The Scooby Doo Past

Ken Spears participated in many cartoon productions working on music, sound effects, editing, and writing. He also began a long-lasting creative partnership with his colleague, Joe Ruby, who helped him create a mystery and comedy series including four teenage detectives and a cowardly Great Dane who traveled in a van called the Mystery Machine.

Scooby-Doo started on September 13, 1969, with the first show being “Scooby-Doo, Where are you!” which lasted until October 31, 1970. The second show, “The Scooby-Doo Show,” started September 11, 1976.

One of the first developed characters was “Fred Jones” (Frank Welker) who was originally named Ronnie, which was changed because Fred ended up being based on Fred Silverman, who was the head of daytime programming at CBS at the time Scooby-Doo was being developed. After Fred’s character was created, that was when Scooby-Doo came along. The Washington Post says when “Producer Joseph Barbera told Mr. Spears and Ruby to get to work. As Mr. Spears told the story, they were leaving Barbera’s office when Ruby ‘snapped his fingers, sticks his head back inside, and says, ‘Joe, is it okay to put a dog in it, because we know Freddy Silverman likes dogs?’ And Joe Barbera said, ‘Sure, do anything you want.’”

Many of the other main Scooby-Doo characters were inspired by the late 50’s/early 60’s American sitcom “The Money Loves Of Dohie Grills.” Daphne Blake (Indira Stefanianna) was based on the money-hungry teen character Talia Menniger, and Shaggy Rogers (Casey Kasem) was inspired by Maynard G. Krebs.

“Scooby-Doo’s [Don Messick] catchphrase from Silverman, who had heard Frank Sinatra scatting ‘doo-be-doo-be-doo’ on a recording of ‘Strangers in the Night,’ and whose own name was used for Fred, the group’s ascot-wearing leader,” says Washington Post. Velma Dinkleys (Nicole Jaffe), the smart detective of the group whose catchphrase is “Jinkies,” (which was originally “Oh my,” but was changed to be more catchy) was inspired by Shaggy Rogers whose catchphrase is “Zoinks!” “Zoinks” is a nonsense word that he says whenever he’s scared. Sometimes they used these catchphrases to get attention; for instance, Velma uses “Jinkies” in the show “A Pup Named Scooby-Doo” to make herself heard since she is a shy character. Daphne’s catchphrase, “Jeepers,” stands for “Jesus” in old school euphemism. Fred’s catchphrase wasn’t anything special considering it’s just “Let’s split up gang.” 

Let’s not forget about the Mystery Machine which also made an appearance in the same show, “Scooby-Doo, Where are you!” People are still wondering if the Mystery Machine is a mid-’60s Chevy G-Body panel or a Dodge A100. The model of the van was never confirmed.

Since the famous Scooby-Doo creators Ken Spears and Joe Ruby passed away last year, Warner Bros. has said that they will only be doing reboots of the old Scooby-Doo shows and movies. They are airing Scooby-Doo shows and movies on Boomerang and other services like HBO Max, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Prime Videos, and Google Play Movies and TV. 

The Washington Post:

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