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On the opening of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You

01:00 Thu 11th Jul 2002 |

The most popular movie of the year could just turn out to be based on an old TV series. Good old Hollywood, always ready to surprise us with something new.

Scooby-Doo, Why Are You
Most of the television shows we loved as kids have been resurrected by Hollywood - The Flintstones, Star Trek, Mission: Impossible, Charlie's Angels. There's a Starsky & Hutch film in the pipeline. There's probably a producer somewhere hoping to turn that Blue Peter elephant into a Hollywood action hero.

In that context the only surprise is how long it took to turn Scooby and his chums into a real-life film.

Scooby Doo, Who Are You
Scooby, Scoobert to his mother, is a Great Dane, desperate for pizza and the easy life. He's mascot to a bunch of high school kids: thrusting Fred Jones, Daphne 'Don't judge me by my beauty' Blake, Velma 'Don't judge me by my plainness' Dinkley and Shaggy 'Don't judge me, buy me a snack' Rogers. (Let's ignore Scooby's nephew, Scrappy, the Jar Jar Binks of Saturday morning cartoons, who was introduced to spice up the show in the late 70's. Everyone hates him.)

The gang got up to endless high-jinks, all of them set in spooky ghost towns, abandoned amusement parks and the like. You don't mess with a winning formula.

Scooby-Doo, When Were You
Hanna-Barbera's original series, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You , debuted on CBS on Saturday, September 13, 1969. There were only 25 episodes of that original show, but in various guises they've been churned out ever since. By some accounts there are now 310 TV episodes.

Revealing un-cartoonlike thespian ambitions, Fred, Daphne and Velma have all 'retired' at various times to pursue other careers (were they asking the producers for too much money ) but the lure of the big screen has brought them all back together.

Scooby Doo, Who Are They
In the original, Scoobs was voiced by Don Messick, who died in 1997. He was also Snorky in the Banana Splits, Bamm Bamm in The Flintstones, Astro in The Jetsons and Muttley in the Wacky Races. What a guy! What a ridiculous list of names! Top American disc jockey Kasey Kasem was the original voice of Shaggy.

Ironically, another DJ is the voice of Scooby in the movie: Scott Innes, all the way from WYNK in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Fred is now Freddie Prinze Jr, cleancut US teen heart-throb and star of I Know What You Did Last Summer (with Sarah Michelle Gellar, now his fiancee); Ms Geller herself - you know her best as Buffy - is Daphne; Velma is played by Linda Cardellini while Matthew (Scream) Lillard is earning the best reviews for his sensitive portrayal of Shaggy.

The villain, and I think we all know what he's going to say at the end of the film, is none other than Rowan Atkinson. He plays Emile Mondavarious, owner of a spooky arcade.

Scooby-Doo, What Are They Saying
Best not to ask what the critics are saying, and remind ourselves of the catchphrases: 'I would've gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids'... 'rooby-dooby-doo'.... 'jinkies'... and, sure to catch on again in a land where cannabis is to be decriminalised, Shaggy's favourite expression: 'zoinks'!

Scooby-Doo, Whither Art Thou
There's already talk of Scooby-Two. And we shouldn't be surprised, the film has been a box-office smash in the States and the merchandising opportunities are endless. Scooby Snacks, anyone The film is seen as a "$700 million-a-year franchise".

Innovations brought in to freshen up the TV series included guest stars like The Addams Family, Sonny and Cher and the Harlem Globetrotters, and we should probably expect more of thr same... Hollywood probably has the next ten films mapped out already.

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