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On every level, the new animated film Scoob! is a labor of love. Director Tony Cervone has a deep history with both the characters in the show, and Warner Bros. animation in general. The voice cast is peppered with icons from the animation realm, including Billy West (Space Jam, Looney Tunes: Back in Action). But as the team put the Mystery Inc. gang back on the screen, they realized that some audio you just can’t fake.
Tony Cervone hopped onto the latest episode of the ReelBlend podcast to dig into all things Scoob!, and in the process, he told some AMAZING stories about how they got archival audio from Scooby-Doo’s past to complete some significant portions of the new animated movie. For parents who get a chance to watch Scoob! with their kids (the movie is available on paid VOD starting today, May 15), they will recognize an extremely clever recreation of the opening credits to the 1970s animated series Scooby-Doo Where Are You? When we asked Cervone about the process of putting that montage together, he explained:
I’m really happy that that you liked it. We did have to come up with some kind of a montage -- the ‘growing up’ montage, right? And so we just kicked around a whole bunch of different ideas, but then it was like, ‘What’s wrong with that opening? That opening is so iconic. Everyone loves it. It would be such a great way to see the 3D version of some of those classic villains.’ Actually we did it very late in the process. We were like, ‘Can we even do this? We have to create a million sets that aren't anywhere else in the movie!’ But then we're like, ‘Let's be as faithful to it as … let's just recreate it and be as faithful as we can.’ So luckily that animation is kind of limited, so we’re like, ‘Go with it!’ You know, that deep sea diving ghost, Captain Cutler, is not going to move very much, but that’s okay. You wouldn't want to make a movie with that spooky space kook [character], but he holds up for one shot, as long as that shot is like half a second.
So, Tony Cervone had a lot of fun recreating imagery from the 1969-1970 animated series on which an entire generation of Scooby-Doo fans was raised. And it’s a pure nostalgia blast when you see this montage brought to life with cutting-edge animation technology. It’s a total blast seeing this montage revived in Scoob!
But just as Cervone says that certain classic characters wouldn’t work in today’s animation, the same goes for voices. There are voices in the animated world of Hanna-Barbera that can’t be replicated. So the Scoob! team had to go to incredible lengths to dig them up. First, Cervone tells us that one villain’s laugh in that particular montage is actually voice actor Don Messick, who famously voiced Scooby and many other Scooby-Doo characters starting in 1969 and all the way through 1991. Messic’s credits also including lending his recognizable voice to Scrappy-Doo, Boo-Boo and Ranger Smith from Yogi Bear, and Papa Smurf on The Smurfs from 1981-1989. Cervone said:
That is Don Messick’s original spooky space kook laugh, which hasn't been used in like 50 years. We found it. We couldn't believe we found it. And so of course we used it. So that is the real laugh that is Don Messick, the original voice of Scooby Doo, doing that character’s laugh.
The laugh happens at the 25-second mark of the above video. But it’s not the only piece of archived audio that Scoob! stumbled upon, miraculously. Tony Cervone went on to drop a few juicy spoilers when he said:
Let’s get this out. Also Muttley, that’s Billy West doing monthly speaking voice. Honestly, no one can do that Muttley laugh [though]. Everyone thinks they could do it, right? Like I'm sure that it's like, you could do it at a party, and people think you could do it. But an actual accurate Muttley laugh for a movie? We couldn’t… we just were stuck.
Tony Cervone says that he went to the studio and asked for Muttley’s original laugh from early Hanna-Barbera animation episodes, but he was told time and again that they just no longer existed. Then, a stroke of luck.
We found them in Warner Brothers’ deep archives. The deep archives are at the bottom of a salt mine in Kansas. That's where we put all our old stuff. It's perfectly dry and perfectly dark, and nothing deteriorates down there. … Another thing that we pulled last year or two years ago, because you know, Animaniacs is coming back on Hulu. For the pitch to pitch that, we're like, ‘Well, we should find the original art.’ So we again went down into the salt mine and it was down there. So I worked on the original Animaniacs. … So I'm opening up boxes, finding my own artwork that have been sitting in a salt mine. It was one of the weirdest experiences. Very awesome, but weird!
It’s going to take me a while to process the fact that there’s a salt mine in Kansas that contains a wealth of archival treasures from Warner Bros’ vast history. I need to go to there, like, immediately.
In addition, it goes to show the dedication and commitment that the Scoob! team had to obtaining the voice of Don Messick so that they could secure the original Muttley laugh. Audiences might not have noticed the difference. But Cervone and his team certainly would, so it meant time in the salt mines to guarantee authenticity, and that’s so very cool. Want to hear the full Cervone interview on ReelBlend? Press play on this:
Scoob! is currently available to rent or own on digital streaming through the usual platforms. In addition to the archival talents we discussed, the movie also features Will Forte as Shaggy, Zac Efron and Fred, Gina Rodriguez as Velma, Amanda Seyfried as Daphne, Mark Wahlberg as The Blue Falcon and Ken Jeong as Dynomutt. Nope, we’re not kidding.