Typing Monkey publisher S.L. Kreighton's love of Victorian horror and supernatural literature means the entire staff gets extra long lunch breaks in October so we can read from his copious library in an effort to "get into the spirit of the season."
At least that's his claim. We've leaned against his office door during these lunches and it's apparent that he's just as often watching Night of the Living Dead or listening to his battered copy of Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. [And drinking? -- ed.]
So the rest of us have recently turned to the DVD collection of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? for cheap lunchtime thrills. This collection is the first two seasons of the Scooby-Doo cartoon, from 1969 and '70.
Before celebrity guests, before Scooby-Dum, Scooby-Dee, or that awful Scrappy and all the later permutations of Scooby and the Mystery Inc. gang, there was Where Are You? -- perfect 22-minute mysteries that closely emulate the Victorian-era fiction that married the detective story with the supernatural tale.
Somewhere in the clause after that em-dash above is a graduate thesis. And we're making the new intern Marie take copious notes as we watch. The early Scooby-Doo plots fill the first act with ghost scares until power of reason gradually takes over the second and third act. And yes, there's plenty of absurd slapstick aimed at the children who tuned in.
Don't think Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? deserves to be taken so seriously? Jay Allman, the man behind Toon Zone agrees with us. And for several years has maintained the Website The Scooby-Doo Case Files. He's got plot summaries, a monsters index, a food index (including a worthwhile essay about the motivations of the Mystery Inc. gang), and tons of other fun info and media related to the early years of Scooby-Doo's television history.
Grab a a Scooby Snack and dig in.
[All images courtesy of The Scooby-Doo Case Files.]