Saturday, January 10, 2009
Scooby Doo Cartoon Gallery
Scooby-Doo is a long-running American animated series produced for Saturday morning television in several different versions from 1969 to the present. The original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, was created for Hanna-Barbera Productions by writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, CBS executive Fred Silverman, and character designer Iwao Takamoto. Hanna-Barbara produced numerous spin-offs and related works until being absorbed in 1997 into Warner Bros. Animation, which has handled production since then. Although the format of the show and the cast (and ages) of characters have varied significantly over the years, the most familiar versions of the show feature a talking dog named Scooby-Doo and four twenty-five-year-olds: Fred "Freddie" Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville "Shaggy" Rogers.
These five characters (officially collectively known as "Mystery, Inc.", but never referred to as such in the original series) drive around the world in a van called the "Mystery Machine", and solve mysteries typically involving tales of ghosts and other supernatural forces. At the end of each episode, the supernatural forces usually turn out to have a rational explanation, with the young investigators discovering that criminal had used costumes, latex masks and special effects to frighten or deceive witnesses. That puts the series squarely in the old tradition of the "impossible crime" mystery (made famous by such writers as John Dickson Carr).
Later versions of Scooby-Doo featured different variations on the show's supernatural theme, and include characters such as Scooby's cousin Scooby-Dum and nephew Scrappy-Doo in addition to or instead of some of the original characters.
Scooby-Doo was originally broadcast on CBS from 1969 to 1976, when it moved to ABC. ABC aired the show until canceling it in 1986, and presented a spin-off, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, from 1988 until 1991. The WB Network's Kids' WB programming block, later created an updated version of the series called What's New Scooby Doo? which ran from 2002 to 2006. The most recent Scooby-Doo series, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, ran from 2006 to 2008 on The CW network. Repeats of the series are broadcast frequently on the Cartoon Network and Boomerang in the United States and other countries.
In 1969, many of a number of parent-run organizations, most notably Action for Children's Television (ACT), 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 Hanna-Barbera action cartoons such as Jonny Quest, Space Ghost and The Herculoids, and virtually all of them were canceled by 1969 because of pressure from the parent groups. Members of these watchgroups served as advisers to Hanna-Barbera and other animation studios to ensure that their new programs would be safe for children.
Fred Silverman, executive in charge of children's programming for the CBS network at the time, was looking for a show that would revitalize his Saturday morning line and please the watchgroups 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", was the most successful Billboard number-one hit of 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 spice: the kids would find mysteries in between their gigs. Silverman envisioned the show as a 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 story writers, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, and artist/character designer Iwao Takamoto. 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 the bongos). When "The Mysteries Five" were not performing at gigs, they were out solving spooky mysteries involving ghosts, zombies, and other supernatural creatures. Ruby and Spears were unable to decide whether Too Much would be a large cowardly dog or a small feisty dog. When the former was chosen, the options became a large goofy German Shepherd 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 sheepdog, Hot Dog, in their band). Ruby and Spears feared the Great Dane would be too similar to the comic strip character Marmaduke, but Barbera assured them it would not be a problem.
Takamoto consulted a studio colleague who happened to be a breeder of Great Danes. After learning the characteristics of a prize-winning Great Dane from her, Takamoto proceeded to break most of the rules and designed Too Much with overly bowed legs, a double chin, and a sloped back, among other abnormalities.
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 renamed "Fred", at Silverman's behest), 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 renamed 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 too spooky 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, Silverman was inspired by Frank Sinatra's scat "doo-be-doo-be-doo" he heard at the end of Bert Kaempfert'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-rechristen the show Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! The revised show was re-presented to CBS executives, who approved it for production.
It is also worth noting the similarity between the core premise of this and Enid Blyton's Famous Five books. Both series featured four youths with a dog. In both, one of the girls was attractive (Daphne/Anne) while the other plain (Velma/Georgina) and frequently the Famous Five stories would revolve around a mystery which would invariably turn out not to be mysterious but a plot to disguise the villain's true intents.(Wikipedia)