Hanna-Barbera Ends an Era

A Cyber Chase Through Time


*Some Spoilers for four old cartoon movies and a few minor opinions*

“We got it all together for a brand new show. Scooby-Doo is here again, away we go!” This was the opening chorus for the 1976 version of Scooby-Doo the Scooby-Doo Show which featured lyrics that were also sung by character Shaggy.

September 13th, 1969 America was introduced to a cartoon by the name of Scooby-Doo Where are you with the episode “What a Night for a Knight”  created by Hanna-Barbera. The Show introduced us to four teens and their dog, the gang known as Mystery Inc. It featured Fred Johns the leader of the gang, Velma Dinkley the brains, Daphne Blake, who fell into the damsel in distress role till more recent versions where her character has gotten more capable of defending herself, and finally we have our main characters Scoobert (Scooby) Doo and Norville (Shaggy) Rogers, the starving cowards of the group. The four teens and their dog travelled around in a van known as the Mystery Machine solving Mysteries.

Scooby-Doo was a phenomenal success getting multiple different versions as well as starting a trend that still sticks with the brand, but more on that later. Scooby-Doo has had many different series featuring the original gang. It also had a couple of different versions of the team, such as the years with Shaggy, Scooby and Scooby’s nephew Scrappy, or with a pre-teen version of the original gang through A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. A Pup Named Scooby Doo was the final version of Scooby-Doo made by Hanna-Barbera, with its last episode “Mayhem of the Moving Mollusk” airing on August 17th, 1991. Two Months later, on October 31st, 1991,the world was greeted with news that Turner Broadcasting Services Inc. bought 50% of Hanna-Barbera, gaining rights to The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Yogi Bear, and, of course, Scooby Doo. Turner later bought the last 50% in 1993.

After the buying of Hanna-Barbera, America didn’t see a new Scooby-Doo show till September 22nd, 1998 with the Direct to Video movie Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, which featured the return of the Scooby gang starting one year after they broke up from mystery solving, reuniting in chase of a real mystery. When audiences bought the movie, there was a shock to kids and adults alike–for the “first” time in Scooby-Doo history, the ghosts were real… October 5th, 1999 another direct to video movie was released this time it was Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost taking the gang to tourist hotspot Oakhaven, Massachusetts where, once again, the ghost was real in a surprise twist third act that worked well in the movie’s favor as at the end of the second act a “ghost” was already unmasked. On October 3rd, 2000 the third direct to video was released with Scooby-Doo and the Alien Invaders while this movie could be claimed to be the weakest out of its predecessors. What the movie does works well; it takes place in New Mexico where the gang is tasked with locating supposed aliens spotted by Shaggy and Scooby. During this time Shaggy and Scooby meet with Hippie Photographer Crystal and her dog Amber which leads Shaggy and Scooby to be head over heels in love. This was an important event in the characters’ stories as this love gave them the opportunity to even act brave even if they were clearly scared, thus leading up to the next and final direct to video worked on with both founders on Hanna-Barbera.

Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, the most important out of all of the direct to video movies, hit shelves on October 9th, 2001. This movie was a goodbye from creators Hanna-Barbera as seven months earlier William Denby Hanna died of laryngeal cancer. Unlike the last three, this movie is the only one digitally drawn and it doesn’t focus on character relationship as the main plot point. The movie is classic Scooby-Doo antics, that’s it. While it still holds the ghost is real, the gang get sapped through cyberspace into the Scooby Doo Video Game where they get chased by the monster, The Phantom Virus. The movie focuses on the gang trying to find Scooby Snacks in the digital world to escape the game, and going through different levels with the main focus on The Colosseum, The Moon, The Jurassic Period, and the final level Cyberland. This is where the gang meet themselves, or the cyber gang, with the old van and everything including Shaggy wearing his red shirt from the 80s. The Cyber gang show off how they are tired of finishing the game and having to start over so they stay in the final level away from the boss area. This is probably the most important scene out of all the movies.  It is critical because it showcases Hanna-Barbera’s work with Scooby-Doo; the final battle is against monsters from classic episodes the Jaguaro from “Jeepers, it’s the Jaguaro”, Iron Face from “The Creepy Case of Old Iron Face”, Gator Ghoul from “The Gruesome Game of the Gator Ghoul”, and finally the Creeper from “Jeepers, it’s the Creeper”. This is Barbera’s good-bye to both Hanna and to the Series. The final scene in cyberland is a good-bye between the two gangs. Cyber Chase held a big impact as it was the only movie out of the four to get a blu-ray release and to still be aired. Sure, Zombie Island airs every now and then, but not as much as Cyber Chase. This movie ended an era that had lasted since 1969.

Time Warner merged Turner into Warner Brothers Animation and rebooted Scooby-Doo under their name in 2002. They also took over the direct to video movie trend and have made a new movie every year since 2003. Still, the movies and shows under Warner will never hold as much as an impact as Cyber Chase has held throughout all these years.  And with that, I bid you adieu.