Flicks With Nicki – The Beauty of Scooby-DooNicki Salcedo. Photo by Fox Gradin.
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” was ever-present in my childhood.
We didn’t have many television programs to choose from. We had a cat who chased a mouse. We had a wise-cracking rabbit. We had the anachronistic “The Flintstones” and the forward-looking “The Jetsons” who took a humorous look at family life. When you wanted an animated sitcom with a thrill, we had “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!”
A dog named Scooby-Doo and the four human members of Mystery Incorporated had wild adventures. They were a group of teenagers driving across the country, finding towns hidden in the mist, and solving supernatural crimes that others would not.
In a way, I hated Scooby-Doo. Where were their parents? How much did they get paid for solving crimes? Did they sleep in the van? Was Shaggy smoking in the van? How did he get high, but not the others? The van was not that big.
Besides my many questions, the stories lacked variety. Every week the plot was the same. Each episode, the gags were the same. Open the wrong door. Run around like fools. The eyes in the painting follow you. There was no character growth. They were meddling kids who stayed meddling kids. Even Tom and Jerry eventually became friends. I wanted this gang to evolve, but they didn’t. In many ways, that was the beauty of “Scooby-Doo.”
Those were the days of using a ghost costume to avoid being captured for your crimes. Want to steal stuff from the mall? Dress up like a goblin. Like to speed? Wear a swamp creature costume while you drive. Need to take your Aunt Matilda’s inheritance? The options are endless. Think ghoul or vampire. I miss those good old days of crime.
Think about the person breaking into cars on your street. Wouldn’t it be smarter if they wore a dirty sheet with eyeholes cut out? The cops would show up and see the robber dressed like a ghost and close the case. “Oh, no, a ghost stole your MacBook Pro! Let’s go back to the station.” That’s literally the premise of Scooby-Doo. Local law enforcement will do no detective work if a spirit is involved. Instead, they will turn the case over to four teenagers traveling in a van. This is hilarious.
The future of paranormal activity
The gang at Mystery Inc. is the precursor to shows like “The X-Files.” Instead of bumbling kids, we have two clever FBI agents. The crimes may or may not have a human element. Aliens and ghosts are possible, though not guaranteed. Did an alien kidnap your baby brother? Or maybe it’s just a government conspiracy.
“Supernatural” takes it to an entirely new level because as the title suggests the mysteries are 100% about other worldly creatures. We see monsters, demons, and angels. There is no question. Ghosts are real in this world.
“Lucifer” takes it further. He is a supernatural being solving crimes on Earth. It would be so wonderful if in one episode, the criminal turns to Lucifer and says, “I would’ve gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling demon!”
“Stranger Things” harkens back to “Scooby-Doo” with its teen protagonists and otherworldly foes. There is just one mystery to solve, and we love it. Eleven starts out like our Scooby-Doo. Her voice is initially silent, then stunted. Her halted words are not to add humor, but horror. When she finally speaks, we see that she is central to the story, much like her puppy predecessor.
“Scooby-Doo” is all human. Ghosts are fake. “The X-Files” shows many humans, but maybe ghosts and aliens are out there. “Supernatural” gets real. The ghosts and goblins are everywhere. Some may be good, some may be bad. “Lucifer” has a demon, saving us all. “Stranger Things” is reminiscent of the Mystery Inc. gang. We should thank “Scooby-Doo” for its simplicity. Those simple stories begged questions that other writers dared to answer.
In the original series, the word gang is associated with something positive. Friendship. “The Little Rascals” bumbled in and out of adventures without purpose, but the gang at Mystery Inc. had a purpose. They were friends with a job and on a mission to fight crime.
Found families and friendship draw us into stories. Think of TV shows that people love. “The Facts of Life” and “The Golden Girls” make us thankful for friends. We all know someone who reminds us of Spock from “Star Trek” or Sawyer from “Lost.” I’ve always wanted to be a Scully, but I know I’m a Mulder. We see ourselves in different characters. When you think about Scooby-Doo, which character are you? If you had the chance to write a new tale, how would you write it?
Yes, I have watched a 2023 reboot of the Scooby gang on HBOMax. When I sat down to write about that show and that character, this was the result. I have now purposely omitted mention.
“Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” (1969). Good friends. Silly crimes. Talking dog. A gentle entry into the 1970’s. Grade B+
Nicki Salcedo is a Decatur resident and Atlanta native. She is a writer, story consultant, and working mom.
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