This week in 1969, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! premiered.
The IMDb synopsis for the show: “A group of teenage friends and their Great Dane (Scooby-Doo) travel in a bright green van solving strange and hilarious mysteries, while returning from or going to a regular teenage function.”
The original, a Hanna and Barbera show, appeared on CBS from 1969-70. It debuted on CBS on Saturday, 13 September, 1969 at 10.30am.
|Nicole Jaffe||Velma Dinkley (25 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Casey Kasem||Norville ‘Shaggy’ Rogers / … (25 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Don Messick||Scooby-Doo / … (25 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Frank Welker||Fred Jones / … (25 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Stefanianna Christopherson||Daphne Blake / … (17 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Heather North||Daphne Blake (8 episodes, 1970)|
|Bill Lutz||…||(25 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Joe Ruby||…||(creator) (17 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Ken Spears||…||(creator) (17 episodes, 1969-1970)|
|Larz Bourne||…||(8 episodes, 1970)|
|Tom Dagenais||…||(8 episodes, 1970)|
|Joseph Barbera||…||(creator) (1 episode, 1969)|
|William Hanna||…||(creator) (1 episode, 1969)|
|John Strong||…||(uncredited) (1 episode, 1969)|
Velma’s famous line, “My glasses; I can’t see without them!” was not originally scripted for the show. During a table read for the voice artists, Velma’s voice-over actress Nicole Jaffe, who was near-sighted as well, lost her glasses and uttered a variation of what became Velma’s famous catchphrase. The writers liked the line so much that Velma losing her glasses became one of the show’s trademark gags. Velma loses her glasses in the first episode, Scooby Doo, Where Are You!: What a Night for a Knight (1969), but the actual line is first spoken in Scooby Doo, Where Are You!: Decoy for a Dognapper (1969).
Shaggy’s real name is Norville. Scooby’s real name is Scoobert.
The character name of Scooby was taken from an earlier Hanna-Barbera show, Moby Dick and the Mighty Mightor (1967), which featured Scooby the Seal. Both Scooby-Doo and Scooby the Seal had the same voice, provided by Don Messick.
Under the title of “W-Who’s S-S-Scared?”, this series was originally rejected by CBS executives, who thought the presentation artwork was too frightening for children and that the show must be the same. CBS Executive Fred Silverman was listening to Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers In The Night” (with the scatted lyric “dooby-dooby-doo”) on the flight to that ill-fated meeting. After the show was originally rejected, a number of changes were made: the Hanna-Barbera staff decided that the dog should be the star of the series (instead of the four kids) and renamed him Scooby-Doo (after that Sinatra lyric), the spooky aspects of the show were toned down slightly, and the comedy aspects tuned up. The show was re-presented, accepted, and presented as the centerpiece for CBS’s 1969-1970 Saturday Morning season.
Although this franchise has rarely enjoyed critical favor, one notable exception was the famous science popularizer, Carl Sagan. As someone who disapproved of the popular belief in various paranormal ideas, Sagan approved of the series’ skeptic tone of the heroes who usually expose supernatural claims as hoaxes.
During production of the second season (1970-1971), Casey Kasem became a strict vegetarian, and wanted his character Shaggy to follow suit. Kasem was promised by Hanna-Barbera that his character would become vegetarian from that point on. H-B actually kept their end of the bargain for the 1970-1971 season of the show (as long as one assumes that, in Scooby Doo, Where Are You!: Haunted House Hang-Up (1970), Shaggy’s bologna slice is *vegetarian* bologna and that the pizza he eats in the final scene is vegetarian-safe pizza). In subsequent spin-off series, however, Shaggy is routinely seen snacking on non-vegetarian foods. Kasem put his foot down over this issue in 1995, after he was required to perform Shaggy’s voice for a commercial advertising (decidedly non-vegetarian) Burger King Kids Club meals. Kasem refused to perform the voice after that, and did not return to the role until What’s New, Scooby-Doo? (2002) with the requirement that (of course) Shaggy be a strict vegetarian in that series, which he is. For the record, Shag’s also a vegetarian in the live-action Scooby-Doo (2002).
The original names for the characters during the show’s development, when it was known as “Mystery Five” or “Mysteries Five,” and later “W-Who’s S-S-Scared?”
- Freddy: “Geoff”, later “Ronnie” (Freddy was actually identified as Ronnie on the final storyboards for the first few episodes of the series). Freddy was named after CBS Executive Fred Silverman.
- Daphne: “Kelly”
- Velma: “Linda”
- Scooby-Doo: “Too Much” (as in: “That’s just too much!” a popular catchphrase of the time)
“Too Much” (later Scooby-Doo) was originally written as a Great Dane, but fearing their creation would be too close to the titular character in the comic strip “Marmaduke,” creators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears changed Scooby/”Too-Much” to be a big, sloppy sheepdog (which itself was far too close to “Hot Dog” from the “Archie” comics that inspired the series). After meeting with Hanna and Barbera about the issue, Scooby was changed back to a Great Dane. Character designer Iwao Takamoto went to a dog-breeding colleague at the studio for advice on what elements made up a prize-winning Great Dane, and then preceded to break every “rule” in his design of Scooby, including the double-chin, the bow-legged hind-legs, and the spots on his back (No *real* Great Dane has spots). Scooby’s utter lack of prize-winning characteristics is spoofed in episode 1.5, “Decoy for a Dognapper.”
Originally, the Scooby gang was a rock band, although the concept was soon dropped.
This is the very first Saturday-morning cartoon to include a laugh track.
A number of rumors about “hidden jokes” and “subliminal messages” surround this series: “Freddy and Daphne go off and have sex when the gang splits up to look for clues. This is why we hardly ever see them actually looking for any clues; we always see Shaggy, Scooby and Velma by themselves.” Actually, the reason we never see Freddy or Daphne when the gang splits-up is because creators/writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears found writing for Fred and Daphne (the “straight” characters, in contrast to the more comedic other three characters) boring. Therefore, they would always find an excuse to split the gang up, so that they could focus on writing gags for Shaggy, Scooby and Velma (who in later episodes found herself “splitting-up” with Fred and Daphne, so that the writers could devote even more screen time to Shaggy and Scooby). “Velma is a lesbian; she has a crush on Daphne.” Just because Velma’s boyfriend is not a member of the gang like Daphne’s is does not make her a lesbian. Neither does her being paired with Daphne when Freddy goes off on his own to find clues. The writers actually seem to imply in a number of episodes that Velma and Shaggy are seeing each other (they are often paired together at dances and such in the series). In fact in the later show Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (2010) Velma and Shaggy were in fact a couple for most of the first season. “Shaggy is a pothead/drug addict. That’s why he has the munchies and he always sees the ghosts (hallucinations) before the others.” and its variant, “Scooby Snacks contain drugs.” The first one may be the only rumor on this list with some truth to it. Shaggy is a “beatnik/hippie”-type character, and beatniks and hippies were known for their “free-thinking” ways, which often included the uses of drugs such as marijuana, LSD, etc. However, not all beatniks and hippies used drugs, and it is very possible, considering this is a Saturday morning television show, that Shaggy was one of those beatniks/hippies that didn’t. The second one is completely false: Scooby Snacks are nothing more than regular doggie treats (it’s not much of a stretch to imagine a guy who would eat chocolate-covered hot dogs, chocolate-covered corn-on-the-cob, and “liverwurst ala mode” eating doggie treats if you really think about it).
Shaggy did not wear socks.
A conspiracy theory has emerged that the show takes place after an economic depression. This explains why the “monsters” always turned out to be well respected types of people such as professors, museum creators and celebrities who have fallen into hard times like everybody else.
Dr. Steven Long, associate professor in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Marquette University, was asked to identify Scooby-Doo’s speech impediment were it real. Scooby (voiced by Don Messick ) does not so much mangle words as add letters or replace letters, usually an R in front of a beginning-vowel, or one for another consonant. Dr. Long calls this process “rhoticization”, and diagnosed Scooby with the previously-unknown disorder of “Rhotic Replacement”.
The “thunder” sound effect at the beginning of the opening credits is actually the sound of a tape-echo unit (a type of recording studio equipment) feeding back on itself. If you listen carefully you can hear the “boom” repeating over and over at a rate of about twice per second. The “shimmering” sound effect as the series title materializes from the castle window is produced by the same method, but at a higher pitch/speed.
Frank Welker, the voice of Fred, also provides the voices of Megatron and Soundwave on The Transformers (1984), Garfield on The Garfield Show (2008), and the monkey Abu in Aladdin (1992).
Larry Marks performed the “Scooby-Doo Where Are You!” theme for the first season episodes, while Austin Roberts performs it for the second season episodes. Roberts also co-wrote and performed all the “chase songs” present in the second season episodes, which were produced by Danny Janssen.
The Scooby gang is based on the Dobie Gillis gang from the television series, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1959). Both were part of CBS television network.
It was never explained, until much later, where the “Mystery Inc.” gang lived – or how they supported themselves – between cases; there were no scenes of them getting contacted, hired, or paid with regard to their work.
Stefanianna Christopherson is the only original cast member who never voiced her main character (Daphne) outside of this series. She was also replaced in season 2 by Heather North.
Though consistently a semi-anthropomorphic character in his various incarnations, Scooby shows more dog-like traits in this series than he would in later incarnations, where his characteristics would lean more towards the human side. Things like barking and growling and using charades in place of longer sentences would get less, and he would begin to say more than three or four words at a time.
For the record: In spite of widespread public belief to the contrary, the “short girl with the glasses” is actually named “Velma” with a “V”, not “Thelma” with a “T”-“H”. The name misspelling/ mispronunciation is actually spoofed in a scene that was deleted from Scooby-Doo (2002) (see the deleted scenes listing for that film).