Monday, October 30, 2017

TERROR TEE-VEE: A Countdown to Halloween (Day 28)


Created by the team of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears for Hanna-Barbera in 1969, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! ran for two seasons before moving from CBS to ABC and a change in format.

The series focuses on four teenagers and their talking dog who travel around in a van called the “Mystery Machine” solving mysteries and crimes using deductive logic, creative trap-building and general pluckiness.

Fred plays the role of lead detective, Velma is the intelligent mind of the group, Daphne seems the danger-prone damsel and Shaggy and Scooby are the fraidy-cats who have to overcome their fears to help spring the traps on the bad guys.

Beyond solving mysteries, Scooby-Doo is all about facing your fears and overcoming them. While Velma Freddie and Daphne represent the rational mind, Shaggy and Scooby clearly represent that side of us that fears the unknown. It was probably the first piece of fiction many kids watch where it was about putting aside superstition in favor of the power of reason. Evidence over gut feelings.

And anytime this character line-up was changed, the series didn’t seem to work.  When some characters were dropped to add others (that’s you Scrappy-Doo), the dynamic didn’t work.  It was as if there was a perfect balance reached with this quintet. But then, it primarily entertained better than most shows of its ilk due to a combination of great character design, voice acting and engaging stories.

Keep the line-up the same and you have the dynamic that seems to work, no matter what other changes you make.  You could send these characters into space, under water or another reality and they seem to work well together.

Scoob-Doo is such a gold standard in pop culture, it’s hard to believe TV Guide only named it the 5th Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time (behind The Simpsons, The Flintstones, Looney Tunes and Peanuts).

That's nice and all--you say?  But what about a horror, scary or terror element that I've not successfully mentioned yet--you say?  Well, these kids were up against some pretty scary dudes to a wee one watching back in the 1970s--you be the judge:


Caffeinated Joe said...

The original is the best, but I loved the nuttiness of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. And I liked some of the live action films, too. Just good fun.

Gary Lee said...

Well, even with the age change, Pup at least kept the cast right.