Scooby-Doo is one of the most influential and popular characters in the history of animated icons. Although there have been many cartoon dogs since the 60s, Scooby-Doo remains the most significant.
Scooby-Doo is a goofy and adorable dog that solves mysteries with his best friend Shaggy, along with their companions Velma, Daphne, and Freddy.
What’s Scooby-Doo’s Dog Breed?
When the creators were first working on the content of The Mysteries Five, they couldn’t decide between a sheepdog and a Great Dane.
The decision was between a large cowardly dog and a scrappy small one. They eventually went with a cowardly Great Dane.
The production designer Lwao Takamoto worked with an associate at Hanna-Barbera, who was known for breeding Great Danes.
She gave a description of a canine that was impressive and prize-winning. Creatively, Takamoto worked on designing a character that was the opposite of the given description.
Takamoto then drew the Great Dane in the wrong color. Going with his idea, he also gave Scooby-Doo a double-chin, a bowed back, and arched legs.
The writers stated that their inspiration for the characteristics of Scooby-Doo was drawn from comedian Bob Hope’s characters.
Scooby-Doo is essentially a coward, unlike any real Great Dane. The fact that Scooby-Doo’s cowardice vanished when his friends were in any danger was also inspired by Bob Hope.
There was an element added to Scooby’s character which is facing trouble speaking normally. He couldn’t pronounce Rs correctly. To overcome that, Scooby was made to be excellent at playing Charades.
How Did it Start?
In 1968, CBS executive Fred Silverman wanted to create a new show for the Saturday morning shows. The original idea that took place was comic-based The Archie show.
Upon its success, Silverman was ambitious to take it to another level. To do so, he asked the producers Joseph Barbera and William Hana to work on a new project.
The idea was to have a show about a teenage rock band that solves mysteries. The mystery element was supposed to highlight the show and bring more attention to it.
The original idea “Mystery Five” was crafted by the head storymen Joe Ruby and Ken Spears and Artist Iwao Takamoto. It revolved around five teens and their dog, who were all members of a rock band called The Mystery Five.
When they weren’t performing, they were out solving mysteries involving supernatural creatures, like zombies, ghosts.
The first pitch of the show was rejected, and it didn’t go through. In an attempt to save the show, Silverman tried to make some changes and concentrated more on the dog and Shaggy.
Dropping the rock band element, he wanted to make the show more fun and friendly. He was inspired by Frank Sinatra’s Strangers in the night where he says “doo be doo be doo.”
The show was renamed to be Scooby-Doo, Where are You? Focusing mainly on the dog and Shaggy. The pitch for the modified idea was represented again and approved by the CBS executives.
The show first aired in September 1969 and the pilot was titled What a Night for a Knight. The characters were inspired by the Dobie Gillis characters.
Drawing from the original characters, Shaggy and Scooby-Doo were always hungry and cowardly. They had more interest in food than solving mysteries.
How Did the Show Proceed?
Scooby-Doo’s episodes all followed a certain formula and served as an inspiration to different future manifestations of the show.
With every solved mystery, the villain uttered a certain catchphrase. It went along the lines of “ I would’ve gotten away if it weren’t for you prying kids!”
It was quite successful and got incredibly high ratings. The second season was a little different as they tried to add more humor to the show.
After three seasons, they increased the screen time of each episode to full hour. In addition to that, they had guest stars in each episode to help the group with mysteries.
The guest stars that appeared on the show included:
- Don Knotts
- Batman and Robin
- The Harlem Globetrotters
- The Three Stooges
The new form of the show lasted for 2 seasons and was called The New Scooby-Doo Movies. CBS then went back to the original show until it joined the network ABC.
Changes Under ABC
The show was constantly improved and changed when it moved to ABC in 1976. A collaboration was created with a new show called Dynomutt Dog.
The idea was successful and these changes lasted until around 1979. There were three main derivatives created through those years:
- The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show 1976.
- Scooby’s All-Star Laff-a-Lympics 1977 – 78.
- Scooby’s All-Stars 1978 – 79.
When original Scooby-Doo, Where are You? were then created, they often featured Scooby’s country cousin Scooby-Dum. These episodes continued airing and were even made into their own show later on.
In an attempt to regain interest in the show, Scooby’s nephew Scrappy-Doo was introduced in 1979. It was a great success and the entire show started to focus more on Scrappy-Doo throughout 1980.
The modified show focused only on Shaggy, Scooby, and Scrappy. It was then taken as a part of The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show, which was from 1980 to 1982.
In the modified version of the show, old evil characters were brought back. The imaginary ghosts then were reincarnated as real ones.
Rebirth of Scooby-Doo
After the success of the reruns airing on Cartoon Network in 2002, the original Mystery, Inc. was revolutionized for the new century.
Kids WB aired the new show under the name ‘What’s new Scooby-Doo?’ from 2002 to 2005. The show was given a new look and voice actors by Warner Bros. after they took over the original production company.
In 2006, the show was changed and aired under the name ‘Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue’. The rest of the gang only made one-time appearances every now and then.
The show was rebooted and modified several times since.
Scooby-Doo is still a very influential show. It’s quite interesting when you get an idea of the story behind it.