TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E16 – A Night of Fright is No Delight ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
January 10, 1970

Episode 16 – “A Night of Fright is No Delight”

The mystery gang is boating to a creepy mansion on an island because he’s an heir to a million dollar fortune. The catch, the gang find out, is that he must spend a night in the haunted house. If he doesn’t stay then he doesn’t share in the inheritance.

The names of the characters in this are more than a bit leading “Mr. Crawls” and “Mr. Creeps” lol, yeah, those are normal names. The nice thing about this episode is there are a lot of possible characters offered, so that solving the mystery of who is really haunting the house provide more possibilities than most episodes.

There are a few signature gags like when Scooby, Shaggy and Velma discover a cave filled with old confederate items and a suit flies up and at them. They run away at first until Scooby gathers courage and unmasks the source.

Haunted clothes? Scoob is scared and then turns brave … and unmasks the flying culprit!

Is it one of the other heirs responsible for haunting the group, wanting to keep more of the prized loot? Why do they have to stay the night? What’s with the secret passages under the house? These questions and more are answered on this ghostly episode.

Summary

Good cast of characters and possible villains, some humorous gags and Scooby and Shaggy’s antics front and center.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E15 – Go Away Ghost Ship ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max, Boomerang)
December 20, 1969

Episode 15 – “Go Away Ghost Ship”

The mystery gang is at the malt shop and reads a newspaper story about local shipping magnate, C.L. Magnus, being haunted by the ghost of pirate Redbeard. They decide to help solve the mystery. They visit C.L Magnus to learn more about the legend of Redbeard. Velma asserts to Magnus that “ghosts are our thing.” And off they are to expose Redbeard.

Why is the ghost pirate haunting the shipping magnate? What is dry ice doing on a ghose ship? Will the mystery gang make us laugh while they try to solve the mystery?

Scooby scared by Redbeard in the old it’s not a picture, it’s the real thing gag

Summary

Funny gag with “fog so thick you can cut it like a knife” and Scooby tests that out with a knife literally cutting through fog.

Scooby takes a knife to fog.

Scoob and Shaggy being forced to eat Redbeard’s ghost pirate bubbly stew is also a smile-worthy moment. Shaggy puts on a paper pirate hat and imitates the voice of Redbeard and more.

This episode leans heavy on the Shaggy and Scooby gags, which adds to the fun, but the mystery isn’t as much fun. Again, there aren’t enough suspects to make the reveal the surprise it needs to be. Still, this episode proves again they can pack a ton of story into 21 minutes. Recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E14 – Spooky Space Kook ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
December 13, 1969

Episode 14 – “Spooky Space Kook”

A strange shaped aircraft lands in a field. The gang runs out of gas near an old farm house. They run into a gun-toting farmer who thinks they are newspeople checking out “it”, a UFO.

The gang explains they simply want to buy some gas, he provides it to them, and they decide to solve the mystery.

The gang goes to a nearby abandoned air field. They find ghostly green footprints leading inside and follow the trail.

The spooky space kook is up to something on the airfield and tries to scare away the gang while they try to solve the mystery.

Is this ghost from outer space for real? What is it up to on the air field? These questions and more are answered on this episode.

Summary

Quite the combination of a ghost and an alien. It’s kind of funny how so many episodes center around the antagonist being some type of ghost. Wouldn’t the alien have been scary enough? Why did we need the ghost part added?

This is a fairly straightforward episode, with the first appearance of an allegedly other-worldly enemy. I’m starting to wonder how the mystery gang is always out driving around in places where they can conveniently run into mysteries, but these wouldn’t be any fun if they didn’t.

Not much Scooby and Shaggy goofing around, but a pretty good mystery. Recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E13 – Which Witch is Which? ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
December 6, 1969

Episode 13 – “Which Witch is Which?”

The gang is on a fishing trip, but not having much luck. Scooby is fishing in a pail in the back of the mystery machine. Fred takes a detour through a creepy swamp and they think they might be lost. They meet a zombie on the side of the road. They drive away to some nearby dwellings. A fisherman tells them that the zombie was created by a witch using voodoo magic.

The witch showed up about six months ago and the two fisherman were scared away from the swamp by the witch. Others in the town are scared as well, leaving the gang a mystery to solve.

Scooby, with his neverending appetite mistakenly eats some jumping beans. Shortly thereafter, Scoob and Shaggy go searching out clues at the second fisherman, Zeb’s place.

A furry swamp creature and Scooby have a cute encounter. The swamp thing doesn’t find Scoob’s licking his face very inviting.

Scoob can’t resist his appetite … but these jumping beans play havok on his stomach

They find a voodoo doll of Zeb.

Shaggy and Scoob share their finding with the rest of the gang, which head into the swamp. They find more voodoo dolls of all of them. The witch is trying to scare them from figuring out what she’s up to in the swamp.

Will the gang ignore the alleged voodoo curse and figure out what the witch is up to in the swamp? What’s the story behind the zombie? These questions and more are answered by the end of this busy episode.

Summary

Another episode where the creators think we needed two different monsters. Either the witch or the zombie would have been scary enough for a 20 minute episode, but instead we get both. And why would a witch create a zombie to do her bidding? There is an explanation, although thin. They could have parlayed these two monsters into two separate episodes.

The zombie is not drawn very scary looking. Probably intentional, but he doesn’t invoke the scares of other baddies in the series.

The actual mystery behind what’s going on in the swamp is pretty good. This show set the standard for how much can be packed in a 20 odd minute episode: the mystery gang, a mystery to solve, Scooby and Shaggy’s zany antics and spooky bad guys trying to scare the gang away. It’s easy to see why this show was warmly received by audiences upon release. Great writing, voice acting and stories. Another easy to recommend episode.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E12 – Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 29, 1969

Episode 12 – “Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too”

The gang visits a museum to view the Mummy of Anka exhibit. Dr. Nagim tells them of the Mummy’s curse: that if Anka was ever removed from his tomb, he would turn them to stone.

Shaggy finds this enigmatic coin and the professor explains that he hasn’t figured out what the coin is for. Somehow (and this is a major head scratcher), Shaggy pockets the coin.

The professor has them go into town and pick up some sandwiches. While there Shaggy tries to pay for the sandwiches with a dollar bill and the coin. He explains he “somehow must have stuck it in his pocket” and then the gang just accepts that and returns.

After they are back at the museum, they discover the professor has been turned to stone. Upon further investigation, they find the mummy is missing from his coffin and there is a broken window. The mystery is on!

Scoob is playful as ever with a duplicate cat sidetrack. These odd sidetrack moments with Scooby Doo keep this series fun. What does this have to do with the story? Absolutely nothing. The real cat just appears alongside a statue and Scooby is confused. I guess this is the dog and cat curiosity explored, but it’s a fun sidetrack from the seriousness of the mummy out of his coffin, the professor turned to stone, and Shaggy accidentally pilfering an artifact coin from the museum.

From here, the mummy chases Scoob and Shaggy, murmuring over and over “Coin! Coin!”

Why does the mummy want the coin? Will anybody else be turned to stone? How will the gang solve this mystery? You’ll need to tune in for these answers and more.

Summary

One of my favorite titles of the first season. Good to see another classic monster, The Mummy making an appearance. When growing up The Mummy always frightened me with that slow gait, arms outstretched, just walking around with a low, guttural moan.

Upon rewatching, I was a little annoyed with Shaggy outright stealing from the museum. Maybe that was going to be a lesson to kids not to steal? Might have been better to have the rest of the mystery gang call Shaggy out on his lame explanation for just “somehow putting the coin in his pocket.” The coin turns out to be a very pivotal piece of the plot and there could have been several other ways for the gang to explore the origins of the coin.

The other part that doesn’t make sense is why would a mummy curse involve turning people to stone? Medusa is a monster they could have used in a Scooby Doo episode to have the whole turn to stone curse explored, but a mummy? Maybe the writers were stoned when they came up with this mashup? Mummys are frightening enough on their own just lumbering around, they don’t need to turn people to stone, but OK, it’s there.

At the end of the day, great monster, good mystery, but some very bizarre and unnecessary story devices that take away from my enjoyment and pulled me out of the story. Shaggy isn’t a thief, but that fact here seems completely overlooked by the gang. They can solve mysteries but can’t see one of their own has acted completely out of character? Still, a pretty good overall episode.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E11 – A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 22, 1969

Episode 11 – “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts”

On their way to check out Franken Castle, the gang stop and see a gypsy. She looks into a crystal ball and predicts evil and danger for them, warning them not to visit the castle. They won’t let the superstition stop them.

Dracula meets them at the gate and tries to warn them away from entering. He turns into a vampire bat the drawbridge starts to close. Frankenstein’s monster chases the gang back onto the land away from the castle, but Daphne is trapped on the other side of the drawbridge.

Shaggy and Scooby use a lasso to swing Indiana Jones mode over an alligator and land on the other side to lower the drawbridge. Suddenly, the werewolf appears and chases after them. Daphne is pursued by Frankenstein’s monster. With the drawbridge lowered, Fred and Velma go across in search of the others, only to run into Dracula who threatens that all their souls will be trapped in the castle forever for daring to enter the structure.

Will Velma find her glasses? Will the gang reunite and figure out what’s going on with the trio of monsters? Will the mystery be solved?

Summary

Talk about throwing all the Universal monsters at the Mystery, Inc. gang! Not just one monster, but three of them: the werewolf, Frankenstein’s monster and Dracula! This is an amazing episode for not only children — because the monsters portrayal aren’t overly scary, but spooky, thus encouraging young audiences to check out horror.

The mad scientist gag scene with Shaggy and Scooby is among the best of their antics in any episode to date.

The mystery of the castle and why the monsters are there trying to scare away the gang is secondary to the horror.

I love this episode, it’s by far my favorite of season 1 to date and highly recommended. It’s one of those classic cartoons you can watch over and over, maybe for an entire lifetime. As a child, adult, plenty here to enjoy. Great writing, voice work, animation, the whole package.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E10 – Bedlam in the Big Top ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 15, 1969

Episode 10 – “Bedlam in the Big Top”

Max and Sampson, two circus acts have their bike snap. They believe it’s the work of the ghost clown. The mystery gang is driving along and run into Max and Sampson. They visit the circus and talk to the barker who explains that the ghost clown is haunting the circus and running off the carnies.

The ghost clown hypnotizes Scooby and has him walk the trapeze wire. Shaggy and Velma move a trampoline under Scooby. Velma throws Scoob an umbrella to help him balance. Scoob bounces up and down on the trampoline playfully, followed by Velma and Shaggy. Scooby lands in some balloons that rise him back into the air. The ghost clown throws darts at the balloons and pops them and Scoob falls.

Shaggy and Velma catch him with the help of moving the trampoline.

The ghost clown hypnotizes Daphne next, forcing her to ride a unicycle all over the place.

The gang try to wake her from her trance before she hurts herself. Once rescuing Daphne from the trance, the gang decide to hatch a plan to trap the ghost clown in a cage so he can be unmasked.

Will the gang capture and unmask the ghost clown? Who is the ghost clown and why are they haunting the circus?

Summary

This episode takes place in another entertaining backdrop: the circus. The idea of a clown that’s haunting the other carnival workers and then the mystery gang that work to unmask the villain is well done. The hypnotism is nice added touch including how Scooby and Shaggy use that to their advantage.

This is a fun episode that sees the gang forced into trances and doing dangerous, comedic acts. One of my favorite parts is Shaggy in lion tamer mode and Scoob saving him.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E9 – The Backstage Rage ⭐️⭐️½

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 8, 1969

Episode 9 – “The Backstage Rage”

A puppy dog, a violin case, a bunch of cash equal “counterfeiters!”

Shaggy and Scoob are walking back toward the gang in the Mystery Machine after ordering a pizza and a vehicle passes with a violin case dropping out. Shaggy opens it and it contains a bunch of cash. He phones the gang from a pay phone booth (ahh, the good old days, before cell phones!) and Scoob guards the violin case. Scoob is distracted by a female puppy dog and the violin case is swiped.

How to eat a spinning pizza, courtesy of Scooby Doo!

Scooby explains to the gang how he was duped by the girl dog. They search the area and find a puppet control with Pietro’s Puppet inscribed on it. The mystery has them heading to the strand theater where they run into the doorman playing with a puppet. Turns out he is a hobbyist puppeteer.

They find a real $20 bill at the theater and decide to return to the theater to see if they can solve the mystery and figure out who is counterfeiting bills.

Summary

This episode starts out promising, with Shaggy and Scoob on a pizza mission, but kind of loses focus after that. It’s an odd story blend of puppets and a counterfeiting scheme that never really gets off the ground either with the jokes or the mystery. My least favorite episode of the first season so far. Rating this one as OK. Not recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️½

Joe Ruby, co-creator of Scooby-Doo dies at 87

This past week Scooby Doo’s original co-creator passed away. Ruby was a Saturday morning cartoon innovator for more than 50 years.

Warner Bros. Animation and Blue Ribbon Content president Sam Register said in a statement, “Joe Ruby made Saturday mornings special for so many children, including myself. He was one of the most prolific creators in our industry who gifted us some of animation’s most treasured characters and it was a thrill to host him at our studio. Scooby-Doo has been a beloved companion on screens for more than 50 years, leaving an enduring legacy that has inspired and entertained generations.  We at Warner Bros. Animation have the privilege and honor of carrying on that legacy and send our warmest thoughts to his loved ones.”

Scooby-Doo Co-Creator Joe Ruby Dies at 87

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E8 – Foul Play in Funland ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
November 1, 1969

Episode 8 – “Foul Play in Funland”

The gang is at the beach when they notice the carnival rundown suddenly light up. It’s not supposed to be open for a week, so the gang visits, only to find a strange robot running around.

Soon the gang is investigating the story behind the robot. Scooby and Shaggy visit the Hall of Mirrors.

What’s up with this robot? They contact the Funland caretakers, Mr. and Mrs. Jenkins at their house. They act like nothing is wrong.

The gang heads back to Funland to find more odd behavior at the park like the Merry-Go-Round running backwards and the robot juggling in the middle of the park and then running away.

Velma loses her glasses again at one point in the episode. This is becoming a somewhat regular occurrence in this cartoon. Somebody needs to get Velma a backup pair. Didn’t people get backup pairs of glasses in 1969?

Watch this episode to find out if the gang stops the robot and solves the mystery behind the amusement park.

Summary

There’s something eerie about abandoned amusement parks on the beach, This episode captures that haunted atmosphere and the robot running around is weirdly comical. Unlike many of the previous episodes, it’s not a ghost, which makes the episode stand out more. Of course the added fun of Shaggy and Scooby messing around at the dark carnival games, eating hot dogs and cotton candy enhances the episode.

I don’t remember seeing this episode before, other than the snippet featured in the title sequence where the robot is highlighted, so overall it felt new and first time to me. The mystery is a bit on the weak side when we learn the origin of the robot and compare to an early scene, but the episode has a spooky tone running through it. One of the better episodes of the first season seen so far, despite the lame mystery resolution, an eerie setting and fun and mayhem inside an empty amusement park. Recommended.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ 

TV SERIES Review: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? S1E7 – Never Ape An Apeman ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Season 1
CBS (HBO Max)
October 25, 1969

Episode 7 – “Never Ape an Ape Man”

The gang are invited to Daphne’s Uncle John Maxwell, a director on a film about an Ape Man. He explains to them that there is a legend of an Ape Man.

Uncle John then shoots a scene with the Ape Man in the movie and Carl the Stuntman as the ape with the actress Candy going out on a bridge. It’s not Carl the Stuntman. Something goes horribly wrong when the Ape Man goes off script and shakes the bridge.

Scooby is dispatched to confront the Ape Man comically. The Ape Man breaks the bridge and Scooby bounces off a branch below.

The gang must now solve the mystery of the Ape Man legend and find Carl the Stuntman. They find Carl locked in a case. Carl says he was knocked out.

This leads Candy to quit the picture over fear of further attacks by the Ape Man.

The gang must now work to learn the truth behind the Ape Man so Uncle John can continue making the picture.

Summary

Have to wonder if this was at least partially inspired by Planet of the Apes (1969)?

My favorite scene is the Ape Man putting on a Scooby mask and looking like Scoob in the mirror. Scoob then try tries to explain to the gang he has seen a freaky reflection.

This one plays with the established formula of the gang being in the wrong place at the right time to solve a mystery. As for this week’s monster, the Ape Man, doesn’t prove to be a very formidable enemy. The mystery is one of the least complex. It’s an episode more about using costumes to make yourself be someone else.

An entertaining, but not blow me away episode.

Overall episode rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Behind The Scenes: The Laugh Track

Why the laugh track was removed from the original episodes, then added back in the late 70s?

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! utilized a laugh track, a common feature in most animated TV series until the late 1970s. It was removed for syndication in the 1980s. Following Turner’s purchase of Hanna-Barbera and its networks’ (TBS, TNT and Cartoon Network) initial broadcast of the series in 1994, the laugh track was reinstated in 1997.

Wikipedia entry

I vaguely remember watching the show with the laugh track, but not without. While rewatching the first season to write these reviews, it wouldn’t seem right without the laugh track, despite how poorly timed the track is utilized at times during the show. For example, there are moments that are supposed to be scary, yet the laugh track kicks off. Maybe this was done so as not to be too scary to young children, but it distracts adult viewing.