The headless horseman of Halloween

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1976

So the gang are at a Halloween party being given by their friend Beth and her aunt. They are related to Ichabod Crane so of course this leads to the headless horseman showing up and crashing their party, saying he wants a head and scaring everyone out except the gang and the people that leave there. Oh and Scooby’s cousin Scooby Dum is in this one whether you like it or not. So it’s clue hunting time again. The horseman almost gets Mrs. Crane. Not long after grumpy cousin Elwood says it’s her necklace that the horseman is after because ever since she has been wearing it the horseman has been coming around-talk about a curse object. He offers to take it to the bank for her and she agrees so he calls the bank to arrange the drop off and prepares to leave. He drives off into the fog and then the horseman comes riding back towards the gang and he now has Elwood’s head-oh dear. The gang go to investigate Elwood’s car and find his keys are gone, a small picture of him with glue on the back and a newspaper clipping. They also run into the butler who says he discovered someone had cut down a tree that had fallen on the phone lines. So the smarter members of the gang have an idea what’s going on so they race to the airport where the horseman is in a plane. What the heck? Scooby and Shaggy end up stopping him with their bumbling. There’s no mask pulling this time because it is cousin Elwood. The paper clipping said Elwood’s business had filed for bankruptcy so he stole Mrs. Crane’s necklace after building up the headless horseman angle. He left his car hoping to make it look like he had been taken by the horseman, but by force of habit he took his car keys with him. The gang knew he wasn’t telling the truth about calling the bank because the phone lines were down.

The negatives-Scooby Dum doesn’t add much, but he’s okay.

The positives-It’s Halloween, the gang are in costume at the beginning. The headless horseman is an awesome monster and the mystery is solved down to every detail. Well played.

The most underrated member of Mystery Inc.

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We all know that Scooby and Shaggy are the most popular members of Mystery Inc. They get the lion’s share of the air time as they usually bumble through situations and get things done normally by dumb luck. Freddie? Well his driving is mostly alright and he knows how to take charge, but his traps normally fail. Yes that is often because Shag and Scoob mess it up, but Freddie never seems to take that into consideration with each subsequent trap. Daphne? The good is she has had more to do and become more competent in more recent years. In the old days I think her main contribution was it’s good chance she or rather her parent’s may have been funding these monster hunting excursions. That is a huge contribution, but other wise the most she did was find traps, holes and get grabbed by monsters. Velma? There we go. The brains, the logic and frequently the voice of reason in the group. That’s also considering that she sometimes had to clue search with Scooby and Shaggy who were less than helpful many times. Now if only she’d been able to keep glasses on her face more often. In the classic episodes Velma frequently did more than she got credit for.

Scooby Doo on zombie island

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1998

So the gang have gone theirĀ  own ways since their younger days. Daphne works as a TV personality and Fred is her cameraman. They want to find real ghosts and Freddie brings the rest of the gang back in to join the project. They spend lots of time finding dudes in masks and are very disappointed. Then on an island in the south they find a pirate curse, a cat cult, were cats, pirate zombies and food so hot it makes Shaggy and Scooby weak. Since the pirate zombies are the first monsters the gang see they assume they are evil and they did wrong, but they were cursed by the were cat people who are not nice at all. In fact they have a plot to kill the gang once they know too much, but the gang find a way to win survive and set things straight.

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The negatives-Some long time fans didn’t like the idea of the monsters being real. They were wrong, but thought I’d throw that out there.

The positives-This time the monsters are real. That was the line that got me in 1998 when Cartoon Network was advertising for a showing of it on Halloween. At that point the Scooby Franchise had done anything good in like twenty years. Ever since they introduced Scrappy and it was a downwards spiral for there for a once mighty cartoon. This movie brought the gang back, advanced their lives a little and gave them a real mystery to solve. yet it still held many of the elements that made the classic cartoons so wonderful. Great movie and it got these characters back in steady circulation with mostly good results over the last 16 years.

Voices of note- Billy West (Futurama) was on as Shaggy instead of Casey Kasem this time around. As always the legendary Frank Welker was in as Freddie. Of interest to genre fans would be Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Escape from New York) as Simone and Mark Hamill (Star Wars) as Snakebite Scruggs.

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Kicking off Scooby Doo and Mystery Inc. week

Scooby Doo

Even though I grew up in the 1970’s I don’t that decade’s cartoons as a whole were as good as the cartoons of the 1960’s. Maybe that’s fitting since Scooby Doo actually began in the fall of 1969. However it’s my choice for best cartoon of the 1970’s. While they borrowed some plots on occasion from Johnny Quest this cartoon managed to create it’s own style by combining action, humor, horror and of course mystery. One of my favorite parts about Scooby Doo was that no matter where they went they managed to find monsters and mysteries. It could be the big city, an isolated beach or their home town but they always found some events that needed to be investigated. They also had likable main characters, catch phrases and the monsters were mostly very cool. This was definitely the top cartoon that I acted out as a kid. It also made me thinking the eyes in paintings were watching me, crooks dressed as monsters and the Mystery Machine was the coolest thing on four wheels. So get set for Scooby-Doo week.

 

 

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