December 13, 2014

SCOOBY-DOO AND SCRAPPY-DOO



SCOOBY-DOO AND SCRAPPY-DOO
(ABC, September 22, 1979-January 5, 1980)

Hanna-Barbera Productions



MAIN CAST:
Don Messick – Scooby-Doo
Lennie Weinrib – Scrappy-Doo, various

Casey Kasem – Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, various
Frank Welker – Fred Jones, various
Heather North – Daphne Blake
Pat Stevens – Velma Dinkley (episodes 1-11)
Marla Frumkin – Velma Dinkley (episodes 12-15)

For the history of Scooby-Doo, check out this post here.


            By the time the fourth incarnation of the Scooby-Doo franchise rolled around on his tenth anniversary, the formula that made it so popular had begun to wear thin. Not only had there already been three previous Scooby programs, but an endless series of clones and twists on the concept produced by Hanna-Barbera and competitors to try and duplicate the magic. ABC, taking note of the declining ratings, constantly threatened to cancel the show every season, forcing them to insert a new element to keep things fresh each time.

Shaggy and Scooby terrified while Scrappy is ready to fight.

            Enter Scooby’s plucky new sidekick: his nephew Scrappy-Doo (Lennie Weinrib). Where Scooby (Don Messick) was cowardly, Scrappy was brave and headstrong, always ready to charge into a situation fists first (often to the point of needing to be saved from an impending threat because he wasn’t willing to recognize when it was too big for him to deal with) while shouting his battle cry “Tata-ta ta ta-ta, Puppy Power!” Scrappy would also attempt to set his own monster traps, usually resulting in his capturing Scooby and Shaggy (Casey Kasem) instead of his intended target. Scrappy would always push Scooby into situations he would rather run from, offering what he considered encouragement.



Scrappy carrying Scooby into danger.

The concept for Scrappy harkened back to Joe Ruby and Ken Spears’ initial ideas for Scooby before he evolved into the more well-known incarnation. Series writer Mark Evanier had stated that when rumors floated around about ABC executives being sold on ideas that were similar to classic Warner Bros. cartoons, he patterned Scrappy’s personality after such characters as Henry Hawk, Sylvester Jr., and Chester. That inspiration prompted Hanna-Barbera to approach Mel Blanc to assume the role, as he had played Henry, but wanted too much money. Frank Welker was auditioned, and even supplied them with the “Puppy Power” catchphrase. Although Messick was deemed the best audition by far, they decided that Weinrib had the voice they were looking for. 


"Enjoy that ice cream, guys. May be your last good meal in a long time!"

The character was not well-liked by fans to the point of constant ridicule, but the ratings managed to stabilize enough to have Scooby continue to be ABC’s schedule stopgap every season. While all the familiar characters were present on the show, the focus of the series began to shift heavily on the comic relief of Scooby and Shaggy’s (Casey Kasem) cowardice more than the spooky weekly mystery-solving. Gradually, the rest of Mystery, Inc. faded into the background of the stories to the point of irrelevance. In fact, the final episode featured only mere cameos of Fred (Welker), Daphne (Heather North) and Velma Dinkley (Pat Stevens & Marla Frumkin). Velma, whose voice actress left halfway through the series, didn’t even have a speaking role in the finale. Sure enough, Mystery, Inc. was dropped entirely as series regulars with the next incarnation of the show.


The Neon Phantom of the Roller Disco.

            It had also become evident that ideas were getting harder to come by for the series, noted in a stark decline in the story quality when compared to the previous versions. The villains of the show were also heavily influenced by the culture of the time, with such spooks as the Neon Phantom of the Roller Disco appearances. While maintaining the Hanna-Barbera laugh track, the series did feature an all-new musical score by Hoyt Curtin, finally retiring the score it had used since Where Are You! The theme song was a reworking of The New Scooby-Doo Movies theme.



Scooby-Doo Goes Hollywood DVD cover.

            Before Stevens departed, she participated in a prime-time special with the rest of the cast called Scooby Goes Hollywood, produced at the same time as this series but omitting Scrappy. Shown December 13th, 1979, the plot of the movie poked fun at the increasingly stale format of the Scooby franchise with Shaggy and Scooby desiring something new and better than their typical Saturday morning pratfalls and trying to make it big in Hollywood on prime time TV. Ultimately, they’re convinced to return to Saturday mornings. Although the movie was made available on home video, the series has yet to be fully released on DVD. Seven episodes had been released as part of four compilations called Scooby-Doo! 13 Spooky Tales.

 


EPISODE GUIDE:
“The Scarab Lives!” (9/22/79) – A cartoonist’s superhero, the Blue Scarab, comes to life as a villain and it’s up to the gang to stop him.

“The Night Ghoul of Wonderland” (9/29/79) – The gang treat Velma to a Sherlock Holmes mystery at an amusement park when the crime ends up being real.

“Strange Encounters of the Scooby Kind” (10/6/79) – Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy are kidnapped by aliens, leaving the rest of the gang to save them.

“The Neon Phantom of the Roller Disco!” (10/13/79) – The gang help the owners of Sparklers Roller Disco by finding out what the Neon Phantom wants.

“Shiver and Shake, That Demon’s A Snake” (10/20/79) – While on vacation in the Florida Keys, Daphne buys an idol cursed by the Snake Demon the gang encounters.

“The Scary Sky Skeleton” (10/27/79) – Daphne’s friend, stunt pilot Wendy, is getting ready for an air show when the Sky Skeleton appears.

“The Demon of the Dugout” (11/3/79) – A demon interrupts the baseball game between the American team and the Japanese team for the Baseball Diamond.

“The Hairy Scare of the Devil Bear” (11/10/79) – The gang stumble upon the legendary Devil Bear in the Grand Canyon.

“Twenty Thousand Screams Under the Sea” (11/17/79) – The sea beast of the Aztecs rises in Acapulco and scares away all the divers.

“I Left My Neck in San Francisco” (11/24/79) – A Vampiress that resembles Daphne stalks San Francisco, leading Shaggy, Scrappy and Scooby to think Daphne is the vampire.

“Where You Wish Upon a Star Creature” (12/1/79) – A Star Creature appears to frighten everyone away when the Green Hills observatory discovers a new star.

“The Ghoul, the Bat, and the Ugly” (12/8/79) – The gang attends the Batty Awards where the Shadow Creature destroys the best horror film of the year.

“Rocky Mountain Yiiiii!” (12/15/79) – The ghost of Jeramiah Pratt interrupts the gang’s ski weekend.

“The Sorcerer’s Menace” (12/22/79) – The ghost of the Great Haldayne is the prime suspect in the disappearance of the Black Pearl of Tonga Lei.

“Lock the Door, It’s Minotaur” (12/29/79) – The gang investigates why a minotaur is scaring everyone off the Greek island of Helos.

“The Ransom of Scooby Chief” (1/5/80) – While visiting Scrappy’s old neighborhood, Scooby and Shaggy end up kidnapped and it’s up to Scrappy and his friends to save them.

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