Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (ABC 1969-1972, Casey Kasem, Don Messick)

Scooby-Doo and his crime-fighting crew, the stars of the longest-running cartoon series in television history, debuted on TV in September 1969, in what was CBS’s flagship kid’s show for the year, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? Scooby DooThough it was produced by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, makers of The Flintstones and The Jetsons, among many other cartoon series, the big inspiration for the show came from CBS kid’s programming chief Fred Silverman, who suggested both its mystery-solving format (which was later refurbished to be more comically-inclined), and elevating the dog — who was originally didn’t talk and was only a supporting character — to be the show’s lead. Silverman even came up with the name Scooby-Doo, after being inspired by Frank Sinatra’s vocal improvisations at the end of his 1966 hit Strangers in the Night.

The premise was simple: four hip teenagers and their dog travel around in their Mystery Machine van, stumbling upon a different haunted house or terrible monster each week, and then working through each episode to expose the real, man-made forces behind each haunting. The whole gangInspired by the characters in TV’s The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, the Mystery Machine gang included All-American football player-type Fred Jones (voiced first by Frank Welker, and later, Carl Stevens), All-American cheerleader-type Daphne Blake (Stefenianna Christoherson in the show’s first year, Heather North for ten years after that, and Christie star Kellie Martin for five years after that), bespectacled, Zelda-Gilroy-like brainiac Velma Dinkley (Nicole Jaffe for ten years, Marla Frumkin for one, Pat Stevens for six, and Christina Lange for four), and, in center stage, rail-thin, always-hungry beatnik Shaggy Rogers and his skittish, equally-famished Great Dane, Scooby-Doo (real name: Scoobert). Shaggy, based largely on Dobie Gillis beatnik icon Maynard G. Krebs, was voiced for the show’s entire 22-year run by famed American Top 40 radio deejay Casey Kasem, while Scooby was likewise voiced for the whole series by Hanna-Barbera staple Don Messick.

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Though Scooby-Doo and company continued pulling the masks off supposed monsters for a good, long while (always eliciting the now-famous criminal retort And I would have gotten away with it, too…if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids!), the format of the series changed fairly often. When it started off in ’69 as Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, Hanna-Barbera produced 25 half-hour episodes, which they played until 1972 (16 other half-hour episodes were produced in 1978).

Then, in ’72, the show expanded to an hour and became The New Scooby-Doo Movies. 24 new movies were made, all of them featuring real-life guest stars such as Don Knotts, Mama Cass Elliot, Sonny and Cher, Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Reed, Sandy Duncan, Davy Jones, Jonathan Winters, Phyllis Diller, Tim Conway, Laurel and Hardy, The Three Stooges, and The Harlem Globetrotters. Even not-so-real-life guests like Batman and Robin, Jeannie (as in I Dream of…), and The Addams Family would pop up from time to time. After that permutation finished airing in 1974, Scooby-Doo became a part of a number of series that also incorporated other Hanna-Barbera cartoon stars, including The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour, The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show, and Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics). In these guises, Scooby’s input was greatly lessened to appearing in 11-minute, sometimes even 7-minute segments. But they contributed, nonetheless, to Scooby’s standing, longevity-and ratings-wise, as the undisputed King of Saturday Morning Cartoons.

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Other Scooby Doo Show include
1972-74: The New Scooby Doo Comedy Movies
1976-77: The Scooby Doo/Dynomutt Hour
1979-80: Scooby’s All Star Laff-A-Lympics
1979-80: Scooby and Scrappy Doo
1982-83: Scooby and Scrappy Doo Puppy Hour
1985-86: Scooby’s Mystery Funhouse
2002: What’s New Scooby Doo?

production details
USA | ABC-Hanna Barbera | x30m-e | 1969-72

Creators: Ken Ruby, Joe Spears
Producers: William Hanna, Joseph Barbera

cast
DON MESSICK as Scooby Doo
CASEY KASEM as Shaggy
FRANK WELKER as Freddy
NICOLE JAFFE as Velma
HEATHER NORTH as Daphne

Alastair James is the editor in chief for Memorable TV. He has been involved in media since his university days. Alastair is passionate about television, and some of his favourite shows include Line of Duty, Luther and Traitors. He is always on the lookout for hot new shows, and is always keen to share his knowledge with others.