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Joe Ruby, co-creater of “Scooby-Doo,” died Wednesday aged 87

In an era dominated by truly horrible Hannah-Barbera animation, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! stood out as something uniquely bizarre and ugly.

Who permitted four underage mixed-sex teenagers to spend their days travelling around in a van unchaperoned? Why was shaggy a Maynard G. Krebs beatnik, a character from the previous decade? Why the heck did “Where Are You!” end with an exclamation point and not a question mark??

Mostly, why did this program have staying power when others with a very similar formula (The Funky Phantom and Speed Buggy both featured a cast of teenagers with one novelty talking character) did not?

Look at the list and feel the memories flooding back, like PTSD flashbacks.

I make an exception for their adventure cartoons like Space Ghost and The Herculoids, which had character designs by the brilliant comics illustrator Alex Toth. A good man working in a severely limiting medium.

I had a boss who was a great admirer of Hannah-Barbera and their ability to cut corners and still get the job done. Cheap tricks like when Fred is talking they show Barney standing there blinking, and when Barney is talking they show Fred, to avoid having to animate lips. Says a lot about the man and how much fun he was to work for.

A final note: that thing Fred is wearing is an Apache scarf – a fashion item that exactly matches the show’s release date and vanished fairly quickly thereafter. They were usually gaudy scarves held together with a tacky bit of paste jewelelry called an Apache scarf ring. They were a dollar at JC Penney and I loved them.

Have a good weekend, everyone!


Comment from Gromulin
Time: August 28, 2020, 7:57 pm

Having grown up on Scooby-Doo, I really expected to run across more abandoned amusement parks than I have.

Comment from AliceH
Time: August 28, 2020, 10:18 pm

Loved Space Ghost 😍

Also Jonny Quest.

And…. That’s about it, really. I was never much into cartoons. I adored The Monkees, even though I hardly ever knew what was going on.

Comment from QuasiModo
Time: August 28, 2020, 10:19 pm

Aww, I liked Scooby Doo. The mystery stories were pretty good…my favourite one was the space kook with the skeleton head that gave this shrieking sound and left glowy footprints:


Comment from DurnedYankee
Time: August 28, 2020, 11:38 pm

The Jetson’s.
Shoot. The Flintstones was a Prime Time show.

And it passed me off when they added that nasty little smartass puppy Scrappy-do.

I’m a traditionalist.

Comment from OldFert
Time: August 28, 2020, 11:42 pm

Many TV shows went downhill rapidly once they added a baby.

Comment from The Neon Madman
Time: August 29, 2020, 2:11 am

Never was much into Scooby Do. My favorites were the Warner Golden Age cartoons and Moose & Squirrel.

Comment from ExpressoBold
Time: August 29, 2020, 5:23 am

“an Apache scarf”… well, it was the “second coming” of the Apache scarf, then. I refer you to “the Apache dance,” an oddity not frequently seen since the mid-1900s.


The Apache scarf was a part of the male dancer’s costume just as the striped pullover was part of the female dancer’s costume.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: August 29, 2020, 10:17 am

I didn’t like most of the Hanna-Barbera works.
As you say, the animation was spotty.

Now REALLY old Popeye cartoons, a few I remember, had really detailed scenery, a couple were amazingly detailed as I recall.

And for music, well it was hard to beat Bugs. And just once, just ONCE, I wanted Wiley Coyote to catch and eat that friggin bird.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 29, 2020, 2:44 pm


I didn’t like most of the Hanna-Barbera works.
As you say, the animation was spotty.

I’m with you in spirit, but I have to disagree about the animation. It wasn’t spotty. It always stunk, all of it.

Comment from dissent
Time: August 29, 2020, 3:51 pm

I can actually still remember a number of these.

Not too far gone … yet.

Comment from Gromulin
Time: August 29, 2020, 5:36 pm

The sweet spot for Scoob was the Harlem Globetrotters / Don Knotts / Phyllis Diller cameo seasons, well before they defiled the show with Scrappy.

Comment from AliceH
Time: August 29, 2020, 5:48 pm

@TheNeonMadman – ah yes. I always watched Rocky and Bullwinkle, though I didn’t find it entertaining until I was much older. I would sit through every episode in hopes of another edition of Fractured Fairy tales. Those were stellar.

Comment from Pupster
Time: August 30, 2020, 12:55 pm

I only watched for the music in the chase scenes. Just once you’d think Scooby would get tired of running away and go all Cujo on the masked middle aged white guy in the costume.

Comment from BJM
Time: August 30, 2020, 6:11 pm

@Neon Madman…I never could get into Hanna-Barbera’s animation either.

As a Mad Magazine devotee…Moose & Squirrel and Warner classics were more my style. In our TV market Johnny Carson’s “Who Do You Trust” was on before Moose & squirrel…followed by Crusader Rabbit…a trifecta of snark.

Speaking of Mad…this made me laugh out loud “Spy vs Spy” I’m guessing that’s not what their PR firm was going for.

A whole generation’s sense of humor is forever warped…which ain’t such a bad thing nowadays.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: August 31, 2020, 5:09 pm

I still love the puns and wordplay in R&B.

Mr Peabody and his boy Sherman.

“Whatsamatta U” University
“Whyntchatakea Peak”
And years ahead of it’s time
“Upsidasium” which was stolen to become “Unobtainium” by “Dances with Big Blue Humanoids”

I could never figure out why NAZI Fearless leader was in charge of a couple of Russians.

Anyone for Beany and Cecil, Mighty Mouse, Underdog, Tennessee Tuxedo or Whacky Racers?

Comment from Monty James
Time: September 3, 2020, 12:59 am

Never had any use for Hanna-Barbera product, with the honorable exception of Jonny Quest. I mean, come on, characters were straight up killed on JQ, sure had my respect when I was six years old.

Always have loved the glorious old theatrical cartoons from the Forties and Fifties. Treasure trove here, if you select one you have to scroll down to see the player on the page:


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