The cartoon Great Dane turns 44 today. Here’s what the cowardly (and hungry) dog can teach your kids — and maybe even you — about avoiding debt.
Anyone who grew up watching Scooby Doo probably remembers a few things about the cartoon: Fred was the handsome blond leader, Daphne was the beautiful and danger-prone redhead, Velma was the bespectacled genius, and Scooby and Shaggy were afraid of anything — and willing to eat everything.
Each week, they drove around the country in their psychedelic van (called The Mystery Machine) and unraveled mysteries in 30 minutes, not including commercials. But when you think about it, the original Scooby Doo — and its four decades of spinoffs — have all been about money. Here’s what they’ve taught our children and ourselves over the years…
1. There are no shortcuts to success
Almost every episode of Scooby Doo begins with a spooky monster who turns out to be a conniving adult trying to get away with a greedy crime.
Whether it’s a bank robber hiding his loot in a swamp and inventing a monster to scare people away (A Scooby Doo Halloween) or a professor trying to steal an ancient Egyptian diamond scarab by posing as a mummy (Scooby Doo and a Mummy, Too), they all end up in jail. But not before muttering, “I would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it hadn’t been for you meddling kids!”
2. Always negotiate
In the very first episode on this day in 1969, called What a Knight for a Knight, the team sneaks into a museum at midnight to investigate the whereabouts of a missing archeologist. Fred orders Scooby to guard the door while they look around. The cowardly Scooby refuses.
Fred offers, “Would you do it for a Scooby Snack?”
“Roo?” Scooby asks hopefully.
“OK, two it is.”
3. “Free” contests can cost you
The Scooby Doo video game, The Scary Stone Dragon, opens with Scooby and Shaggy eating in a Chinese restaurant. Scooby opens a fortune cookie that offers him a free vacation to China.
Of course, they bring the entire team, and Selma declares, “You two sure were lucky to win this trip!”
“Luck?” Shaggy replies. “Like, it was all skill. Who else could’ve eaten 57 orders of chow mein?”
4. There’s no such thing as a free lunch
In Catcher on the Sly, the dog catcher sets out a pepperoni pizza with a sign, FREE PEEZA! “Ro Boy!” says Scooby, as he whips out a knife and fork. The dog catcher shoots a laser beam at him, but luckily, Scooby Doo eats so fast that the shiny pizza tin deflects the ray back at the dog catcher.
5. Do your homework
None of the Scooby Doo mysteries would’ve ever be solved without research. In fact, that was a major plot device in the 2002 live-action Scooby Doo movie featuring Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar. At the beginning of the movie, the handsome but dense Fred takes credit for Velma’s studious conclusions, causing a rift. But by the end, he gives her the credit she rightly deserves — and the team reunites for a sequel.
Makes you wonder how much better off we’d all be financially if we paid more attention to Saturday morning cartoons. And our parents said those cartoons were rotting our brains…