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"I Love A Mystery Machine?" ILAM and Scooby-Doo


During the 1960s, Fred Silverman was Head of CBS's daytime programming.  In 1969 he wanted a new Saturday morning children's show.  He wanted that was different from the usual fare, something that contained elements of comedy, horror and adventure. Silverman's concept was a cross between two previous shows he enjoyed.   The first half of this inspiration was the early 1960s sitcom, "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis."  The second half was that of a favorite radio show he listened to in the 1940s, about a trio sleuths who traveled the globe solving mysteries; "I Love A Mystery."

Frank Hanna and Joe Barbera, two animators on staff at CBS, were placed on the project, and Ken Spears and Joe Ruby were recruited to create plots, characters, and some of the initial story lines. Their ideas for the name of this new show changed several times. They first called it "Mysteries Five" and later changed it to "Who's Scared?"  In either case, their concept was that of a cartoon about four teenagers who travel around in a vehicle called the Mystery Machine.  They also had a canine side-kick, a dog who wasn't one of the main characters. 

The rough pilot they came up with was eventually shown to CBS management and CBS President, Frank Stanton.  Stanton nixed the show, citing that the artwork was potentially too frightening to children (and, more importantly, the sponsors!).   

Silverman immediately flew back to Los Angeles the night after Stanton's decision to try and change his mind. On the flight back, Silverman was relaxing to the strains of Frank Sinatra singing "Strangers in the Night". The phrase 'Scooby-dooby-doo' struck Silverman so much that he went back and said to Stanton and the rest of CBS management; '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.  

The first season of " Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" was very much in the ILAM mode, with stories concerning Egyptian mummies coming back from the dead, frozen cave-men coming alive, haunted houses, living suits of armor, and the like.  And Like ILAM, there was always a perfectly rational explanation for all the supernatural goings on that Scooby and the gang faced..

Sadly, the series became little more than a "monster of the week" show after the initial seasons, and with the introduction of the irritating character of "Scrappy-Doo", the series slid into the basement of children's  cartoon series.


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