A Pup Named Scooby-Doo is the eighth incarnation of the Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon Scooby-Doo. This spin-off of the original show was created by Tom Ruegger and premiered on September 10, 1988 and ran for four seasons on ABC and on The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera as a half-hour program, until August 17, 1991. Following the show's first season, much of Hanna-Barbera's production staff, including Tom Ruegger, left the studio and helped to revive the Warner Bros. Animation studio, beginning with Tiny Toon Adventures.
This was notable for being the last series to star Don Messick as the voice of Scooby-Doo before his death in 1997, and one of the few animated series in which someone other than Frank Welker voiced the character of Fred Jones. Messick and Casey Kasem (who voiced Shaggy Rogers) were the only two voice actors from other Scooby-Doo series to reprise their roles in this version, and both received starring credits for their work.
The new format followed the trend of the "babyfication" of older cartoon characters, reducing the original Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! cast to junior-high age. (In doing so, the series reintroduced Fred Jones and Velma Dinkley to the show, both of whom had not appeared as regular characters since the 1970s, and erased Scrappy-Doo from the cast.) This new show also used the same basic formula as the original 1969 show: the "Scooby-Doo Detective Agency" (a forerunner of Mystery Inc.) solved supernatural-based mysteries in the town of Coolsville, where the villains (the ghostsand monsters) were always revealed as bad guys in masks and costumes.
The biggest difference was the tone of the show: with A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, producer Tom Ruegger built upon the slightly irreverent humor he had established along with producer Mitch Schauer with Scooby's previous unsuccessful incarnation, The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. This resulted in a wackier, more extremely comic version of Scooby-Doo that satirized the conventions of the show's previous incarnations. It was not uncommon for the characters to do wild Tex Avery/Bob Clampett-esque takes when they ran into ghosts and monsters.
Animation director and overseas supervisor Glen Kennedy animated many of the wild-take sequences personally. Fred was constantly blaming a character appropriately called "Red Herring" (a pun on red herring) for each and every crime on the show (true to his name, Red was always innocent, except for the one episode in which Fred didn't blame him) and shots of the characters (and even the ghosts and monsters) dancing were inserted into the obligatory late-80s-pop-rock-music-scored chase sequences. The ghosts and monsters themselves were also more comedic, such as a creature made out of molten cheese, a monster in the form of a giant hamburger, and the skeleton ghost of a dogcatcher.
The series also features Scooby and Shaggy as their favorite superhero duo. Shaggy would be the fearless Commander Cool (a combination of Batman and Superman) and Scooby would be his faithful canine sidekick Mellow Mutt (a combination of Krypto, Robin and Ace the Bat-Hound.) In 2013 a direct-to-video puppet movie was released exclusively to US Walmart stores and digital download called Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map, that featured traits similar to that of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo.
Comparisons between character incarnations: Edit
Shaggy was exactly like his older incarnation. He ate a lot and used the terms "Like" and "Zoinks!" constantly. He sometimes agrees with other members of the gang, considering the ghost, phantom, etc. Scooby-Doo behaved like the older version of the character as well.
Daphne was a vain young girl who was quite skeptical and sarcastic (especially towards Fred). Being born into money, she often called to her butler, Jenkins (a pun on "Jinkies!"), for help (on occasion Scooby would call for him instead), usually for incredibly silly reasons ("be scared for me"), something she does not do while older, despite still being fabulously wealthy. She often accused the wrong person who did the crime, only by her intuition. She also had a deep infatuation with the color pink (opposing older Daphne, who prefers everything in purple), preferring most of her clothes and personal possessions in said color, and treats fashion as life and death. She also hates getting dirty, and absolutely refuses to believe in the supernatural (her catch-phrase in the show is "There's no such thing as [insert supernatural element here].") despite the fact she and the rest of the gang actually met (and befriended) a ghost in one episode.
Fred was an outspoken young boy who always jumps to the wrong conclusion. His runaway imagination often annoyed the rest of the gang (his favorite magazine is the National Exaggerator) and, before accusing Red Herring for absolutely no reason (which happens in nearly every episode), he often stated a ridiculous example, such as Mole people or aliens from another planet. However, he can get the point at times.
Velma was mostly the same as her older incarnation— intelligent and soft-spoken with thick eyeglasses. The most evident change to her character was that she owned a briefcase-sized mobile computer that could determine who the criminal was in any particular episode. Velma also owned an oversized fan-propelled skateboard with a color scheme similar to the Mystery Machine, which all the characters could ride on.
The What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "A Terrifying Round with a Menacing Metallic Clown" featured a flashback to Velma's fifth birthday, using the character designs from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, albeit with some modifications, such as Daphne wearing purple rather than pink. Fred and Velma were the only returning characters to speak in the flashback, and were voiced by their normal voice actors Frank Welker and Mindy Cohn. The recent live-action film Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins establishes the team meeting in their teens. However, it can be seen as a prequel to the theatrical films.