Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Not What Ol' Blue Eyes Had In Mind
When Frank Sinatra ad-libbed "doo-be-doo-be-do" at the end of his rendition of "Strangers in the Night" (1966), he certainly wasn't thinking of animated slobberdogs. However, Iwao Takamoto, the animator who created the original design for Scooby-Doo, the famous cartoon slobberdog for Hanna-Barbera Productions, might have been inspired by Sinatra's ad-lib. One source attributes Scooby's naming to Fred Silverman, who, in 1969, as head of children's programming at CBS, purportedly derived the name from the Sinatra lyric.
Regardless of who rightfully possesses the naming rights, Scooby-Doo has been a HUGE cartoon phenomena. Why is this important? That's a fair question, since, after all, Scooby's a slobberdog, so importance doesn't really enter into the picture. Now, if he were a feline, then we'd have something to talk about.
Today is Scooby-Doo's (brace yourselves) 42nd birthday. (You can look it up.) He was "born" September 13, 1969. Writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears created the original Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning television series, which began on this date. The show ran on CBS until 1976, when it moved to ABC.
It would be impossible to exaggerate the importance of Scooby-Doo as a cartoon franchise. His popularity, along with his animated buddies in Mystery, Inc., is as massive and long-lasting as any fictional characters, whether cartoonish or with real, live actors. Why has he been so successful? Well, he's funny-looking, even for a slobberdog, but, mostly, he's fun to watch. His exaggerated facial expressions and physical gesturing is cartoon comedic genius. If you were to study the silent movie comedians, you would see similarities that keep kids (and grown-ups) watching.
Hey, do you think anybody will be reading this blog after 42 years? Not likely. So rest assured that I am not poking fun at Scooby in any way, shape, or form. Still, an animated cat would have been even more popular. Actually, Hanna-Barbera had lots of cartoon kitties. What about Top Cat, for instance? Well, he only ran for 30 episodes (1961-1962)--hardly a TV longevity record.
Okay, Scooby remains one popular pooch. Top slobberdog award goes to the winner, and still champion. Happy birthday, Scoob!
Hoping I Look as Good as Scooby When I'm 42,
Cauli Le Chat
MPL Roving Reporter
Cartoon News Beat
P.S. Let's listen to Frank Sinatra sing his chart-topping hit, "Strangers in the Night," the first track to the album by the same name (1966). You'll hear Frank's ad lib at the end.