45 Years of Scooby-Doo
by Myron Smith
Scooby-Doo has come a long way and had many incarnations. The original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, was written for Hanna-Barbera Productions by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears in 1969. It’s hard to believe it has been 45 years!
Scooby Doo is anything but hard to find. It is difficult to find anyone who hasn’t heard of Scooby, Shaggy and the rest of the gang!
This Saturday-morning cartoon series featured four mystery solving teenagers and their cowardly dog, Scooby-Doo.
There is Fred Jones, the leader of Mystery Incorporated. Daphne Blake is the damsel in distress. Velma Dinkley is the brains of the operation. And Norville “Shaggy” Rogers… He’s the slacker of the group. The star of the show is their cowardly, talking dog named Scooby-Doo. Some favorite villains include The Creeper, The Phantom, and Space Kook. In the end the creatures would usually be revealed as not being supernatural at all.
Fred Silverman with CBS was looking for a show that would revitalize his Saturday morning line up. The result was The Archie Show, based upon Bob Montana’s teenage humor comic book Archie. The show was a hit. 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 build upon this success, and contacted William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, They passed the task along to story writers Joe Ruby & Ken Spears and artist Iwao Takamoto.
Their original treatment was titled Mysteries Five, When “The Mysteries Five” were not performing at gigs, they were out solving supernatural mysteries.
The presentation artwork was initially considered too scary for young viewers. More emphasis was placed on humor and there was more focus on Shaggy and Scooby.
Soon it seemed like crime solving teenagers were sprouting up everywhere, but none were complete without a mascot. There were shows such as The Funky Phantom, The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, and The new Shmoo.
The first episode of the original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! aired on September 13th 1969. The show ran for three seasons before switching to an hour long format entitled The New Scooby-Doo Movies in 1972. This show would feature celebrity guests including The Three Stooges, The Addams Family and even Batman and Robin. The stories would also sometimes feature Hannah-Barbera characters in starring roles such as Josie and the Pussy Cats, The Harlem Globetrotters, and Speed Buggy!
Courtesy of our guest contributor Myron Smith