Scooby-Doo is one of the most iconic animated shows ever created. It follows teenagers Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, and their talking Great Dane called Scoobert “Scooby” Doo as they solve mysteries. The Mystery Inc. gang encounters all sorts of monsters, but they usually (although not always) turn out to be someone in a costume who cries out, “and I would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for you meddling kids!” at the end of the episode.
With those basics out of the way, here are 10 things you might not know about the Scooby-Doo franchise.
Related: Top 10 Funniest Cartoon Shows Ever
10 Scooby’s Name Was Inspired by a Frank Sinatra Song
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! went through a lot of changes before making it to air in 1969. CBS executive Fred Silverman wanted to do a show about a teenage rock band who would solve mysteries. The idea was passed to Hanna-Barbera writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears and artist Iwao Takamoto. They initially based the characters on the Archie Comics characters because of the success of The Archie Show and called them the Mysteries Five. The dog was called Too Much and played the bongos, but he was only a small part of the show.
Silverman pitched the show under the title Who’s S-S-Scared, but it was rejected for being too scary. Silverman was then listening to music on a plane journey when Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night” came on and changed everything. He recalls: “I hear him say ‘Scooby-doo-be-doo.’ And it’s at that point I said, that’s it, we’ll take the dog, we’ll call it Scooby-Doo, and move him up front.” He envisioned Scooby and Shaggy as Abbott and Costello, which added a much-needed comedy element to the show. It should be noted, though, that Sinatra actually sings “Dooby-dooby-doo.”
9 Fan Theories: Draft Dodgers, Soviet Hound, and Five Colleges
There are many Scooby-Doo fan theories, the most commonly believed one being that Shaggy is a stoner, which is why he always has the munchies. Others that are less convincing include Scooby-Doo being able to speak English because he was part of a Soviet experiment. Add to that the gang always being on the move in the Mystery Machine because they’re actually draft dodgers, avoiding the Vietnam War.
There’s also a theory that the characters were based on the Five College Consortium: Amherst College has a preppy reputation, so represents Fred; hippie Shaggy is Hampshire College; Mount Holyoke College matches pretty upper-class Daphne; Smith College is nerdy Velma; Scooby is UMass Amherst, known for partying.
However, Hampshire College didn’t even open until one year after Scooby-Doo started airing. Animator Iwao Takamoto addressed the legend in his autobiography: “I don’t think I could have named five colleges in the Boston area, let alone been familiar enough with them to copy their styles.” Scooby writer Mark Evanier has also debunked the theory, stating that the gang was based on characters from the sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. There’s an all-American blonde boy, a pretty popular girl, a beatnik who says “like” and “man” a lot, and a brainy brunette.
8 Shaggy Became Vegetarian Because of His Voice Actor
For many years, Shaggy could be seen tucking into meaty treats, but that all changed because of his original voice actor, Casey Kasem. In 1995, Kasem was asked to voice Shaggy in a commercial for Burger King, but Kasem himself didn’t eat meat and wasn’t comfortable promoting a product that went against his beliefs. He ended up quitting the show over the matter and was replaced by Scott Innes and Billy West.
Kasem said that he would only return to Scooby-Doo if Shaggy became vegetarian, and that finally happened in 2002 in the What’s New, Scooby-Doo? series. Shaggy is still frequently seen chowing down on burgers and subs, but they’re always veggie.
7 The Mystery Inc. Gang Faces the Apocalypse in a Comic Book
Scooby Apocalypse is a DC Comics reimagining of Scooby-Doo that ran from 2016 to 2019. It’s set in a post-apocalyptic world where all of the monsters from the cartoon are actually real. The classic characters are given a makeover (both in looks and personalities), and the entire tone is more adult.
Reviews of the series were mixed. “If Scooby Apocalypse #1’s cover doesn’t win you over with its depiction of a tribal tat-adorned Fred, a hipster-styled Shaggy, and an emoji-spewing Scooby-Doo, nothing inside the comic will change your mind,” reported IGN. However, Gizmodo’s review was more favorable: “Don’t worry; the story inside is much better than the cover implies,” because it “does every tacky thing that you were afraid of and still makes it hilarious.”
6 Many Interesting Crossovers, Including with KISS and WWE
The Scooby gang has been in a huge number of crossovers. They’ve teamed up with Batman many times, firstly in “The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair” and “The Caped Crusader Caper” from the confusingly-named 1970s series The New Scooby-Doo Movies. They team up again in the 2018 film Scooby-Doo! & Batman: The Brave and the Bold and in the 2019 episode “What a Night, for a Dark Knight!” which features the voice of Mark Hamill as the Joker.
The teen sleuths encounter famous wrestlers like John Cena, The Undertaker, and Triple H in Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery (2014) and the sequel Scooby-Doo! and WWE: Curse of the Speed Demon (2018). They also come to the aid of rock band KISS in Scooby-Doo! and KISS: Rock and Roll Mystery (2015).
Season 13 of Supernatural features an episode called “Scoobynatural,” which sees Sam and Dean Winchester sucked into an episode of the original Scooby series, specifically “A Night of Fright Is No Delight.” The gang has also met Johnny Bravo in “Bravo Dooby-Doo” and the Addams Family in “Wednesday Is Missing,” among many others.
5 Many Celebrity Voice Appearances
Every episode of The New Scooby-Doo Movies had a guest star. Dick Van Dyke, Sonny and Cher, and the Harlem Globetrotters are just a few of the people who played themselves in this slot. Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, which ran between 2019 and 2021, used the same premise and featured appearances from George Takei, “Weird Al” Yankovic, and Mark Hamill.
Vincent Price stars in The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985) as a warlock called Vincent Van Ghoul, who is a parody of Price himself. In addition to voicing himself and the Joker, Mark Hamill has also voiced many other characters. To name just a couple, he was Captain Guzman and his disguise Emperor Caesar Saladicus in the 2003 episode “Pompeii and Circumstance” and Snakebite Scruggs in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998).
4 “Jinkies” Was an Ad-Lib
More often than not, voice actors record their lines alone, but the cast of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, the original series, recorded their lines together. This gave the actors the opportunity to bounce off of each other and ad-lib. Frank Welker, the voice of Fred, recalls that “Nicole Jaffe [Velma], back in the early days, was the one who said, ‘Jinkies!’ And Joe [Barbera, producer] was like, ‘What was that?’” The line stuck and became Velma’s catchphrase reaction.
Jaffe also unintentionally created the long-running gag of Velma losing her glasses and searching for them while saying, “My glasses! I can’t see without my glasses!” During the table read for the very first episode, Jaffe’s glasses fell off, and she said the now iconic line. The producers thought it was so funny that they wrote it into the show.
3 Velma Was Supposed to Be Gay in the 2002 Movie
In Trick or Treat Scooby-Doo! (2022), Velma officially crushes on a girl for the first time in the character’s history, something which James Gunn tried to make a reality 20 years earlier in his live-action Scooby-Doo (2002). In 2020, Gunn tweeted that “Velma was explicitly gay in my initial script. But the studio just kept watering it down & watering it down, becoming ambiguous (the version shot), then nothing (the released version) & finally having a boyfriend (the sequel).”
Although not of a romantic nature, a scene where Daphne (Sarah Michelle Gellar) and Velma (Linda Cardellini) kiss was shot and then cut from the final film. “It wasn’t just, like, for fun,” Gellar told Sci-Fi Wire. “Initially in the soul-swapping scene, Velma and Daphne couldn’t seem to get their souls back together in the woods. And so the way they found was to kiss, and the souls went back into proper alignment.”
Producer Tony Cervone has also stated that Velma was queer-coded in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, which was “as clear as we could make it 10 years ago.” Although not canonical, Velma makes a reference to liking girls in Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001). When the Mystery Inc. gang gives the duo a ride, Velma comments, “I wish they were hitchhiking girls, sexy hitchhiking girls.” Incidentally, Mark Hamill provides the voice of Scooby-Doo in this scene.
2 Fred Swears in a Bumper Sketch
During the airing of What’s New, Scooby-Doo? in the early 2000s, a short clip of Fred swearing, albeit bleeped, was aired between episodes. Fred breaks the fourth wall to address the audience: “You know, throughout the years, a lot of people have asked me, ‘Fred, why the scarf?’ and I always tell ’em the same thing: Why don’t you mind your own f*cking business pal?!” He rants and swears for a few more lines while Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby look on in shock.
Fred is voiced by Frank Welker in the clip, who has voiced Fred in nearly every Scooby-Doo animation. The two exceptions are A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (1988-1991), where the young Fred is voiced by Carl Steven, and Velma (2023), where Glenn Howerton voices Fred and Welker voices Fred’s father. Welker is the only voice actor from the original series who has consistently lent his voice to the franchise, and he’s even been voicing Scooby himself since 2002.
1 Scooby-Doo Spoofed The Blair Witch Project
In 1999 Cartoon Network was looking for a way to promote its Halloween Scooby-Doo marathon and thought there was no better way to get kids watching than to put their favorite characters into a fully-fledged horror movie. The Blair Witch Project had become a cultural phenomenon just a few months earlier, so it was decided that on October 31, they would air a satiric take on the movie called The Scooby-Doo Project.
The short parody film was broken into parts that were shown throughout the night, incentivizing the audience to keep watching the series marathon to see how The Scooby-Doo Project would end. To keep things cheap, it was mostly shot as live-action, with only the gang themselves needing to be animated, and the voice actors provided their lines over the phone. Although it was cheaply made and a risky choice, its blend of horror and humor worked, and it even won an Annie Award for Outstanding Animated Special Project.
In 2022, Cartoon Network tweeted to “apologize for traumatizing ’90s kids with the Scooby-Doo Blair Witch parody.”