“The rules are simple: on your own site, post a brief piece about one beloved cartoon short that you remember from childhood. If you can find a video and embed it on your site, that’s wonderful; if it’s so obscure that no video clip exists, no worries. But here’s the important part: tell us why that cartoon is particularly memorable to you. Are you a Popeye patron? A Droopy devotee? A Bugs booster? A Woody Woodpecker worshiper? A Fudd fan? A Donald disciple? (Stop me; I could go on all day.) Simply put: what is a favorite cartoon from your youth, and why?”
Although my mother enjoyed Saturday morning cartoons when she was a kid, she did not allow the tradition to continue in her adult household. My brother and I were more or less forbidden to watch cartoons at home. However, there was a whole different set of rules at Grammie’s house. We were spoiled rotten with ice cream, candy, soda pop, and all the television and Disney movies our little minds could handle. Bliss!
We always visited Grammie’s on Sunday afternoons after church, so my memories of cartoons aren’t of the Saturday morning variety. At any rate, growing up in the 1990s, our supply of vintage toons was broadcast 24/7 on Cartoon Network and Boomerang. For us, vintage toons meant the original 1969-72 series “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!“
“Scooby-Doo” was a Hanna-Barbera production from Warner Brothers. The original Scooby-Doo mystery series about a gang of kids solving mysteries with the help (or hindrance) of their Great Dane is said to have been based on the English book series “The Famous Five” by Enid Blyton. Though I never read “The Famous Five” books, I am a huge fan of Blyton’s “Mallory Towers,” so I was shocked to learn that Scooby-Doo could have been based on her characters!
I was also interested to learn that the voice actor for Shaggy, Casey Kasem, was a vegetarian. He insisted that his cartoon character adopt his eating lifestyle as well, and for much of the original series, Shaggy can be seen only eating vegetarian-friendly meals. Kasem refused to do voice work as Shaggy when the Scooby-Doo cast were employed for a Burger King commercial, for this very reason. In the productions “What’s New, Scooby-Doo?” (2002) and SCOOBY-DOO (2002) Shaggy is a strict vegetarian.
I’ve noticed that recent television versions of Scooby-Doo have been modernized a great deal, both in the artistry and in having Velma hop on the computer instead of consulting her books. I don’t object to such practices in principle, but I will go on record as saying I prefer the originals. The characters, dialogue, and catch-phrases of the Scooby-Doo franchise are so strongly rooted in 1960s/70s hippy culture, I find it difficult to separate the characters from their era. Like totally, man.
My childhood fascination with the stock Scooby-Doo mysteries, which debunked myths about ghosts for more practical, purely earthly explanations, has fuelled a love for Agatha Christie‘s MIss Marple and Poirot and Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories. Scooby-Doo might not be in the same class as classic English literature, but the problem solving skills employed by the gang and other sleuths of the era, like Nancy Drew, for example, contribute valuable material to a wider literary/filmic canon of the classic mystery.
Even as an adult, I still love revisiting Scooby-Doo and the gang. I’m also a huge fan of another of Hanna-Barbera’s popular cartoons, “Tom and Jerry.” How a cat-and-mouse chase sequence can be stretched over 114 shorts, I’ll never understand. But they keep me in stitches, that’s for sure. Please share some of your favorite cartoon memories and be sure to check out the other contributions to the Saturday Morning Memories blogathon.