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With: (voices) Don Messick, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Nicole Jaffe, Stefanianna Christopherson, John Stephenson, Hal Smith
Written by: Ken Spears, Joe Ruby, Bill Lutz, John Christopher Strong III
Directed by: Joseph Barbera, William Hanna
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Running Time: 88
Date: 03/18/2013

Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Volume 4: Spooked Bayou (2010)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Clued In

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

William Hanna and Joseph Barbera's greatest artistic achievement is no doubt the Tom and Jerry cartoons they created at MGM during the 1940s and 1950s, but -- judging by the tastes of my four year-old son and the kids at his preschool -- their most enduring achievement has to be Scooby-Doo. Scooby debuted in 1969 on Saturday morning television with an almost willfully ridiculous premise. Four teens and an almost-talking dog (every word begins with "R") drive around in a van, occasionally get lost, and solve mysteries involving fake ghosts, ghouls and goblins.

By no stretch of the imagination are these cartoons well-made; Hanna and Barbera had invented new ways of cutting corners to make producing cartoons for television cheaper. But they have something endearing and perhaps comforting about them. Perhaps it's the cheerful attitude, or the complete disregard for common sense. Regardless, they're still fun after all these years. Warner Home Video has released a big box set featuring the complete series run, but they have also released these cheaper single-disc editions, with four episodes each.

This latest one includes "Which Witch Is Which?" (December 6, 1969); "Go Away Ghost Ship" (December 13, 1969), featuring the ghost of Redbeard; "Spooky Space Kook" (December 20, 1969), and "A Night of Fright is No Delight" (January 10, 1970), which uses the old "spending-the-night-in-a-haunted-house" chestnut. This time Scooby -- for some reason -- stands to inherit a fortune if he can make it through the night in a house filled with green, floating phantoms. All the cornball jokes, repeating themes (Velma losing her glasses), and formula resolutions are all here, plus the familiar voice of Casey Kasem (on "American Top 40" for many years) as Shaggy and other characters.

The new DVD includes a bonus episode of "Shaggy & Scooby Get a Clue," Lightning Strikes Twice. The animation is much better, but it's not as much fun, and Shaggy sounds more like Kermit the Frog than Shaggy.

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