Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! is the first (and flagship) incarnation of the long-running Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon series, Scooby-Doo. It premiered on September 13, 1969 at 10:30 a.m. EST and ran for two seasons comprised of 25 episodes, with its final first-run CBS episode airing on October 31, 1970.
Nine episodes from Scooby-Doo's 1978-79 season, first run on ABC, were originally broadcast with the 1969 Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! opening and closing sequences. The entire 1978-79 series (which completed its run as part of Scooby's All-Stars and was later syndicated as part of The Scooby-Doo Show) is sometimes marketed as a third season of the original "Where Are You!" series.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! was a breakaway hit for Hanna-Barbera and CBS, who quickly introduced similar cartoons to accompany Scooby-Doo: Josie and the Pussycats, The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show, The Funky Phantom, Speed Buggy, Jabberjaw, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, and Fangface.
The series began airing reruns on Cartoon Network in June 1994, after initially not being available to the channel due to USA having the rights for its Cartoon Express block. Reruns on the channel remained so popular, that it was one of the few remaining classic cartoons left on the channel when reruns finally ceased in December 2008. The series returned briefly for a marathon on the weekend of September 12–13, 2009, in commemoration of the show's 40th Anniversary. In October 2012, reruns returned to the network, remaining until September 2013.
Scooby-Doo creators Joe Ruby and Ken Spears served as the story supervisors on the series. Ruby, Spears, and Bill Lutz wrote all of the scripts for the seventeen first-season Scooby episodes, while Lutz, Larz Bourne, and Tom Dagenais wrote the eight second season episodes with Ruby and Spears as story editors. The plot varied little from episode to episode. The main concept was as follows:
- The Mystery, Inc. gang turn up in the Mystery Machine, en route to or returning from a regular teenage function, when their van develops engine trouble or breaks down for any of a variety of reasons (overheating, flat tire, out of gas, etc.), in the immediate vicinity of a large, mostly vacated property (ski lodge, hotel, factory, mansion, cruise ship, etc.).
- Their (unintended) destination turns out to be suffering from a monster problem (ghosts, Yetis, vampires, witches, etc.). The kids volunteer to investigate the case.
- The gang splits up to cover more ground, with Fred and Velma finding clues, Daphne finding danger, and Shaggy and Scooby finding food, fun, and the ghost/monster, who gives chase. Scooby and Shaggy in particular love to eat, including dog treats called Scooby Snacks which are a favorite of both the dog and the teenage boy.
- Eventually, enough clues are found to convince the gang that the ghost/monster is a fake, and a trap is set (usually by Fred) to capture it. Or they will occasionally just call the local sheriff and get stopped by the villain half-way.
- The trap may or may not work (more often than not, Scooby-Doo and/or Shaggy falls into the trap and/or they accidentally catch the monster another way, usually if the plan is explained in detail beforehand, then the attempted execution fails). Invariably, the ghost/monster is apprehended and unmasked. The person in the ghost or monster suit turns out to be an apparently blameless authority figure or otherwise innocuous local who is using the disguise to cover up something such as a crime or a scam.
- After giving the parting shot of "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids" (sometimes adding "...and your stupid dog!"), the offender is then taken away to jail, and the gang is allowed to continue on the way to their destination.
Scooby-Doo features an emphasis placed on verbal rather than visual storytelling, and the work of the voice artists was particularly important. Don Messick, the voice of Astro the dog, Dr. Benton Quest, and Boo-Boo Bear—among others—provided the raspy, mumbling voice of Scooby-Doo using a similar (but slightly lower) voice he provided for Astro, the pet dog on The Jetsons. Radio DJ Casey Kasem voiced Shaggy, young actor Frank Welker voiced Fred (which began Welker's long career in voice work), and actress Nicole Jaffe voiced Velma (Frank Welker and Nicole Jaffe also appeared together in the 1969 Elvis Presley film The Trouble with Girls.)
Stefanianna Christopherson voiced Daphne during the first season, but moved to New York City to marry and start a family before production began on the second season. As a result, Nicole Jaffe's roommate, Heather North, took over the role of Daphne.
The second season featured "chase scene" songs produced by La La Productions (which had originally been contracted to create the music for Josie and the Pussycats, the first of many shows made from the same mold as Scooby-Doo). These songs were written by Danny Janssen and Austin Roberts, and were performed by Roberts, who also made a new recording of the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! theme song for the second season.
Episodes contained a laugh track, one of the first Saturday morning cartoon shows to do so (a laugh track was even used in the main titles for "A Clue for Scooby-Doo").
- Don Messick - Scooby-Doo, Misc. others
- Casey Kasem - Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, Misc. others
- Frank Welker - Fred Jones
- Stefanianna Christopherson - Daphne Blake (Season 1)
- Heather North - Daphne Blake (Season 2)
- Nicole Jaffe - Velma Dinkley
- George A. Robertson, Jr. (Austin Roberts) - vocalist for opening theme and "chase songs" (Season 2)
- Susan Steward - backing vocalist for opening theme and "chase songs" (Season 2)
Warner Home Video released all 25 episodes on DVD on March 16, 2004 under the title Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! The Complete First and Second Seasons. A DVD entitled Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! The Complete Third Season was released on April 10, 2007, made up of episodes produced in 1978, added to the Scooby's All-Stars package, and later syndicated as part of The Scooby-Doo Show.
On November 9, 2010, Warner Home Video released Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: The Complete Series. The 8 disc set features all 25 episodes of the series plus the 16 episodes produced in 1978 which aired as part of Scooby's All-Stars. The set is encased in special collectible packaging in the form of a Mystery Machine replica. In addition, it also features a special bonus disc filled with new & archival material. The set was re-released on November 13, 2012 and contains the same 8 discs as the previous release but with additional bonus features that were not included on the original release.