(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.)
Scooby-Doo is a long-running animated series produced for television by Hanna-Barbera Productions from
1969 to 1986, 1988 to 1991, and from 2002 to the present day. Originally broadcast on CBS (1969-1976), and
then on ABC (1976-1986, 1988-1991), it is currently broadcast on the WB Network during the Kids WB programming
block. Repeats of the older seasons, as well as second-run episodes of the current series, are broadcast
frequently on Cartoon Network in the USA and other countries.
Though the format the show and the cast (and ages) of characters have varied significantly over the years, the most
familiar versions of the show feature a Great Dane named Scooby-Doo and four teenagers: Fred "Freddie" Jones, Daphne
Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville "Shaggy" Rogers (from whom the contemporary reggae artist Shaggy took his name).
These five characters make up "Mystery, Inc," an organization that drives around the world in a van called the
"Mystery Machine," and solves 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
attempting to scare people away so that he/she could commit crimes).
Starting in 1968, a number of parental watchdog groups 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
action cartoons such as Space Ghost and The Herculoids, and virtually all of them were cancelled by 1969 because of
pressure from the watchgroups. Members of these watchgroups had begun to serve as advisors to Hanna-Barbera and other
animation studios to ensure that their new programs would be safe for children. In 1968, then-CBS executive in charge
of children's programming Fred Silverman was looking for a show that would revitalize his Saturday morning lineup and please
the watchdog groups 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, hit #1 on the
Billboard pop chart in September 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 sort of 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.
Hanna and Barbera passed this task along to two of their head storymen, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. 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 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 big shaggy sheepdog, Hot Dog, in their band).
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 re-named Fred), 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 (http://www.rubyspears.com/scooby.html), Silverman was inspired
by an ad-lib he heard in Frank Sinatra'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 new and improved show
was re-presented to CBS executives, who greenlit it for production.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was a major ratings success for CBS, and they renewed it for a second season in 1970. In 1972,
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. After two seasons of the New Movies format, the show went to reruns of the
original series until Scooby moved to ABC in 1976. There, the show went through almost yearly format changes, including
the additions of characters (Scooby-Dum from 1976 to 1977 and Scrappy-Doo from 1979 on) and the subtraction of others
(Fred and Velma were abesent from the series between 1980 and 1983 and in 1985, and Daphne was missing from the show
between 1980 and 1982). After its sixteenth season on the air and its thirteenth first-run season of new espisodes
during the 1985 - 1986, ABC cancelled Scooby-Doo. Hanna-Barbera reincarnated the Mystery Inc. gang during their junior
high days for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (ABC, 1988 - 1991), and the original version of the gang was updated for the 21st
century for What's New, Scooby-Doo? (Kids WB, 2002 - present.)
The show is responsible for many pop-culture catchphrases, such as "Scooby Snacks" and "if it weren't for you meddling
kids I'd have gotten away with it" (alternatively, "I would've got away with it if it wasn't for those pesky kids!"),
traditionally said by the culprit when caught. The question of Velma's name (Velma or Thelma) has even been the
subject of Internet polls.
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 movie.) Even South Park paid homage to Scooby-Doo in an episode entitled Korn's Groovy Pirate
Ghost Mystery. In 2002, the online comic Sluggy Freelance featured a weeks-long guest strip culminating in the
reincarnation of the Scooby Gang from other comic characters.
From 1986 to 1988, Hanna-Barbera Productions produced Hanna-Barbera Superstars 10, a series of made-for-TV-syndication
movies 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).
Scooby-Doo and Shaggy appeared as the narrators of the made-for-TV-movie Arabian Nights, originally broadcast by TBS
in 1993 and later released on video as Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights.
Starting in 1998, Hanna-Barbera (by then a subsidiary of Warner Bros.), began producing one new Scooby-Doo d
irect-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). The success of these movies led to Scooby's return to Saturday morning,
What's New, Scooby-Doo?, and Hanna-Barbera continued the series of Scooby movies with Scooby-Doo and the Legend of
the Vampire (2003), Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico (2003), and Scooby-Doo and the Loch Ness Monster (2004).
A live-action feature 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 CGI special effects. Scooby-Doo was extremely successful, with a domestic box office gross of
over $130 million. In March 2004, a sequel followed entitled Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, which earned $84 million
at the U.S. box office.