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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 07:54 GMT 08:54 UK
Three decades of 'those pesky kids'
The Scooby-Doo team
The cartoon was first rejected by CBS TV in the US

Scooby-Doo, the film version of the hugely successful children's cartoon, hits UK cinema screens on Friday.

The sight of Scooby and his shambolic sidekick Shaggy is likely to evoke fond childhood memories for many filmgoers, having solved crimes on TV from 1969 to 1991.

Tell us about your Scooby Doo memories

The popularity of the Hanna-Barbera cartoon series did not stop there, however, as it remains one of Cartoon Network's highest-rating series.

It began back in 1969, when CBS's head of children's programming, Fred Silverman, wanted to bring a new look to Saturday morning TV.

Scooby-Doo and Shaggy
Scooby-Doo and Shaggy: Inseparable
He was prompted by criticisms of the allegedly violent content of programmes such as Superman and Space Ghost.

William Hanna and Joe Barbera had years of cartoon success behind them but wanted to try something different - a series which would incorporate contemporary human characters.

But the show - under the working titles Mysteries Five and Who's Scared? - was rejected at first, when TV executives judged the cartoon's haunted houses, monsters and eerie locations too scary for children.

Fred Silverman is credited with softening the tone of the show by making the huge dog a yellow-bellied comedy figure.

William Hanna
Co-creator William Hanna died in 2001
He is also credited with coming up with the name for the Great Dane - Scooby-Doo - reportedly inspired by Frank Sinatra's improvised vocals on Strangers in The Night, who sang: "Dooby dooby do - be dooby dooby dooby dooby dooby do."

The show launched in the US on 13 September 1969 with a cast of cartoon teenagers - the sensible, all-American leader Fred, bespectacled and brainy Velma, pretty Daphne and the bumbling hippy Shaggy.

The gang travelled throughout the country in their van, The Mystery Machine, on the trail of supernatural adventures.

Almost every episode followed a certain formula.

The team would arrive in a foreboding spot, to take on a local ghoul ruining things for everyone else.

Scooby-Doo was famed for enjoying Scooby snacks
After chases, accidents and scares - but no actual violence - the team would unravel the mystery, usually helped by Scooby-Doo chancing on a lucky clue.

Fred and Velma would reveal that the malevolent presence was actually a real person, posing as a ghost to scare others away from some selfish scheme.

And inevitably, the villain would say, as they were led away, that they would have succeeded in their evil efforts "if it weren't for those pesky kids".

Their adventures would be punctured by the hilarious and cowardly antics of Shaggy and Scooby, who invariably ended up in ridiculous scrapes after splitting off from the rest of the group.


After 10 years, a few changes were made.

Scooby-Doo was teamed with a new partner - his cheeky nephew Scrappy - in Scooby and Scrappy-Doo.

There was another change in 1982 with the introduction of a Wild West cousin, Yabba-Doo in Scooby, Scrappy and Yabba-Doo - but these new characters are not as well-regarded by Scooby-Doo enthusiasts.

Other experiments included The 13 Ghosts of Scooby, which added characters and a more action-adventure format, and A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, which reinvented the original gang as hip-hop 12-year-olds solving mysteries around Coolsville.

Scooby-Doo's last appearance until the new feature film was in the 1993 one-off special, Arabian Nights.

The Hanna-Barbera organisation claims that Scooby-Doo is still seen in more than 50 countries - which, for the Warner Brothers' film version, is the kind of pre-publicity that money can't buy.

The film studio's rivals must already be muttering that they would be better off "if it weren't for those pesky kids".

Tell us about your memories of the classic cartoon series.

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