In 1968, Fred Silverman, in-charge of children’s programming for the CBS network, was looking for a show that would revitalize his Saturday morning line-up. The result was The Archie Show, based upon Bob Montana’s teenage humor comic book Archie. Also successful were the musical numbers The Archies performed during each program. Fred was eager to expand upon this success, and contacted producers William Hanna and Joseph Barbera about possibly creating another show based around a teenage rock-group, but with an extra element: the kids would solve mysteries in-between their gigs.
Scooby-Doo has the distinction of being the longest-running cartoon on television.
First appearing in 1969, the mystery-solving Great Dane has starred in 310 animated episodes of shows ranging from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! to Scooby’s All-Star Laff-A-Lympics to The Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show. But Scooby-Doo has another important distinction. Since his name comes from the refrain ”Scooby-dooby-doo“ from the song ”Strangers in the Night,” Scooby-Doo is also the only cartoon canine inspired by a Frank Sinatra lyric.
Scooby-Doo, Where are You? with its first episode, “What a Night for a Knight“. The original voice cast featured Don Messick as Scooby-Doo, Casey Kasem as Shaggy, Frank Welker as Fred, Nicole Jaffe as Velma, and Stefanianna Christopherson as Daphne. Seventeen episodes of Scooby-Doo were produced in 1969.
When Hanna-Barbera initially pitched the show that would become Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! to CBS, it was a scary cartoon, heavy on haunted houses and monsters, but light on comedy. Also, the four teenagers were the main characters, and their dog merely a supporting player.
The CBS executives worried that Mysteries Five or Who’s Scared, as it was slated to be called, would be too frightening for children. But they still wanted to find a way to make it work.
ABC aired the show until canceling it in 1986, and presented a spin-off featuring the characters as children, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, from 1988 until 1991.
Beginning in 2012, Warner Bros. Animation began producing direct-to-video special episodes in the style of the concurrently produced films for inclusion on Scooby-Doo compilation DVD sets otherwise including episodes from previous Scooby series. These include Scooby-Doo! Spooky Games, included on the July 2012 release Scooby-Doo! Laff-A-Lympics: Spooky Games