How Scooby was Created
Scooby Doo first aired on CBS and can be traced back to Fred Silverman in 1969 who was the head of Daytime Programming for CBS. Silverman was looking for a show that would lead the network away from the superhero cycle and take them into an area of comedy and adventure. The combination of Carleton E. Morse's 1940's popular radio program I Love a Mystery, in which three detectives roamed the world solving crimes and mysteries, and the 1959-1963 television sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, about a scatterbrained teenager and his friends, was the look Silverman was after.
Silverman's quest was brought before Hanna-Barbera who assigned writers Ken Spears and Joe Ruby to create the characters, plots, and many of the story lines. The show actually started out revolving around four teenage detectives who traveled the country in a van, called the Mystery Machine, solving mysteries in dangerous situations. A Great Dane accompanied the foursome but was not a promient character. The show was first known as Mysteries Five and later changed to Who's Scared? The show was then presented to the top CBS management and president Frank Stanton as a new Saturday morning cartoon for the fall of 1969.
There was one problem: the artwork was very frightening which led Stanton to reject the show. Silverman immediately flew back to Los Angeles that night. While listening to the earphones on the flight back, Silverman was relaxing to Frank Sinatra singing Strangers in the Night. The phrase 'Scooby-dooby-doo' struck Silverman so much that he went back and said 'We'll call the show Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? and we'll make the dog the star of the show.' And with those words Scooby-Doo was created with the other characters supporting him.
Iwao Takamoto, the art creator of the Scooby Doo
The new show was now more comical then mysterious. Don Messick became Scooby with his trademark laugh and scratchy voice, Top-Forty DJ Casey Kasem became Shaggy who was always in a constant state of panic and hunger which also served as Scooby's partner, Frank Welker became blond Freddy, Nicole Jaffe became brainy and bespectacled Velma, and the trouble-prone, sexy, Daphne was the voice of Heather North.
Don Messick, voice of Scooby-Doo
There were other voices that supported the main crew. One worth mentioning is David Coulier who is the star of America's Funniest People and Full House (not to be confused with Bob Saget). The teenage Coulier made a voice tape that told a story and mailed it to Hanna-Barbera on a Friday. The next Monday Hanna-Barbera called Coulier and said "We have work for you on Scooby-Doo." Coulier was only 18 years old!
The original Scooby Doo series enjoyed wide popularity from the time of its premiere in September of 1969. The original Scooby Theme Song has an interesting story behind it....this is how the Scooby Doo Theme originated:
According to Larry Marks, Ben Raleigh was one of the writers of the original theme. Ben had written some early rock and roll songs from Tin Pan Alley. Larry was a music exec and studio singer. When they first played the song for him - Larry suggested they add the line Scooby Dooby Do - here are you -because they needed some words for that line! Although the song was written ahead of time- it was recorded on the Wednesday --just a few days before the first ever episode aired on the Saturday! Larry Marks sang both the original theme and all of the background parts! --Pam Marks, Larry's wife
By 1972 CBS decided that a change in the format should arrive which gave birth to the Scooby Doo movies incorporating the voices of such guest stars as Phyllis Diller, Tim Conway, Jonathan Winters, Don Knotts, the Addams family, and Laurel and Hardy. After seven years with CBS, Scooby moved to ABC to start the Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour which saw the rise of the two canine characters Scooby-Dum and Scooby-Dear. The following year saw the first two-hour Saturday morning cartoon show in the network history, the highly successful Scooby's All-Star Laff-a-lympics. In 1978 more episodes of Scooby-Doo were added to a smaller version of Laff-a-lympics which was renamed to Scooby's All-Stars. 1979 was the year of Scooby's first television special, Scooby goes to Hollywood which combined slapstick and parody with a sprinkling of music. 1979 was also the year Scrappy-Doo was introduced (and thats all I will say about that pain in the...I mean character).
The eighties showed various combinations of Scooby and his friends that continued to entertain children and adults of all ages. Why is Scooby-Doo so popular? Don Messick (the voice of Scooby) sums it up real well....."I've loved Scooby from the inception, and so has everyone else. I think it's because he embraces a lot of human foibles. He's not the perfect dog. In fact you might say he's a coward. Yet with everything he does, he seems to land on his four feet. He comes out of every situation unscathed. I think the audience - kids and more mature people as well - can identify with Scooby's character and a lot of his imperfections."
Awesome Scooby Doo