I think it's high time I did a post about the cartoon "Scooby Doo." But it won't be the same old tired things where we talk about Shaggy being a doobie-puffing hippie or about Fred and Daphne constantly running off to the broom closet.
This isn't what my post is about but I still have a suspicion that the cartoon was started as an imitation of Nancy Drew. Red-haired Daphne and her preppy football-star boyfriend. Velma in the wings with her helmet-hair, glasses and baggy sweater to remind you just how pretty Nancy...er, Daphne is. And then Shaggy and Scooby for comic relief. I have no evidence to support this allegation but I feel like I'm on the right track. One other thing I find funny is that in the very first episode of Scooby Doo (we own the DVDs) the gang is trying to break into a museum after hours. Fred pulls a 30 foot ladder from the back of the van so Shaggy can climb it. When the ladder falls short, Fred uses a car jack to lift the ladder another couple of feet. When Shaggy is still well below the window he is trying to enter, Daphne assures the gang, "Don't worry, Shaggy is the swingingest guy in gym class." Suggesting that Shaggy is some kind of acrobatic marvel. I don't think they followed up on that at all throughout the rest of the series.
I was going to make this more of a personal post. And I will start by saying that a large part of my life has revolved around going to school and then coming home and watching cartoons while eating a bowl of cereal. People who know me well are aware that this is how I came to like the "Disney's Gummi Bears" cartoon and a great admirer of Princess Calla. How can you not like a princess who doesn't want to be a princess and would rather spend her time jumping off of castle walls into haystacks or venturing out on a rainy day to experience what peasant life is all about? She was deeply hurt when Sunny Gummi wouldn't pour a bucket of sugary pink sludge over her head to prove they were best friends and just to prove their friendship she poured the sludge over the head of the Gummi Bear instead.
Anywho... while I was in college I would regularly come home from morning classes, work around all of the garbage Sam refused to put into the garbage can and put myself in front of the Scooby Doo show with a mixing bowl full of cereal.
As you may have figured out by now, I have never much enjoyed school and I would get mildly depressed at how school seemed to be a never-ending experience. I wanted to believe that this is a world that rewards creativity and hard work so everyday while watching cartoons I would tell myself, "Somewhere out there is a man who drew the images for Scooby Doo. He was part of a big project that has been successful for more years than I have been alive and now his life is probably easy as a reward for a job well done."
I didn't guess that the animators of Scooby Doo were filthy rich but I figured they probably still receive checks that probably afford them a humble life where they are free to pursue their interests. I really wanted that to be the case.
Coincidence or not, my wife has a very close friend whose father was an animator for Hanna Barbera and spent years of his life drawing pictures for the Scooby Doo show.
But it turns out the man's life is not easy. The only people who make money off those shows, apparently, have names ending in Hanna and Barbera. When I met him he was struggling with his own printing business. Without getting into all of the gory details, I will tell you he is paranoid, rash and deceptive to an unhealthy extent. And for all the harm he caused for his own family, I still dwell on it that I saw him as a false symbol of hope.
I really wish his life was easy. But that's not the world we live in. I guess the good news is that, where ever you may be, Gary Coleman may be working as a security guard. Maybe you can get an autograph.