Scooby-Doo Cookbook Now Available
On January 1, Katrina Jergensen released a Scooby-Doo cookbook, featuring 25 different recipes that are kid-friendly. A couple of things about this cookbook I think are really cool is that the book has some recipes that were actually mentioned in the show. These include "Mystery Map" Pizza (from the movie of the same name) and Swamp Brownie Cocoa, which swamp brownies were mentioned in the Ghoul School film. Creepy Spooky Terror Land Churros and Cotton Candy Cupcakes (named after the amusement park in SDMI) and Shaggy and Scooby's Jaw Stretcher Special (mentioned in an episode whose title that currently slips my mind) are also included. I thought it was really cool that they put some love into making this cookbook, as they easily could have just included random recipes that didn't reference the show at all. The cookbook can be bought on Amazon. Here's the official description of the cookbook:
Guaranteed to solve any case of hunger! This official Scooby-Doo! cookbook features―Zoinks!―more than 25 kid-friendly recipes from the Mystery Inc. gang, including Scooby’s favorite treats, Shaggy’s must-have cheese-and-pickles pizza, jaw-stretcher sandwiches, and other easy recipes. Jam-packed with bright photos, cooking basics, and fun facts from the ever-popular show, the SCOOBY-DOO! COOKBOOK is sure to please fans of all ages, from meddling kids to adults.
Here are some images from the cookbook:
*Update 1/10: The sets have now been launched in the US and are available at Wal-Mart!*
The Scooby-Doo Playmobil sets that were supposed to come out in spring 2020 were released early in the UK! An online shop called Argos shows that two items are available, a Scooby-Doo and Shaggy Ghost playset, and a Fred, Velma and Daphne Mystery Machine playset. The 19-piece ghost playset is available for those in the UK for £15, while the 69-piece Mystery Machine is also available at Argos for £50. The ghost in the first set is also unmaskable. Additionally, the back cover of the Mystery Machine set shows that 12 individual monsters are available, which include the Space Kook, The Creeper, the Snow Ghost, the Witch Doctor and the Headless Horseman.
Thank you so much to ScoobyDooUK for the info!
Here are some closeup images for both sets:
Adobe Flash Player is being removed from all browsers, as it has become obsolete, in early 2020. What does this mean for Scooby, however?
Well, remember those Scooby-Doo Internet games? Crystal Cove Online? Creepy Castle? Did somebody say Scooby Trap?
All of these use Adobe Flash Animation, meaning that they will no longer be supported once Adobe Flash Player has been removed, Cartoon Network and KidsWB have removed all flash games from their website, including every Scooby game. There are a few new games on the KidsWB site (none of them great), but I've got to say I'll really miss these Flash Animation Scooby games.
The site's Internet Games and Crystal Cove Online page have been archived, but are no longer on the site's menu. They are accessible through the links above, but I didn't see a point to keeping them on the main site given they are unaccessible.
So, maybe hop on the Boomerang UK website sometime this week and play your last round of Scooby Trap, stack your last Monster Sandwich, and do the 1000 meter dash through your last graveyard, because you never know when these games will be deleted!
Albeit a bit late, The Westminster Collection Company has issued a Scooby-Doo coin to commemorate the 50th anniversary. The coin is plated in 24-carat gold and is available for £19.99 in the UK, plus £2.99 shipping and handling. The front side of the coin has Scooby-Doo's face, name and logo on it, while the back side has Scooby's collar (SD) on it. It's unknown if they ship to any locations outside the UK at this moment. The coin will be available beginning January 17, 2020.
Thanks so much to Samuel Kirkwood for sharing this link with me!
Fun Fact of the Week #276
In 2011, besides the better known Halloween Scooby-Doo parody, MAD also released a mash-up of Scooby-Doo and Downton Abbey, called "Downton Shaggy." The parody features all of the regular voice actors as the gang.
Weekly Poll #6
Thanks to ScoobyDooUK, we've found a link that possibly shows some of the sets to be released in series 2 of Scooby-Doo Playmobil products. Many of the sets appear to be themed around movies and episodes, including Shaggy's Showdown, Where's My Mummy?, The Legend of Alice May, A Fit Night Out for Bats (kind of, there's a vampire only, and that's the only episode that has a vampire that looks like that who's the sole villain in the episode), Which Witch is Which?, and Shaggy and Scooby eating dinner.
In addition, as you can see in the main picture above, all 12 of the individual villain figures have been released for series 1. A video from NYCC in 2019 mentions that the sets will be out sometime later in January in the US as well, so be on the lookout for these in the US soon!
This was not announced by an official source however, just a Playmobil fan blog, so this is not officially happening yet. Enjoy the below images of the potential sets:
Mission Un-Doo-Able: How the US's Worries About Foreign Invasion Influenced the Writing of The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries
The year is 1984, and tensions from Cold War are rising by the day. From watching television news, reading the newspaper, and watching spy movies, Americans feared the Soviet Union taking over the country with their communist ideals. After the invention of the Atomic Bomb, the Soviet Union and the United States both struggled for scientific dominance over one another, but also feared that the other side might have unimaginably strong weapons that would completely wipe out the country. Because of this, many of these ideals reflected into popular television and films in the United States. After all, it was what was on Americans' minds, and the idea of psychological warfare both fascinated and terrified them.
Of its twenty episodes, ten episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries featured plots relating to spies or the creation of scientific technology with intent of destruction. In this article, I am analyzing each of these episodes from a socio-historical point of view, discussing how the plots of each of these episodes reflected Americans' fear at the time of political takeover from another country. Please note, this post does include spoilers from the ten episodes, sometimes revealing the culprit for the sake of analysis.
The Hand of Horror
While the third episode of The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries didn't have any spies, it did feature the creation of intelligent technology that the villain was attempting to use for a criminal purpose. In the episode, two twin brothers from the Von Gizmo family invent a technology that involves robotic hands to be remote controlled from an incredibly long distance. However, their lab assistant, Ratfield, suddenly turns on them and wants to use these hands to commit crimes. Ratfield even captures one of the twin brothers, ties him up, then proceeds to impersonate him. The other brother believes that Ratfield is his brother, and does not realize anything is wrong. In the guise of his twin brother, Ratfield attempts to take control of this technology and use it for his own nefarious purposes.
Thinking about the social-historical context at the time this episode aired, this episode truly encapsulates the general public's fear of the government creating such a powerful technology that it destroys us all. While obviously, a Scooby-Doo episode isn't going to show people being nuked, the implications are still obviously there. This episode reflects the central fear at the time of a powerful technology being created for good, but then used against us for evil purposes by outsiders. The episode paints the lab assistant, Ratfield, as this outsider, who is coming in to use the brothers' own technology against them. Moreover, while the episode never uses the word 'spy' to describe Ratfield, this episode also reflects the fear of communism. At the time, the United States was terrified that communists may be hiding among us. Symbolically, this episode has the Von Gizmo twins representing the United States, building a technology used for good, but then has Ratfield, who could symbolically represent the Soviet Union, come in and try to steal this technology to use for evil. Ratfield also represents the trope of a foreign invader being hidden among us, without anyone realizing who he truly is until he has already gained control of the technology.
The Stoney Glare Stare
This episode represents our first episode that actually has instances of spies. While this episode takes us in a much more magical direction, even working in some ancient Greek mythology, this narrative of international takeover is still embedded in the episode.
The episode starts off with the gang in Greece, trying to stop an international criminal named Thaddeus Blimp from using the Mask of Medusa. This fabled mask has the power to turn anyone who looks at it into stone. Though a Scooby-Doo episode would never use the word "terrorist," arguably, Thaddeus Blimp does display such qualities in the episode. He expresses the desire to take over the world with this mask, which represents the struggle between the US and the Soviets. The Soviet Union and the US were both gigantic world superpowers at the time, and the main fear of the Cold War is that one superpower would overtake everything and "take over the world," either with democracy or with communism (depending on what side you were on). Thaddeus Blimp is the representation of such a terrorist figure who seeks to take over the world with nefarious technology. Whilst the Mask of Medusa is obviously not a real thing that has ever been used, you could argue that this magical device is a technology that could be used for warfare. By turning your opponents to stone, this shows that central fear of being completely helpless to a villainous entity that the Cold War was based upon.
This episode is arguably the one episode where these tropes are most prominent. The Mission Impossible movies were based upon international espionage and villains committing acts of treason against one's country, and this episode parodied those films.
The episode has the gang as actual spies, trying to stop a villain named Mastermind from taking over the world with his operative spies. Aptly, the episode takes place in the Statue of Liberty. The gang takes a tour of the Statue of Liberty in an attempt to find this villain, but the tour guide, Cecil, tells them that the top of the Statue is off-limits to them. In turns out, Cecil is the Mastermind in disguise, and has turned the Statue of Liberty into a weapon of mass destruction, which he calls the Transponder Beam. The Statue of Liberty is considered a national treasure and a representation of our country. This fear of having our own technology used against us is ingeniously reflected in the Statue of Liberty being used to destroy the very country it represents.
The Bee Team
Albeit an odder parody, even an episode about giant bees relates to the psychological fear that the Cold War brought upon millions of Americans. "The Bee Team" is a parody of The A-Team, which is a show about mercenaries who stop acts of political terrorism against the United States. The beginning of the episode has Scooby watching a parody of this, called the Z-Team, featuring a humorous parody of Mr. T (one of the characters), who is named Mr. BLT. However, the episode's focus quickly shifts into the gang becoming like The A-Team, when they are hired by a man named Nathan Stinger to stop some gigantic bees who are stealing honey from his farm. Along the way, they run into a cop who says that she uses the farm's honey as fuel for her motorcycle, because it tasted funny. They also stop at a gas station called Harley's, where they run into a happy-go-lucky man named Harley, who quite literally laughs by saying "har-har-har!" Because of this character trope, he seems like an amicable old man whom the gang would never suspect would be tied up in any criminal activity. It turns out, Harley is a foreign spy who dresses up as a giant bee, along with other spies from his country. The honey also turns out to be rocket fuel, which the spies were trying to steal.
This episode once again plays on the trope of foreign spies stealing materials, in this case rocket fuel, which they were likely going to use to power some sort of weapon to use against America. In addition, this episode plays on that fear that the communists are among us. Many of the minor characters in this episode are somewhat grumpy, but Harley seems very gentle and has a goofy laugh, causing you to not suspect him while suspecting everyone else. This episode's plot capitalizes on the underlying fear at the time that someone that you would never suspect of doing anything wrong is actually a communist wanting to take over the United States.
A Code in the Nose
This episode is another spy vs. spy type plot, which has the gang looking for a government decoding device after being chosen by the United States to look for it. However, a spy named Codefinger is also looking for this device because it has top-secret military information on it. The gang searches all around a grocery store for this item, because it is disguised as some sort of household item. Eventually, they find it, and reveal that Codefinger is actually Major Burch, the head of US Army Security.
This episode has several tropes that reflect fear of foreign takeover. Once again, the episode utilizes the "it's who you least suspect" trope, but takes it a step further to make it someone internal to the United States who attempts to betray his own country. Moreover, the culprit being not just some person in the Army, but the Head of Security, amplifies this fear of governmental overthrow even more, because it plays on the idea that even a Head of Security, who is supposed to keep everyone safe, is actually a foreign agent who will betray the country's deepest governmental secrets. The idea that the governmental decoder device is disguised as a household item also represents the common fear at the time that anything could be weaponized and used against the country.
Doom Service is an interesting one because it sort of lazily uses the spy trope at the end, but doesn't work it into the story very much. The episode focuses on a hotel that is haunted by its old owner, Ebeneezer Overview, who turns out to be an eccentric lady named Ms. Van Loon. Van Loon wanted to steal government secrets from an Army Air Base next door to the hotel, and wanted to scare everybody away after she discovered a secret passage from the hotel to the Army Base. Again, this episode utilizes that same idea of "it's who you least expect" (one wouldn't likely suspect an old lady of being a terrorist). Presumably, though it's not said, she probably wasn't stealing the government secrets to get some good reading material before bed. It's implied that she was going to use these secrets against her own government, and betray us to a foreign power that could overthrow the country's leaders.
A Night Louse at the White House
This episode is a perfect example of the Spy Threat narrative. In this episode, Velma is at a presidential event in the White House and brings the gang because she's working with NASA's space program. The dinner is quickly interrupted by the Ghost of George Washington, who says he wants to reclaim his home. They realize the ghost is trying to steal a brass eagle from a bedknob for some reason, and soon, the ghosts of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Ulysses S. Grant all appear and begin haunting the place. Suspecting one of the representatives from other countries that are there for the event, the gang begins going in all of their rooms to search for the eagle. Later in the episode, the brass eagle is revealed to open a secret passage with all the secrets to NASA's new space program, and the ghosts want to steal it. The ghosts turn out to be a visiting ambassador and his wife from Klopstokia, who want to steal NASA's secrets.
The fact that an eagle, the symbol of the United States of America, was trying to be stolen to access the secrets, is a clearly metaphor for foreign terrorists stealing "what's great about the US" and using it against our will for their own country. The ambassador and his wife dressed up as former beloved US presidents, which symbolically represents invaders taking what's great about the US and twisting it to benefit their country.
The 'Dooby Dooby Doo' Ado
We get to meet Scooby's cousin Dooby Dooby Doo in this episode, who is a famous singer in Hollywood. Dooby brags about his new collar, which was a gift from an adoring fan in New York. It turns out, this fan was actually a spy who hid a laser band in Dooby's collar, and wanted him to transport it across the country for her and her gang of thieves. It's also mentioned by an undercover cop that the crooks attended to sell it to foreign agents, once again creating this narrative about betrayal and loss of control of its citizens. The United States being worried about losing that control they had as a worldwide superpower was arguably the root of the Cold War.
Sherlock Doo takes us to jolly old England, in which the gang competes in a mystery solvers contest. Along the way, they meet the ghost of Sherlock Holmes, who seems to be helping them solve the mystery. However, it's revealed that Sherlock Holmes wanted to steal the Crown Jewels of England, and the gang is blamed for the theft. This narrative demonstrates a central fear of the United States at the time: betrayal of country, and the spread of communism from communists to other innocent bystanders. Sherlock Holmes, who turns out to be the person running the mystery solvers contest, wanted to commit crimes and steal the crown jewels, a symbol of his country. Essentially, the faux Sherlock was committing treason against country. The United States genuinely feared having its citizens be turned to "the dark side" (or communism) during this time, and treason against country was considered the ultimate betrayal.
Additionally, while no communist ideals were directly mentioned in this episode, it could be argued that Sherlock persuading the gang to follow him is actually a symbolic representation of betrayal of one's own country. The gang of course didn't do anything wrong, but the symbolism is still there. This episode's plot was inspired by this pervasive fear at the time, and made it hit even closer to home by framing the gang as criminals, who we had grown to love and trust over the past 15 years.
The final example of this features a gigantic mouse in an experiment gone wrong. The gang goes to EIEIO Farm, which stands for "Experimental Institute for Evolutionary Improvement of Organisms," where the farmers do genetic experiments with animals. When an experiment with a food enlargement formula goes horribly wrong, a 30-foot tall field mouse is created, who is destroying the farm. The gang later finds out that the mouse is being controlled by someone on the farm.
While it's unlikely the Soviets were going to send an army of giant field mice to kill us all, this gigantic mouse is another example of a technology invention gone wrong and used for purposes of evil. The gang figures out the mouse is being controlled by a human presence in order to take over the farm. This "farm takeover" is more symbolism for high-tech warfare (in this case, metaphorically represented by a large field mouse) being used to overtake our country, possibly even by communists who are hiding inside the US. The culprit was one of the farmhands, who decided to abuse the technology, and use it in such a way that caused mass destruction. This narrative of technology being used against an institution and betrayal of trust to one's higher loyalties is very clear in this episode.
Now, I'm not attempting to imply that the writers at HB said "okay, I shall work my fears of the Cold War into each of these ten episodes so carefully that no child shall notice! Hooray for nationalism!" What I am arguing, however, is that socio-political undertones of the Cold War influenced the media during this time, by popularizing thrilling plots of espionage with international spies, and powerful technology falling into the wrong hands to create chaos. As a result, because this was the common narrative in the media at the time, the writing of The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries was greatly influenced by Americans' pervasive fears of a communist takeover or a nuclear super-war with the Soviet Union. The media relies on these socio-political and cultural narratives to excite and thrill viewers in the comfort of their own homes, while playing on the underlying excitement and fear of current issues facing our society that is on viewers' minds. Because of increasing tensions from the Cold War at the time, these narratives worked significantly into the writing of this show.
~ WildwindVampire ~