Remember that one day when you could wake up without an alarm? When you would get your favorite bowl of cereal and sit between the hours of 8 and 12? This is a blog dedicated to the greatest time of our childhood: Saturday mornings. The television programs you watched, the memories attached to them, and maybe introducing you to something you didn't realize existed. Updated every weekend.
Mystery Inc.: Velma, Shaggy, Scooby, Fred and Daphne.
Those meddling kids
and that dog! Always sticking their noses where they don’t belong and foiling
the plots and schemes of evil people who enjoy cosplay a little too much. Chances
are, you either saw one or several of the eleven (yes, eleven and soon to be
twelve) incarnations of the franchise brand new or in the constant reruns
played on various networks. Or maybe you’ve seen any of the numerous
direct-to-video movies that have been steadily released since the 80s.
Regardless, chances are you’ve heard of Scooby-Doo and the kids of Mystery
Incorporated. But, how did they come to be?
A boy and his dog and their love of food.
Silverman, the executive in charge of daytime programming for CBS, sought to revitalize their Saturday morning
line-up after taking a beating in the ratings from ABC’s
The Beatles. Silverman wanted to try
and duplicate the formula, and after the success of Filmation’s The Archie Show on both TV and the
Billboard charts he asked their rivals, producers William
Hanna and Joseph
Barbera, to create a show involving teenaged musicians who solved mysteries
Just a light snack.
Writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, along with artist
and character designer Iwao
Takamoto, conceived of Mysteries 5.
Mysteries 5 was the name of a band comprised of Geoff, Mike, Kelly, Linda, W.W.
and their bongo playing dog, Too Much. The characters were modeled after the Archiecharacters, right down to Too Much being a sheep dog like Hot Dog. Ruby and
Spears pitched the show to Silverman, highlighting that the teens would solve
spooky mysteries involving the supernatural between their gigs. However,
Silverman rejected it.
The Mystery Machine.
Ruby, Spears and
Takamoto went back and began working on revisions to the show. Too Much was changed
to a Great Dane. That was their original choice of breed but ultimately
rejected for fears of being too similar to Marmaduke. Takamoto ensured to
design Too Much to be the complete antithesis of a prize-winning Great Dane to
make his very appearance funny. Ruby and Spears also chose the teenaged
characters from The Many Loves of Dobie
Gillisas the models for their characters. Mike was dropped and the
personalities altered, and with them the characters’ names: Geoff became the defacto-leader
Ronnie and eventually Fred at Silverman’s request; Kelly became the lovely and
often damsel-in-distress Daphne; Linda became the intelligent Velma; and W.W.
became the always-hungry beatnik Shaggy. Inspired by Frank Sinatra’s scat at
the end of “Strangers in the Night.” Silverman had them change Too Much’s name
to Scooby-Doo. About the only thing to remain the same was the name of their
van: The Mystery Machine.
Ghosts, monsters and demons...oh my!
musician angle was dropped and greater focus was put on the cowardly antics of
Shaggy and Scooby as they journeyed with the others in their van around the
country and ending up involved in one spooky mystery after another. To contrast
the goofy antics of the kids, the crew made the threats they faced realistic
and scary. Silverman liked the revisions and, after changing the name of the
show to Who’s S-S-Scared, presented
it to the network for the upcoming season. Unfortunately, CBS President Frank
Stanton felt that the monsters featured were too scary for young viewers
and decided to pass on the show. Silverman had the creators tone down the
supernatural elements and focus more on the comedy elements and renamed the
show Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Those
changes allowed the show to be approved for production.
In 1969, Scooby-Doo
was introduced to the world, and would go on to lead a franchise lasting over
four decades and counting.
For more on the history of Scooby-Doo, check out this video here.