Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Celebrity Toons: The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972)

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, at least in the minds of CBS executives, was all played out after three seasons, the last of which was all reruns. However, the ratings were still strong enough to warrant keeping Scooby around, so Hanna-Barbera was asked to tweak the format. Oh, did they ever!

The New Scooby-Doo Movies offered a full hour of Scooby every week, teamed with a different guest star, be it a celebrity or a cross-over with another series. In fact, in the 2nd season, the series was used to introduce viewers to Jeannie & Speed Buggy, H-B's two freshman entries for CBS in 1973.

But, just as Batman became the hip show to do in the late 60's, there were some stars that were very interested in lending their voices to their animated likenesses, just to team with Scooby and the Mystery, Inc. gang. One such example is actress Sandy Duncan, who had a prime time series on CBS in 1972 (Funny Face, later rechristened, The Sandy Duncan Show). Scooby also met Josie & the Pussycats, the Harlem Globetrotters, and welcomed Batman & Robin to H-B (which helped lead to Super Friends, over on ABC, the next year). The only other network tie-in from prime time was Sonny & Cher, as Jerry Reed's variety show had come and gone a year earlier.

Following is a sample of the episode, "Sandy Duncan's Jekyll & Hydes", which sends the gang to Hollywood, where Sandy is making a movie.

Given how many musical acts appeared on the show, you'd think they could've put together a soundtrack album, but of the musicians that did appear (not counting Josie), only Jerry Reed actually sang, doing a cover of "Pretty Mary Sunshine", which was originally written for season 2 of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, and was later released on the "Scooby's Snack Tracks" compilation CD. Likewise, Davy Jones covered another song, "I Can Make You Happy", which also turned up on "Snack Tracks".

The plots were inconsistent, depending on the guest star, and everyone has their favorites, especially the two with Batman & Robin. Small wonder, then, that Cartoon Network has, in a way, paid tribute to those halcyon days, with Scooby & friends recently appearing on Batman: The Brave & the Bold, and Scooby dreaming of a team-up with Speed Buggy, Jabberjaw, Captain Caveman, & The Funky Phantom on a recent Mystery, Incorporated episode that, while it was a fan's dream, failed in its execution of the plot. Something that did happen pretty often in the movie series.

Rating: B-.


magicdog said...

This show is definitely a time capsule when you think of all the entertainers who appeared on it!

Even as a kid I knew who all the guest stars were... well except for Cass Elliott; Mom & Dad had to clue me in on her, and knowing now makes her appearance that much cooler (if cliche since she played the owner of a candy factory and was dieting on grapefruit!!).

It's is a shame she never got to sing either. Davy Jones did though!

My only serious gripe about this incarnation was the poorer quality animation compared to the original show.

hobbyfan said...

I think part, if not all, of the show was done overseas, hence the inconsistent artwork.

I barely remember Davy Jones performing a musical number on the show, though. If they'd bothered to ask Sonny & Cher, it'd give the network an excuse to cross-promote their prime-time show.