Chuck Jones and other great studio animators sneered at the cheap look and lazy craftsmanship of Hanna Barbera's television cartoons in the 1960s, but there's no question HB's original, 35-year-old Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
is enduringly beloved. The Complete First and Second Seasons
includes all 25 stories first broadcast from September '69 to October '71, a growth period in which canine hero Scooby's voice (by Don Messick, who also voiced The Jetsons
's pup, Astro) was gradually refined from murky garble to Scoob's more familiar, "Rrroowwrr"-inflected, human-like speech. This set also represents the pre-frills Scooby-Doo
: no guest appearances by Don Knotts or Batman, no Scrappy-Doo--just adventure and occasional bubblegum pop tunes by Danny Janssen and sundry co-writers (e.g., "Pretty Mary Sunlite" in the episode "Don't Fool with a Phantom").
Watching all the shows back-to-back reveals evolving complexity in the scripts. Over time, Scooby-Doo's creators added multiple bad guys in cahoots with major villains, and developed sub-plots, backstories, and even appealing allies and friends of Mystery, Inc., a traveling band of young debunkers of supernatural phenomena. Riding around in their psychedelic Mystery Van, preppie leader Fred and his friends--haughty Daphne, brainy Velma, quasi-hippie Shaggy, and Shaggy's best pal, Scooby, an excitable Great Dane--chase down and are chased by alleged ghouls who generally turn out to be venal humans running various scams.
Included here is Scooby-Doo's premiere, "What a Night for a Knight," in which the gang looks into the disappearance of a noted archaeologist and end up in a "haunted" museum. The fun "Go Away Ghost Ship" finds our heroes helping a shipping company daunted by the apparent ghost of pirate Red Beard, while the silly classic "A Tiki Scare Is No Fair" concerns a Hawaiian vacation for Mystery, Inc. disrupted by a witch doctor. --Tom Keogh
The whodunit format was a daring new frontier for an animated series, but the members of the Mystery Inc. team have grown to become authentic popular-culture icons. To solve their newest mystery - finding the most awesome Scooby-Doo DVD ever, with 25 vintage episodes and snackin? good extras on 4 discs - you need only follow this simple clue: you?re holding it!