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Happy 50th Anniversary Scooby Doo: When The Ghosts Are Real


Warning: will contain some spoilers for The 13th Ghost Of Scooby Doo

When Scooby Doo started back in 1969, it was an era of the space race and everybody was excited about exploring the unknown. Scooby was such a show that could have only been made at that time about a group of explorers who studied the unknown and used logic and investigation to make the fantastical part of the known and explained. 

You had: The Jock (Fred), Cheerleader (Daphne), Nerd (Velma) and the Stoner (Shaggy) with his dog. While the Stoner and his dog were meant for comic relief, the other three were really smart and brave individuals, Velma, of course, being the smartest of them and Fred being good at trap building. Even if -let's be honest- Daphne was just there because she was Fred's girlfriend. 

The show lasted a good long time before the formula got old. Eventually, the audience wanted to see real ghosts and not just a guy in a mask. This too was a sign of the changing times, the 60s and 70s were about the glorious promise of the future and what science and realism will bring. The 80s on the other hand was full of campy movies and of course the supernatural like Ghostbusters. Around this time we got a few movies that are out of canon where Shaggy and Scooby met the classic movie monsters and ghosts.

This eventually led up to 1985's The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo. Shaggy, Scooby and Daphne and everybody's favorite (?) Scrappy Doo with a new character, Flim-Flam ( a ten-year-old kid).



A big selling point of this show was they got Vincent Price to voice act as a side-character called Vincent Van Ghoul, a warlock that at the time I thought was a parody of Dr. Strange. 
The show was okayish but its weak point was due to its difference in tone (some episode played up the horror while others played up the comedy)  but it was also a far departure from the original show. There is no supernatural in the original show, while the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo says "THE SUPERNATURAL IS HERE, GET USED TO IT!!!"

The 13 Ghosts basically killed the series until 13 years later the powers-that-be would give rise to something wonderful Scooby Doo on Zombie Island (This time the monsters were real) a soft reboot that would wash away the junk that was the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo.



It was a brilliant direct to video movie. It stared the old gang now as full-fledged adults with an awesome mystery and icing on the cake, real demons. It was a perfect return for the old gang and that was 21 years ago.

Today, the powers-that-be decided to release the conclusion to the 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo, with the latest movie, this time called The 13th Ghost Of Scooby Doo.



Thinking that Zombie Island was a perfect return to form for the gang dealing with real ghosts, I decided to give this one a try. It was not! The animation was beautiful, but the movie lies. It's marketed towards old fans of the original 13 Ghosts and those ghosts were real. The movie says that all of the 13 ghosts were basically mass-shared hallucinations. 

Given that Flim-Flam is a teenager in this movie when the movie states it has just been a couple of months, not years, this could be true (the hallucinations part) but it wasn't to my liking. There were other things I didn't like about this movie, but that was indeed the biggest one. 



The 13th ghost turns out to be nothing more than a man in a mask. And part of me can understand why they did it. In Scooby's 50 year run, maybe 10 % of it has dealt with real ghosts and that 10 % is a slap in the face to the original idea of Scooby to appease a minority of fans that didn't really know what they wanted in their Scooby Doo cartoon. Well, the audience wants something different, but should that want for something different be real ghosts? Probably not! But an equal wrong is to take a show that had fans for the premise of real ghost and then tell them it was all a hallucination by your favorite stoner duo. 

I would say that the new movie isn't a true completion to the original series because it turned out to be a guy in a mask and it's really vague on whether the other ghosts were real or not. So in my mind, the 13th is still out there somewhere causing havoc. Maybe in another 50 years, they'll finally give us a proper conclusion.

Here's to another 50 years, whether it's real ghosts, or men or women in a mask! New fans and old will surely delight in seeing problem-solving hi-jinks by everyone favorite Great Dane, Scooby for many years to come.



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