Alternate title: Scrappy-Doo and Guess Who.

ABC had Scooby-Doo only a few years and was already considering ending the show. It would have been the end for the show over two networks if they didn’t come up with some idea to freshen the show up. So they came up with Scrappy-Doo. Mark Evanier discusses how they came up with Scrappy, promoted it to Hanna and Barbera as well as ABC, and the various stages of Scrappy’s life he was involved in. Scrappy doesn’t deserve the hate he gets, as we’ve gone over before, but there’s still a trope (wrongfully) named for the character that arguably saved the Scooby franchise.

As a matter of fact Season One of Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo, if you were to watch both, feels like a continuation of The Scooby-Doo Show. The art is the same, the mysteries on display outside of the final episode before the format change would have been a good fit with the previous show, and the only real change was Scrappy being added to the chase scenes with his Scrappy traps (imagine Fred’s traps but without the victory–it’s not like all of Fred’s traps worked as intended) and “PUPPY POWER!” It did also change the way Scooby’s relatives had been named in the previous show, from “Scooby-(X)” to the more familiar and better suiting “(X)-Doo”, so Scrappy has that going for him. It even got packaged with other shows and featured other family members like the previous show. And of course it had its own intro.

While this would be the most monster-splatting Scrappy would do…pretty much ever, it does show off the key detains of this new character. Unlike his uncle, Scrappy is fearless and incredibly strong for such a little puppy. It doesn’t really show how little he understands that Shaggy and Scooby are afraid of the monsters but it still works. Notice also that it uses part of the Scooby-Doo Show theme in this theme. ABC seemed to consider this the official Scooby-Doo theme song, since Scooby-Doo Where Are You was the CBS version (my theory, anyway), but it does have a hint of the The New Scooby-Doo Movies theme in the “Scoooooby…Scrappy-Dappy-Doo” part.

This does a good job of showing the more cautious Scooby versus the…well, scrappy nephew he now has. However, he wasn’t intended to remain. They had planned to spin Scrappy off into his own show and I think the final episode of this version was intended as a backdoor pilot. While the other episodes were the same kind of cased you saw in the previous show, “The Ransom Of Scooby Chief” has the gang visiting Scrappy’s old neighborhood and his friends Duke and Annie. When two crooks overhear Scrappy talk about how great his uncle Scooby is, the crooks are sure he’s famous and worth a fortune so they kidnap him to ransom them off to Hollywood, because that’s where the famous people are from, right? I didn’t say they were smart crooks. The story is Shaggy and Scooby trying to escape, with Scrappy, Duke, and Annie accidentally messing up their escape attempts while attempting to rescue them. I’m sure this was an intent to spin the three pups into their own show, which I like to call “Scrappy’s Gang” but no official name was made that I’ve seen.

Instead ABC made a big mistake, and change the whole show into just the chase scenes to focus on Scrappy (not the first or last time ABC would pull focus from the title character in favor of a popular cast member–see also Welcome Back, Kotter for one example), in a series of shorts under the revamped Scooby-Doo And Scrappy-Doo, with a very slightly altered intro. And I do mean VERY slightly altered.

They didn’t even replace Lennie Weinrib, Evanier’s friend who wanted too much for the next season, with the show’s new Scrappy, Don Messick, who was now voicing both dogs. Was it that hard to have him replace three sentences? They did however edit out Fred, Daphne, and Velma, who were not part of these new comedic shorts, using a scene from the season one episode “The Ghoul, The Bat, And The Ugly”. That kind of lazy replacement I at least understand.

Look, I’m not going to defend this format change. I think it was wrong too, and it wasn’t long before it was changed back, though only Daphne returned regularly, and by then the show was still leaning heavy on the silly, but that isn’t Scrappy’s fault. That’s ABC playing games again and altering the show’s format away from the mysteries that is the core of the franchise. The talking dog and variety of teens was just the hook that kept it separate from other kids mystery shows, and there were so few of those before Scooby came along. The show would also be put into packages with other shows, in a co-production between Hanna-Barbera and Scooby’s original creators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, who had formed Ruby-Spears Productions. First off they tried to team him with heavily altered comic book character Richie Rich.

The outro (if I still have that version here) also uses the Scooby-Doo Show theme as its base. Richie Rich was a huge alteration from the comics I’ve been able to find (though if you remember my review of the sadly short-lived comic series Richie Rich: Rich Rescue it feels like they took a lot from this version) as Richie still had adventures dealing with his greedy cousin, his friendship with Gloria, but now he also occasionally took on crime with his dog Dollar, butler Cadbury (I’m sure you’ve heard of his candy company), and robot made Irona. He used a lot more gadgets, my favorite (being me) a little phonebooth in his belt buckle with a robot in glasses who changed into Superrobot. I am totally serious here, but we aren’t here to discuss Richie Rich or why he never crossed over with Goldie Gold And Action Jack. So let’s talk puppies…as in the other show this version of Scooby and Scrappy got teamed with the following season.

Let’s get the odd duck out of the way first. The Puppy’s New Adventures was a spin-off of The Puppy Who Wanted A Boy and the sequels that were part of ABC’s Weekend Special. That show were short adaptations of books, in this case the 1958 kids book The Puppy Who Wanted A Boy by Jane Thayer. This first season would see the main character Petey separated from his owner and his friends trying to help him get home. The Puppy’s Further Adventures would see them reunited and now they traveled with the family. ABC was really into traveling shows in the 1980s SatAM line-up. Another ABC show based on a book series, DIC Entertainment’s The Littles, would take the four most popular of the Lilliputian creatures on a trip around the world with their human friend Tommy and his parents. Somebody at ABC Saturday morning programing really wanted to travel.

Back on topic there’s some changes to the show we’re discussing. Shaggy and the dogs now worked for Shaggy’s uncle Fearless’s detective agency, going a bit closer to the old format but still being short wacky stuff where occasionally the spooks were real. This did mean less bullies and stuff, so positive there. It was a nice bridge between the joke period we hoped would die…we’ll get to Get A Clue eventually…and the return of mysteries.

Meanwhile, and for reasons I can’t explain, a new segment was added. “Scrappy And Yabba-Doo” doesn’t have it’s own intro but it feels like it’s just the gag shorts with a pallet swap. Scrappy goes to hang out with his other uncle Yabba-Doo, who keeps the law in a small Western town with Deputy Dusty in Tumbleweed County. Scrappy is the most competent one. I barely remember this segment thanks to reruns and frankly I don’t think I ever enjoyed it. It gave Frank Welker something to do but otherwise it seems like an unnecessary addition. Maybe they were still trying to get Scrappy out of Scooby’s show and into his own? I don’t know.

If so, that’s not what happened. However, the mysteries would come back in their proper form…mostly. Next time, Daphne returns, Fred and Velma make cameos, but most importantly it started resembling a Scooby show again. Started.


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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