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Doo-bee-doo-bee-DOO!

Posted at 1:15 PM on January 10, 2007 by Euan Kerr

Years ago I switched on the box to see "Reporting Scotland" the nightly regional news show the BBC puts on north of Hadrian's Wall in the UK. Much to my surprise the folks in the Queen Margret Drive studios were covering a demonstration outside their own gates.

A large and suitably bedraggled group, made up primarily of teenagers and younger as well as a surprising number of adults, huddled in the rain and waved placards.

Their demands? "Bring back Scooby Doo!"

The BBC bigwigs had made a schedule change and the cowardly Great Dane had vanished from their screens.

I was reminded of the story on hearing about the passing of Iwao Takamoto who designed Scooby Doo, and a host of other characters first for Disney and then Hanna-Barbera.

Takamoto's story is quite amazing. he grew up in LA, but was interned with is family after Pearl Harbor. Always interested in drawing he met a couple of artists who used to sketch things around the camp, and was amazed to learn they could make a living doing it as animators. After the war he returned to LA and turned up at the Disney studios one morning with a couple of sketchbooks filled with sketches he'd just done. He was hired on the spot, which was very unusual, and a career that lasted until now was launched.

His character list is incredible. He was the sole designer on Lady in "Lady and the Tramp." He worked on "The Jetsons," "Quickdraw Magraw," and a host of others including my own childhood favorite "Secret Squirrel." Man, I always wanted to have a suitcase which could turn into a car.

Looking back at that demo all those years ago it's only now I realize that due to the structure of the BBC, the decision to deep six Scooby Doo was made in London. The folks in Queen Margret Drive wouldn't have been consulted. However from the amount of coverage the demonstration received, it's now clear that someone in the newsroom was exhibiting frustration at being Scooby-Doo-less.

January 2007
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