It might be hard to believe but Scooby-Doo is turning 50 in 2019. Production studios Hanna-Barbera sent the first episode of Scooby-Doo: Where Are You! to air in 1969 and has never looked back. Twelve different iterations of the show, countless films, and two very memorable live-action features later, and the world is still in love with a dog, his laidback best friend Shaggy, and their mystery-solving pals.
Even though Scooby and the gang spend all their time uncovering secrets and solving mysteries, there are a lot of secrets they’ve been keeping from us. Hop in the Mystery Machine, pass the Scooby Snacks, and read on to learn all about your favorite Great Dane.
What Were Daphne And Fred Up To?
People began to think Fred and Daphne were a couple in the original series because when Fred was having the gang split up, he always chose to go alone with Daphne. Everyone figured that he was trying to get his flirt on, but the creators said it was just because they were the most boring characters.
The writers would send off Fred and Daphne so they could focus on Shaggy, Scooby, and Velma a.k.a. the much more entertaining characters.
Velma Losing Her Glasses Was Improvised
One of the running gags throughout the series is Velma losing her glasses and crawling around on the floor aimlessly saying “My glasses! I can’t see without my glasses!”
That line was actually not written into the show, but rather, it happened by accident in a table read. The original voice of Velma, Nicole Jaffe, lost her own glasses and made the exclamation in Velma’s voice. The producers loved it and wrote it into the script.
Shaggy’s Voice Actor Left Because They Wouldn’t Make The Character Vegan
Casey Kasem was cast as Shaggy way back in 1969 and had no issues until 1997. The producers asked Kasem to lend his Shaggy voice to a Burger King commercial and he refused. In real life, Kasem was a devout vegan.
After refusing to do the Burger King commercial, Kasem told producers he wouldn’t return until they made Shaggy vegan. Five years later, producers came to a compromise and made Shaggy a vegetarian.
Scooby Got His Name From Frank Sinatra
Even though the network had shut down the idea of the gang being in a band, the writers still loved the idea of a dog named "Too Much." One CBS executive, Fred Silverman, like the idea but knew the dog name needed to change.
The name came to him after hearing the part in Frank Sinatra’s "Strangers in the Night" where he sings "doo-be-doo-be-doo." From there, he got the name we all know and love. Scooby’s full name is Scoobert Doo.
A Real-Life Mystery Machine Got In A Real-Life Car Chase
Many fans of the show have painted vans to resemble the iconic Mystery Machine, but only one fan actually made headlines with it. Sharon Turman was wanted for a parole violation in California in 2016. When she saw the cops, she jumped in her Mystery Machine and sped off.
It led to a car chase that actually endangered many lives. The police ended up calling off the chase and Turman actually got away.
Remember That Time They Tried To Make Scrappy-Doo A Thing?
Look, we all make mistakes in life, and the creators of Scooby-Doo are no exception. Their biggest mistake was that time in 1979 where they decided to get rid of Fred, Daphne, and Velma and replace them with a pint-sized, bossy version of Scooby.
Scrappy-Doo turned out to be universally hated by fans. They brought Daphne back in 1983 and finally went back to the original gang in 1988. People hate Scrappy so much he actually became the villain in the live action movie.
The Elaborate Traps For The Monsters Were Like That For A Reason
Half of the reason why Scooby-Doo did so well when it hit the airwaves was that it was one of the most action-packed shows on TV. In 1968, the top cartoons were packed with action and violence. Angry parents wrote the networks and ended up canceling the shows they deemed too violent.
Scooby-Doo was created with that in mind, which is why the gang never uses violence to get the bad guys. They just use fun and creative traps.
The Live-Action Movie Was Supposed To Be Much Darker
The 2002 live-action film Scooby-Doo was originally going to be much darker and essentially be using the characters to poke fun at the innocence of the original series. They were going to officially make Shaggy a stoner, give Velma and Daphne a romantic relationship, and set a PG-13 rating.
According to Sarah Michelle Gellar, who played Daphne, things suddenly changed after the cast signed on. Likely, Hanna-Barbera put their foot down.
So, Is Shaggy Into The Green Stuff Or Not?
Everyone has always wondered if the writers meant to make Shaggy a stoner or not. I mean, he was created in 1969 a.k.a. the summer of love when the green stuff was free-flowing.
People like to think his hippie vibes, munchies, and possible hallucinogen Scooby Snacks are clear signs he is one. The creators of the show say it was never intended that way, it’s just how the character grew to be.
No, Velma Is Not A Lesbian
This conspiracy theory has come up over and over again throughout the series run. Aside from Velma’s fashion choices, many people point to her being the odd one out in the gang as a sign she’s romantically alone as well.
You’d think the theory would all come crashing down after writers put Velma and Shaggy in a relationship in Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated! but fans say he was just a beard—an old Hollywood term used for a heterosexual relationship that’s just a cover.
A Conspiracy Theory About An Economic Depression
Fans of the show recently proposed a conspiracy theory that says the show takes place during an economic depression. The theory states that the reason why the gang is always in abandoned hotels, amusement parks, and run down islands is because the businesses up and left.
The monsters always turn out to be normal people trying to make money because they fell on hard times. What do you think of this spooky theory?
Ruh-Roh, There’s A Reason Behind Scooby’s Speech
Don Messick decided on his own to add those rolling R’s into Scooby’s speech pattern, but there’s a real name for the speech impediment. Dr. Steven Long is an associate professor in Speech Pathology and Audiology at Marquette University and took it upon himself to figure out what those Rolling R’s are.
Since Scooby doesn’t actually mangle words, he just replaces a beginning letter with an R, Dr. Long says the process is “Rhotic Replacement.”
There’s A Post-Apocalyptic Scooby Series
Dark, gritty versions of happy-go-lucky stories are all the rage and Scooby-Doo didn’t escape the trend. There is a monthly comic series called “Scooby Apocalypse” that is released by DC Comics. In the comic, Scooby is a lab experiment gone wrong, Velma is the lead scientist, and Shaggy is the trainer.
The characters also get a modern, sci-fi makeover. We’re talking Shaggy with a hipster beard and Fred with arm tattoos. Not so wholesome anymore!
The Gang Was Originally A Rock Band
Before they were just a group of teenagers in a funky van, the show wanted the gang to be a rock band that solved supernatural crimes in between gigs. The original pitch even had an extra character.
The band members were named Geoff, Mike, Kelly, Linda, and W.W., and they had a bongo-playing dog called Too Much. Obviously, the network thought that was all too much, so they axed the idea and Hanna-Barbera was forced to start from scratch.
The Same Guy Has Always Voiced Fred
If you’ve seen every reiteration of Scooby-Doo, then you know the voices have changed slightly over time. One that has always remained the same throughout the series is Fred’s. Frank Welker has been the voice of Fred for nearly 50 years and it doesn’t look like he’s going to be stopping any time soon.
The only exception was the three-year series A Pup Named Scooby-Doo where the gang members were pre-teens, so they had a young teen come and voice Fred.
Scooby Has A Strange Family
Over time, viewers have been able to piece together what Scooby-Doo’s family is like, and it’s weird. We already know about his annoying nephew Scrappy-Doo. There’s also Yabba-Doo who fights crime in the wild west. Scooby is one of three triplets alongside computer lover Skippy-Doo and ’80s pop star Dooby-Doo.
Then you have his cousin Howdy-Doo, aunt Ruby-Doo, parents Mama-Doo and Dada-Doo, and then, of course, Scooby-Dumb. Try saying those names together five time fast.
Even The Network Hated Scrappy-Doo
It wasn’t just the fans who hated Scrappy, it was the networks too. After he was brought on to replace Velma, Daphne, and Fred, ABC quickly realized he wasn’t the best fit for the show.
Not only was Scrappy annoying, but ABC thought he was a bad role model for kids. They said he was too “rebellious and independent.” Rebellion might seem like a bad trait but there’s nothing wrong with being independent.
Scooby’s Voice Actor Is A Legend In TV
Scooby-Doo has one of the most memorable voices with the rolling R’s and it’s all thanks to a man named Don Messick. He was the voice behind Scooby from 1969 until his death in 1985.
Not only did Messick voice Scooby but he also brought many other iconic cartoon characters to life including Papa Smurf, Boo-Boo Bear, Astro the Dog, and Sebastian the Cat. That’s an all-star cast all coming from one man.
Scooby Wasn’t Always A Great Dane
It seems like everything centered around the dog for the creators of Scooby-Doo because they waffled on the name and the type of breed. The Great Dane was their original choice but studio executives thought it would be too similar to Marmaduke.
They suggested changing Scooby into a sheepdog but he ended up looking too close to Hot Dog from the Archie comics. After more rewrites, they changed him back to the goofy, spotted Great Dane we all know and love.
Animators Tried (And Failed) To Work With Dog Breeders
Once they had finally decided that Scooby was going to be a Great Dane, the animators figured they should get some expert help to make sure they get the look right. The character designs met with breeders to get the right ear, body, and face shape for the dog…then ended up throwing it all out.
The animators opted for a cute and floppy version of Scooby instead of an accurate one.
There Are Only Two Characters Who Appear In Every Show
Shaggy and Scooby are the only two that have appeared in every single episode, series, movie, or spin-off of the show. Obviously, it’s not that the writers hated the other characters, it’s just that they knew Shaggy and Scooby were the bread and butter of the show.
The characters were the only ones to survive being cut and replaced with other characters like Scrappy-Doo or Scooby-Dumb. I mean, the show is named after Scooby, so that makes sense.
A Nod To The First Episode
In the live-action movie, Daphne tries to get Shaggy to search through a castle with her and he says no because “castles have paintings with eyes that watch you, and suits of armor you think is a statue with a guy inside that follows you every time you turn around!”
That line is a reference to the very first episode from way back in 1969, “Scooby-Doo Where Are You!: What a Night for a Knight.”
There Was A Very Different Live-Action Cast
The idea of doing a real-life Scooby-Doo film was floating around Hollywood as early as the 1990s. Jim Carrey was originally attached to play Shaggy and Sara Gilbert was going to play Velma. Keven Smith was even in line to direct.
That concept fizzled out and then was resurrected with Mike Myers in line to head the project. He wanted Janeane Garofalo to play Velma. None of the projects ever happened and we had to wait until 2002 for a very different film.
Some Of The Gang Were Based On A 1960s Sitcom
To get inspiration for the final look and personality of the characters, the creators of Scooby-Doo turned to another sitcom, “The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis.” The 1960s sitcom was about a teenager looking for popularity, money, and the attention of girls. It was one of the few sitcoms with teens on it to use for inspiration.
Fred is supposedly based on Dobie, Shaggy is Maynard, Daphne is Thalia, and Velma is Zelda.
They Have A Famous Scientist Fan
It might be surprising to hear that the one scientist so firmly devoted to fact and reason loved a show about paranormal activity and ghost hunting. Carl Sagan admitted that he loved Scooby-Doo for those exact reasons.
He said that the skeptical nature of the show was perfect. It taught kids to question what they know and expose supernatural claims as hoaxes. Well, when you put it like that, it makes complete sense.
People Think The Gang Are Draft Dodgers
The original Scooby-Doo debuted right in the middle of the Vietnam War. Some fans have suggested the gang are the typical picture of a draft dodging crew of friends. Fred and Shaggy are both men of eligible health and age to be drafted. Daphne is in love with Fred and will support whatever he does, and Velma looks like a stereotypical college student who opposes the war.
Plus, the gang rarely call the police despite finding themselves in danger all the time.
There Have Been Twelve Versions Of The Show
Scooby-Doo has been unique because it constantly reinvents itself. Sometimes the new ideas don’t work (we’re looking at you, whatever writer thought up Scrappy-Doo) but some of them, like the crossover episodes with the Harlem Globetrotters, were pure gold.
All in all, Scooby-Doo has had twelve iterations. The most popular have definitely been the original run, Scooby-Doo: Where Are You! that was on the air from 1969-1970, and the reboot What’s New, Scooby-Doo? which ran from 2002-2006.
Everyone’s Age Has Changed…Except Scooby’s
Scooby-Doo is always seven years old, no matter what series or movie it is. That’s been done explicitly by the writers to show that Scooby isn’t going to drop dead any time soon.
As for the rest of the gang, their age has clearly changed over time. In the original run, the were all supposed to be high school students. In one series, they became junior high students while in other series they’re full adults.
The Show Hasn’t Won Many Awards
Even though Scooby-Doo has a fond place in the hearts of Americans, it doesn’t have a fond place in the award show loop. Between all twelve series and the dozens of movies, the Scooby-Doo franchise has only won two awards. Even the cast members haven’t been recognized for any individual awards.
Despite the lack of hardware, Scooby-Doo is the longest running animated franchise produced for Saturday mornings, and have impacted so many generations of children.
There Is A Scooby-Doo Cinematic World In The Making
Yes, you read that right. Just like the cinematic universes of Marvel and DC have worked for rebuilding franchises, Hanna-Barbera wants to do the same with their cartoons. The plan would be to kick it off with another live-action Scooby-Doo film to start the new franchise.
If all things go well, then they would incorporate other characters from Hanna-Barbera like The Flintstones and The Jetsons. What’s old is new again!