Written by Diane Tillis
Jumping Jellybeans! Scooby Doo deserves mention in any article that discusses the best and most-loved animated television series in history.
Scooby Doo has been chronicled in several different media from live-action films, direct-to-DVD films, and the popular 1969 animated series. The earliest material from 1969 – 1970 tends to be the more highly regarded season of the series to date. If you are like me and grew up watching reruns of these episodes on Saturday mornings, the earliest material is also the most loved of the series.
Scooby Doo centers on four teenagers and their canine mascot. Shaggy is a cowardly free spirit with a goatee. Fred is the all-American leader with blonde hair. Velma is the intelligent nerd with an edge. Daphne is the pretty redhead, but she can still kick your butt! Mascot Scooby Doo is a brown-with-black-spotted Great Dane who is easily frightened, loves Scooby Snacks, and is Shaggy’s constant companion. Together the gang solves mysteries usually related to the paranormal. They outwit the bad guys, reveal their true identity, and put the pieces of the mystery together in an intelligent fashion. The show is meant for kids, so Shaggy’s and Scooby-Doo’s characters bring humor to the scary situations. This sense of humor to the show gives it a more lighthearted appeal and never gets too scary.
This DVD is a compilation of the original series named Scooby-Doo, Where are you! The original series ran for two seasons of 25 episodes. Distributor Warner Home Video did release the entire original series in one complied collection, but it began releasing the original series into smaller and more affordable collections in 2004. Flash forward to October 2010 and the release of the fourth volume.
Scooby Doo, Where are you! Volume 4 – Spooked Bayou contains episodes 13 – 16 of the original series. In “Which Witch is Which?” (Episode 13), the gang is on their way back from a fishing trip. They end up in a deserted town terrorized by a witch and a zombie. Daphne is kidnapped by the witch, and the gang has to work together to figure out where she was taken. In “Go Away Ghost Ship” (Episode 14), Scooby Doo and the gang discover that local shipping magnate C.L. Magnus’ ships are being haunted by the ghost of the pirate captain Redbeard. They venture out to the bay to solve the mystery, but end up in more trouble than they bargained for. In “Spooky Space Kook” (episode 15), the Mystery Machine breaks down not far from an airfield that is terrorized by a fluorescent alien figure. Obviously, the gang goes to the airfield to investigate. In “A Night of Fright is No Delight” (Episode 16), Scooby Doo is a potential heir to the fortune of Colonel Beauregard Sanders, an eccentric millionaire he once rescued. In order to collect the inheritance Scooby must spend a night in Sanders’ haunted southern mansion. However the house is haunted by two green phantom figures that did away with the four previous heirs, and are now looking to get rid of Scooby Doo and the gang.
The video aspect ratio is 1.33:1. The video quality is fine. The colors are bright, and the line work is bold. However the backgrounds present the vintage quality of the animation. There are the occasional white specks of noise that appear on the screen, but they are not overwhelming.
The audio is presented in Dolby Digital 1.0. The audio is not remarkable, but it does the DVD justice.
The special features on the DVD include trailers and a bonus episode from the Shaggy & Scooby Doo Get a Clue series. The bonus episode is “Lightning Strikes Twice” (episode 6 of the 2006 Get a Clue series) and depicts Shaggy and Scooby Doo traveling into space. They are trying to save the world from intense thunderstorms generated by all-around bad guy Dr. Phineas Phibes.
While the individual volumes for the original series may be appealing and initially more affordable to consumers, in the end it is cheaper by a few dollars to buy the bulk collection. I grew up with this show, and I have nothing but love to express for this remarkable series. I would recommend that everyone watch a couple of episodes to remember their childhood. Or to parents looking for a new show for their children, this is a great show to expose to them. It is intelligent, teaches viewers how to work as a team, how to solve complex problems, and to have fun along the way.