomerang Streaming Service App, and features guests such as Bill Nye, Wonder Woman, and Sherlock Holmes.
Scooby Doo, along with Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy have had a very long history in pop culture. Everyone grew up with some version of these characters, whether it be the original series, the direct to video movies, or What’s New Scooby Doo. Everyone has loved this iconic franchise, and they continue to bring joy to children every day.
The latest Scooby Doo feature film ‘Scoob!’ came out in 2020 and made over twenty million in the box office. Not too bad for an animated feature film! I grew up absolutely in love with all of these Scooby movies and series, and I continue to watch and love all of the Scooby content that comes my way.
What do you think about Scooby’s history? We covered all of his different television series but Scooby also has tons of movies that we didn’t get to mention. “Every Scooby Doo Movie” ever sounds like a great article… Would you like to see that? Let us know!