R.I.P. Joe Ruby, co-creator of Scooby-Doo

He also gave us Hanna-Barbera characters like Jabberjaw and Dynomutt.

The development of Scooby-Doo was inspired by a couple of popular teen sensations of the 1960s. Fred Silverman, CBS's head of daytime programming at the time, was looking to duplicate the success of the Archies. His rough pitch to animators William Hanna and Joseph Barbera was this: a teenage rock band that would solve mysteries.

Hanna-Barbera assigned the task to writers Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, and artist Iwao Takamoto. Their first draft was a group dubbed the Mysteries Five, consisting of kids named Geoff, Mike, Kelly, Linda and W.W., along with a bongo-playing sheepdog called Too Much. These teen toons were rough analogs to Riverdale characters Archie, Jughead, Betty, Veronica and Hot Dog. (W.W. was an additional kid brother.)

Unimpressed, Silvermen sent Ruby, Spears and Takamoto back to the drawing board.

For their second attempt, the creators simply mimicked The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.

Did you ever notice the similarities? Fred is Dobie (Dwayne Hickman), Daphne is Thalia (Tuesday Weld), Shaggy is Maynard (Bob Denver) and Velma is Zelda (Sheila James). Heck, "Velma" even sounds like "Zelda."

Of course, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! would become a smash hit as soon as it appeared in 1969.

Scooby and Shaggy were not Joe Ruby's only contribution to your childhood memories. Ruby and Spears also created beloved characters Dynomutt, Dog Wonder and Jabberjaw for Hanna-Barbera. 

Suddenly a king of cartoons, Ruby and Spears became the curators of Saturday morning programming at CBS in the early 1970s. Their block delivered sweet weekend treats like Josie and the Pussycats in Outer SpaceThe Flintstone Comedy Hour and Speed Buggy.

When head of children's programming Fred Silverman jumped networks to ABC in 1975, Ruby and Spears followed. That's why The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour could be found on that channel beginning in 1976.

California native Ruby was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and operator sonar aboard a destroyer during the Korean War. His career at Hanna-Barbera begin in 1959, when he was hired to pen short segments for The Huckleberry Hound Show and Yogi Bear.

Ruby died on August 28 in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 87.

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foxman 41 months ago
I loved a lot of the shows that Ruby-Spears created, and I have to say that I loved the "Kangaroo" segment during the second season of "Saturday Supercade'. But one show I don't see getting mentioned is "The Puppy's Great Adventures" (ABC and later reran on CBS) and "The Puppy's New Adventures" (ABC and later reran on CBS) that were both based from four different episodes from "ABC's Weekend Special" series. Just thought I would mention that.
seacoast 45 months ago
It's sad the kids of today don't have Scooby Doo and other Great cartoons to watch on Saturday mornings on "Regular network TV". Scooby lives on via, DVD, streaming and other platforms.
Stoney 45 months ago
RIP. Ruby and Spears also gave us a late 70s cartoon of Plastic-Man that is criminally underrated.
VaughnBaskin Stoney 45 months ago
Stoney Kenneth Spears is still alive you know.
Not anymore as Ken Spears died last month.
Uh everyone already knows that Buster! MeTV beat you to it for that announcement last month.
JoeSHill 45 months ago
In his impressive history, Joseph Ruby was also a music editor on CBS's "LOST IN SPACE" series, while his future business partner Ken Spears also worked as a film editor on ABC-TV's "THE GREEN HORNET" TV series, as both of these vintage Twentieth Century Fox Television shows of the 1960s were the top titles back in their day! but Ruby and Spears were well established in their Hanna-Barbera years, but the two men also worked as story editors and creators at other rival studios shortly after CBS's "SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU?" which the two co-created for the studio in Fall 1969. In fact, one animated TV series that Joe Ruby and Ken Spears created, was the 1973 CBS series, "BAILEY'S COMETS", which was produced by DePatie-Freleng Enterprises ("THE PINK PANTHER") and, the following year, both men were hired as story consultants for CBS's short-lived version of "PLANET OF THE APES" in Fall 1974. but, by by Fall 1977, especially with their Sid & Marty Krofft TV shows that they helped to create ("Wonerbug", "Bigfoot and Wildboy", "Electra Woman & Dyna Girl") the two men formed their own animation studio in partnership with the now-defunct Filmways (producers of "MR. ED", "THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES", and "THE ADDAMS FAMILY") and thus, Ruby-Spears Productions was born! but what caused great confusion here, was that Ruby-Spears' cartoons were practically identical to Hanna-Barbera cartoons, mainly due to the fact that many of the same animators and producers-like Charles A Nichols for one, rotated their work for the two studios, but to viewers, it was still confusing because their cartoons were pretty much the same thing! when ABC first aired "FANGFACE", viewers who saw the adds were pretty certain that this was another Hanna-Barbera creation when the Ruby-Spears show first aired in Fall 1978. and by Fall 1979, Ruby-Spears hit a goldmine with the ABC debut of "THE PLASTIC MAN COMEDY ADVENTURE SHOW", which, again, looked like Hanna-Barbera stuff. but by Fall 1980, it was ABC's "THUNDARR, THE BARBARIAN" that would establish the kind of action-adventure cartoon shows, not seen since "THE HERCULOIDS" (which Joe Ruby and Ken Spears were story editors on, at that time) and Ruby-Spears began their their impressive march toward Saturday Morning entertainment in the 1980s. but by 1981, Filmways was sold to Orion Pictures Corporation, and The Taft Broadcasting Company, the then owners of Hanna-Barbera Productions, acquired Ruby-Spears into their assets, and the two studios became sister companies, now called Ruby-Spears Enterprises. In fact, both Hanna-Barbera and Ruby-Spears co-produced the animated "MORK AND MINDY" cartoon series for ABC and Paramount TV in Fall 1982, but again, it was still hard to tell the studios apart since they were still pretty much the same thing! but Ruby-Spears Enterprises, especially with their success with "THUNDARR", took their work into the next level, producing an animated "MR. T" for NBC in Fall 1983, and also doing "RUBIK, THE AMAZING CUBE" for ABC, and two cartoon series based on "DRAGON'S LAIR" and "SPACE ACE", along with "TURBO TEEN", all for Fall 1984. but by 1985, they went into a whole other direction, doing an animated "CHUCK NORRIS" miniseries, and the controversial "RAMBO" animated series, and later, "CENTURIANS-POWER XETREME" in 1987, a syndicated series. but in Fall 1988, Ruby-Spears Enterprises took on The Man of Steel with CBS's "SUPERMAN", their first Superman cartoon series since 1968 when Filmation Associates last animated the DC hero, and the Ruby-Spears version was highly impressive! Ruby-Spears continued their animation until the mid 1990s, around the same time that Ted Turner acquired Hanna-Barbera into their fold, and that was the last of Ruby-Spears after "MEGAMEN" and "THE COWBOYS OF MOO-MESA" for ABC. they also produced an animated "POLICE ACADEMY" series with Warner Bros.Television in 1989-1990. all the same, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears almost succeeded Hanna-Barbera, but after the mid 1990s, they became invisible, and with the Turner acquisition, most of Ruby-Spears' cartoon shows started to show the Hanna-Barbera credits, and that didn't make Ruby and Spears very happy! now, today, many of Joe Ruby and Ken Spears animated shows are now part of Warner Bros. Entertainment's vast animated library, but their cartoons in the 1980s were still impressive and well made, since most of the animation was made overseas, Ruby-Spears still managed to provide quality animation while competing against their sister studio. Joe Ruby's passing will be greatly felt, as well as the end of an era for an impressive animation icon- rest in peace!!
VaughnBaskin JoeSHill 45 months ago
That's WonderBug not WonerBug!
VaughnBaskin 45 months ago
Not only that Joseph Ruby also created WonderBug, Sid and Marty Krofft's 1st ever crime fighting super dune buggy!
jacko3 45 months ago
. some neat shows over many years that were quality done .. GOD Rest Mr. Ruby's soul... and may such quality programming live on ...
dmagoon 45 months ago
Didn't Joe Ruby and Ken Spears form their OWN animation company in 1977?
VaughnBaskin dmagoon 45 months ago
Yep! And they brought us great cartoons like Fangface, Rickety Rocket, Goldie Gold and Action Jack, Plasticman, their version of Alvin And The Chipmunks, Mr. T., Thundarr The Barbarian, Dink The Little Dinosaur, Centurions: PowerXTreme, SkySurfer Strike Force, The Saturday SuperCade, and Mega Man!
JoeSHill dmagoon 45 months ago
Yes they did. but their Ruby-Spears Productions was originally a division of the now defunct Filmways TV Productions, that was later sold to Orion Pictures Corporation, so Ruby-Spears was sold to The Taft Broadcasting Company in 1981, the then owners of QM Prods, Hanna-Barbera, and Worldvision Enterprises back then!
ScarlettKaiju 45 months ago
Very few people saw it, but Ruby-Spears did a wonderful Superman cartoon in 1988.
Barry22 ScarlettKaiju 45 months ago
I do remember it, it was pretty good.
purplerose60 45 months ago
What a great show, even my 6 year old grandson loves it and has toys and DVD’s.
Joe Ruby will be missed but his fantastic characters will live on!
VaughnBaskin purplerose60 45 months ago
Uh don't you mean funtastic?!
Because Bill, Joe B., Joe R., Ken, Tex, and Sid & Marty are the founding fathers of The Funtastic Worlds Of Hanna-Barbera!
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