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Scooby-Doo is the eponymous character and protagonist of the animated television franchise of the same name created in 1969 by the American animation company Hanna-Barbera. He is a male Great Dane and lifelong companion of amateur detective Shaggy Rogers, with whom he shares many personality traits. He features a mix of both canine and human behaviors (reminiscent of other funny animals in the Golden age of American animation); treated by his friends more or less as an equal while speaking in a famous (and much parodied) dog-like voice. His catchphrase is "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!"
|First appearance||"What a Night for a Knight" (Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode)|
Writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears created the original Scooby-Doo series, Scooby-Doo, Where are You!, for Hanna-Barbera for CBS's 1969–70 Saturday morning cartoon schedule. Originally titled Mysteries Five, the dog who later became Scooby was originally more of a sidekick character – a bongo-playing dog named "Too Much" whose breed varied between Great Dane and sheepdog between treatments.
By the time the series was pitched to the network as Who's S-S-Scared? in early 1969, Too Much was solidified as a cowardly Great Dane. Both the dog and the series would be renamed Scooby-Doo by Fred Silverman, CBS's head of daytime programming, between its unsuccessful first pitch and a second pitch which earned the show a green light. Silverman came up with the name from the syllables "doo-be-doo-be-doo" in Frank Sinatra's hit song "Strangers in the Night".
Taking notes from a Hanna-Barbera colleague who was also a breeder of Great Danes, Production designer Iwao Takamoto designed the Scooby-Doo character with a sloping chin, spots, a long tail, a sloped back, and bow legs – all traits in direct opposition to those of a prize-winning purebred Great Dane. In defining the personality of the dog, Ruby and Spears looked for inspiration to the characters played by Bob Hope in his horror-comedies – a coward who shows traits of bravery when his friends are in danger. Veteran H-B voice artist Don Messick was the original voice of Scooby and spent decades working on the character.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! premiered on CBS on September 13, 1969, at 10:30 am. EST and ran for two seasons, for a total of 25 episodes. Its final first-run episode aired on October 31, 1970.
In most incarnations of the series, Scooby is regarded as a unique Great Dane dog who is able to speak in broken English, and usually puts the letter "R" in front of words and noises made. Other incarnations, such as A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, present talking dogs as quite common in the larger fictional universe as nobody in Coolsville seems bothered by his speaking ability. In recent years (most notably in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated), Scooby is able to speak in complete sentences and has more dialogue, though partially retaining his speech impediment. He consistently shows about the same level of intelligence as his friends, while also being subject to the same knack for clumsiness and moments of being dimwitted as well.
Different iterations of the character have been developed and expanded in the various series featuring the characters, many of them contradicting, such as the original series and recent live-action movies where Shaggy and Scooby first meet as older teenagers for the first time. This contradicts the animated series A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, where they know each other from almost infancy, though the films may be seen as having a different continuity altogether than the cartoon products. As an adult canine, Scooby is usually treated as a mix of a pet and a friend by his companions.
In all versions of the character, Scooby and Shaggy share several personality traits, mostly being cowardly and perpetually hungry. Yet their friends (Fred, Daphne, and Velma) encourage them to go after the costumed villains, usually with "Scooby Snacks". The biscuit-like dog treat or cookie snack is usually shaped like a bone or, in later versions of the cartoons, Scooby's dog tag. However, Scooby's inherent loyalty and courage do often force him to take a more heroic stance even without any prodding. Scooby is also extremely ticklish, and this is seen in many of the television series and movies.
Scooby has a speech impediment and tends to pronounce most words as if they begin with an "R"; however, most characters are able to understand him almost perfectly. In most iterations, he keeps his sentences relatively short, usually using charades for anything longer than three or four words. His catchphrase, usually howled at the end of every production, is "Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" or "Rooby-Rooby-Roo". Scooby was voiced by Don Messick through Arabian Nights in 1994, after which point Messick quit smoking; quitting smoking changed his voice and prevented him from achieving the same raspy vocal effect (despite Messick's efforts, he suffered a career-ending stroke in 1996 and died in 1997, before any further Scooby-Doo productions were made). Messick is also known for providing the voice of the dogs Astro on The Jetsons and Muttley (who snickered). The characteristic speech impediments of Scooby and Astro are so similar that Astro's signature phrase, "Ruh-roh!", is popularly and improperly attributed to Scooby (as in "Ruh-roh, Raggy!"); of the two voices, Scooby's had a deeper and throatier timbre than Astro's.
Appearance and anatomy
Scooby is brown from head to toe with several distinctive black spots on his upper body and does not seem to have a melanistic mask. He is generally a quadruped but displays bipedal 'human' characteristics occasionally. Scooby also has opposable thumbs and can use his front paws like hands. He has a black nose and wears an off-yellow, diamond-shaped-tagged blue collar with an "SD" (his initials) and has four toes on each foot. Unlike other dogs, Scooby only has one pad on each of his paws (so that it was easier to draw in the Scooby-Doo Annuals).
Scooby has a fully prehensile tail he can use to swing from or press buttons. Both his head and tail are malleable and useful as a communication aid or creating a distraction.
Creator Iwao Takamoto later explained that before he designed the character, he first spoke to a Great Dane breeder, who described to him the desirable characteristics of a pedigree dog. Takamoto then drew Scooby as the opposite of this. He said "I decided to go the opposite [way] and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, small chin and such. Even his color is wrong."
According to the official magazine that accompanied the 2002 movie, Scooby is seven years old.
Don Messick originated the character's speech patterns and provided Scooby-Doo's voice in every Scooby-Doo production from 1969 until his retirement in 1996. Voice actor Hadley Kay voiced the character for a brief period in 1997, for two episodes of Johnny Bravo, and a few television commercials. Scott Innes (also the then-voice of Shaggy) voiced Scooby-Doo in four late 1990s/early 2000s direct-to-video films and continued to voice the character regularly for toys and video games (such as Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights) until 2008. Neil Fanning provided the voice of the computer-generated Scooby-Doo in the 2002 live-action film and its 2004 sequel. Frank Welker (also the voice of Fred since 1969) has voiced Scooby since 2002, taking over beginning with What's New, Scooby-Doo? and other spin-offs including the live-action prequels Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster. Dave Coulier and Seth Green have both voiced the character in Robot Chicken.
- Don Messick (1969–1996; All Scooby-Doo media from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1969 until 1996 Burger King commercial)
- Hadley Kay (1997; Johnny Bravo and some commercials)
- Scott Innes (1998–2008, 2017; Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost, Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders, Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, and various video games, specials, talking toys, and commercials)
- Neil Fanning (2002–2004; Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, video game)
- Frank Welker (2002–present; What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Looney Tunes: Back in Action, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!, Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins, Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, the theatrical animated film, and various direct-to-DVD films, video games, and commercials)
Voiced by in unofficial material and other languages:
- Mark Hamill (2001; Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back)
- Dave Coulier (2005; Robot Chicken)
- Seth Green (2007; Robot Chicken)
- In Brazil, the actor Orlando Drummond has been the voice of Scooby-Doo for 35 years, getting into Guinness World Records as the longest serving voice actor for one character. As of 2012, Drummond still is the only voice for Scooby-Doo in the country.
- In Bulgaria, Scooby-Doo has been voiced by many different actors but mostly by Radoslav Rachev and Georgi Spasov.
- In France, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Pierre Collet, Jacques Torrens, Claude Bertrand, and Eric Missoffe.
- In Israel Scooby-Doo is voiced by Simcha Barbiro.
- In Italy, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Sergio Gibello, Enzo Consoli, Pietro Ubaldi and Nanni Baldini.
- In Romania, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Florian Silaghi.
- In Albania, Scooby-Doo has been voiced by Genci Fuga and Lorenc Kaja.
- In Denmark, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Lars Thiesgaard.
- In Germany, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Willi Roebke and Thomas Piper.
- In Japan, Scooby-Doo has been voiced by Kazuo Kumakura and Naomi Kusumi.
- In Hungary, Scooby-Doo was voiced by Attila Hanko, in the first two seasons of The Scooby-Doo Show, and is now voiced by Gabor Vass and Gabor Melis.
- In Sri Lanka, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Gaminda Priyaviraj.
- In Spain, Scooby-Doo is voiced by David García Vázquez and Cristopher Santana.
- In Sweden, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Stefan Frelander.
- In Portugal, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Rui de Sá.
- In Poland, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Ryszard Olesiński in most movies and by Wiktor Zborowski, Jacek Jarosz and Jan Kulczycki in '89 version of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo.
- In Russia, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Nikita Semenov-Prozorovskiy in cartoons and by Boris Bystrov in films.
- In Mexico, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Ismael Larumbe Sr., Francisco Colmenero, and Antonio Gálvez.
- In Netherlands, Scooby-Doo is voiced by Huub Dikstaal.
Appearances in other media
- Scooby-Doo and Shaggy made a non-speaking cameo in Teen Titans Go! episode, "I See You" when Cyborg and Beast Boy were rapping.
- Scooby-Doo appeared twice in Cartoon Network's The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy as a character who is described as being on the "wrong show" along with the other principal members of Mystery Inc.
- Scooby-Doo has appeared in Johnny Bravo in the episodes "Bravo Dooby-Doo" and "'Twas the Night" during the first season voiced both times by Hadley Kay.
- In an episode of Yin Yang Yo! called "Slumber Party of Doom", Scooby and Shaggy make two cameos. The first being Shaggy complaining about Yin and Yang stealing their montages and Scooby saying, "It sucks!"
- Scooby-Doo and Shaggy made a cameo appearance in Looney Tunes: Back in Action complaining to Matthew Lillard (who played Shaggy) about his performance in the first live-action Scooby-Doo movie. They both threaten to come after Lillard if he ruins the sequel. Scooby-Doo states that he will give him a "Scooby snack" and begins growling viciously.
- Scooby-Doo appears as a guest in a 1996 video called Kids for Character.
- Scooby-Doo also appears in an episode of Drawn Together.
- Scooby-Doo was once impersonated by David Beckham in an animated Scooby-Doo promo from the United Kingdom.
- Scooby-Doo appears in the Robot Chicken episode "Operation: Rich in Spirit", voiced by Dave Coulier (who previously imitated Scooby's voice in Full House). He is amongst Mystery Inc. members who end up killed by Jason Voorhees except Velma. Seth Green voices him in the episode "Ban on the Fun" when in the segment that spoofs Laff-A-Lympics in the style of the Munich massacre. This time, Scooby did not get killed.
- In an episode of Robotboy, when Robotboy and his 'mother' escape from police with a big speaker, a dog which looks like Scooby hangs on to the speaker and follows them home.
- In an episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold, this alludes to The New Scooby-Doo Movies where Batman originally starred in. However, with some meddling from Bat-Mite, not only were the dynamic duo able to fight unlike in the original appearance, but he also removed Shaggy and Scooby's cowardice allowing them to, for the first time, fight the villains toe to toe.
- In the episode "Saturday Morning Fun Pit" (7ACV19), on the Futurama series, Bender is re-conceived as a parody of Scooby-Doo, they call him Bendee Boo.
- Scooby-Doo and Shaggy make an appearance on the Sabrina the Teenage Witch live action series episode "Sabrina Unplugged".
- Scooby-Doo is a playable character alongside Shaggy in the crossover video game Lego Dimensions. His character includes a large sandwich called the "Scooby Snack". Frank Welker reprises the role.
- Scooby-Doo makes a cameo in the 1988 Disney film Oliver & Company. During the song "Perfect Isn't Easy", he appears on a black-and-white photo at the right front of Georgette's portrait collection.
Casey Kasem, the previous voice actor for Shaggy Rogers, said that Scooby is "the star of the show—the Shaquille O'Neal of the show." Kasem explained "People love animals more than they love people. Am I right or wrong? They give more love to their pets than they give to people. Scooby is vulnerable and lovable and not brave, and very much like the kids who watch. But like kids, he likes to think that he's brave."
- Scooby-Doo's Snack Tracks: The Ultimate Collection (Compact disc liner notes). Rhino Records. p. 4. R2 75505.
- Shostak, Stu (February 5, 2012). "Interview with Joe Ruby and Ken Spears". Stu's Show. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
- Ruby and Spears (2002).
- Scooby Doo: Scooby History Cinema.com
- (2006). Interview with Iwao Takamoto. Eerie Mystery of Scooby-Doo and Dynomutt's History [documentary featurette from The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour: The Complete Series DVD bonus features]. New York, Los Angeles, CA: Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc. Excerpt: "The Great Dane was supposed to be the biggest dog around ... and there was a woman [at the studio] who actually bred and reared Great Danes. So, she came over, and spent a solid hour describing all of the positive things that makes a prize-winning Great Dane. And I selected about five things, I think, and went in the opposite direction. For instance, a good, strong straight back, so I sloped his back. A strong chin, so I under-swung his chin ... and I think straight hind legs she mentioned. So I bowed them ..."
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons: "Scooby-Doo Facts" interior
- "Scooby-Doo creator dies aged 81". BBC. January 9, 2007. Retrieved November 25, 2009.
- Sigesmund, B.J. "The Inside Dope." Newsweek. June 14, 2002. Available at Lexis-Nexis.