This fun fact is intended to be a supplement to my Mystery Machine retrospective article that was published last Friday. The Mystery Machine has had four license plates over the years. This includes:
Frank Welker has just confirmed that there will be a sequel to SCOOB! as we heard back in June. He answers this on his website (the 7th entry down) where he says "My next Scooby Doo project is working on the sequel to “Scoob” and we have just completed the first session. There will be many more recordings before we are finished."
In addition in a GalaxyCon interview, Frank reveals he will be in Velma. While it sounds like he won't be playing Fred or Scooby, he does say the show "is loosely based on the Scooby-Doo characters, and it's kind of a different version of all that. But the character I play is a little different sounding for me, so when I come back to it, they'll play a reference tape."
Thank you so much to Ben for sharing this info with me!
We've done the series premieres and finales, and the season premieres, so now it's time to do the season finales! Thanks Shadowscooby for suggesting this poll!
And now, it's time to see the results of the epic battle between "Spooky Space Kook" and Alien Invaders! It was definitely a close one!
What is your favorite Scooby-Doo episode featuring an alien?
Spooky Space Kook - 35
Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders - 34
In Space - 8
Scooby-Doo! Moon Monster Madness - 4
Falling Star Man! - 4
Strange Encounters of a Scooby Kind - 2
Return of Commander Cool - 1
A Close Encounter with a Strange Kind - 1
0 votes: Creepy Tangle in the Bermuda Triangle, Invasion of the Scooby Snatchers, Scooby Saves the World, Punk Rock Scooby, Alien Schmalien, Close Encounter of the Worst Kind, Ghosts of the Ancient Astronauts, Lightning Strikes Back, Aliens Among Us, and Area 51 Adjacent
A lot of people have mentioned they enjoy the ranking/review-type articles and have suggested that I do more. I'm still thinking through this part (just in terms of if I'll have time), but I was thinking of maybe separating it so I'm posting regular reviews of different Scooby media, as well as the monthly editorial articles. Anyway, I did a weekly poll a long time ago asking people what their favorite version of the Mystery Machine was, which led to quite a bit of discussion in the comments. I wanted to do a bit of a combination between a ranking and an editorial article by comparing all the different Mystery Machines that have been featured across the Scooby-Doo franchise over the years. I'm definitely not someone who's super into cars, so the reviews are going to be more contrasting the designs, rather than things like "The Mystery Machine from Be Cool looks jacked up, son!" haha. Not all the vehicles I'm reviewing were officially called "The Mystery Machine," but I'm including anything that was used as the gang's main mode of transportation for an entire film or series.
Starting off with the red van from 13 Ghosts and Ghoul School, it is a pretty plain looking red van with a gray stripe across the body. There are two headlights on the roof, in addition to the two down below in the normal spot. Like the original Mystery Machine, this van has a large back seat which passengers can get into via a sliding door. There were some minimal high-tech gadgets installed in 13 Ghosts to help with ghost detection, but nothing particularly notable. The van appears again in Scooby-Doo and the Curse of the 13th Ghost, and it is named the "Miss-tery Machine." Of the main vans used in a series (we'll get to the other two used in Boo Brothers and Reluctant Werewolf later), this was my least favorite. The Mystery Machine has a very appealing design and became the gang's trademark van over the 15 years prior (1969-1984). This van seems bland in comparison, and I think it could have worked just as well to have them drive the Mystery Machine.
The same argument goes for Shaggy's green jeep in Boo Brothers. There isn't any particularly anything special about it, other than I do think it's cool that it seems to be modeled after an actual model of a car, the 1981 Jimny Suzuki. This is just speculation, however, and it's never been confirmed by anyone working on the franchise that they based the design for this jeep off of that particular car model.
Lastly, I feel the same way about Shaggy's Double Dyno Turbo Blaster from Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf. The vehicle has two gigantic back wheels, a red exterior, and a sun roof. I'm not exactly sure what those three gray bars on the side are. The vehicle is neat looking in terms of novelty of design, but at the same time, I also wouldn't particularly care if it ever appeared again (which I very much doubt it ever will).
Moving onto the last one I don't really care about, the LEGO van was fine I guess. It's basically just the Mystery Machine made out of LEGOs. I wasn't a huge fan of Blowout Beach Bash as it is (Haunted Hollywood was decent), so in general, this particular Mystery Machine was nothing special for me.
Velma's scooter was not technically a "Mystery Machine," but it acted as the gang's makeshift vehicle for when they were kids. I've always appreciated the scooter, and thought it was a very cute and quirky way for the gang to get around. The scooter itself has a teal board, lime green wheels, and an orange and gray motor. While Velma's expression is very uncharacteristic of her in this episode (looking tough), the backstory of it being one of Velma's inventions fits quite well with her character. The skateboard only appeared in a few episodes of the series. While it is a very unique idea, it is ranked a bit lower since we didn't see it all that much, and when we did, it was only for a few seconds.
The Mystery Machine X appeared in Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! and was specifically built for the gang by Bill Nye after the other one was rendered unusable. Features of the van include autopilot, autoclave, a touchscreen, and running solely on electricity. You could also argue that its ability to somehow allow the passengers to view projections (which Bill Nye did throughout the film) is a feature of this vehicle. The Mystery Machine X fit quite well with the plot of this film, however, I would not want to have it become a regular part of the franchise.
Get a Clue's Mystery Machine very much had the vibe of "let's make the Mystery Machine super jacked up for the kids, they'll think that's awesome!" In this series, the Mystery Machine had the power to turn into any vehicle in the world. Throughout the series, the Mystery Machine turned into a plane, a truck, a canoe, and much more. In its main form, the Mystery Machine looked like a sleeker, more SUV-ish vehicle. The orange flowers on the side were redesigned into stars, and the green/blue consistency is reversed: the Mystery Machine is mostly blue, with two green stripes across each side.
The reason I like this Mystery Machine is because it was used as an expositional tool, but in moderation. There was never any instance of the Mystery Machine being ridiculously overpowered, or turning into something like a war tank to immediately annihilate Dr. Phibes just because the writers couldn't think of how else to end the episode. The Mystery Machine's power of turning into any vehicle was always used to advance the plot in some way and aid Shaggy and Scooby in their weekly attempt to stop Dr. Phibes. There's a lot of ways I think this idea could have gone wrong: The Mystery Machine's immense power being used as a writing crutch, or being used in a cringey way to make the show seem "cool and action-packed" for the kids. It doesn't feel like either of those things happened, though. The Mystery Machine was always used as a supplement to the plot, without changing the course of the entire plot. This made me appreciate this version of the Mystery Machine more for what it was, even if it's my least favorite version of the vehicles that were officially called the Mystery Machine.
To me, the van from the 2002 and 2004 live action films look most aesthetically appealing. I do know that they were going more for the "old, beat-up van" look for the sake of the prequels' backstory, since Daphne's father planned to give her the old gardener's van for a 16th birthday present. Eventually, the gardening van became the Mystery Machine, and the gang is seen painting it at the end of Mystery Begins.
The remainder of these are all very similar versions of the same vehicle, just in different animation. Since they basically look the same, I will include pictures and a short description of them all (so I'm not redescribing the same thing so many times), and then discuss which animation style I like The Mystery Machine best in at the end.
In the live-action film Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, the Mystery Machine is briefly seen as a limo. It's unclear if this is actually another Mystery Machine the gang owns in the form of a limo, or simply a limo painted to look like the Mystery Machine for one-time use. I assume it's the latter.
The Mystery Machine in SCOOB! animation. The one noticeable difference about this version of the van is that there are satellites mounted on top of the Mystery Machine.
The Be Cool Mystery Machine looks pretty much identical to the classic Mystery Machine we all know and love, however, there are a few features that Fred installs throughout the series. For example, in "Professor Huh?", Fred installs a feature in the Mystery Machine that allows it to turn into a submarine. My thoughts to this are similar to that of Get a Clue.
Same van, just in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated animation.
This is the Mystery Machine from the 1998-2001 era DTVs. The Mystery Machine is redesigned to be mostly blue, with a large green stripe across the bottom half of the sides, two green streaks on the front hood.
At last, we get to the main Mystery Machine. The classic Mystery Machine is my all-time favorite of any of them, of course, though I do really like the 1998-2001 era Mystery Machine. The Mystery Machine has a number of features that have been shown over the years, often popping up at oddly convenient times so the gang can adapt to whatever situation they're in. This includes the sides of the van being lined with computer and tracking equipment (we first see this in "Decoy for a Dognapper"), kitchen cabinets on the walls of the van, and the ability for the rear end of the van to seeming grow or shrink at will. Sometimes there's just barely enough room for Shaggy and Scooby to squeeze in, and other times, there's tons of room for storing equipment. A GPS is also added in What's New, Scooby-Doo? for the purposes of comedy, as the GPS gives them ridiculous instructions such as driving into a river. A new sassier GPS is installed in Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra Doo and prevalently appears for the next few DTVs as a joke. In the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "It's Mean, It's Green, It's the Mystery Machine," the van is given a backstory owned by musical duo The Mystery Kids. Band member Flash Flannigan painted the van before quitting the gang. This differs from another backstory, the gang getting the van from Daphne's father, which Daphne details in Scooby-Doo! Behind the Scenes (which aligns with The Mystery Begins backstory for it).
There are a couple of minor mentions of vehicles that weren't really major parts of a series or film, but I still wanted to mention them. The first of which is the Mystery Machine Wagon, which is a makeshift wagon that the gang used in Scooby-Doo! FrankenCreepy when the gang thought the real Mystery Machine had been blown up. The Mystery Machine Wagon was a stagecoach painted like the Mystery Machine, with a green and blue pattern and orange flowers.
Although the Mystery Machine has been possessed in a couple of episodes, "It's Mean, It's Green, It's the Mystery Machine" (from What's New, Scooby-Doo?) and "Ghost in the Mystery Machine" (from Be Cool, Scooby-Doo), there is one instance where the Mystery Machine made a major visual transformation. In Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King, the Amazing Krudsky transformed the van into The Monstrous Machine when he got the Goblin Scepter. I thought the transformed design looked super cool and frightening. The Monstrous Machine included large, gaping teeth, a bent windshield to represent its glowing yellow eyes, headlights for flaring nostrils, as well as it's goblin-esque wings.
That about does it for my Mystery Machine rankings! There will be a supplemental fun fact to this article coming out on Monday detailing all the license plates the Mystery Machine has had over the years. This article probably would have been far better written by someone who was into cars, but I'm definitely not that kind of person, so hopefully I still did a decent job. For me, nothing will ever beat the classic Mystery Machine, but there have been a lot of cool adaptions of it over the years!
On both The Scooby-Doo Show DVDs (The Scooby-Doo / Dynomutt Hour: The Complete Series and Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? The Complete Third Season), the DVD sleeve lists one of the episodes to be on the wrong disc. The Scooby-Doo / Dynomutt Hour: The Complete Series lists "There's a Demon Shark in the Foggy Dark" (and "The Awful Ordeal with the Head of Steel") to put on disc 3, side 2. However, it actually appears on disc 4, side 1. In addition, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? The Complete Third Season lists "The Diabolical Disc Demon" as being on disc 2, side 1. However, it is on the opposite side of the disc (disc 2, side 2).
I included "Lightning Strikes Back" from Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue in this poll, as even though there wasn't an alien as a main villain, the episode's main focus revolves around aliens. Thanks Becker for coming up with this poll idea!
Here are the results from last week's poll:
What is your favorite Scooby-Doo episode/film featuring a mummy?
Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too! - 29
Scooby-Doo in Where's My Mummy? - 15
Ollie Ollie In-come Free! - 8
Mummy Scares Best - 7
Theater of Doom - 5
The Dreaded Remake of Jekyll and Hyde! - 5
Where's Scooby-Doo? - 4
Mysteries on the Disorient Express - 4
Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase - 3
A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle - 2
Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School - 1
Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf - 1
Night of the Living Doo - 1
Mummy's the Word - 1
Sandy Duncan's Jekyll and Hydes - 0
Scooby's Peep-Hole Pandemonium - 0
Super Scary Movie Night - 0
The Song of Mystery - 0