Over the last few decades, Scooby-Doo and the gang have been at the forefront of the war on “Monster who is really a Masked Man” crime. While the members of Mystery Inc. have changed slightly over the years, with the temporary addition of members such as the intolerable Scrappy-Doo and juvenile delinquent Flim-Flam, the gang of Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby have been a pillar of cartoon crime fighting.
In their travels, the Mystery Inc. gang has encountered a myriad of fiendish, money hungry, overly dramatic thieves. Of course, they’ve made quite the long list of friends who’ve helped them along the way, many of whom were major stars of their day. Unfortunately, for every appearance of a relevant guest star – such as Batman and Robin teaming up with the gang to stop an elaborate collaboration between the Joker, Penguin, and some old counterfeiting Grandmother – you also have a visit by one of the celebrities listed below, whose fame has landed them on “The Doo List”.
10. Simple Plan
When producers wanted to get a high profile musical artist to guest star on the new series What’s New, Scooby-Doo?, they searched high and low for a popular band that fits in with the show’s slightly quirky nature. When that failed, someone who I can only assume was a cousin to one of the band members, decided to cast French-Canadian rockers Simple Plan. (Actually, Simple Plan performed the theme to the TV series)
It’s not that Simple Plan is a bad band. It’s just, for a show being marketed to children one would think that any musical guest would be someone whom kids might actually know. Had ghosts attempted to kidnap Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga, I could understand the appeal to children. But when poltergeists decide they want to haunt a musical tour bus, they settle on the one owned by Simple Plan, whose drumsticks begin to magically begin drumming all over the seats of the bus. When the band just happens to get into an accident with the Mystery Machine, they, along with Mystery Inc., are forced into overnight cohabitation in a nearby ghost town. The Invisible Madman of course follows, and band and gang team up to discover Zeke Zillion and his band are behind the mayhem, hoping to take the place of Simple Plan at an upcoming concert. Of course, the gang takes down this Zillion and his band of musical miscreants, and Simple Plan goes on stage as planned.
9. Brett Hull
I swear to God, these meddling kids and their mangy dog must have unlimited amounts of money and time. Since the 1970s, I’ve never seen any of them hold a real job, get any kind of education, or age in the slightest. That being said, when they decide to go to Moscow to watch an invitational hockey tournament, of course the ghosts and goblins follow. But a trip to Mother Russia wouldn’t be complete without a guest star showing up to make it all the more interesting. Enter hockey hall-of-famer Brett Hull.
When the Frozen Fiend starts terrorizing the players, the gang springs into action with the help of one of the best hockey players of all time. Could the culprits be the American Super Fans, desperate for America to bring home the jewel-encrusted Emperor’s Cup? How about Nicolai, whose family’s diamonds adorned the cup? The villain was of course typical: a petty cat burglar, out to find copious amounts of new best friends. Hull put up his ice skates and thankfully his magnifying glass, ending his hockey and sleuth careers both in 2005. To be fair, other athletes, such as Olympian Chris Kluge had guest spots on What’s New, Scooby Doo?, though Hull’s place on this list is secured by the fact that he is easily the most famous and prosperous of the sports stars to cameo on the 21st century follow-up.
8. The Harlem Globetrotters
Generally speaking, the Harlem Globetrotters didn’t have any real adversaries. Their record against rivals the Washington Generals was dominant at best, but when faced with ghosts and goblins, even they need help, in the form of Scooby and the Gang.
The teenage gumshoes and the slick-handed basketball team crossed paths not once, but three times over the course of two season, fighting pirates, sea monsters and even an evil basketball team. One wouldn’t think that a basketball team would be crime-fighting material, but the Globetrotters hold the record for most guest appearances with the perpetually hungry Great Dane, topping such other guests as the Addams Family and Batman. No matter what the odds, the team of Mystery Inc. and the Globetrotters seems to always be able to thwart evil, or at least money hungry bad guys in rubber suits.
7. Don Knotts
Between the time when he patrolled the streets of Mayberry, and the rise of Three’s Company, there lived an age undreamed of, and unto this, Don Knotts, destined to wear the jeweled crown of the Apple Dumpling Gang upon a troubled and bug-eyed brow. Conan reference aside, Don Knotts wore a great many hats in his career. After playing Barney Fife, he went on to star as the Incredible Mr. Limpet, repaired Herbie in Monte Carlo, and played the unforgettable Mr. Furley. But in the mid seventies, he also made a pair of appearances alongside our favorite Great Dane.
Apparently taking a break from Hollywood, Knotts took up the mantle of gumshoe in “Guess Who’s Knott Coming to Dinner,” playing detective Homer Pipsqueak, out to find the missing Captain Moody. Obvious to the viewing audience and Scooby-Doo, Pipsqueak is simply an alias for Knotts, which manages to fool everyone except for the dog, who is ignored when trying to point it out.
Only four episodes later, Don Knotts returns, this time serving the public trust, protecting the innocent, and upholding the law as a sworn officer of the Juneberry police department. Apparently Fred has a bit of a lead foot, as he’s quickly apprehended for speeding by Officer Don Knotts. When the Gang decides to spend the night in town, they discover that Knotts has a lot more to worry about than speeders, as the entire town looks as if Walter Peck just shutdown the Ghostbusters containment system. Juneberry is now Spook Central. Thankfully, the otherworldly apparitions have a more earthbound explanation: Gene Haultrey wants to scare off the townspeople in order to rustle cattle. Rustle Cattle?!?! This seems like a lot of work for stolen beef, but apparently it was worth it in the seventies. Thankfully, the gang and Knotts are able to apprehend the hamburger hustler, and peace once again befalls the town of Juneberry.
6. Sandy Duncan
Thespian extraordinaire Sandy Duncan has been at the heart of stage and screen productions big and small, from playing the titular Peter Pan in the 1979 Broadway revival, to numerous Disney films such as The Cat from Outer Space, even hopping around with the bane of all parents everywhere, Barney the Dinosaur. She’s been the lead on sitcoms, guest stared on The Muppet Show and performed comedy with Dick Van Dyke. Of course, what career would be complete without a guest shot on Scooby Doo?
Scooby and the Gang visit their friend Sandy Duncan (I still don’t know how they manage to know all of these famous people) on the set of her remake of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, not knowing that it is plagued with accidents, mishaps and monsters. Scooby, in a fit of inter-species romance, falls madly in love with Sandy and they begin to seek out answers to the issues on set. Not long after, the gang encounters a myriad of movie monsters, ghouls, ghosts and goblins, before eventually getting arrested. If that weren’t enough, in a strange case of mistaken identity, Daphne is kidnapped by “Mr. Hyde” in place of Sandy Duncan.
When it is all said and done, Duncan and what’s left of the gang tracks down Hyde, who when unmasked is revealed to be missing actor Zalia Fairchild. Duncan, feeling a soft spot for the failed actor, drops all charges against him when he is arrested, even going so far as to thank him for the publicity he provided to the movie set. Scooby and the gang set off for greener pastures, with the titular Great Dane’s love for the thespian left unrequited, thus preventing any awkward scenes of interspecies erotica.
5. Jerry Reed
When ghost invade the Grand Old Country Music Hall, one of the first people to encounter them is the Snowman himself, Jerry Reed. Before he was eastbound and down with the Bandit and getting chased by Sheriff Buford T. Justice, he was getting chased by scary ghosts and getting kidnapped by a pair of possessed mannequins dressed as Davy Crockett and a Viking whom I have named Tubbs. Now what Crockett and Tubbs have to do with country music is anyone’s guess, but these two Auton rejects end up in possession of their very own Jerry Reed; that is until his friends Mystery Inc. show up for a visit. Jerry, rather than yell for help, decides to sing from his prison in the hall, getting the attention of the gang who find him and unmask the villainous plot of Ben Bing and Birtha, who would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids, their mangy dog and that sumbitch country singer.
4. Sonny and Cher
There was a time when Cher didn’t believe in life after love, and Congressman Bono wasn’t trying to blow up the first commercial space shuttle. It was called the ’70’s, and this pair of star-crossed musicians was one of the hottest items of the decade. Normally this is the point when I would make a Spaceballs reference about how they marketed themselves…ahh, what the hell. There was Sonny and Cher: The Hour Long Special, Sonny and Cher: The Comedy Show, Sonny and Cher: The Long Winded and Very Public Divorce, The Sonny and Very Absent Cher Show, Sonny and Cher: The Dolls, Sonny and Cher: The Public Reconciliation and New But Far Less Popular TV Show, Sonny and Cher: The Cancellation Due to Abysmal Ratings, Cher in Silkwood, Mask, Beaches and a ton of other chick flicks, Sonny in The United States Congress, Cher sings with Beavis and Butthead and tries to turn back time. Of course, in the middle of this period, thanks to getting conned or blackmailed by Casey “Shaggy” Kasem, they also appeared on Scooby-Doo.
Obviously Sonny and Cher need to fire their travel agent. On what should be the honeymoon of a lifetime, the pair of love/songbirds find the accommodations lacking far worse than a trip to Beaches. One thing the vacation is NOT lacking is an abundance of Shark Monsters. Granted, there is only one Shark Monster to contend with, but I’m guessing any number of Shark Monsters is enough to make a bad honeymoon even worse. Of course, also vacationing on Shark Island at the time is the gang who, while originally suspecting a woman named Matilda thanks to her suspicious behavior, eventually discover the mild mannered and almost grandfatherly Hotel Manager Milo Meekly was behind it all, desperate for gold hidden on the island. Mystery solved, the Gang and the pair of entertainers go their separate ways.
It’s pretty much a universal axiom that Gene Simmons would do just about anything for money. Like a pimp trying to get every dime out of his best girl KISS, he will allow anyone to do any deplorable act to KISS so long as the money is right. So when Hanna Barbera was looking for a good time, Gene was happy to provide.
According to Scooby-Doo lore, by the 21st Century KISS had been reduced to playing for hire, like a painted up Morris Day and the Time (That’s not a slight on Morris Day, but a slight on KISS. I would never say an unkind word about the Time. I model my whole fucking life around Morris Day and Jerome). Of course, trouble erupts when the Ghost of Hank Banning shows up at the gig they are playing at the Banning Junction Halloween party.
In a surprising twist, KISS opts not to use their superpowers to help. Instead the band decides to take a supporting role, continuing to play the concert to quell the panic of paranormal activity, like a ’80s hair-band version of the Titanic musicians. When it comes time for the ever present chase/confrontation scene, the band, taking a page from numerous Final Fantasy games, plays music to inspire our intrepid heroes. The gang soon finds out that rather than a typical money/land snatch routine, the caper is actually the work of Velma’s cousin Marcy, apparently pissed that her Halloween birthday was consistently forgotten from friends and family, outweighed by the need for cosplay and free candy. This makes Marcy the most trivial, whiny bad guy in Scooby-Doo history, and KISS the most expensive and useless decoration in animation.
2. Mama Cass
Long before rumors of death by ham sandwich, “Mama” Cass Elliot was a musical legend, having been an integral part of the Mamas and the Papas, as well as having one hell of a solo career. While after her death she became a punch line, until the late 1960s her fame was undeniable. A fall from grace late in the decade made her shift her career, leading to multiple talk show and variety show appearances and of course, her guest spot on The New Scooby-Doo Movies.
Ironically, when Scooby and the Gang run into Mama Cass, the notoriously overweight musician – in what is either a poor joke or ignorant screenwriting – is cast in the role of herself as a candy factory owner. When the villainous Green Globs invade the factory, workers are quickly driven from their sugar filled halls. Of course, Mystery Inc. and the musical superstar track down the culprits intent on driving out the workers and Mama in order to smuggle stolen gold wrapped in candy bar foil. Any caper involving food is a poor choice when Scooby-Doo’s sensitive palate is concerned, and the Green Globs are soon revealed to be former factory worker Mr. Crink and his bank robbing sidekick. Sadly, Cass Elliot died of a heart attack (not a ham sandwich) only six months later, just as her solo career began to pick up once more.
1. Any Deceased (or somewhat deceased) Comedy Act i.e. The Three Stooges/Laurel and Hardy
As far as comedians of yesteryear go, the two troupes that spring to mind most quickly are The Three Stooges and Laurel and Hardy. Both team-ups were known for their physical style of comedy combined with sight gags which sound like they would be a perfect match for a Scooby-Doo format. In fact, the format for the hallmark Scooby chase scenes were specifically based on the comedy of such greats as the Marx Brothers and Abbott and Costello. So why do these two legends of comedy show up on this list?
By the time the New Scooby-Doo Movies began production, The Three Stooges had been split up for years. Original cast member Larry Fine had suffered a debilitating stroke in 1970 effectively ending his career, while fan favorite Curly Howard had been dead for twenty years. Replacement cast member Shemp Howard had also been dead for decades, and with the act essentially retired, Joe Besser and “Curly” Joe DeRita had moved on to other things. So when someone got the bright idea to use the Stooges as Scooby guest stars, Moe, Larry and Curly Joe were played by mediocre sound-a-likes.
The animated versions couldn’t hold a candle to the true Stooges.
What should have been animated comedy genius endied up a desperate attempt to drum up ratings for the premier of the New Scooby-Doo Movies in what seems to be a pathetic cash grab, trying to squeeze a last few pennies from the comedy legends. Of course, this wouldn’t be the final attempt to pick from the Stooges like carrion. Aside from two Scooby Doo appearances, some Hanna Barbara execs cemented their place in Hell by creating a Stooge series in the late seventies, converting the Stooges into bumbling cybernetic superheroes, The Robonic Stooges. The day that show aired, Satan was laughing hysterically while the rest of the world wept.
Even worse was the use of Laurel and Hardy, who were both long deceased when the show went into production. Again, they were shoehorned in with sound-a-likes playing the duo. Entertainer Larry Harmon, a.k.a. Bozo the Clown had somehow acquired the rights to the comedy duo and began pimping them out, producing his own cartoon series in the sixties, and followed by the appearance on Scooby-Doo. Thankfully theirs was a one shot, and Harmon opted not to crap on their legacy as much as Stooges management did.
A fan of video games and science fiction from the moment he discovered his father's Atari 2600 and Star Wars, Jason Helton has been contributing to The Robot's Voice since 2011. Prior, he wrote for the UK's Den of Geek and was the producer and host of Iron Otaku Radio on XM's UPOP 29 channel. A die-hard fan of Battlestar Galactica (both old and new), Doctor Who, and pinball, you can follow him on Twitter @Razgriz1138.