A dog with a speech impediment following four teenagers who solve seemingly supernatural mysteries does not sound like the sort of thing that would make for Classic TV. Or the subject of innumerable spinoffs, including yet another recent series (Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?), a forthcoming CG film (Scoob, arriving in theatres May 15, 2020) and the 2020 touring live stage spectacular, Scooby-Doo! And the Lost City of Gold. But can you argue against the merits of the concept when it’s name is Scooby-Doo and it’s been around for the past 50 years? Nope, neither can we — and it just stands as yet another gift from 1960s TV.
Before taking a behind-the-scenes look back at Scooby’s impressive history, fast-forward to March of next year when the Lost City of Gold kicks off the first leg of its tour in Canada — prior to its hitting the U.S. on April 2 and touring the country through the end of June. This stage show will take popular characters Scooby-Doo, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne on a South American adventure featuring cutting-edge technology, original music, puppetry, singing, dancing, interactive videos, aerial arts, acrobatics and more.
“We open a little bit like a James Bond film where you are in the middle of the action as they’re finishing their last case,” describes Ella Louise Allaire, who, along with Martin Lord Ferguson, created the show’s original concept, script, music and lyrics. “Once that’s solved, they receive a text message from a friend in South America, which leads them into a mystery there where they discover The Lost City of Gold.”
She notes that their company, Monlove, had already been in the family show creation business for a number of years when the idea for this one came about. “We did some of the biggest Cirque du Soleil shows in Vegas,” Ella details. “Then, in 2011, we started to adapt big franchises like Ice Age into stage spectaculars. I think this Scooby-Doo show is more like a Broadway musical, except that it’s 90-minutes and not two-and-a-half hours. It’s not long dialogue scenes; everything is sort of in music and moves in a rhythm so that families from all ages — from young kids to grandparents — can be part of it.”
While the show will be recognizably Scooby-Doo, it will be bringing in a variety of modern elements to provide a unique experience. Much of the stagecraft is technology-based, offering up a new kind of experience due to the number of sets the audience gets to travel through with the Scooby Gang. “The bells and whistles and tricks built into it make you feel like it’s very interactive and immersive,” says Ella. “So you have the highly modern aspect of the technology, but then you’ve got the commitment to the tradition of the brand.” For more on the show, just head over to Scooby Live Tour.
The real question, of course, is why Scooby-Doo has not only continued but is thriving so many years later. “I think it’s a combination of multiple factors,” offers “WildwindVampire,” webmaster of scoobysnax.com, one of two premier sites on the subject. “The format of Scooby — a talking dog and four teens, solving mysteries and showing us that the ghosts and monsters aren’t so scary after all — are interesting for kids, and can even arguably help them boost their self-confidence.”
“A few years ago, I interviewed a girl who got into college because of an entrance essay which professed her love of Scooby. The essay was actually pretty sophisticated, despite how silly and childish it might seem. She talked about how Scooby taught her integrity, friendship, perseverance and, most prominently, how to face your fears in real life. The ghosts and monsters can be metaphors for one’s real-life issues, whether as a kid or an adult. Additionally, there are so many different formats and incarnations of the show — whether you’re looking for a silly, whimsical comedy-driven show or a dark, gritty series with an overarching plot and supernatural danger, Scooby’s got you covered!”
“I think Scooby-Doo has had so many incarnations through the years that most people have been able to find a version that they really like,” adds Nikki, webmaster of scoobyaddicts.com. “Even though the general concept of the show has remained the same for the most part through the years — the gang finds a mystery to solve, they find clues and at the end they unmask the villain. You also have four friends and a talking dog working together. Who doesn’t like a talking dog?”
One person who obviously agrees is Jaleel White, who was one of the numerous guest stars to appear on Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? (more on that below) and who has revived the character of Steve Urkel from Family Matters for the first time in 20 years for the show.
For much more on all things Scooby-Doo, please scroll down.
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