Even though I only remember seeing them in syndication as I was still really young, today I reach my favorite incarnation of Scooby-Doo, and while it’s not all downhill from here (granted there are highs and lows) it’s the version that I wish had more attention. The Scrappy period is a target, everyone seems to think there were only two Scooby shows beforehand, but there’s actually an interesting history here because we actually get to talk about three shows. (It could be four but I’ll get to why it isn’t.)
First off is The Scooby-Doo Show, the incarnation in question. However, when the show moved to ABC in 1976 there was an improvement in the art quality, which may say more about advancements in art because the animation was about the same, and this is coming off the heels of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, where all the budget seemed to go into the guest stars. ABC also put Scooby together with two other ones, one in which he actually cameoed and the other where he was a big part of the show. But before we get into the superheroes and athletics, let’s talk about the main attraction for our series first.
The original theme is the more iconic but I really like this one a bit better. Both are pretty lighthearted and I guess this one just speaks more to my time period, but it does include the creepy element. Of course this was a lighter toned show, and not just because the art had improved, and to a lesser extent the animation. The mysteries were still intact, which is the important thing. This intro even remember that with the line “come on get involved until the mystery is solved”. The previous theme didn’t really emphasise the mystery like the first and this one does. This should be a mystery show, and the bad ones are the ones that forget that.
I also remember some of my favorite mysteries were on this version but given how little play it’s gotten over the years it’s tough to remember them. It’s like Cartoon Network forgot they existed for the longest time. The 13 Ghosts Of Scooby-Doo got more play than this show. This is disappointing, but some, like the 10,000 Volt Ghost, were at least remembered in the second live-action movie…which is more praise to live-action Scooby than you’ll usually get out of me.
Also notable is that other dog, who seems to have been swallowed up by the sands of time. Kids, let me introduce you to the first of Scooby-Doo’s relatives we ever met, Scooby-Dooby-Dum. Yes, that’s his name, Scooby-Dum. This version would also give us an episode with their cousin, Scooby-Dee (who sadly they were both hot for because dogs don’t have the same family taboos I guess–decide for yourself if that’s the creepiest part of the episode as the actress canine gets replaced by a male dog in costume). This is an odd naming system. They’re all named Scooby. This would change with Scrappy-Doo, and now all of Scooby’s relatives we meet are (name)-Doo instead of Scooby-(name). It’s too bad because I like Scooby-Dum. While not the sharpest knife in the drawer he’s very good at sniffing out clues and he and Doo have a strong family bond. I hope someone uses him…on second thought, never mind. Given what they’re doing to the characters as of this writing he’s better off remaining in hiding.
We aren’t done yet, though, because The Scooby-Doo Show was actually packaged with other Scooby shows during it’s three season run, the last time we’d get more than one season without a huge change in style for the rest of the original ABC run. For season one Scooby was teamed with Dynomutt in The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour.
Sadly this is the best version I could find of the programming block’s intro. It’s something else that has fallen into the sands of time. (Maybe that’s where Scooby-Dum is, trying to find it?) Yes, this music gets used a lot for the whole block. It’s in the intro for Dynomutt: Dog Wonder as well. In season one Scooby even cameos in the intro, and would also appear in three episodes. HEAR THAT, CREATORS OF MASK OF THE BLUE FALCON! THEY WEREN’T CHARACTERS IN A FAKE SHOW IN SCOOBY’S UNIVERSE, THEY WERE ACTUAL SUPERHEROES AND YOU ROBBED US OF THE TEAM-UP WE REALLY WANTED WHILE SCOOB! GAVE US HIS DUMB KID TO THE POINT DYNOMUTT WAS THE SMARTER OF THE TWO! I WANT A PROPER TEAM-UP!
Eventually a new intro was created that left Scooby out, which is of course good for syndication, but did fall into the same problem as Scooby’s intro with the use of clips alongside the intro-only animation.
This is how you make the explanation intro interesting. Blue Falcon is voiced by the late, great Gary Owens, who was also the voice of Space Ghost in both the original show and Space Stars, so they had him on call. It’s a great choice, the serious and the comedic mixed together. Not to 90s Batman levels of serious but BF was closer to the regular HB heroes while Dynomutt was closer to like Hong Kong Phooey. It made for a great superhero parody.
Later on, both shows would be joined by two more to form the All-Star Laff-A-Lympics along with the same-titled segment and Captain Caveman And The Teen Angels, about a trio of detectives and the unfrozen caveman superhero. However, that had zero Scooby (being a supposed clone doesn’t count) so we’ll save that for another time. All three shows would appear on the Laff-A-Lympics however, and it was under the Scooby banner so it counts for our list.
Laff-A-Lympics was a parody of the Battle Of The Network Stars competitions, in which actors from shows on ABC, CBS, and NBC would compete for the pride of their network. I think it was an annual event. The competition was hosted by Snagglepuss, one of Yogi’s friends usually but he was nicely unbiased, and Mildew Wolf from Here Comes The Wolf, with the occasional event guest hosted by other HB stars not in the competition like Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. There was also an unseen narrator following each of the competitions.
You had three teams and they’re interesting choices. The “Yogi Yahooeys”, captained by Yogi Bear, featured mainly the older comedy shorts characters like Yogi, BooBoo, Huckleberry Hound, Quickdraw McGraw, and the like. Many of them joined Yogi in his team up series Yogi’s Gang, a spin-off of the TV movie Yogi’s Ark Lark, and would be teamed up in Yogi’s First Christmas and Yogi’s Treasure Hunt. Plus that Yo Yogi! show none of us want to talk about.
The “Scooby-Doobies” were the comedic crimefighters, which is why I rooted for them. In addition to Scooby and Shaggy (no games for Fred, Daphne, and Velma), Dynomutt and Blue Falcon, as well as Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels were joined by Speed Buggy and Tinker, Baboo from the Jeanie cartoon (because that was the one character they owned, but he’s kind of out of place on the list given the few episodes I saw beyond the Scooby Movies episode) and Hong Kong Phooey. I also remember Jabberjaw being involved in the show. I would have put him on this team but according to Wikipedia he wasn’t, so maybe he was one of the guest hosts like Fred and Barney?
Finally you have the “Really Rottens”, the obligatory dirty cheater team made up of mostly original villains with a few from the Yahooey character shorts, and for some reason Muttley from Wacky Races and Dick Dastardly & His Flying Machines was replaced with the similarly performed Mumbly, who in his shorts was one of the good guys. He probably should have been on Yogi’s team and Muttley and Dick Dastardly here. Their dirty tricks usually backfired but they actual do win one competition…by not cheating or just failing to cheat so bad that they ended up winning fairly if memory serves.
This intro is just the explanation, but since it’s done in the style of sports shows like Battle Of The Network Stars or ABC’s own Wide World Of Sports I’ll take it since so much of the intro is original art.
I couldn’t find a separate intro for the rework Scooby’s All-Stars. Dynomutt: Dog Wonder was canceled for some reason, and the show would only contain Scooby and Captain Caveman’s shows plus Laff-A-Lympics. This would be the final season of the show as ABC asked for a way to freshen up Scooby-Doo. That means in the next installment it’s time for….HIM! Store up your puppy power!