You'll Never Eat a Scooby Snack in This Town Again
The famous but troubled television actor was passed out on my living room floor, nude except for a leather collar. Desperately, I tried to wake him, shouting and shaking him by the shoulders, finally pummeling him with my fists. We were ass deep in danger and had to move fast. I had stalled the cops for the time being, but I knew they would be back soon with a warrant. And then they would inevitably find the stolen guns, the kilo of hash, the counterfeit Pokemon merchandise and the blood trail leading to the freezer and the dismembered human corpse stuffed inside. "We have to get out of here," I hissed, trying not to alarm the crackwhores waiting in the bedroom. "Wake up!" No response. "Do you hear me? Wake up!" Nothing. "Will you wake up for a Scooby Snack?" His eyes snapped open, every sense instantly alert. "Rokay," said Scooby-Doo, his face eager, saliva streaming down his chin.The above is an excerpt from my soon to be published quasi-biography, "Scoob: A Memoir of the Mystery Solving Pooch." The scene is not completely accurate but so what? I snagged the idea from Edmund Morris's long awaited opus, "Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan." In his book Morris took an unusual tact, injecting a fictional narrator into the flow of historical events to better illuminate his real life subject. It is a controversial device that has whipped the critics into a hot lather of outrage, but again, so what? Morris was paid his 3 million dollar fee, up front. That buys several acres of thick, thick skin, the luxurious, barb-resistant kind. Stalled and on deadline like I was, that's when I decided a real life narrator was just the juice I needed to bring my fictional subject to life. Even though I had been granted almost unlimited access to Scooby-Doo, I still struggled to penetrate the surface. The gangly beast is a seething bundle of contradictions. Cowardly, self-centered, gluttonous to an extreme, he can also be charming, loyal and a source of strength to his friends. And if he's an apparent airhead, that shouldn't come as any great surprise.After all, he just turned 210. At least in dog years. That's 30, to non-canines. Success came easy to Scoob. In October 1969 when "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" premiered on CBS, ratings soared right out of the gate. In the ensuing three decades it has never gone off the air. It can be seen in 145 countries, in 12 languages, throughout the world. Scooby now plays on the Cartoon Network seven days a week."He's one of our biggest ratings grabbers," said Laurie Goldberg, a vice president of the Cartoon Network, which now owns the show and is running Scooby marathons throughout the month and a Scooby sweepstakes contest that ends October 31. "He's got a universal appeal and he seems to be timeless." And he's got a paw in all of it: spin-offs, comic books, merchandise and video releases. Stores are reportedly having trouble keeping the latest video, "Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost," in stock. (Warning to Scooby purists: in this video, hunky co-sleuth Fred has ditched his swinging scarlet neck scarf for a denim jacket. Apparently, no one is safe from the brainwashing group-song/chant/indoctrination of the omnipotent Gap.)But what exactly is it that makes the ravenous crime-busting hound tick? What propels him to the heights of commercial success? Even those closest to Scooby seem unsure how to answer that. For all his projected charm, Scooby-Doo is aloof and unapproachable, and utterly non-curious about anything that isn't edible. He is an icon of pop culture whose face is splashed on everything from lunchboxes to bed sheets to oven mitts to colostomy bags, yet is utterly clueless about all current affairs, trends, the latest styles or anything remotely topical. He has trouble distinguishing between real life and his on-camera work, often regaling friends with thrilling anecdotes that are nothing more than episodes from his past shows. Scooby has no retention for people or places. He often forgets acquaintances just moments after having thoroughly sniffed their butts.Yet he never forgets an insult. His long running feud with Astro of "The Jetsons" is the stuff of Hollywood legend. During the first year that "Scooby-Doo" was on the air, Astro complained to members of the media that the big Great Dane was stealing many of his mannerisms, most notably his Rrr-laden rowly-growly way of speaking. Scooby-Doo immediately went on "The Dick Cavett Show" and proclaimed, "Ruck Rastro! Ruck rhim rand rhe rhorse rhe rode rin ron." Censors let it slip by because they had no idea what he was saying.Although wealthy and available, Scooby has never been linked to any Hollywood starlets or supermodels. This has led to years of whispered rumors that maybe he is, you know, neutered. Not that there's anything wrong with that. Hopefully, my book will quell much of the gossip that swirls around Scooby-Doo. As I describe in one especially vivid scene, Scooby and I had had just dropped Shaggy off at the Betty Ford Clinic and were cruising Sunset Boulevard in the Mystery Machine with a sawed off shotgun in the dash and a cooler full of black market human kidneys on the seat between us. Velma, was in back, still feeling pretty raw after being dumped by Chastity Bono. That's when Scoob turned to me and suggested... Hey, not everyone scores 3 mil up front. You want to know what happens, buy the book.