While I don't think it's a super unpopular opinion, I argue the 1980s Scooby-Doo movies are pretty underrated. These three films, Boo Brothers, Ghoul School and Reluctant Werewolf, are generally pretty well-liked among most Scooby fans, but I definitely have gotten some surprised remarks from some fans for calling these three among the best of the best that Scooby films have to offer. Something about these three films has remained pretty much unparalleled (except the 1998-2001 films) throughout the entire franchise. In this article, I will share my opinion as to why these films remain at the top of my favorites list despite several new Scooby films coming out each year.
In general, I think Scrappy is more toned down in these films, which puts them as a lot of people's favorite Scrappy material in the franchise. Specifically with Boo Brothers, it brought the franchise back to the mystery-solving roots that it had been lacking with previous 80s content featuring just Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy. One could also argue that the large amount of villains in Boo Brothers makes it not focused enough, but honestly, I feel the numerous villains makes it better. I look at it as "you can't begin to imagine the horrors around this house" kind of way. We also really have no idea which of the ghouls are real, and which are fake, even at the end of the film, and this provides room for some deeper thinking/analysis when trying to determine which of the ghosts' appearances were real and which were fake. I still believe that the Skull Ghost was real that first appearance he showed up, and that many of Uncle Beauregard's appearances were his real ghost.
One thing I really appreciate about Boo Brothers is its soundtrack. Even if you hate the movie, I feel you have to admit that this movie has top-notch background music all throughout. Lastly, I think the plot point of the scavenger hunt also provides almost a mystery-within-a-mystery, because we don't really realize that the ghosts have something to do with the scavenger hunt (and they may not have, if they were real some of the time) until towards the end of the film.
Moving on to Ghoul School, which is my favorite Scooby film to date. Hands down. Nothing compares to it. I think the amazing thing about Ghoul School is how well they integrate new characters into the plot and make us warm up to them quickly. All 5 ghouls, in my opinion, are very sweet, likable characters who many of us find adorable (especially Tanis). Though the first half of the film mainly focuses on the girl ghouls, the second half causes a questioning of everything Shaggy and Scooby have ever believed: that not all monsters are bad when Revolta and the Grim Creeper ends up capturing the girls for her evil plans, and they realize that the girl ghouls actually are the "good guys." It's a really neat plot point IMO, that I explore a bit in my fanfic Fangs for the Memories (shameless plug alert), that not all monsters are necessarily bad. In my opinion, this would have been even cooler if this was the first time Shaggy and Scooby met real monsters, as it would have caused a crisis of beliefs of sorts for them realizing that some real monsters are good. All in all, this film just has a really fun, spooky vibe to it with very relatable new characters in an intriguing situation.
Reluctant Werewolf seems to get the least attention of these three. I'll admit, Dracula turning Shaggy into a werewolf to participate in a car race is a very wacky plot, but once it gets going, I find myself really enjoying this one almost as much as the others. It's a very fun, different comedy romp that isn't afraid to be a bit dark and spooky at times (particularly in the scenes with Dracula's castle, and the escape at the end). I'd say this one is probably the least memorable of the three, and Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost for sure overtake it. As for whether Zombie Island and Witch's Ghost overtake Boo Brothers and Ghoul School, I would say no. They don't overtake them, they're just like 0.0000001% below Boo Brothers and Ghoul School personally for me.
A common theme within these three films is that they are a bit scarier in tone, and the stakes are far more real because the gang is literally dealing with real ghosts and monsters. Boo Brothers in particular has a very scary, dark tone to it I think, especially since most of the film is the gang walking around outside in the middle of the night, but Ghoul School kind of gets dark too in the second half with Revolta. Reluctant Werewolf is more silly, but the scenes within Dracula's Castle (especially when they wake up from their trance, the part where they're going through the secret passage, and their escape from Dracula at the end) are pretty spooky in tone.
It would be amiss not to say that some of this is personal nostalgia. These three were the first ever Scooby movies I saw as a kid, so I have very fond memories of watching these when I was little. I think Reluctant Werewolf is especially nostalgia-driven for me, as it's definitely a bit more of a zany plot than the other two.
In this age of sequels coming out like Curse of the 13th Ghost and Return to Zombie Island, would I like to see sequels to these? If they could stay true to the source material, sure. I don't think Boo Brothers particularly needs a sequel since most of it's wrapped up (and I think it arguably makes it spookier to not know whether the ghosts were real in certain instances or not), but I'd be down for one if they could come up with a compelling, non-forced plot and kept it true to the original. In terms of Ghoul School, I think a sequel where Revolta returned, since we don't really know what happened to her, could be fun. Reluctant Werewolf is an absolute yes for a sequel, because it ends on a cliffhanger where Dracula and the Hunch Bunch appear at Shaggy's window saying that they're back. Again though, all of these would need to stay true to the source material. I don't want anything like Return to Zombie Island or Curse of the 13th Ghost done with these three movies, as IMO these two direct sequels have done enough damage already.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and that it maybe took you on a trip down memory lane! I try to watch these three every Halloween, even though they're not specifically Halloween themed (2 of them at least, I guess Ghoul School has a Halloween scene), so I thought this would be a fun one to do given the time period. I'd be interested to hear others thoughts on this, so if you have any, feel free to share in the comments!
There are a lot of different ideas of what constitutes a "good" Scooby-Doo series out there. Many fans love Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! for its wit and strong three-dimensional characters, while somewhat disliking the latest series, Guess Who, for playing it too safe and nostalgic. Some fans love Guess Who for going back to the classic formula, and hate Be Cool for the animation style. Other fans love them both.
This discrepancy seems to be a common thread for any Scooby series - some fans love certain series, while others hate the very same series. This seems to be a struggle for WB as well, as they are clearly trying out different things to attempt to please the fans.
So how can WB please the vast majority of fans? What is the perfect recipe for a successful Scooby-Doo series?
So these are my proposed ingredients for a good Scooby series, that weren't already obvious like "cool villains!", "all five characters," and "spooky chases!". Of course, you can never please every single person, because there's always going to be that one person who hates something. I argue, however, that these are the core ingredients for making a good Scooby series beloved by all, and this is the direction WB should be going with the franchise. This is purely my opinion, however, and should not be interpreted as reflecting the wishes of every person in the general fandom.
Do you agree? Disagree? Have something to add? Let me know in the comments!
Last October, I wrote an article titled "The Forgotten Scooby Clone Show," which highlighted how The Flintstones actually attempted to mirror Scooby's formula in the 1979 series The New Fred and Barney Show. At the end of this article, I briefly mentioned how The Flintstone Comedy Show had a segment that included Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm solving mysteries, but how I hadn't seen it yet. Now, I have a subscription to the Boomerang app, and with some extra time during the pandemic, I've finally gotten to check these out! This is the subject of "part 2" of this article.
Before I dive into talking about Pebbles, Dino, and Bamm-Bamm, the name of this mystery solving segment, I want to give some background on The Flintstone Comedy Show which might intrigue Scooby fans. Scooby was actually not the only show to go through the "Richie Rich Hour" phase. The same year as Scooby, in 1980, The Flintstones franchise experimented with changing their format into 7-minute shorts. The Flintstone Comedy Show, in fact, had several similarities to The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Hour. In addition to running two seasons, each "hour" was divided into 6 seven-minute segments to make up a full episode. However, while Scooby-Doo and Richie Rich remained completely separate of each other during this hour, never crossing over besides one brief mention of Scooby-Doo in a Richie Rich episode, The Flintstone Comedy Show remained true to the original format for three of the six segments. The other three segments were various spin-offs of The Flintstones show, including Dino and Cavemouse (a Tom and Jerry type romp where Dino chases after an annoying mouse), Captain Caveman in which Wilma and Betty work at a news outlet, solving crimes with Captain Caveman. Captain Caveman was disguised for most of the time as an intern named "Chester," but whenever crime struck, he would change into his Captain Caveman persona (a la Superman). The third of these "spin-off" segments was Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm. As a side note to anyone wondering, the three more original segments were, Bedrock Cops, where Fred and Barney were cops in Bedrock, The Frankenstones, in which a weird new Addams-esc family moves next door to The Flintstones, and finally The Flintstone Family Adventures, which is basically an exact replica of the original series made into shorter segments.
But on to the subject of this article, Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm. This had a very Where Are You-like format, where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm (along with their pet Dino) are doing teenager-like things around town, but run into a new mystery each episode involving a monster in a mask. There are numerous similarities to Scooby-Doo, and it's obvious to even someone who's not a big Scooby fan that they copied the formula exactly. Each episode consists of them finding clues, then capturing the monster (usually inadvertently, no traps were set). Bamm-Bamm and Dino are very much played up to be the Shaggy and Scooby of the group, both terrified of monsters, while Pebbles is the one with an affinity for mystery like Velma, and solving the cases with the reluctant help of Dino and Bamm-Bamm. There are even door gags throughout, and Dino regularly mimics the monster much like Scooby, contorting his body to look like the creature he just saw, to show Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm.
So, is this a good "Scooby clone" series for Scooby fans to watch then? It's just like Where Are You, right? No, I would actually recommend you don't watch most of these episodes. These suffered from the same issues the Richie Rich Hour did, sadly. The plots were generally a bit rushed, with just enough time for them to find a single clue and "suddenly" figure it all out instantly, which was a bit of a letdown. The pacing is really off because there was no time to develop a proper storyline. Many of the villains in the first season talked non-stop with annoying ad libs, whereas it could have been better if they were just quiet or made a spooky noise or something. I think it works when villains talk, but not when they talk constantly. The main issue is that there's no time to develop a proper plot in those 7 minutes, so everything ends up rushed. While every episode did feature a person in a mask (thankfully, it wasn't just aimlessly running around from normal people sometimes like the Richie Rich Hour was), the majority of episodes did not introduce the culprit in advance, so it's just some random person you'd never met before. In the few episodes that did introduce the culprit before they were unmasked, there would usually only be one person they met, so it was painfully obvious it was them. One episode did feature two people, but one of them decided to go into the haunted mines (the location of the episode) with Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino, and then the other person that didn't go into the mines let out of an obnoxious "Hmmm!", and we get a ten-second shot zooming in on them looking suspicious of the person who went into the mines with them...so it's obvious lol.
The show wasn't all bad, however. Atmospherically, it's very much like Where Are You. The villains also have cool designs in most cases. The bads do greatly outweigh the goods, which makes this something that's not really worth watching. One thing I haven't mentioned yet is that much of the dialogue in certain episodes is really stilted and poorly written, which is another big downside. If I had to sum up the issue with this series, they had good ideas but they were in most cases, poorly executed.
In case you do want to check out this series though, I want to give a rundown on my picks for the best episodes you should watch, and the worst episodes that you should absolutely avoid. Let's get the worst out of the way first!
There are three episodes that are specifically really dumb. The first of these is "Double Trouble with Long John Silverrock." It's really a shame, because this one had the potential to be one of the best episodes in the series. I personally love haunted house aesthetics, and the plot revolves around Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm going into a house haunted by the ghost of Long John Silverrock. What ruins this episode though is that the person voicing the ghost is awful to the point of sounding apathetic about the role, and speaks the entirety of his lines in a monotone voice, wrecking any possible spook factor there might have been.
The second-worst episode goes to "The Legend of Haunted Forest," again due to a horrible villain, but also a terribly written plot. This episode has Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino visiting a forest which is haunted by the ghost of Paul Bunstone (a parody of the lumberjack Paul Bunyan), who chases them shouting "Timber!" which is all he says. It's so dumb. In addition, after the three leave for the night and come back in the morning, the huge forest is somehow all cut down in one night from "loggers," and they just randomly dump the logs in the river. That seemed like a stupid and unrealistic plot point, and combined with the ghost's catchphrase, it made the episode almost painful to watch.
The #1 worst episode is "In Tune With Terror," no competition. I've never taken any sort of hallucinatory substance before, but I imagine watching "In Tune With Terror" is probably what it would feel like. The ending just made no sense whatsoever. It featured a Phantom of the Opera type character, but somehow, at the end, his music is somehow able to magically make anything he wants to happen. This leads to a battle-of-the-bands type thing, where random instruments that Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm pick up also gain magical powers. We get at least a full minute of lightning bolts of music competing against each other, until the phantom is just randomly defeated because his instrument can't take anymore. It's later explained that the phantom's musical instruments gained power via a short cord plugged into the wall, made to give the illusion of looking like magic. However, this episode takes place in a cave that was at least 50 feet down, so the explanation makes no sense. We also get no explanation for how Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm's instruments suddenly also gained magical powers. This episode seriously made me question why I decided to watch these lol. To show you how ridiculous it is, here's a GIF of the ending.
One honorable mention for one of the worst episodes is "The Show Must Go On," in which they somehow managed to cram two minutes of filler. The villain itself, an ape, was sort of random for a theater setting. It felt like they just didn't know how to end it right, so they tacked on two minutes of Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm performing onto the end. If you have put 2 minutes of filler onto an episode that's already 7 minutes, that's how you know you have a bad episode.
Now to the good episodes that I would highly recommend you watch! In the first part of this article, I mentioned that I had seen the first two of the episodes when I was a kid, due to having them on a rare Flintstones Comedy Show VHS I had. Sadly, those two episodes are both in my top 3 (out of 18 total episodes in the series). The quality kinda dropped off a cliff after those first two, with the exception of one season 2 episode that was really good.
Let's start with "Monster Madness," one I'd seen as a kid. Honestly, the plot on this one is kind of weak, I will admit. What I really liked about this episode is that it took place in a haunted castle led by Dracula, which had pretty much every Universal monster you can imagine. If not for that, it's a very rushed plot that has no time to really develop. Dracula's pet wolf had a really neat design though!
Before I get to my all-time favorite, the very first episode, I want to talk about that odd season 2 episode that was really good. It was also the only episode that did not feature anyone in a mask. The plot focuses on Dino getting lost in the woods, and finding a creepy lair of giant spiders. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, desparate to find their lost pet, run into a spooky-looking house owned by a woman only known as "The Spider Lady." Her design is pretty good, but the creepiest part is how she speaks every single "s" as a hissing noise, regardless of where it is in the word. It creates a really creepy aesthetic and does something different that I loved.
Hands-down the BEST episode of the series, and I would say a must-watch if you can, is "Ghost Sitters." The episode takes place in a super creepy skull-shaped house, where Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are babysitting a bratty young boy. The boy suddenly disappears, and the ghost of Big Bronto Billy (a cowboy who is rumored to haunted the place) tries to scare them away. This episode perfectly captures the creepy atmosphere and doesn't rush the story along like most others do. The Ghost of Bronto Billy genuinely has a really spooky design, especially when they show him to be creeping towards them as a shadow. This is what this series should have been, and what I was hoping it would be when I saw it as a kid (I did rewatch this and "Monster Madness" FYI, so it's not just my nostalgia or poor memory talking).
Honorable mentions include "Dino and the Zombies," which has a good story and creepy cemetery aesthetic, however it's really not clear if they're wearing costumes or not, or just really ugly people who they mistook for zombies. They are shown in jail at the end, but are all still wearing their "disguises," so I'm not sure if it was just laziness on Hanna-Barbera's part or if they were just creepy looking people.
A second honorable mention is "A Night of Fright," which again gets that haunted house aesthetic down and reminds me of those New Scooby-Doo Movies episodes where there wasn't one centralized villain, but rather a lot of different spooks and scares. The reason this didn't make it into my favorites is because the explanation at the end as to why the culprits did what they did is "They were trying to scare everyone away from their house!" Nope, I didn't leave anything out. That's what it was explained as. Scaring someone away from your own property isn't exactly illegal, and it's not really clear what they did wrong, but the cop throws them in jail for some reason anyway. I just thought it was a really dumb explanation, in addition to some of the "ghosts" just being random animals rather than actual spirits, which would have been better.
That about does it for this article! From a completist standpoint, I'm glad I got the chance to see these episodes finally, since they were technical "Scooby clones." However, beyond the 3 episodes I listed as favorites (maybe the two honorable mentions too...they were fun, but then again, there are also better things you could watch), I would not recommend watching this series, and the honorable mentions demonstrate this perfectly. Even in some of the good episodes, corners were definitely cut and certain elements feel rushed and/or poorly put together. It's clear The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Hour's issue with good story development was not centralized to that specific series, but rather, a probable overall issue with Hanna-Barbera rushing to make content during this era.
Since I imagine it would interest some people, I'm going tack on screencaps of the rest of the ghouls and monsters in this series, starting with the Skull House (which isn't a villain, but it's cool!) and the ghost of Bronto Billy, whom is my favorite villain,.
There are a lot of "rare" Scooby-Doo VHS tapes out there, but some are so expensive that they're simply not worth buying anymore given that they have episodes that have already been released on them. So, which Scooby VHS tapes do you need to both have rare yet practical tapes that have never-before released episodes?
The first of these is titled Hanna-Barbera Super Stars: Rompin' Romance. It was released in 1989, and while it does have episodes from other cartoons like The Flintstones and Yogi Bear on it, there is one never-before-released Yabba-Doo short from The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo Puppy Hour, "Bride and Gloom," on the VHS tape.
Scooby-Doo's Puppy Dog Tales, also released in 1989, features "Scooby and the Beanstalk" from The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Hour which has not been released on any other piece of Scooby-Doo home media to this date.
Scooby-Doo in Swamp Witch features another Scrappy short that has never made it to DVD, "Scooby at the Center of the World." I remember always wanting this one as a kid, but I could never find it!
These next two were both released in 1996 and have "Wedding Bell Boos" and "A Halloween Hassle in Dracula's Castle" on them, respectively, which have never been released on DVD. I actually own both of these! The Halloween Hassle one oddly has the back cover mention "Scooby-Dum" instead of Scrappy-Doo, which is probably one of the hugest typos I've ever seen on a piece of Scooby media haha.
And lastly, if you want to get something really rare, this Hanna-Barbera Personal Favorites: Scooby-Doo laserdisc includes four episodes: "What a Night for a Knight," "The Secret of Shark Island," "Scooby Gumbo" and "Wizards and Warlocks," the last of which has shockingly never been released on any other medium except laserdisc. This is nearly impossible to find though, much less to be lucky enough to have a laserdisc player, so you're truly a super Scooby fan if you're ever able to find this one!
Edit: I just realized this laserdisc compilation is also available on VHS!
I hope this brief article was both helpful and interesting for you all, regardless of where you are in Scooby collecting journey! :)
Hi everyone! For this month’s article, I wanted to discuss a more historical aspect of the series: an overview of the indigenous populations that appear within various Scooby-Doo series. Many of us who grew up with these episodes may have learned a thing or two about the history behind some of the staples of indigenous culture, such as cliff dwellings. While all aspects of this culture weren’t necessarily always portrayed in a correct fashion (as Native witch doctors didn’t exactly go around shouting nonsensical gibberish at random people), there are definitely some historical elements of the culture that are taught to us through various Scooby-Doo episodes over the years.
Here to help me co-write this article is my best Internet friend (or Internet bestie, whichever term suits your fancy haha), Bradford N. Smith! Bradford is a professional screenwriter who hopes to someday write for Scooby, so if anyone at WB happens to be reading this, you need to hire Bradford already!
Now that I’ve got the shameless plug out of the way, Bradford is going to start us off with the historical aspects of cliff dwellings that he learned about in “Decoy for a Dognapper.” Parts of the article that Bradford has written will be colored in blue, while my contributions to the article will be colored in pink, so you can tell who has written what. So, with that being said, take us away, B!
Besides a brief encounter (which I’ll allow my cool friend to address later) in Mine Your Own Business, the first time the gang comes across any indigenous cultures is in the early Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode, Decoy For A Dognapper. Unfortunately, it is far from the best or most accurate representation in the franchise. Although the first act appears set in the suburbs, beach and downtown of a metropolitan city, once Scooby finds himself dognapped, the setting shifts to Indian Gap and an ancient village carved into the side of a cliff that is said to be abandoned. As a child, it was this depiction of cliff dwellings which was my first introduction to a culture and history outside of my own and, luckily, it is here that this episode seems to get a few things correct. While these sorts of structures are not found in California where the series is rumored to be set, the dwellings in the episode do bear some resemblance to those found in Arizona, specifically the Betatakin ruins and the improperly named Montezuma Castle National Monument, and, much like Shaggy quickly remarks later in the episode, cliff dwellings are said to have been used by ancestors of the Pueblo peoples.
Sadly, outside of this, the episode relies primarily on stereotypes. Shaggy comments a couple times on his fear of being scalped, a practice long associated with the stereotypical “hostile Indian,” the Witch Doctor refers to the gang as “pale face intruders,” a phrase originating in dime novels though later attributed to Native peoples, and several times feather headdresses, tomahawks and a screaming wail are used as a means of identifying the Ghost of Geronimo (a secondary villain later explained away as a projection). On top of these insensitive errors there are a few other infractions, like the presence of a totem pole, an artifact associated with Northwestern Coastal tribes and not those of the Southwest, and Shaggy thinking the only food they may discover there are “Indian corn” (flint corn) and beef jerky. Ultimately though, the biggest problem with the episode may come from the simple fact that the true mastermind behind it all is a white man appropriating this indigenous culture for his own nefarious deeds.
Two episodes of The New Scooby-Doo Movies also include people posing as indigenous people. The first of which is in the initial Three Stooges episode, Ghastly Ghost Town where one of the culprits is dressed up as Geronimo, though all he says is “oops!” in a dumb voice, telling you he’s probably just some random racist dude pretending to be a Native person from the start (which, admittedly, was very common in that series for the culprit to be revealed overly early on, for no reason, to the audience, but not the gang). The second was in The Haunted Showboat, and was another random guy, whom we never learn the name of, posing as the ghost of Injun Joe, a native person from the Tom Sawyer books. He resembles Injun Joe in appearance only, and acts simply like a white man would in costume. He does not have any indigenous qualities to him while in costume.
A few years after Decoy For A Dognapper, the gang stumbles across another mystery revolving around cliff dwellings and an eerily similar looking villain, in The Scooby-Doo Show episode A Bum Steer For Scooby. This time around, the episode makes an improvement by identifying their setting as Texas (Daphne’s uncle’s ranch), which does contain some cliff dwellings, though not many, and they again best resemble ones which can be found in Arizona and Colorado. The other major similarity - the episode’s main villain - remains a stereotypical display of Native people. This time addressed by Velma and Shaggy as a “medicine man” (a less offensive term than “witch doctor” for the traditional healers of indigenous peoples), the character is given far less freedom when it comes to dialogue. While his counterpart managed to speak fluent English, this “medicine man ghost” is never allowed to say more than what is essentially a parody of Native chants: “Mooka-wanka.” And yes, this is still accompanied by a dance and the shaking of a maraca, as the “witch doctor” before him had also done.
Although the previous iteration had a ghostly Geronimo chase the kids, this version contains a ghostly bull known as Tamuka (a name of African origin, meaning “to have awoken” or “to rise”) who is said to have been a spirit animal tasked with guarding the “ancient Indian burial grounds” of Hidden Valley. While these sorts of legends are not necessarily uncommon for certain indigenous cultures, the episode does take some liberties with the idea. Beyond this however, I would say that the episode demonstrates an attempt at better understanding the culture. While Shaggy seems to believe the “rich cliff dwellers” must have lived in what he calls the “penthouse” of the dwellings and relays to Scooby the common myth that totem poles were meant to “keep evil spirits away” (they were instead primarily for various types of storytelling), he seems to be displaying more of an innocent misunderstanding than outright acting offensive. In the end though, it is, as it was before, a group of white men uncovered as the perpetrators, using the legend and lore of the indigenous culture to aid in their mischief.
Watch Out! The Williwaw! features a spirit owl of indigenous legend who captures anyone it calls the name of. I think, for the times, this is one of the best representations we get of the Native population. Though indigenous folk aren’t really discussed too much, the culprit is Grey Fox, who captured Velma’s uncle Dave from his home in order to smuggle treasure and cover it up. We do see some tribal justice, however, when another member of a tribe, Red Herron, brings Grey Fox into custody. This provides a somewhat good representation of indigenous populations for kids, that tribes aren’t some “crazy, incomprehensible culture” like some of the previous representations would imply.
A Scary Night with a Snow Beast Fright features an Eskimo village in the North Pole. Our one Eskimo character we see, Chief Manook, is a pretty watered-down character and does not really do much with the gang before he is kidnapped himself. However, we do see an indigenous village with gigantic totem poles, which we later discover to be oil rigs.
The explanation for the Snow Beast, however, is a bit confusing. The Snow Beast is said to dislike that the Eskimo village is built upon sacred lands, but I would assume the Eskimo village is the sacred land...unless they rebuilt something over the lands, but it was still the same people. It’s unknown why a mythical beast would care about that, but nonetheless, it’s another representation we get of indigenous people.
In the entirety of the franchise, it’s hard to deny that one of the worst portrayals of indigenous people comes in the form of The Scooby-Doo Show episode Jeepers, It’s The Jaguaro. On their way to Rio de Janeiro, for the annual Carnival celebrations, the gang falls victim to “plane troubles” and finds themselves somewhat stranded in the middle of the Brazilian jungle and terrorized by the living embodiment of the Jaguaro, a part-gorilla, part-jaguar, part-saber-toothed cat worshipped by a tribe in the region. The moment we’re introduced to these Native peoples, the show’s already off to a rocky start as they’re adorned in the stereotypical masks and grass skirts prevalent with many portrayals in pop culture (attire Shaggy and Scooby will later wear as they mimic a tribal dance). We then hear as Shaggy’s concerns that this is a tribe of cannibals is put at ease by a pilot who explains they’re actually “headhunters,” leading Shaggy (and at times Scooby) to spend the remainder of the episode joking about his desire to keep his head, in a tone similar to his scalping concerns in the original series. And unfortunately, it only gets worse from there for this tribe that the episode makes look more “savage” than it does a pair of gorillas.
Although by no means an excuse, it is implied by Barney - a supposed documentarian - that this may be a tribe of what researchers call “uncontacted peoples,” groups that really do exist in areas of South America, which may provide some explanation for their intense reactions to the gang. And while they seem to use this as permission for “savage Native” tropes - tribal drumming, a “witch doctor,” Shaggy and Scooby ending up on a spit to be cooked, amongst others - there is one moment not entirely worth criticizing. Near the episode’s third act, upon arriving at their plane to find a small feathered object, the show has Fred identify it as a “fetish,” a term used for objects in some indigenous cultures believed to be endowed with supernatural abilities, which I found surprisingly informative (he also teaches us the unrelated word “sluice” in this episode), although such items are more attributed to cultures found in West Africa and Northern America. But in the end, things stay true to the Scooby formula as this tribe, whose lines are restricted to “chamba chambala” and “wongala,” turn out to be victims of another white man using a sacred creature as a means to frighten people away from his illegal operation.
The Hairy Scare of the Devil Bear does not feature any indigenous populations themselves, but we do get to see a devil bear (or “demon bear,” as one archaeologist calls it in the first few lines of the episode) that is supposedly a spirit that is haunting some ancient caves. A major clue in the episode is that many of the carvings supposedly telling of the bear spirit are simply just claw marks, which you’d think archaeologists would be able to tell, but maybe these weren’t among the brightest of archaeologists haha. We also see some ancient native relics when they discover the treasure at the end of the episode.
In one of the few instances of indigenous people during the “Scrappy years” of the franchise, The Quagmire Quake Caper, from The New Scooby & Scrappy-Doo Show, takes us to Sulphur Springs State Park and a nearby village. Although it’s not specified in the episode, the desert landscape suggests this could be the real world Sulphur Springs Valley (Arizona), the city of Sulphur Springs (Texas) or possibly a reference to the former Choctaw Nation community in Oklahoma named Sulphur Springs. Invited to investigate by a visiting seismologist, the group soon meets the unnamed village chief and Quanto, who share differing opinions on whether or not their community should remain in the area. Unlike many previous iterations, the indigenous people here are presented in somewhat more modern attire, though it does remain fairly stereotypical in the patterns, ponchos and simplified feather headdresses. The chief is also given the standard “Native elder” voice - deep, a little slower and saying things like “our people have lived here for centuries, guarded by the great spirit.”
A major piece of evidence in the case is a “traditional Indian medicine staff” which features a golden eagle head and feather, that is discovered to have ties to an “ancient tribal spirit chamber.” When Daphne, Shaggy and the Doos eventually discover this chamber, it’s revealed to be full of totem poles (again, not something which would be true for the area), a buffalo hide (and head) for some reason and a giant pot full of “Indian gold.” It’s this gold that is revealed to have been the motivation for the mud monster terrorizing the area, who, to this episode’s credit, actually turns out to be the indigenous villager Quanto and not a white man. However, almost as soon as this reveal happens, the chief and several other villagers arrive to the tune of tribal drumming and, as the episode continues, all the good it achieved in representation is quickly undone. We see all four members of the gang wearing feather headdresses, Scooby loading the Mystery Machine with a plethora of patterned quilts he’s taking as souvenirs, and the chief giving them the medicine staff as a memento from “my people.” Then Scooby, now with a yellow mask around his eyes in addition to his headdress, takes the staff and begins dancing/chanting to which Shaggy warns him he could be dealing with some “powerful medicine,” followed immediately by a small rain cloud appearing over Scooby's head, to which he excitedly remarks “it really works!”
Wedding Bell Boos!, another episode of The New Scooby & Scrappy-Doo Show, again features a sought after “Indian treasure,” however includes no representation by indigenous people. Visiting Shaggy’s and Scooby’s families in Plymouth, Massachusetts for Shaggy’s sister’s wedding, the group soon learns this event is haunted by Shaggy’s pilgrim ancestor, McBaggy Rogers, who arrived on the Mayflower. While “Part One” of the episode mostly revolves around the ghost’s introduction, “Part Two” introduces McBaggy’s diary and a passage about a “priceless Indian treasure” buried on the property. That soon leads into the Doos disguising themselves as indigenous people, and the Rogers (plus Daphne) dressing up as pilgrims, to trick the ghost with a maneuver that includes “Chief Scooby” wanting to “make peace” with a peace pipe - the name commonly given to the ceremonial pipes used in various Native cultures for sacred ceremonies. It’s clearly a watered down, stereotypical use of the object, but luckily this is pretty much where the episode’s take on indigenous cultures ends. When the treasure is discovered, it is revealed, much to the villain’s dismay, not to be gold or diamonds stolen from the indigenous people, but ears of corn. Although it’s not flint corn, it is referred to by that species’ nickname (“Indian corn”) and is said to have been viewed as treasure, not by the Native people (as one might have expected), but by the pilgrims, as it would grow into large crops so they’d “never go hungry again.”
The Story Stick from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is an interesting episode that actually seems to do its research on the indigenous population, instead of making random stuff up based off of stereotypes or other such inaccuracies. The episode starts us off with Shaggy and Scooby whooping and hollering, and doing all the negative stereotypes that are not at all consistent with Native culture. Daphne’s Native friend, Warren, then comes out and simply says “hi!” and begins speaking in perfect English. This prompts Daphne to tell Shaggy and Scooby to “get serious, guys!” and that indigenous people are “just like you and me.”
While not necessarily true, because they are different in some ways and that’s totally okay, this seems like they are trying to inform kids that indigenous people are not these frightening crazy people, sort of in the vein of the moral message about teaching kids to not do drugs two episodes prior in “Scooby Dude.”
Warren does mention his “crazy” grandfather, however. Looking at this from an adult lens, I sort of understand this more as the grandfather not actually being a crazy man, but rather, a lack of understanding between an assimilated youth and his grandfather. This is a very common generational issue that can occur, especially when the youngest generation begins assimilating into the mainstream culture and the older generation feels left behind and unable to fully assimilate, because it is not something they grew up with. It’s interesting that Scooby brought some representation to that issue, albeit in a simplistic way, and I wish I would have caught that as a kid!
The monster in the episode is the Totem Monster, which is a three-level living totem with three faces. I always thought this choice of villain was pretty fitting given the use of totems in Native culture, however, I do wish that the creature had more lore behind him. The creature also speaks English for most of the episode, but when he’s telling his story, suddenly he speaks gibberish and no one can understand him, which I thought was an unfortunate inconsistency.
While I do not intend to get overly political here, one major metaphor I noticed in this episode was that the culprit was a white person, Mr. Ryan, who was trying to steal land away from Warren and his grandfather. Historically, this is a huge metaphor about how white people took the Natives’ land away from them, which in itself is an interesting historical parallel.
New Mexico, Old Monster has the gang in New Mexico, visiting Shaggy’s childhood friend Jimmy Proudwolf, who is an indigenous man that he used to go to daycare with. Jimmy also interestingly has a dog named Shooby, which is sort of an interesting parallel to my above comments about how “The Story Stick” frames it as a “Indigenous people being different isn’t a bad thing, they’re just like us” narrative. Jimmy having the same type of dog as Shaggy does, and even naming them with only one letter difference, sort of reproduces this narrative of similarity and shared meaning between indigenous and non-indigenous people, despite their unique differences. This is certainly the message I took away from the episode when first watching it when I was much younger than I am now, and I feel this is a very beneficial and important message for kids to see and hear in the media.
We get a very interesting villain as well in this episode, a gigantic bird of Native legend, the Wakumi Bird! The culprit is a United States Army colonel, who said that he fabricated the entire legend (which doesn’t totally make sense, unless he just meant fabricated it to the gang...as the native people were alive hundreds of years prior to the colonel’s existence) in order to scare people away from the cliff dwellings. The Colonel, Henry Thornwald also disguises himself as a native shaman to trick the gang into believing the legend of the Wakumi. There’s a bit of a plothole here, as it seems others besides the gang know about the Wakumi, which surely the native people would know did not come from their own legend as this shaman they’d never seen before told them. Who knows though, maybe this colonel was in it for the long con and started this as a kid haha.
We also see the gang in some cliff dwellings….sort of? It’s more a mountain than a cliff, but they are treated as cliff dwellings. We don’t exactly see much of indigenous culture in the cliff dwellings...but, Shaggy’s friend Jimmy does make dream catchers on his reservation (under the very Shaggy-like name “Like, Jimmy’s Dreamcatchers!”), and sells them among other Native art. This is why this episode is one of the best representations of indigenous culture. It shows that Native peoples aren’t these crazy folks cut off from the world, but are real people who have a place in the world and have made their way in it, and somewhat assimilated (for better or for worse) with mainstream culture.
Although a relatively recent series, Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated is not without its own problematic elements when it comes to indigenous peoples, specifically in Attack of the Headless Horror. While there are brief moments of ignorance by some characters, it’s Rick Spartan, whom this episode mostly centers on, that truly displays some significantly cringe-worthy prejudice. Although it appears to have been done for the sake of humor, Rick’s views on Native cultures are seriously flawed and not the type of material which should be laughed off. Almost immediately we are introduced to a major red flag in the form of Rick’s “sidekick,” his British assistant and former Oxford classmate, Charles Wheetlesby, whom Rick refers to as “Cachinga” and speaks to in a degrading manner. And while telling him things like, “bring here quickie quickie” and “why not come when monster make bad bad?” may sound funny, it becomes serious when we learn that Rick is paying Charles to play the part of a “savage native,” implying this method of speech is derived from the stereotypes of the “uneducated native.” Additionally, Charles at one point brings up Rick’s desire for him to dress in a bearskin and antlers, in addition to carrying his spear, which Rick argues is “what savages wear,” and it is implied that Charles lives in a tribal yurt in the front yard of Rick’s suburban home. Charles would retain this “native” role in a later appearance, in the episode The Devouring.
And while hiring a white man for the role of a stereotypical indigenous person is a major problem (as is Charles accepting it), it’s also Rick’s entire claim to fame that should be put on trial as well. Following in the footsteps of Indiana Jones, Rick is another in a long line of “treasure-hunting adventurers,” whose fame is built upon the looting of artifacts from Native cultures (or in Rick’s own words, the “plundering” of tombs). In fact, it is his stealing of a “super creepy” shrunken head from an Aztec-like temple in the Amazon that results in the curse around which this episode revolves. And while this curse and all related to it are fictional, that doesn’t keep the episode from treating it like past series have treated indigenous cultures, including a whistling “tribal” score accompanying the monster’s appearances; a monster which wears a grass skirt, tooth necklace and some tribal tattoos, and turns out to be a white woman. Unfortunately, these negative aspects are not restricted to Rick and his company alone, with Fred telling Sheriff Stone to “arrest that Native” (Charles) and the entire gang performing a ritual that included Scooby waving a medicine stick over a hole as he and the others chanted.
For one of the franchise’s more comedy-driven series, Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! appears to take a more respectable approach to indigenous cultures with the episode Game of Chicken, though is not completely without its flaws. In what may be one of the best decisions from any of the mentioned episodes, the Native culture is described by name, separating them from any real world comparisons, as the completely fictional Zatari tribe (named, according to Jon Colton Barry, after video game company Atari, but with an additional “z”). That said, there can certainly be some arguments made that this parody is still inconsiderate of real world cultures and their beliefs. The notion, for example, of a culture worshipping chickens - without fully understanding the animal - can be seen as the type of joke walking that fine line between an insulting and comedic observation of the idols of some tribes. Additionally, the “last of the Zatari” being a strange, white man with an impossible to pronounce name (Rick), may also fall into that category, considering many indigenous people were not white, were viewed by other cultures as strange and frequently had their names butchered by those who saw them as unpronounceable (Sitting Bull’s name was actually an abbreviation of his Lakota name, Tȟatȟáŋka Íyotake, which fully translated to Buffalo Bull Who Sits Down). Looking at the rest of the episode, we find many other common stereotypes… an Easter Island stone head made to look like a chicken, a warrior spirit adorned in a mask and fur who carries a spear and doesn’t speak (portrayed by a white man who is earlier seen desecrating the tribe’s sacred caverns with graffiti and littering glow sticks throughout), and an ancient treasure that’s revealed to be something not seen as valuable by most cultures (a chicken). So although many of this episode’s elements are played for humor and revolve around a group of entirely fictional indigenous people, there are certainly elements which do not play well when considering what they represent.
Outside of the Americas, as the gang explores Australia in Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire, we get some, albeit minor, references to this country’s aboriginal people. Primarily, it is the character of Malcolm Illiwara (referred to only as “Grandfather” by concert organizer, Daniel) who is our window into the culture, by way of one scene. He does, of course, look “the part,” having been given a walking stick, jewelry, headband and open vest, and espousing the notion that the mystery can be explained away as part of a legend. However, beyond this, everything that is a direct reflection of his culture is presented in a considerate way. As the gang arrives at his home, he is found sending smoke signals (though Daniel does jokingly suggest he use the phone) which they are all intrigued by before helping to transport him, via canoe, to a “tribal council meeting,” which we unfortunately do not get the opportunity to see. And to their credit, none of these elements are really played for laughs, with Shaggy legitimately inquiring if he can be taught to send smoke signals in case he gets into trouble. Malcolm returns again later, having guided the Hex Girls through the Outback, back to the venue, and in the end seems to have come around to the idea of his grandson’s event. Overall, it does a nice job, with the only majorly concerning aspect of the entire production coming from a single, throw away line from Fred, prior to breaking and entering a music manager’s trailer. While looking for a way to cause a distraction, Fred for some reason suggests that Daphne disguise herself as an “aboriginal medicine woman.” Luckily, this never occurs.
The direct-to-video Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico features, as the title suggests, a heavy focus on Mexican culture, including the obligatory shoehorning in of the Day of the Dead celebrations, but also puts significant focus on the indigenous Aztec people. Set in a village located in the real state of Veracruz, Mexico, the gang spends a lot time traversing temples as they investigate the mystery of a vengeful chupacabra, many of which appear similar to the step-pyramids actually built by many Mesoamerican cultures. And, truthfully, there is a lot of excellent representation in this film; Velma mentions the Olmec people “built Mesoamerica’s first great civilization,” we’re introduced to the deity Quetzalcoatl and, while the gang at first calls him a “medicine man,” an old man is able to identify himself as a curandero (which he admits is sort of similar, as is a shaman). Now, the “wise old Native” stereotype is first a little heavy in the way the curandero refers to visiting Americans as “people from the North” and “the strangers,” as well as warning the gang they’re “in grave danger,” but it’s quickly turned on its head as the gang departs and he presents Fred with a business card for his website, AncientMexicanWisdom.com, a great tongue-in-cheek way of acknowledging the stereotype and showing that the culture is not oblivious to modern technology. When it comes to issues of representation, the real concern lies in the presentation given to the gang at Mexico City’s National Museum (or Museum of Anthropology) which correctly identifies 1325 as a year in which the Aztecs existed, but leans heavily into presenting the culture as a tribe of “savage Natives” with the museum guide telling them, “War-like Aztecs had many barbarous rituals. For example, warriors sacrificed thousands of captives on the altars atop the pyramids, often ripping out their still beating hearts to offer to the gods.” However, the moment that is perhaps the most uncomfortable comes during the gang’s altercation with a group of tourists at the pyramids. It is during this that they duck into a temple’s “ancient tombs” and, at Velma’s suggestion, rob “traditional clothing of the Native Indian skeletons” for disguises. Cultural appropriation aside, that’s a disturbing level of grave desecration.
We also get some minor mentions potentially worth mentioning, in the form of a “Cigar Store Indian” making a very brief appearance in Mine Your Own Business, as well as a somewhat horrifying scene in Nowhere to Hyde of Shaggy and Scooby reenacting the whites taking away all the Native people’s stuff in real life. It was a bit of an unfortunate inclusion in the episode, as it really wasn’t needed and the history that they were joking about most certainly is not a joke. It’s a pretty dark piece of history and certainly nothing to laugh at.
Throughout the franchise, a couple other appearances, not yet mentioned, by indigenous people pop up in relatively minor circumstances that are worth noting. The first, from The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode Weird Winds of Winona, is hardly anything concrete, as no mention is made within the episode itself, but it has long been rumored that Mark (the Fred-like member of the Speed Buggy gang) is altered from being a Caucasian man to being one of indigenous ancestry. And while a simple glimpse of an old Speed Buggy cartoon certainly makes it clear that this episode darkened his skin, his actual ancestry is left up to interpretation (and was likely simply the result of a decision to better differentiate him from Fred). The other minor mention worth exploring comes from the direct-to-video adventure, Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders. Again, no direct mention of ancestry is made, but many have seen the mechanic, Buck, as somebody from an indigenous culture. Should that be true, his use of short, slow sentences comes off a little stereotypical and his exclusion from the final credits is a bit upsetting (although that’s true regardless of his race), but would overall be a good modern portrayal of a man with Native ancestry.
In addition, there’s also the Native village that appears in A Tiki Scare is No Fair. Contrary to popular stereotypes, Hawaiian people are not necessarily Native. In fact, only about 10% of Hawaiian people are native to the island, the rest being a mix of White, Black, Asian, etc. Because of this, we did not want to presume that Mano Tiki Tia (or other Hawaiian episodes or films) were intended to be related to indigenous populations, so we have chosen to not cover them in this overview. This also extends to the variety of “ancient curses” and “ancient spirits” the gang have come across, which may not necessarily have roots in an indigenous culture.
It should be worth noting that while these paragraphs have indulged in some significant criticism of the Scooby-Doo franchise, we are, as many of you are, fans of the show and well aware that it is an animated series produced for children and families. This post wasn’t intended to shame anyone, nor was it meant to be a politically correct attack on a beloved Hanna-Barbera classic, but simply wanted to explore the portrayal of indigenous people within the Scooby-Doo franchise over time. We are also not making the accusation that any of this was done intentionally to cause harm or to disrespect cultures, but was likely just overlooked. It’s not unusual for material produced by people of one culture not to be aware of how their representation of other cultures may be viewed. That’s an impossible responsibility to put on anyone, but it is a good example of how representation behind the scenes matters. Perhaps some of these issues could have been cleaned up along the way by writers, producers, directors, storyboard artists or other industry professionals with Native ancestry and enhanced to give children of these cultures better representations of themselves and their families. As a comedic series, there is obviously an obligation to make people laugh, but there is also a moral obligation, as a program which many are viewing during an impressionable time in their lives, to create humor in a manner that is not mocking or mischaracterizing cultures.
Because of the times in which some of these episodes were written and aired, not all of the representation of indigenous people in the franchise are positive (especially in the early part of it), hopefully this article was still an interesting and informative piece on the representation of indigenous people in the Scooby-Doo franchise.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article on the more historical aspect of Scooby, which is admittedly in a very different style than I typically write on the site. And I’d also like to thank Bradford once again for helping me write the first co-written editorial article ever in the history of the site! Thanks, B, for your great contributions and for being an amazing friend!
If you want to follow Bradford on social media, you can follow him @hireBRADFORD on both Twitter and Instagram, and be sure to check out all his amazing Scooby-Doo fan scripts at bradfordwritesscooby.com.
There are a lot of Scooby-Doo villains that have appeared throughout various intros over the years. While many of them are taken directly from episodes of the respective series, you'd be surprised how many of really cool villains appear in the Scooby-Doo intros that never actually appear in the series. In this post, I want to give those "lost" Scooby-Doo villains the spotlight and also analyze if I think they would be decent villains that should have had their own episodes.
All villains from the original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, were properly utilized in the show, so let's begin with The New Scooby-Doo Movies intro.
Perhaps an odd villain to start with, but we never do see this ape in an episode, who is chasing the gang with an adorable smile on his face. Just purely due to the smile, I would have loved to see him appear in an episode. There are rumors out there that supposedly, some of The New Scooby-Doo Movies episodes have short scenes cut from a few of the episodes in syndication, due to things which the gang mention that happen in-episode that we never see. While I am more inclined to believe that these things simply happened off-screen, it is possible that this ape is King Kong, who Shaggy mentions attacked him and Scooby on Sandy Duncan's movie set in "Sandy Duncan's Jekyll and Hydes" despite us never seeing it.
While not a villain, it's worth mentioning the Globetrotters' dog appears in the original intro, despite him not appearing in any of the three episodes they guest starred in.
And now let's get to the mummies! The most common villain to appear in a Scooby-Doo intro that doesn't appear in the actual show are mummies! These include a mummy chasing Laurel and Hardy in The New Scooby-Doo Movies, a mummy in The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show intro, a mummy in the What's New Scooby-Doo? intro (different from the one that actually appears in the show) and a mummy in the Be Cool, Scooby-Doo intro! I'm always down for a good spooky mummy, none of these seem particularly special (and the mummy from What's New Scooby-Doo? seems to be similar to the Mummy of Ankha from Scooby-Doo! Where Are You?
The Scooby-Doo Show includes one particularly cool villain that was never used. I'm uncertain if this is supposed to be a close-up of an early character design of Merlin, but Merlin also appears in an earlier shot in the intro a few seconds earlier, and this one looks different to me! This is probably my favorite of the unused villains in any intro, and I'd love to see this cool looking ghost wizard get his episode!
And speaking of redesigns, an early design of Mamba Wamba makes an appearance at the very end of the intro!
Lastly, we get a very generic ghost, which I'm glad they didn't put in an episode. The Scooby-Doo Show had some really cool villains and I'm glad that they didn't go with something so basic.
Speaking of basic, thus begins the tri-series era where the animators just included random, basic villains in the intro rather than ones that actually appear in episodes. All of these are so basic that I really have nothing to say about them, and wouldn't want them to appear in their own episodes. All of these villains were done better in other series, in my opinion. Let's start with The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show.
Here are the unused villains from The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show.
We also get one villain in The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo / Puppy Hour intro, which is just a mad scientist (sorry for the horrible picture quality, this is the best I could get since the intro isn't on DVD).
The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show includes some recolored Where Are You villains as seen above, though two other villains are featured. It's not something I'd want to see get their own episode, as clearly the animators were going the "ooh, scary thing!" route rather than creating actual decent villains for the intro.
We do get one decent villain in that intro, however. This vampire is pretty creepy looking and I'd definitely be down for him getting his own episode!
Ah, the catchy New Scooby-Doo Mysteries intro remains one of my favorites of any Scooby intro, because of the super catchy song, why else! In addition, we also get some actually decent villains in this! The first of which is a somewhat generic ghost, but it's so gigantic that it's actually menacing, and the odd design of its head is enough to intrigue me and want it to get its own episode, especially if it had a decent enough back story!
We also get another creepy looking old man ghost on a showboat. Makes me sort of wonder if this was the intended villain for "Showboat Scooby" in an early draft! This ghost should totally get his own episode someday!
The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo ending before the overarching plot was concluded made us have to wonder what the 13th ghost (or 12th, depending on your opinion on Captain Ferguson) looked like, before Curse of the 13th Ghost anyway. Besides Maldor and Zomba being in the intro, we get a couple of extra ghosts that appear in the intro that do not appear in the series. The first batch of three look like they could be part of Morbidia's monsters or SAPS, but I will acknowledge they all look pretty cool!
You know who I think should really be the 13th ghost? This guy! He looks so creepy with multiple eyes and a giant mouth. I think they really could have created an interesting storyline around this monster as the 13th ghost.
We now go from a terrifying, nightmarish creature to the more silly A Pup Named Scooby-Doo intro. Like this creature that appears in Scooby's dog bowl...he's pretty neat and could have made a good villain in Pup, I think!
Ah, gotta love that Simple Plan-sung What's New, Scooby-Doo? intro! There was some really good pop-punk bands in that day and age, and Simple Plan was certainly one of them...but that's not what we're talking about! What's New, Scooby-Doo? goes back to the Scrappy age of all random villains appearing in the intro, but these are actually pretty decent! We start off with a headless waiter that is so cool and totally should have been in his own episode!
Next is this cave-dwelling creature that looks sort of dinosaurish...he's colored the same as the Gigantosaurus. The notion of a cave-dwelling creature is definitely intriguing and draws upon the "mysterious, unknown" angle of horror, and I would have loved to have an episode centered around a creature like that.
Robots are always cool, and this one is definitely no exception. I think this would have been a cool villain for the "Space Ape at the Cape" episode in place of the Space Ape, or for some other space-centered episode.
And this guy is just a nightmare and a half! I'm always down for a really creepy, horror-focused episode so I'd definitely be interested in seeing what the series could have done with him.
No new villains in the Get A Clue or Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated intros, so let's move on to Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! where we get a giant spider! I like how its eyes are glowing, and the two small circles at the top and multiple big circles at the bottom almost makes it look like a creepy smile! I bet Jon Colton Barry would have made this into a neat episode.
Thanks for reading everyone, and I hope you enjoyed this article! :) I'd be interested to know if anyone else would have wanted some of these "lost" villains to get their own episodes!
Universal Studios classic villains from the original monster movies got everyone interested in the genre of horror way back in the 1930s. It seems only natural then that a series focused around solving mysteries of spooky monsters, even if they are usually people in masks, would include the Universal monsters that inspired the genre. Frequently throughout the Scooby-Doo universe, we have seen classic Universal Monsters utilized as villains in large groups, including the popular Where Are You episode "A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts," and the Halloween special "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle."
At the beginning of the year, I did a poll on the site about what people's favorite episodes using groups of classic Universal Monsters were. Given what a prominently used trope this is in the Scooby-Doo franchise, I'd like to dive a bit deeper into it and explore my opinions on how this can be done well. Keep in mind that I am solely reviewing these episodes based on the Universal monsters aspect of them. All of these are wonderful episodes, but some have a ways to go in staying consistent with the horror elements of the original...
Let's start off on how this could be done not so well. Super Scary Movie Night is an episode of Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get A Clue that features the abominable Dr. Phibes (anyone get the reference here?) creating monsters to terrorize Shaggy and Scooby on CD. The ghost that delivers the CD to Shaggy and Scooby, even though it's one of the agents, provides an amazing atmosphere especially with the lightning in the background at night. But the rest of the episode...has a ways to go in the horror department. Having a flatulent pig in the episode was obviously the first mistake, and the rest of the episode's atmosphere is very corny and silly rather than staying true to the original horror elements that popularized the use of Universal monsters. Take the "Money Mummy" for example, whose only frightening deed in the episode is pickpocketing people's wallets.
Needless to say, I do love this episode and it's one of my favorite of Get A Clue, but analyzing it up against the other episodes that used this element, it doesn't do it particularly well.
Who's Minding the Monster? is the question one New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo episode poses, when Daphne, Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy help out Dracula and his wife babysit after Frankenstein disappears. Sound all over the place? Well...it is. This episode is so wacky that it, like the Get A Clue episode, suffers a bit. Everything feels very rushed in the episode and many things are left unexplored. One interesting dilemma that the episode brought up was the classic Munsters dilemma, of how two vampires (well, Herman was Frankenstein's monster in the series, but same idea) can make a werewolf baby. Dracula also refers to his wife as "poopsie," which is a serious mood killer for horror tropes lol. In the aforementioned poll, it's also worth noting that not a single person chose this episode as the best.
Let's get to The Ghoul, The Bat and the Ugly (from The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show) next. Though we aren't in a castle, I think the idea of having the monster movie award show be the setting for Universal monsters showing up is an excellent idea, however, it was executed in a way where the monsters were just crammed in in favor of focusing on the Shadow Creature plot. Don't get me wrong, this is my favorite episode of the show and The Shadow Creature is one of my favorite villains. I just would have preferred if they separated the villains into different episodes, like maybe save the Shadow Creature for a different episode and just focus on the Universal monsters. It's a bit too much to focus on otherwise, and the monsters have to get pushed to the back burner. The atmosphere and horror tropes in this episodes are truly excellent, however, just that one element doesn't quite do it for me.
A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts from Where Are You remains many people's favorite episode. Atmospherically, I love anything to do with castles, and think it's a must when including anything on the Universal Monsters (with the exception of "The Ghoul, The Bat and the Ugly," which had such a revolutionary setting idea that it was still great). I love the monsters' designs as well, and the whole setup of why the gang goes there is super creepy. However, my quip with this particular episode is the monsters don't really have any reason to be there. It's not said if it's their castle, or why they're haunting it, and it's also not explained why they're in a group. As close as this episode comes to being perfect, I feel this one element could have been explained better.
Before I move forward into the episodes I think are perfect, and what makes them perfect, I want to clarify that I hope this post isn't reading like "this episode is crap, and this episode is crap, and THIS episode is crap..." All of these episodes are so amazing that any criticisms I have are incredibly small and nitpicky. The point of this post was more to show how one could strike a perfect balance, and how I think this trope is done best.. And with that, these are the episodes that show us how:
I'll admit I'm a huge optimist which makes me always imagine how things could be done better or differently in a positive way... and Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School definitely exemplifies this! I'm not going to definitively say it's my favorite because I am a bit of a purist when it comes to this trope (because of how much I love it!), but this movie does really well exploring a way to use the Universal monsters trope through a different lens. This will probably shock those who know me, given Ghoul School is my favorite Scooby movie of all time. I feel it's done a little better in one episode, but the idea of making the Universal monsters good guys, as well as their daughters, framed through the lens of a school is a super interesting idea!
And we have a tie! Equally as perfect for this trope as Ghoul School is Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf. It's a bit more silly with the monsters racing, but the use of real monsters and Dracula actively attempting to kill Shaggy and his friends amps up the stakes for me (no pun intended, but actually pun intended). The whole bit where Dracula is "king of all the monsters" and all the monsters report to him, whilst in his castle is a really cool idea. The whole vibe that the castle gives off is genuinely spooky, and the structural format of the monsters reporting to Dracula provided some great lore...which is a must for an episode using the Universal monsters trope.
What could this episode have done better?
Well, nothing, really. This one episode just had extra aspects that made it even better...
A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle truly exemplifies this trope in Scooby-Doo. Centering around the gang going to a Halloween party with the real Universal monsters is a genius idea, and as with Reluctant Werwolf, it's a structural masterpiece. The fact that it's centered around a classic holiday that inspires horror really cements it in for me, as well as the fact that we not only get that same monster grouping that works so well, but we also get two other villains! The lore behind Dr. Van Helsing being Dracula's age-old enemy, and now him being the only ghost that can scare the monsters is plot development perfection.
This is a trope that needs to stay alive in Scooby-Doo, and this episode is the perfect model for doing so, in my opinion.
I'm sorry to those of you who aren't Harry Potter fans, because this month's editorial piece is all about the Hogwarts Houses!
I was inspired by a tweet I saw the other night on Twitter, in which a person suggested Velma could be a Hufflepuff. I know a lot of Scooby fans (and people in general) are also into Harry Potter, which gave me the idea: what Hogwarts Houses would the gang fit in? I'll admit my answers have changed since first seeing that post, but here are my thoughts:
Velma - Ravenclaw
Ravenclaws are known for their sharpness of mind and great intellect, and who better to be in that house than our Velma? Ravenclaws also have very creative minds, and offer great wisdom to their friendships. Being the brains of the group, Velma fits in perfectly with Ravenclaw.
Fred - Gryffindor
Our favorite trappin' boy is the leader of the gang, a quality that comes natural to Gryffindors. Gryffindors are also said in the books and films to display great courage, bravery, and chivalry, all of which applies to Fred.
Daphne - Slytherin
This is probably the one that's going to get the most disagreement, but I think Daphne fits best into Slytherin. Slytherins are incredibly resourceful, which makes me think of Daphne immediately. How many times in the franchise has she opened a door with a hairpin or found some creative way out of a danger-prone situation? Another Slytherin quality, self-preservation, is sort of present in Daphne at times if you mess with her...especially if you get her hair wet!
At first, my thought was that Daphne might be more of a Hufflepuff, but after I noticed another person's categorization (credit for sparking the thought to Amelia Wellman, who you may know from the Scooby Dos or Scooby Don'ts podcast), it dawned on me that Daphne actually does share more characteristics with Slytherin than any other house.
Shaggy - Hufflepuff
Where does Shaggy fit in all this? For his nerdiness, loyalty, kindness towards animals and tolerance of spooky ghosts while hanging out with the gang, I think he's right at home in Hufflepuff. I'll admit, Hufflepuffs are suppose to have moderation (which he definitely doesn't have with food), but I think all the other common characteristics fit him well!
Scooby-Doo - Hufflepuff
Like his lifelong companion Shaggy, Scooby-Doo is also a Hufflepuff for the same reasons, I believe. Scooby is fiercely loyal and dedicated to his friends, even if he is a bit of a scaredy cat. This kind dog who tolerates ghosts and monsters galore for his four human companions is undeniably a Hufflepuff.
And before y'all joke about it, I would say that yes, Scrappy is also a Slytherin for his "lemme at 'em" attitude towards ghosts and monsters, self-preservation ("I'm just a puppy!" was Scrappy's catchphrase in his first year and determination to fight.
I hope you enjoyed this article, and if you are a Harry Potter fan, I'd love to hear whether you agree with my assessments or not! And you all are welcome to tell me what house you think you'd be in as well, I'm a Hufflepuff for life! haha
"Hi Guys, Don Knotts Again": The Five Most Bizarre Joke Comments Posted on the Site (Happy April Fools Day!)
Happy April Fools Day!
For many of us right now, I'm sure we're feeling a deficit of good given the current circumstances. Since it's April Fools Day, I wanted to just do a fun, mindlessly silly post purely for comedy reasons that should hopefully bring a smile to some people's faces.
There have admittedly been a lot of ridiculous joke comments on the site over the years, likely from bored kids with nothing else to do. While most of them are not very funny, there have been a few that have given me a chuckle. Typically, I never respond to any joke comments, but now, I'm going to highlight my five favorite joke comments that have been posted on the site.
Since I'd never usually give attention to spammers, I'd like to explain my thoughts on doing this. Most of these are incredibly old (the most recent one being last September, but some dating back to 2014), and I'm assuming that these were just bored kids passing by. It is very unlikely that any of the five people who wrote these comments are still around to read this post, so I don't think it's going to encourage their behavior.
I'm also not trying to publicize spam, or say that I think all attempts of spamming is funny. 99% of the spam comments I've seen on here (or anywhere else on the Internet) are just annoying, unnecessary and rude. But, every once in a while, I'll read an amusing one that's so mindlessly random or silly that it's actually funny. I'm not trying to encourage or glamorize any sort of spamming, and if you do spam on this site, you will be banned and your IP address will be blocked. Trust me, I've received plenty of stupid ones like "da mafia comin' to arrest ya!" or "y'all are idiots for hangin' out on this dumb site" (actual comments I received a long time ago) that are simply a waste of the commenter's time, and none of those are included. These were just five silly ones that I wanted to share in a time where many people could use some comedy.
Without further ado, here are the top 5:
What? She's not?
The first joke comment I ever received, and while it may not be the funniest, it amuses me thinking that this person genuinely thought that the idea of someone's mother not helping them would scare people lol.
I have no idea what was going through that person's head at the time, but whatever it was sounds quite lively haha.
I blanked out this name as it was somewhat distasteful and could offend some people. The comment, however, is hilarious! I love how the very gangsta-ish language and then the random use of the word "establishment" lol. I checked out "myhomies.com" out of curiousity to what it was, and apparently it's a rehab center's official website? Clearly the person posting it didn't actually look at what the link they were posting was, and just wanted to be cool haha.
I actually don't think I deleted these comments as they were so amusing. It's obviously not Don Knotts and probably was just some bored kid, but imagining Don Knotts waiting in his house for 47 years to find out what people really thought of his performance in Scooby-Doo just amused me. I love that he followed up three days later too. That's some serious dedication haha!
I think I've mentioned this one before as it's so out of left field, but I don't think I've ever shared the full version. This isn't a comment, but rather an interesting email that I couldn't help but open immediately after I saw who it was from lol. I received an email in 2015 from someone claiming to be famous rapper P. Diddy, asking me to join him on an insurance venture. Five years after receiving it, here's the full email (note: some minor explicit content):
And before you ask, I did not respond before "da end of da week," so presumably, Snoop Dogg did indeed receive that call lol.
I hope you all enjoyed this post, and hopefully it made you smile at least a little bit! Happy April Fools Day to you all!
In this essay, I'm going to argue that Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy are homeless. In numerous episodes throughout The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show, Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy are hinted to be living out of the Mystery Machine, doing daily rituals that would normally be done in one's house. Going through all 60 shorts in the series, I will discuss the numerous times in which the gang is hinted to live out of the Mystery Machine, and ultimately, demonstrate that they are intended to be homeless, or traveling from place to place, in this series. This essay is not an attempt to disparage or make fun of anyone who is homeless, rather, it is simply an editorial essay pointing out a relevant factor that's present through the entire show.
Let's begin with "Scooby in Wonderland." Scooby, Shaggy and Scrappy are shown to be sleeping in their van, not in sleeping bags, but in what appears to be full-size beds. While it may have been possible these could be beds somewhere else, as they look like beds you'd have in a house, the first seen actually pans into the Mystery Machine, which shows that they are sleeping in their van. Scrappy and Scooby have one bed, while Shaggy sleeps in the other.
Our next short that has some evidence of this is "Scooby's Trip to Ahz," which has the gang watching "The Wizard of Oz" on TV...out of their parked van. It seems a bit odd that they would just randomly park their van to go watch television. This could maybe be explained, if it weren't for the numerous other episodes that have evidence of them living out of the van.
In "Scooby's Luck of the Irish," Scooby, Scrappy and Shaggy are eating Irish stew in the woods. The stew was clearly shown to be made with an old pot, heated by fire, telling me that they don't have an oven or any other means of cooking it. It seems quite odd to be eating stew out in the woods, especially when it's dark, even though no evidence was shown of them living out of the van in this episode.
In quite possibly the most pitiful example, "Scooby and the Beanstalk" begins with the gang eating baked beans in an empty field. It begins to rain, however, and the beans are ruined. Shaggy claims there is nothing else to eat because that was all they had. Afterwards, they go and sleep in the van, hungry. If anything, this seems like a very clear example of them being homeless.
While these four are all the evidence we have of them living out of the van, it seems to happen often enough for it to be a possibility. What makes this a further possibility is how many jobs they have in this series. Spoilers: it's a ton. Nine out of the sixty episodes in the series has the guys getting jobs. These jobs include the following. In "The Chinese Food Factory," they get jobs as night watchmen at a Chinese food factory. In "Stuntman Scooby," they get jobs as stuntmen on the set of a film. "Scooby's Three Ding-A-Ling Circus" has the gang working as carnival workers selling food. "Surprised Spies" has them hired by the FBI to be professional spies. The guys get jobs as a magician's assistants in "Backstage Scooby." The gang is working on cleaning space shuttles in "Scooby Saves the World." Shaggy, Scooby and Scrappy get jobs as foremen building the Vampire State Building in "Hardhat Scooby." The very next episode, "Canine to Five" has them working for a scientist who turns into a werewolf. They start their very own gardening service, the Triple S Gardening Service in "Hothouse Scooby." Finally, "Scooby Doo 2000" has the guys cleaning Big Ben in England.
So why are the gang homeless? We don't exactly know for sure obviously, but my thoughts are that they are traveling the world out of their van. They seem to bring their van to quite odd places such as an Arabian temple (which would require cross-ocean travel). The gang travels to locations in this series, including the old west, England, Arabia, Egypt, the Himalayas, Mexico, Scotland, the Amazon jungle, an unnamed prehistoric island, the Swiss Alps, Italy, Hawaii, Alaska, Carlsbad (Bad Carl's) Caverns, Paris, India, somewhere in the South, The Great Wall of China, and England for a second time.
While maybe not the most solid, undeniable argument I've ever made, I think the evidence for the gang traveling the world living out of their van in The Richie Rich / Scooby-Doo Show is pretty decent, and is definitely my head canon for the series. I think it's an interesting twist that the writers chose to write them this way, and I'm admittedly not sure why, other than maybe they wanted to keep that element of the Mystery Machine from the original format as a home base for the guys in their travels. Keep in mind, we never do see the gang's homes in the 1969-1979 series either, though they are not shown to be living out of the van through context clues as they seem to be in this series. If going hungry because your baked beans cooked in a bucket got soggy doesn't mean you're living in a van, I don't know what does.
~ WildwindVampire ~