Sunday, May 24, 2015

RR Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo

When Hanna-Barbera realized the Scooby-Doo formula was starting to get stale... they thought adding a younger pup would be the best way to revive the show...

Scooby-Doo - where are you?! Right here:

Name: Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo 
Created by Joe Ruby & Ken Spears
Original run 1979/80
Genre Comedy/Adventure/Mystery animated series

Time to finally have a look back at the infamous Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo series.

Following several Scooby-Doo shows - which actually worked more as extensions to the original 1969 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! such as The New Scooby-Doo Movies which recycled episodes only to offer a few new guest-starring episodes with the likes of Batman or The Scooby-Doo Show that used to rerun older material along new episodes - Hanna-Barbera Productions decided to finally produce some actual new material and experiment with the formula of the show.

"Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo" was the fourth proper "incarnation" of the original Scooby-Doo cartoon, and the first actual retooling of the show/first real new series all in all.

As you can see from the title, the most notable addition was Scooby-Doo's infamous Scrappy-Doo, voiced by Lennie Weinrib. The show also went through a slight overhaul. The series was now less horror, most "monsters-of-the-week" turning out to be science-fiction-inspired instead.

Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo started airing on September 1979 and only ran for one season on ABC, which despite the above DVD label mentioning "Scooby Doo and Scrappy-Doo: The Complete Season 1" actually covers the entire show, a 16-episode run that lasted from 1979 to 1980.

Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo sees the Mystery Inc. gang back aboard their Mystery Machine, roaming around the world looking for mysteries to solve! Only now they're accompanied by Scooby-Doo's pup nephew!

With this series, Scooby-Doo took a much lighter turn. The introduction theme song of the episodes offers all the explanation you need for the new status quo. One night, Scrappy was sent to spend some time with his uncle - there you have it!

This above DVD set contains all the episodes of the show, despite what you might think from the title.

In the first episode, the gang run into a real comic book superhero annoying his cartoonist in a scheme to steal some money. After that, our heroes visit a theme park filled with life-like animatronics and are joined by a robot Sherlock Holmes. After that we got aliens, an electric-powered supervillain, a snake demon, a trip to Japan for a baseball game that a demon is trying to ruin, they run into a "devil bear" haunting the Grand Canyon, visit Alcatraz to face a vampire, discover a fake minotaur in Greece, etc. And most of those would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for these meddling kids!

The show took a turn sending our protagonists on a tour around well known popular places around the world. Only a few episodes actually contain more traditional ghosts or monsters.

As the episodes go on, Fred, Daphne, and Velma took a less and less prominent role. While Shaggy, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo were the main focus of these 16 new episodes.

It's a fun series, much in the same vein of the original. But things started to show their age and the creators weren't just as inspired as much as time went on.

Let it be said, Scrappy was always a problematic character for several reason, writers first and foremost. He was just too independent, when he was first introduced he barely needed the rest of the Scooby gang... And they were the main characters! They tried to tone down Scrappy as episodes went along. Scrappy began too feisty in the early episode, and Hanna-Barbera feared these episodes would be left out of reruns.

The other problem was his overblown personality. His voice proved to be as much a problem since he was going to be a "kid sidekick" typically. He couldn't be too grating, that would get annoying fast. They tried different directions with so many voice actors (including famous ones such as Mel Blanc, and Frank Welker). Scrappy-Doo's final voice actor Lennie Weinrib immediately asked for too much money when he saw his character take such an important role, he would be quickly replaced for Scrappy in his later appearances the following years.

Don Messick returned as Scooby-Doo, like Casey Kasem as Shaggy - both the heart of the show.

At least one of my favorite aspects of this series was how they gave Shaggy a more sarcastic and almost meta voice. Kasem was given a lot of fun lines, even getting tired how the group is always split up between Freddy and the girls while Shaggy as to play bait with the dogs.

On the other hand, one controversial aspect of this show was the replacement of Velma's voice actress starting on episode 12. Pat Stevens would be replaced by Marla Frumkin for the reminding episodes.

I had such fun memories of this show, but getting to watch it back nowadays I can now see it wasn't exactly as good as I remembered it.

Unlike the original, it aged a bit. Plus between the laugh tracks and Scrappy's constant countless cheesy one liners, it gets really old really fast. Like most Hanna-Barbera shows at the time it featured a pre-recorded laugh track that really feels out of place here. And the formula of every episode makes sure Scrappy hits all his catchphrases the same way every time.

Sure, it's fun to revisit, but some memories are better left to childhood. The format aged, and the formula is always the same every episode, it's really repetitive.

Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo would be followed by a few direct continuations before a new show replaced it. The first one being the 7-minute shorts Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (from 1980 to 1982) which would outlast this previous series by lasting three seasons. Then would follow The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show. And finally The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour format taking over the Richie Rich crossover series.

Overall, while this was fun as a kid, all things considered this wasn't that great a show. The quality really took a hit and Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo really suffer from it at times. Where once gorgeous backgrounds saved the atmosphere and there was a somewhat decent art and animation, as far Hanna-Barbera productions go, Scrappy-Doo marked a huge drop (along other HB productions back then).

The classic Scooby-Doo formula is okay as long as the writers are able to get creative with it. But there's always so many breaks from the story like Scrappy reminding everyone he's just a puppy after goofing up or other characters pointing to Scooby-Doo "he's YOUR nephew, Scoobs!". There's just too much contrast between Scooby and Shaggy's cowardly natures and Fred and the other's smarts, Scrappy just doesn't fit in there. Despite his only reason to exist was to make the show more dynamic and marketable.

Aside from this sole regular season of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo here, Scrappy would get to appear in a few Scooby-Doo films and the rest of the following Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show and Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour. He wouldn't be seen or heard from until James Gunn's live action film.

Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo would be followed by a complete retooling of the show, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.

I give it:
1 / 3 Felixes!


  1. I must confess: This was actually my introduction to Scooby-Doo...

    I mean, as you said, as a kid, you wouldn't mind it and have fun with it. Though I haven't seen it since, I doubt I'll see it as fondly as I used to. (I think the 80s might be the weaker decade for Scooby-Doo. If only because by the late 90s they decided "Eh, who cares? Let's just run with it however we like!")

  2. Hopefully, we'll see The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Hour Volume 2 on DVD, before too long. BTW, some of the voice actors of The Superfriends' Legion of Doom supervillain group, the previous year(Stanley Jones, Marlene Aragon, Stanley Ralph Ross, Michael Bell, Bill Callaway, etc.) were all heard on Scooby & Scrappy-Doo in 1979.

  3. As you indicated, Scrappy's problem was that he promptly went completely against the 'Scooby-Doo' paradigm, and though it was funny during the time of its airing, it does get stale rapidly. The one thing I disliked about Scrappy was the fact he kept ruining the disguise schtick that Shaggy & Scooby did to get away from the monster in question. Which was ironic that later in the Scooby/Scrappy vignettes, that Scrappy did help with the disguises later on, as well in 'The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.'

    However, I always felt H-B should've drop Scrappy before 13 Ghosts and brought back ALL of the gang, not just an updated Daphne, nor added Flim-Flam. Imagine how it would have been if Fred and Velma had returned with a more sinister atmosphere with Vincent Price instead. But overall, I felt Scrappy was rather doomed from the beginning due to the fact H-B had no idea what to really do with the character, or how to successfully integrate him into the realm of Scooby-Doo.

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