R.I.P. Joe Ruby, co-creator of Scooby-Doo
He also gave us Hanna-Barbera characters like Jabberjaw and Dynomutt.
Read to Me
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 Space, The 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.