Wednesday, September 5, 2018

“Toon In”: Hanna Barbera’s Copy Machine

One of Hanna Barbera’s biggest television hits ever was the Saturday morning cartoon show Scooby Doo, Where Are You? which premiered in 1969. The hit show seemed to change the animation studio somehow, as it seemed incapable of making anything except for Scooby Doo clones.

Velma, how would we go about filing a copyright infringement lawsuit?

The formula was as follows- take a group of meddling teens, pair them with a talking animal of some kind, have them travel the countryside solving mysteries and BOOM- the latest Hanna Barbera cartoon. Even when the studio licensed characters from others, it still couldn’t resist Scooby-izing them, like Josie and the Pussycats.

Other than the name and character designs, the show had little in common with the comic book it was based on. Josie and her band would seemingly always find mysteries to solve no matter where they traveled on their tour.

The Clue Club was an even more obvious ripoff, though it had *two* dogs instead of just one. This gang of teens ran its own detective agency, unlike the Scooby gang, whose reason for solving their mysteries was never made clear.

Jabberjaw was yet another ripoff in which a cowardly shark joined forces with some humans to form a band- and solve mysteries. Hard to believe that something could make Scooby Doo seem more realistic.

These three Scooby Doo ripoffs were just a handful of Hanna Barbera’s many attempts to clone Scooby’s success- none of which were actually successful. Unbelievably, Hanna Barbera would continue ripping off its own hit show until well into the 1980’s.