Were Scooby Doo's allusions to marijuana use intentional?

Discussion in 'Saturday Morning Forever!' started by maczero, Sep 10, 2009.

  1. maczero

    maczero New Member

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    Granted the van and Shaggy's hippy style could simply be labled a product of the times (late 60's/early 70's) but another running theme is that Shaggy & Scooby seemed to have the "munchies". Is it harmless coincidence or the creators' inside joke?
     
  2. Collie

    Collie Total Drama Llama

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    Impossible to tell without asking the creators (which, I believe at this point would require a ouija board), but my personal theory is no. It was just a character bit; the 'big eater' concept had been around for quite some time in the HB stable (and animation in general, really).
     
  3. bat313

    bat313 Active Member

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    Casey Kasem could probably shed some light. Has he ever spoke out about the character? Like if the producers told him to give Saggy a stoner vibe.
     
  4. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    In his autobiography, Iwao Takamoto stated uncategorically that they are not hidden or veiled drug references in Scooby-Doo. He noted that in the late 60's, you simply did not do anything that could be construed as a drug reference if you wanted to stay on the air, and added that "drugs of any kind were an anathema to Joe Ruby; he hated them" (Ruby being half of Ruby-Spears, who wrote the earliest Scooby-Doo episodes and a whole lot more for H-B before spinning off into their own studio). The hunger thing was just that Shaggy and Scooby-Doo were teens with bottomless pits for stomachs. He also points out that Shaggy was loosely based on Maynard G. Krebs, who was a beatnik, not a hippie, and beatniks weren't known for heavy drug use.

    Just for some context, when the show first aired in 1969, Cheech and Chong were still at least 2 years away from their slice of fame, and even they raised quite a ruckus at the time for their overt pot humor. I'm inclined to take Takamoto at his word that drug jokes or references just wouldn't have occurred to anybody at Hanna-Barbera, and would have been shot down by any number of people in power if it had been brought up directly or even suspected.

    Of course, contradictory evidence of the conspiracy is often just more proof of how deep the conspiracy really goes, and I'm sure some will think Takamoto is just covering himself after the fact. I'm inclined to take him at his word, though.
     
  5. Zorak Masaki

    Zorak Masaki Active Member

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    Not to mention that H-B did an anti-drug commercial in the 70s. i doubt a studio making "subtle" drug refs would then turn around and do a commercial that was anti-drug (of course, they did do a winston commercial with fred and barney, then turned around and did anti-smoking PSAs with Yogi and Superman).
     
  6. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Ed beat me too it, but, yeah, Shaggy is largely a cartoon Maynard J. Krebs. A hungry, lazy offbeat teen. Most HB cartoons, of course, had an inspiration somewhere else in popular culture of the time and "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" was a big part of Scooby's. Fred is a much more boring Dobie, I guess, Daphne is beautiful Thalia and Velma is brainy Zelda although their romantic triangles from Dobie seem to be completely excised. Mark Evanier, who worked on some of the Scooby Shows, has confirmed this. Scooby is Hot Dog from The Archies, Scooby Doo started off with a musical angle that was a lot like the Archies.

    Beats, especially the influential group around Allen Ginsberg, did in fact do lots of drugs including marijuana and Benzedrine (in addition to endorsing sexual liberation), but Beats in general weren't quite as closely identified with it as hippies became. Maybe because their movement was smaller and slightly less mainstream? Maybe because they were around when TV was squeakier and cleaner and it just kept them better hid from most Americans than TV did during the hippy era. Maynard, the Beat most people was familiar with, was a cartoony, TV friendly Beat. He was a popular character on a great show, but he wasn't really a good indicator of what was going on.

    I think HB just wanted to have their cake and eat it too, here. Use elements with popular current feel while avoiding any negative elements associated with it. Hip but safe. I seriously doubt anyone in any position of authority there intentionally put drug references in the show or allowed them to slip through if they could catch them, although it might have been possible that writers might have put the occasional obscure ones in scripts that they didn't catch.
     
  7. Ed Liu

    Ed Liu Grumpy Gorilla

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    This is possible only because it can't be ruled out definitively, but in the same way as "aliens were the ones who assassinated John F. Kennedy" is possible only because it can't be ruled out definitively.

    Takamoto noted that H-B released six new shows that season in 1969, but only the hardcore could identify the other 5. Scooby-Doo was the show that paid the bills. This was also in the days before cable, so if you were doing a show, you had the 3 networks to play with and that's it unless you wanted to go to the syndication networks or PBS. In that environment, slipping in obscure drug jokes into a kids show to get one over on the squares would be risking the studio's cash cow, as well as any future opportunities to work with the burned network and probably any of the other networks. If they were caught, or even suspected, they may well have killed the entire studio. The only people who would risk their meal ticket for that kind of in-joke would be hardcore potheads, and I just can't think that any of them were working on the show, or that any of them wouldn't eventually come clean about it.

    Consider what happened with Ralph Bakshi and Mighty Mouse, when Don Wildmon made a stink about Mighty Mouse supposedly sniffing cocaine. This was in 1987, nearly 20 years after Scooby-Doo and when drug jokes were filtering into the mainstream. CBS cancelled the show and I don't think it's a coincidence that Bakshi never got a major network TV show again.
     
  8. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    And those were just flower petals Mighty Mouse was sniffing anyway. I think Bakshi's underground background worked against him there, with people lying in wait looking for something, anything they could conceivably twist into a drug reference.

    Another reason that it's unlikely that Scooby Doo would have drug references is that it was created during a time when there was growing concern about how children's television was affecting children and created specifically so HB could offer the networks a non-violent show. I doubt they were going to go to all the trouble of creating a show to meet those specifications and then slip sneaky drug references into it for giggles.
     
  9. Steve Carras

    Steve Carras SUGAR RUSH!!!!

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    This included smoking and drinking; Joe Barbera once was said to be totally anti-nicotine due to his having asthma, and drugs got hardcore jazz musicians in as much trouble exactly as they did the people doing rock..;)Bugs wasn't considered entirely anti-establishment...Chuck Jones's cartoons with him tended to suck as Bugs was a goody goody in Chuck;s hands in the 40s and against in the 5o0s. Now Bob Clampett and the king, Text Avery, their Bugs was groovy!
     
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