The Story of Scooby-Doo

The Story of Scooby-Doo

You remember Scooby-Doo – that Saturday morning cartoon about a band of teenagers driving around in a van, solving mysteries that revolved around spooky ghosts, mummies, and more, with plenty of musical numbers accompanying the “action,” so to speak. Most importantly, the namesake of the show, Scooby-Doo, rode with those kids: a huge dog that loved its snacks but which was afraid of just about everything, along with his best pal, Shaggy. Movies have been made, remakes broadcast, and more, but just what is the origin of such an odd show?

How Scooby Got Started

In the late sixties, much as in the case of comics a decade earlier, parent-run organizations lodged a number of complaints regarding the amount of violence to be found on Saturday morning cartoons. Shows like Jonny Quest and The Herculoids composed much of the Saturday morning fare, and to these parent-run organizations, they were simply too violent. Soon, those shows were canceled thanks to the pressure put on Hanna-Barbera by these groups, and new programs were produced to replace them; those organizations even had input to ensure that the shows were “child-friendly.”

Thus began the development of what would become Scooby-Doo! The story started as a take on the Archie Show, a show titled Mysteries Five with five teenagers and their brother, W.W., who would also have a dog, named Too Much, who would play bongos in their band. While not performing on stage, the band solved mysteries related to supernatural creatures; a debate raged regarding whether or not to make Too Much a large and cowardly dog or a small, tough dog. (Think Scrappy-Doo!) Initially Too Much was a sheepdog, but he was changed to be a Great Dane, despite the similarities to Marmaduke.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

The show went through several revisions, and in its final pitch, executives felt that it would be too similar to the shows that had previously been canceled for being too scared/violent for young viewers. This sent the Mysteries Five back to development, where it was heavily revised again – the musical element of a rock band was dropped entirely, and the show focused more on W.W., who was now Shaggy, and Too Much. They renamed the dog Scooby-Doo, named after the scat routine of Frank Sinatra in “Strangers in the Night,” and the show was renamed Scooby-Doo, Where Are You. Approved for production, we got the wacky hi-jinks that we all know and love today!