Few cartoons in history have endured like Scooby-Doo. Since its premiere in the 1960s, generations of kids have grown up with the adventures of this Great Dane and his mystery-solving group of friends.
Sadly, one of its creators has passed away: Joe Ruby, co-creator of the original TV series, has died of natural causes at 87.
Ruby was born March 30, 1933, and served in the US Navy as a sonar operator during the Korean War, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
After working as a freelance cartoonist and writer, he got his break in the industry as a sound editor animation studio Hanna-Barbera, and alongside his partner Ken Spears got a “freak opportunity” to write for their shows.
“They desperately needed people to write the short openings, closings and 30 second ‘bridges’ for the Huck Hound and Yogi Bear Shows, and both Ken and I started writing them on the side while we worked our regular jobs in the editorial department,” he recalled in an interview.
In 1969, Ruby and Spears got to create their own cartoon for the company: Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
The creators wrote or story-edited nearly all of the original 25 episodes. The show became a hit and ran until 1976.
Fifty years later, Scooby-Doo is still one of the world’s most popular cartoon franchises. From its memorable cast of characters like Shaggy and Velma to often-referenced catchphrases (“I would’ve gotten away with it to, if it weren’t for you meddling kids!”) Scooby-Doo has become a pop culture icon. TV Guide named it the fifth best TV cartoon of all time.
The franchise has continued steadily over the decades with new TV series; while virtually none of them had the involvement of Ruby and Spears, they were still credited as creators. (And according to an interview, they were not fans of later characters like Scrappy-Doo.)
There have also been a few film adaptations, including the computer-animated Scoob! which was released this summer.
Ruby and Spears started their own production company, Ruby-Spears Productions, and also created cartoons like Jabberjaw and Dynomutt.
Ruby kept animating his whole life, collaborating with comic book artist Jack Kirby on characters and stories which his family hopes to continue.
“He never stopped writing and creating, even as he aged,” his grandson Benjamin Ruby told Variety.
But his legacy will always be the generations of kids he entertained with Scooby-Doo.
“Joe Ruby made Saturday mornings special for so many children, including myself,” Warner Bros. Animation and Blue Ribbon Content president Sam Register said in a statement.
“He was one of the most prolific creators in our industry who gifted us some of animation’s most treasured characters and it was a thrill to host him at our studio. Scooby-Doo has been a beloved companion on screens for more than 50 years, leaving an enduring legacy that has inspired and entertained generations.”
Rest in peace, Joe Ruby! Thanks for creating such a big part of our childhoods with Scooby-Doo!
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