Monday, September 08, 2014

Five Things You Didn't Know About Scooby Doo

If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you are surely familiar with Scooby Doo, and even younger readers probably watched revamped versions of the Scooby Doo cartoon, or are at least aware of the importance in pop culture of this cowardly but lovable Great Dane and his band of intrepid teen mystery solvers, Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy. You probably think you know all about Scooby Doo. Sure, you know he had an obnoxious nephew named Scrappy and an intellectually challenged cousin named Scooby-Dum. You know that Shaggy was a hippie pothead and Fred was probably banging Daphne. You know that most of the time, the “ghost” was Old Man Whoever in a mask, trying to scare people away from his beloved property for one reason or another. But there are probably a few things you still don’t know about this classic cartoon. To wit:

 1. The show was created to replace much cooler cartoons like this one. 

Hanna and Barbera were the rockstars of cartoon creators in the 60s and 70s. They came up with awesome cartoons like the Herculoids, Birdman, the Impossibles, the Galaxy Trio, Space Ghost, the list goes on and on. And they weren’t even trying to sell any toys! But those nasty family watchdog groups said these cartoons were too violent for kids. CBS’ response? A seemingly innocuous cartoon about a rock group that solved mysteries. This wasn’t really H-B’s speed, so they passed along most of the task to Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, who, after a few revisions and throwing out the rock band idea (which would be revived with Josie and the Pussycats), came up with the Scooby Gang we know and love today.

2. Scooby Doo is Dobie Gillis meets the I Love a Mystery Radio Show. 

The basis for the Scooby Doo concept, as envisioned by CBS exec Fred Silverman, was a group of teenagers modeled on the gang from the popular 60s T.V. show “The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,” except, instead of dealing with typical teenage issues, they would solve crimes like the detectives on the 40s radio show, “I Love a Mystery.” Decades later, TV Creation Juggernaut J.J. Abrams would use almost the same mashup concept to create the show that launched his rocket to fame, “Alias.” (“Felicity” as a double agent superspy). In case you’re curious, the inspirations were:

Fred Jones                                                        Dobie Gillis
Shaggy Rogers
Maynard G. Krebbs

Zelda Gilroy

Velma Dinkley

Thalia Menninger

Daphne Blake

So where did the dog come from? Read on.

3. Scooby Doo was originally a bongo playing dog named "Too Much." 

In subsequent drafts he became a sheepdog before becoming the Great Dane we all know and love, designed by Iwao Takamoto, who was a pivotal designer for Disney in the ‘40s, and also designed Astro of the Jetsons.

4. Daphne is loaded. Oh, and she's also an identical sextuplet.

Did you ever wonder how the Scooby Gang stayed flush in Scooby Snacks with their crappy business model? Their adventures are financed by Daphne’s family, which is filthy rich. She has a butler named Jenkins and her close relatives include a golf course owner and a movie director. And yeah, in later incarnations of the series, it was revealed that she has five identical sisters, including, a race car driver, a doctor, an astronaut, a model, and a Marine.

5. Shaggy is also loaded.

Or at least, his family is. They may have cut him off. Shaggy’s Uncles include inventor Albert Shaggleford, Southern plantation owner Beauregard Rogers, and rich Uncle Shagworthy.

Congratulations! You now know way too much about Scooby Doo!

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