“And now Frank Miller with the weather. Frank?”

For the third year of Scooby-Doo, CBS asked Hanna-Barbera to change things up. Get used to that because ABC seemed to want something new every year when they took over after this. What we got was The New Scooby-Doo Movies, which really weren’t movies but they were a full hour of Saturday morning timeslot. I guess they were low on shows or something and needed a full schedule. I don’t know what they were thinking over at CBS and HB but the thought was something like this:

“Okay, so we have the gang meeting a different celebrity every week. Pad the show out so that the celebrities get to show off without taking time away from the mystery and kids will love it. Plus, since the kids of our time period don’t recoil in horror from black and white reruns like a vampire on a sunny day we can use dead and retired famous people and characters, just with different actors. It’ll be great!”

Well, we do remember it fondly so they got something right. Does that include the intro?

Does anything seem off to you? Could it be…the missing celebrities? Yeah, when I first saw this looking up the intro on YouTube I thought this was some fan thing, but according to the Scooby-Doo fanwiki Scoobypedia this change was made for the home video release because they didn’t have the rights to the likenesses all the celebrities…who are in the episodes. From what I read the only episode missing is the Addams Family crossover “Wednesday Is Missing”. How do you have them in the episode, in a show all about the celebrity crossovers, and not have permission to use them in the episode? Every time I think rights issues can’t get any dumber Hollywood find a way to suck even harder! Okay, let’s see the REAL intro!

No, this still isn’t right. It’s a minor, and frankly welcome, change but when the cowboy shoots we aren’t supposed to see him shooting. I don’t remember him shooting. I remember Scooby cowering with the gunshot noise, then running off. It looks better seeing the cowboy fire warning shots since it confirms to the kids that he isn’t shooting at Scooby (though knowing some parent group types probably complained about seeing the gun fire so they actually made it worse as usual), but that’s not the version I remember. Okay, keep looking.

Not the best version I’d like to have, what with the Boomerang stuff and the screen stretching (curious how long that stays up for the archive), but I’ll take what I can get. I have things to do, contrary to all indications. How was this so difficult? I don’t remember that second one, the first one exists for dumb reasons, but this is the version I saw in syndication, seeing as I wasn’t around in 1972 and in 1973 I didn’t know what anything was because I just got here. Maybe this is two different seasons, or maybe the internet is just messing with me. At any rate, when the show was cut down into a half hour, two part story along with the other Scooby-Doo reruns this was the intro I saw. It’s not a bad intro. The song is based on the old one, but not a retread of it. The “all the stars are here” is the only indication of celebrities outside of the parts they apparently can’t use anymore, and it isn’t a bunch of episode clips. It’s all new animation though I do remember some scenes recreated in the episodes themselves. Maybe they just didn’t use the backgrounds in the intro animation?

The show itself actually has the lowest quality animation of the whole franchise. Yes, worse than Shaggy And Scooby-Doo Get A Clue. That was a style choice, this was a budget necessity. I mean, look at how much it costs to make eight to sixteen episodes an hour long, then throw in the stars mostly likely getting higher pay than the voice actors (some things never change after all and that’s certainly how it is now), and CBS wasn’t going to give us the same quality as the first show. The intro has the best animation of the series.

The real interesting backstage stuff isn’t the long list of celebrities that took part, it’s the ones who weren’t as famous yet. Jodie Foster did the voice for Puglsey in the Addams Family episode and would resume the role when Hanna-Barbera did the first of the two Addams Family cartoons (they did another after the movies came out, both times and here with John Astin coming back from the live-action series as Gomez) while Ted Cassidy would go on to play Lurch here and voice monsters for HB, including Godzilla himself. Jamie Farr and Larry Storch did voices but not as any characters they were known for even then. (Imagine a M*A*S*H* crossover–how would you even do that?) while Mark Hamill would do voices here and after he was famous return for various direct-to-video movies. Oddly Mickey Dolenz wouldn’t do voices for the Scooby franchise until after this, and one of the episodes features fellow Monkee Davy Jones. Finally Olan Soule, who voiced Batman for Filmation and had minor roles in the past, took on the character here along former Robin partner Casey Kasem, which would lead them to Superfriends. There are others too, and some dead or retired celebrities, or their personas since we’re talking the Three Stooges and Laurel & Hardy, would be played by voice actors, like Pat Harrington of later One Day At A Time fame voicing Moe Howard.

It’s not a bad show though the celebrity tomfoolery did slow the pace of the mystery. CBS and/or HB wanted their money’s worth out of them after all. It was still the gang who solved the mysteries though. CBS would rerun this and Where Are You until the franchise moved to ABC, where it finished off its Saturday morning run. Next time we’ll get into that with my favorite incarnation of Scooby-Doo…as well as the two shows it originally aired with. We’re talking mechanical canines, Battle Of The HB Stars, and some of the best mysteries. I can hardly wait for this trip down Memory Lane.

[UPDATE!] Scooby-Doo Archive posted a comparison of the different versions and found the episodes they’re based on. Note the “Boomerang” version is the same one I remember from syndication in the pre-Boomerang days.

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About ShadowWing Tronix

A would be comic writer looking to organize his living space as well as his thoughts. So I have a blog for each goal. :)

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