The co-creators of Scooby-Doo wrote together before they ever met
Ken Spears and Joe Ruby recently passed away just months apart.
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When up-and-coming Hanna-Barbera writers Ken Spears and Joe Ruby created a mystery children's show with a funny name, they had no idea what it would become. Though its initial run was only 25 episodes, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! launched a franchise that spawned numerous others shows — not to mention movies, video games and merchandise.
But the pairing of Spears and Ruby could very well never have happened if it wasn't for Joe Barbera. In 1959, The Huckleberry Hound Show was Hanna-Barbera's biggest success to date thanks to side characters like Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, along with the lovable blue canine.
The studio needed people to write short opening and closing segments for the series and two men from two separate parts of the editorial department volunteered. They wrote material for the segments on the side while still working in editorial and without ever seeing one another.
As Ken Spears revealed in an interview, "Back then, Joe and I didn't even know each other because we worked in two different locations. And as it turned out, we ended up writing just about all those spots."
Ken Spears and Joe Ruby finally met when Joe Barbera introduced them as writing partners for a magazine interview. As Ruby put it, "LIFE Magazine was doing a story about H-B and Joe Barbera called us together, introducing us to the reporters as the next writing team for the studio." They had barely talked let alone written together! But Barbera could see something in them.
Sure enough, Spears and Ruby pitched a show in 1968 about a group of friends and their talking dog that would forever connect the writing duo and ensure they never had to work in the editorial department again.
They continued their creative partnership over the next decades, eventually forming their own production company. In one last coincidence, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears passed away in their 80s less than three months apart, in August and November 2020, respectively.