As for me, I grew up in a period of time where 50% of Cartoon Network's programming was constant Scooby-Doo reruns, so of course, I'm very familiar with Scooby-Doo. It was a sad, barren period before the Cartoon Cartoons were born, but hey, at least it gave me the knowledge of which Scooby-Doo show is which. Maybe if I ever make it onto Jeopardy, that can help me win the bonus question.
And this Scooby-Doo show I'm covering happens to be the third incantation of that ever-famous canine, following the original Scooby-Doo show and The New Scooby-Doo Movies which were almost an hour long and included guest stars. Arguably, this could be considered when Scooby-Doo hit his prime. He had already gained an audience with his original show and worked out his formula, the second run was a brief experiment that showed that the formula could still work, and now he was back doing what he did best. And best of all, this was before Scrappy-Doo was added. Truly this dog was at the top of his game in this show.
...except for Scooby-Dum. Why the hell does this character exist. Why did this show introduce this character.
|It's a testament to how bad Scrappy-Doo is when THIS guy is considered more bearable.|
Availability: On DVD
Before I actually get into the show itself and therefore paint a giant target on my chest for making fun of America's childhood, I just want to quickly point out an animation glitch in the cartoon's opening. At one point during the song, Shaggy has no arms. Kind of fell asleep at the wheel there, Hannah-Barbera. It's probably not a good sign when the theme song consists of purely recycled animation and episode clips and yet they still managed to go off-model. Quality!
|"Zoinks, Scoob! I've contacted leprosy!"|
|That was nice of the party goers to all dance in pairs in front of open windows like that.|
|I'm half-expecting that horse to turn to the camera and say "It's a living", just from that expression.|
But ignoring that pointless feature for a second, I just love how Shaggy just kind of walks up to the snack table and just starts taking whole fried chickens and entire pizzas because he's feeling a little bit peckish and plans on dislocating his own jaw. Hey, thanks, asshole. Maybe you could've saved some for the other guests? Remind me to never invite this man to any of my parties.
|He is so baked right now...|
Personally, they should've saved the laugh track for when Scooby starts choking on pieces of broken porcelain for swallowing several pieces of china whole. That dog's going to have some major digestive problems down the road.
...and I didn't know Dino from the Flinstones was part of an equine evolutionary line in the Hannah-Barberaverse, because that horse costume looks just like him. Learn something new every day.
|And then Scooby ends up puking half of that food out all over those nice, expensive carpets.|
I'm going to avoid talking about the damn laugh track for much longer, but I just want to point out something it thought was funny. She says that friends of her niece are always welcome at Crane manor, Scooby says "thank you", and then the laugh track starts up. So what, being polite is a joke now? What the hell?
|"You're so well-spoken and educated for a dog. Truly a credit to your species."|
Sure enough, the moment someone mentions Dum in a conversation, he arises from the smelly, sweaty, crumb-filled pits of Scooby's costume and lets his presence be known. I find it hilarious that Scooby Doo is a four-legged animal and therefore could just operate that horse costume all by himself, and yet he still stuffed his cousin-brother-whatever into the horse's ass cavity and continues walking. I imagine that thing must be pretty cramped and, considering Dum's head is in there, incredibly oxygen-deprived. No wonder his brother's stupid.
|Whatever you do, don't try to think of Scooby-Dum's body in relation to Scooby-Doo's body in that thing.|
On the bright side, Daphne's costume is so adorable. She was dressing up like Tinkerbell before it was cool, even if her body doesn't budge an inch during this scene.
|"Hey, guys! I just got sorted into Gryffindor on Pottermore!"|
"Guess what? No one cares, Velma."
...although he was deprived of all of his stolen treats earlier, so maybe he's still suffering from the aftereffects of his munchie attack.
|But then again, Shaggy has a history of putting dirty things into his mouth, amiright?|
|"Rikes, Raggy! Ri'm rutating!"|
The Headless Horseman doesn't even bother with the troupe of clowns either. He just kind of rides around on his horse, laughs at the fact that some stoner dressed like a vampire is eating things off the ground, and then turns his crazed pony around and gallops off in the opposite direction. Threatening!
...also, I have a question. Is the horse supposed to be a ghost too, or did we miss a scene where the Headless Horseman raided some person's stable? And how often would the ghost have to switch out his horses?
|"Yeah, I'm so the Headless Horseman. You dig?"|
Meanwhile, while this is going on, the three less interesting characters are getting a tour of the mansion by someone who has a pink cat fursona and doesn't know where to stick the tail. Great costume there! It really brings out the true horrors of Halloween!
And who's the gentlemen in the painting? Why, the great Ichabod Crane. Yes, turns out Crane Manor is situated in Sleepy Hollow, Mrs. Crane's niece Beth happens to be related to the same guy who saw the Headless Horseman, and my suspension of disbelief just got shattered by the sheer amounts of what-the-hellery filling the air. You got all that?
|Beth Crane's story is so full of bullcrap that it made Daphne's mouth disappear!|
So this dog can talk, grow an extra eye, and then suck his head inside of himself. This is why the bridesmaids of Cthulhu shouldn't be running puppy mills.
|I tried doing this yesterday. The doctors say it'll be five weeks until I can remove my neck brace.|
I like how, at one point, the dogs have to pull out a pumpkin in order to illustrate that the Headless Horseman did, in fact, have a pumpkin for a head. They're just assuming that their friends are such morons that they need visual aides in order to get the fact that there's some decapitated ghoul running around with a head squash.
Also, haven't said this before, but I really like Shaggy in his vampire costume. He looks very dignified for someone who eats dog food.
|"Now, if you study my Powerpoint, you can clearly see that the Horseman was in fact riding a horse.|
Daphne, would you like me to repeat the last slide?"
|"Maybe if we swing the swords at each other instead of in the air, this fight would be a lot easier."|
And yep, same horse as the photograph. Unless some horse drank from the Fountain of Youth and is now immortal, apparently Headdy likes them white. What a racist.
|Ye Olde Wacky Races.|
In fairness to the Headless Horseman, from what we've seen of him, he can't be as scary as that pink thing Beth dressed up as. I was just fine with her not wearing a mask. Now she's some sort of hideous pink monster and I wish she would go away.
...okay, several questions. One, Fred brought up a very good point. They're at a Halloween costume party. The ghost isn't doing anything special other than saying he wants a head; for all they know, it could be someone in a costume (and it IS, since this is Scooby-Doo) and he's just pulling one hell of an asshole prank. Two, why is Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Dum freaking out? No way is that man gonna want a dog's head! Three, okay, how many Halloween parties have these guys gone to? Like, zero? Because where I'm at, people messing with the lights is just standard procedure just as much as smashing pumpkins is.
In short, it's one thing to freak out if you spot a ghost in, say, an abandoned mine or some sort of amusement park in the middle of the night, but it's just silly to scream and run away the moment you see a ghost at a goddamn Halloween Party.
|All he needs is some toilet paper and a cartoon full of eggs and he can truly crash this party.|
|"Lately I've been questioning Fred's leadership. I could swear he always pairs us up on purpose."|
...and yes, I'm sticking by what I said earlier. This character is still more bearable than Scrappy-Doo. I'm not sure how the hell the Scooby-Doo makers manage to keep topping terrible characters with even worse characters, but all I could feel during this really stupid scene with the bowling ball was relief that I wasn't watching Scrappy or, god forbid, Flim-Flam. Little asshole single-handedly ruined 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo for me, and that cartoon had Vincent Price in it!
|"Yep, this is definitely a bowling ball."|
|A bright man would use that candle as a weapon and try to fight off the evil spook. |
Unfortunately, all we have is Shaggy here.
|And yet his collar still manages to stay on.|
...why is he considered dumber than Scooby-Doo? I've seen Scooby-Doo do this in other episodes. Plus, if he was really dumb, he wouldn't be able to speak, being a dog and all.
|Home Alone 6: Canine Edition|
...and I'm really trying my best not to look at Scooby over there. Excuse me, but after this episode is over, I'm going to have a good long cry. That is not a dog! That's a demon in disguise!
|"You know what? I'm pretty sure I'm just hallucinating this entire thing, man."|
|"Your mother's in here, Karras. Would you like to leave a message?"|
...wait, there an entire room on the upper floor dedicated to making clothing? Man, somehow it's disappointing to hear that Ichabod's descendants sew dresses for a living.
|"He's ineffectively waving his arms in the air! Run!"|
Luckily, in his haste to get away, the Horseman left behind a clue, which means that Shaggy's adventure in crapping up wasn't entirely pointless. Our funky phantom left behind a pile of wood shavings somehow even though he's walked around this house and not once did he drop a single wood shaving anywhere else. So what, did he just not notice the clippings falling out of his costume while disentangling himself from the sewing machine?
|"These cashews laying on the ground will tell us who did it!"|
|A revenge-seeking specter tied to her family name ruins her Halloween party and she just falls asleep? Huh?|
And this is the scene that made me realize that these characters actually have four fingers instead of the typical three fingered hand you see in cartoons. Clearly Scooby-Doo animators are aiming for realism while they're drawing a dog suck his own head into his chest.
|Thing was a bit of a delinquent in his early years.|
...just going to call it now, even if I haven't seen the ending. He did it. He's the ghost. He's bringing up a curse when no one else is, he innocently showed up within the second half of the cartoon, he's kind of a grouch, and wants his relative to leave her diamonds in a place he can access. Mystery over. Everybody go home.
|"I'm totally not suspicious and don't have a reason to steal diamonds! I'm going to whistle nonchalantly now!"|
He ends up finding a button on the ground, which is pretty suspicious now that I stop and think about it, and he starts pressing it nonstop. Not once does anyone address the question of why someone would build a button in the floor. Did the people making this just assume that mansions have strange buttons built into the most inconvenient places just to mess with the occupants?
|"Don't be too frightened. All of my servants are reanimated corpses. I save a |
whole bunch of money because I don't have to feed them."
"The night manager is a friend of mine we both fly airplanes I'll phone him at home."
Oh. My. God. Anymore wooden and he's going to turn into a tree. And why the hell did we need to know that you two both fly airplanes? Why are you listing a potential getaway vehicle? Are you trying to make yourself look suspicious?
|"My face is frowning I like airplanes this discussion is making me mad. Airplanes!"|
Now, any sane jewel thief would just have that be the end of the heist. After all, she trusted him with the jewels. He can just say that the Horseman mugged him on the way back and I'm sure these gullible dumbasses would totally eat up that story. He doesn't have to do anything on top of this.
|"Hey, while I'm going to the bank to deposit your diamonds into the vault, I can deposit everyone's |
life savings into the vault as well. Hand over your wallets."
...let me rephrase that because this is probably the stupidest plot point I've ever seen. We see Elwood clearly take the diamonds, and then we see the Headless Horseman, only it's Elwood with ghost paint. I've seen some pretty lazy Scooby-Doo villains but this takes the cake, the pizza, and the comically oversized pie. He isn't even wearing a mask. Elwood is basically hanging a giant sign around his neck that reads "I DID IT" and yet the gang seriously thinks that the ghost got Elwood's head while he was driving a car. What the hell. There is no way a mystery could be persisting. He's right there, riding the goddamn horse!
...and how was he able to change his clothes, apply face paint, jump from car to horse, and somehow manage to make it look like he didn't do it? Elwood's got some mad skills!
|I'm pretty sure if Batman was involved, this episode would be over in ten seconds.|
|Personally, that pumpkin makes a way cooler head than Elwood's flabby excuse for a body part.|
|I demand a gritty reboot where it turns out the reason his cognitive skills are severely weakened is because of a tragic accident that took the lives of his mother and father, and he's constantly dealing with the guilt.|
|And how did a clue manage to get several inches underground?|
|"Hey guys, why did we name Scooby-Dum after his severe mental handicap? That's not very nice."|
|"I am Snape, the Potions Master."|
|I love that he has a crowbar on hand at all times just in case he has to go grave-robbing.|
...wait, huh? Stop playing mind games on me, Fred! You can't just attack someone's grave and then turn around and act like you're operating on some form of logic.
|He's so logical that he talks to dogs, assumes that every ghost he runs into is real, and thinks |
raiding a Revolutionary War grave is a good idea.
|"It's a good thing Elwood randomly mentioned that he flies airplanes or else we wouldn't have a lead!"|
...sorry, I got distracted, because of what happened to Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Dum. Look at them! They're hugely obese!
|Pictured: What Scooby Doo should look like considering his eating habits.|
Anyways, what's the plan? It's a surprisingly simple plan that just involves dropping a parachute onto the ghost before he can take off in his biplane and cross the border. What I'd like to know is how the hell those characters (one of them being Scooby, a DOG) climbed up on those rafters. I see a ladder leaning on the side of the wall, but the fact that they're bent over on those things just looks wildly unsafe.
|"Couldn't we just, I don't know, overpower the Headless Horseman instead of doing this the hard way?"|
"Who's the leader here? Certainly not you, Velma!"
|"Come at me, bro!"|
Man, Scooby is hideously fat in this scene. Maybe his owners should stop feeding him entire roasted chickens and pizzas and put him on a low calorie diet.
I'm not going to describe the full scene in too much detail, but it involves the plane swerving out of control while the rest of the gang cheer Scooby on instead of being frightened for their friends' safety. Fred and Daphne even get a scene where their facial expressions morph into something terrible. That is not the look you would give your friends if they were trapped in a runaway airplane, Fred!
|Meanwhile, Daphne's just bored because she's seen this happen dozens of times already.|
|Yeah, sure, Elwood. Exit your vehicle to attack the teenagers attached to your wing. Perfect strategy!|
|And whatever happened to Elwood's horse...?|
...and holy hell, what is up with the dogs' faces? They're enjoying Shaggy pinching that guy's cheek way too much.
Elwood gets carted away without even saying the "And I would've gotten away with it too, if it weren't for those meddling kids" line (geez man, first no mask and now that? Progressive for a Scooby villain!), the gang has no choice but to do the traditional plot rundown in the mansion instead of at the airport.
And, for those keeping track, here's a quick rundown of the clues Elwood left.
*The missing keys = Elwood taking them out, out of habit
*Butler saying the phone lines died = Elwood was lying when he said he called his night manager friend they both fly airplanes
*Elwood photo = a part of his passport to fly out of the country
*The wood shavings = a remainder of when Elwood chopped down the tree to kill the phone lines. (how the hell did no one notice Elwood chopping down a tree...)
*The newspaper clipping = contains a story of Elwood's business filing for bankruptcy. Not sure why he would need a newspaper clipping of his own business failing, but then again, Elwood is kind of a dumbass.
Personally, I feel like all those clues weren't necessary. The man wasn't wearing a mask, remember. Also, none of that explains the horse!
I like how while they're describing all of this, Mrs. Crane looks like she just had a heart attack and died while their limited animation was going through the motions and describing everything for the audience not keeping track of all these dangling plot threads.
|And in a bizarre twist of fate, it turns out that Mrs. Crane left the diamonds to Elwood in her will.|
The Moral of this Cartoon
If you're going to steal your relative's diamonds and leave the country, just shell out the extra money for a stupid plane ticket instead being a dumbass and trying to pilot a plane yourself.
Well, this certainly was a Scooby-Doo episode alright.
It's hard for me to judge this cartoon because it was made during a period of time before advances in TV animation, but for its time, it was a pretty cool show. For what its worth, there is something appealing about these characters, these situations, and these monsters that makes the Scooby-Doo name remain strong even to this day. There's just something harmless and fun to this.
This episode in particular just had two hitches. One, Scooby-Dum, while not a Scrappy, is still the low point of the cartoon and just made me want to wish doom on the litter of puppies that he was spawned from because clearly natural selection didn't run its course and keep him from growing to adulthood. Two, the villain is just an idiot. I know, technically none of the villains in this show are really the sharpest tools in the shed, but come on. Elwood's disguise for half of the episode was himself. I rest my case.
But that being said, really, this is a fun, if a bit limited (keeping in mind that at this time, TV animation didn't have the extravagant budgets we have now) piece of animation, and if you're going to watch Scooby-Doo, it might as well be the versions that didn't have Scrappy-Doo in it. I'm going to say it's good if you approach it for what it is; a great example of what Hannah-Barbera had to offer at this time period. If you approach it with the idea that it will somehow be as good as the animation out now, you're going to be disappointed.
Also, luckily, if you do choose to watch The Scooby-Doo Show (and not, say, Scooby-Doo Where Are You like a sane person), Scooby-Dum is only in four episodes so there's a pretty good chance you'll avoid him.
Because if this cartoon's taught me one thing, it's that grey Great Danes are nothing but trouble.