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AL: What’s your relationship to Scooby Doo, did you grow up watching?
SJ: It’s kind of a weird story. When I was, right before Scooby premiered, my mom used to read the TV Guide, which was, for those of you under 30, a magazine that we used to get on a weekly basis that would tell us what was on television. And she was reading the blurb in the back, they had these little teletype pages and she’s like “Oh, Scotty, you gotta listen to this.” She said that Hanna-Barbera is planning three new shows for their fall season for CBS. And she said “One is Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines, the other one was The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, and the other one is called Scooby-Doo Where Are You?” And that was all it said. And I’m like “Well I know what Dastardly and Muttley is, and I know what Penelope Pitstop is because I used to watch Wacky Races. So they got their own spinoff shows. But what’s this Scooby-Doo thing?”
I had no idea what that was. So about two months later, I used to collect comic books, now I’m only like nine years-old, not even nine years-old yet. So I’m pawing through, I’m trying to pick out my comic book for the week, and I look through this one and they’ve got an ad for the CBS cartoons that are coming on. It showed Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines, Penelope Pitstop, and it showed Scooby-Doo. There were these four kids and this dog going into a haunted house and that’s all it was. It’s like “It’s a mystery show,” and I’m like “Oh my gosh, this is going to be amazing.” So that was my first introduction to it.
And then, the night before the show premiered, or the week before the show premiered, they had a preview show where they showed a clip out of it. I think it was like, I don’t remember who the hosts were. It was like some sitcom that was on CBS at the time. It might’ve been Family Affair. But they were previewing the Saturday morning cartoons that were coming on. And that was my first glimpse of it. So I was just crazy for that. I was like “Oh my gosh, this is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.” That Hanna-Barbera had done. And I knew Hanna-Barbera cartoons pretty well by that point. This looked like nothing they’d ever done before, and it was like this mystery adventure with characters that looked a little more realistic. So that just attracted me right away. So I got up the next morning and I watched and it just blew me away.
The way they put it together, and it was a whole half hour too which most cartoons at that point were only like seven or 11 minute segments in a half hour format. So this was the first show done for Saturday morning I think that was a full half hour story, like the prime time shows used to be, like when they did the Flinstones or Top Cat and the Jetsons, those were all half hour shows, they weren’t segmented. But then Scooby I think was the first half hour show that Hanna-Barbera did strictly for Saturday morning like a full half hour story.
AL: Do you have a favourite personal memory related to Scooby Doo?
SJ: It’s just, it’s always been around. I mean, when I was a kid I used to draw them all the time. Whenever I could find reference pictures. When they started putting the comic book out, I remember getting that right away. And just pored over that and drew every image out of that. And then they released other issues right after that. Then I got a lot of, there wasn’t that much merchandise back then. There were only like maybe colouring books, and comic books, and maybe a board game here and there. But they didn’t do a whole lot until they did an Easy-Show Projector. And I think it was the first one that was in colour, where it had a Scooby-Doo film. And it was Hassle in the Castle, was the film. I remember getting it, and just studied every frame of that thing. ‘Cause you could crank it, and you could control the speed of it, make it go backwards and forwards and everything else. And I would just sit there and just marvel at it, because I could actually sit and watch every frame just to see how it was done.
AL: How did you come to work in animation?
SJ: That’s kind of a long story too. I knew what I wanted to do, I knew I wanted to be an animator from the time I was about five (years-old.) There were two different things. I had seen a, they used to have the Woody Woodpecker Show, it used to be on in the afternoon after school. They had a film, they would do these interstitial films where they would show how animation was done. So they would show how storyboarding was done, how they animated things, how they did the colour and things like that. And I was just so intrigued. My dad was an artist, he was a sign painter. He was a disabled veteran and he painted signs for a living. And he drew, and so I kind of picked it up from him, but I took it in a whole different direction from what he did.
Then like I said, after I saw this film about how animation was done, I remember, my mom was in the kitchen doing dishes and I’m like “Mom, I want to be an animator.” And she’s just like “You want to what?” And I said “I want to be an animator. That’s what I want to do when I grow up.” And she goes “Well they just draw the same thing all the time every day, over and over and over.” She said “You want to do that?” And I said “Yeah, that’s what I want to do.” And then right after that, the other thing that put me over the top, I was always a crazy Hanna-Barbera fan. I mean, I loved that stuff, that’s the only place I ever wanted to work was Hanna-Barbera. And they, around 1967 they did this special, they did their version of Alice in Wonderland. And again, in the TV Guide, there were pictures of the special. They had done an article on it, and again, I could tell it had come right from the studio, the people at the studio drew it for the article. And I copied those drawings over and over and over. And that really put me over the top.
And then, again, going back to Scooby, that was the first time that I saw Iwao Takamoto’s name on the credits. He was production design at that point. And I was just like “What a strange name that man has. That must be a neat job to have, to be production designer, ’cause I’m assuming he came up with everything.” And then lo and behold, what, 16, 17 years later, I was standing behind him and he was going over my stuff, and he’s my mentor. So that was kind of a weird thing, but a dream come true I guess. Because I always admired what he had done. I didn’t know what kind of influence he had on me until I actually felt what kind of influence he had on me. If that makes any sense.
AL: What was the very first animation project that you worked on?
SJ: I went to CalArts for two years, and I got hired after my second year, and I worked at DIC Enterprises. And the very first series I worked on was Get Along Gang for DIC. I do a lot of these series that, I call them kind of come-and-go series, where it was like they were on for maybe like one season and nobody remembers it. But I’ve done a lot of those types of shows in my career. But you know, you learn something with every one. You put everything into it. So that was my very first show. And I was hired as a, kind of a character designer to kind of wrangle everybody together and get stuff done. But the guy who was the producer on it, he’s like “Hey, have you ever storyboarded before?” And I’m like “No.” So he gave me a script and said “Try this.” And I did like about three pages and gave it to him, and he goes “You’ve never done this before?” And I’m like “No.” And he goes “Well, you’re gonna do it now.” And he was just blown away by how quick I caught on to it. Because when I was a kid, I used to sit and draw stories all the time. I would get like a big ream of notebook paper, and I would draw, like every piece of paper would be a panel basically. And I would just draw my own little stories as a kid. So, I guess I kind of trained myself to do that.
AL: For those who aren’t aware, can you just describe what a storyboard is and what the process is to create one?
SJ: What you’ll do as a storyboard artist is you get the script and you read through it, and back in the day when I worked at Hanna-Barbera, the writers would actually put screen direction in, which I never really paid attention to, because once you get a flow going you kind of have your own (idea). If you decide to do close-ups or wide shots or two-shots or whatever. But what you do is you get the script, you read through it, the script has got all the scene direction and what the characters are doing and everything, and the dialogue. What you’ll do is you’ll read that and interpret it and you’re basically doing a comic strip, sort of like scene by scene breakdown drawings of everything that’s in the script. And you play out the dialogue, you play out the action, however many panels that takes. And then that comprises one scene and then you go to another scene. So it’s just a sequential drawing of the script, it’s a visual breakdown so you can see the direction of what the characters are doing, how the sets are designed, what props you need, how the characters are acting. And it’s a blueprint for the layout artists and the animators.
AL: What was it like to go from watching these shows to working on them?
SJ: It was crazy. Because I was from a really, really small town in Illinois, right smack in the middle of Illinois. And whenever I told people what I wanted to do, they’re like “Yeah, great.” And you know, everybody knew that I could draw, and everybody knew what I liked to do, but you know, the chances of me making it out of that town and going to Hollywood and becoming an animator was kind of, I don’t know, it was kind of iffy I guess. Or you know, people didn’t really think that could happen and would just kind of pat me on the head and go “Oh that’s good, you have a dream.” But yeah, it was really crazy. Like I said, when I got out here, I got accepted at CalArts, I applied my first year, didn’t get accepted, second year I applied I got accepted. And it was so funny, it was like I’d stepped onto the mother ship because there were other people that were like me. That had the same likes and knew all the stuff that I was talking about. I’d never met other kids or other people that knew as much about cartoons as I did. Or loved them as much as I did. So it was kind of a weird experience being around those people. So then I was there for two years, and I got married in between my first and second year. So it was almost like “I have to figure out a way to get hired to survive and put food on the table.” And so I did everything I could to get hired, and I got hired right away and it was just real surreal. It happened real fast, the minute I got hired I didn’t look back. And I was employed for over 30 something years after that. So, I never had a problem.
AL: And how did you get the opportunity to work at Hanna-Barbera?
SJ: I had done freelance for them about two or three years before I actually started working there. Because I was working at Marvel Productions on Muppet Babies and they kind of had a hiatus, and they threw me on a couple shows I wasn’t really crazy about. And I heard, because I had done freelance over there, I knew a lot of the people that worked at Hanna-Barbera. And so I called up the guy who was in charge of hiring for the design department and asked him if there were any openings. And he’s like “Yeah, when can you start?” basically. I hadn’t even cleaned my desk out at Marvel yet so I went back to Marvel and I told them, I said “I’m leaving.” And they’re like “Where are you going to go?” And I’m like “I don’t know.”
And so I left, and by noon I was in my desk over at Hanna-Barbera, and actually working on development with Iwao Takamoto. I had never met him before, I had about five minutes to get ready. And he gave me a project that had Quickdraw McGraw, Boo-Boo Bear, and Huckleberry Hound. And I’m like “Oh. I can draw these characters, I’ve been drawing them since I was like five years-old.” So I started drawing them and I did this whole presentation. Took it over to him and he’s like “Well these would be great if they were on model.” And I’m like “Wait, what?” So he put a piece of paper on it, and started drawing over the top of it, and showed me how to draw them. And I was like “Oh my gosh, what have I got to learn here.”
And it was kind of the same experience with Joe Barbera too, the first time I met him. I had that same experience where I had brought some stuff up for him to look at, and he’s like “How long have you been doing this?” And at that point I said “Well about four years,” and he goes “Well here’s how we’re going to do it today.” And he took a piece of paper and put it over the top. But I learned a lot, my gosh, getting to be taught by those guys was just, it’s amazing. Just the volume of stuff they had to show. And if you’re willing to learn they would teach you. So they kind of took me under their wing and showed me everything, which was really neat.
AL: What was the atmosphere like at Hanna-Barbera?
SJ: It was amazing. The first year I was there, I was just one of the designers. But then, I got put in charge of the design department. So I had, all the people that I had worked with, I was now their boss. We didn’t really change the atmosphere, I mean it was crazy. We were pulling gags on each other, and just having a good time. It was a lot of fun. We put people in the recycling bins and rolled them down the hall, you know, and people had Nerf guns and would shoot them and stuff. We did get everything done, and the bosses, Bill and Joe, didn’t care as long as we got everything done. Jayne Barbera who was my boss, it’s like she knew, we were creative when we had to be creative, and when we needed to blow off steam we did. But it was such a family atmosphere there. They really welcomed me in and really took care of me. And made sure that I kind of got shepherded and stuff through, the way that they saw I could do it. They had faith in me. I think I was only 28 when I was put in charge of the design department. I look back now and I’m like “Oh my gosh,” you know. And there were guys that were there 30 or 40 years and I was their boss. So it was a little intimidating, but I did okay. ‘Cause I just love this stuff so much and I just wanted to do a good job and make it right.
AL: What was it like to work under Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera?
SJ: Well, they were one of the biggest reasons I wanted to get into animation in the first place. I’d always see their pictures on the back of like, I think I had a comic book or a paperback book or something, and I’d always see TV Guide articles with them on it. And I was just like “Oh, these guys are great,” and it was like the biggest thrill to have met both of them. And they were both very, very different men. Joe Barbera was very, I guess old Hollywood. He would eat at the finest restaurants, he always had tables that were reserved for him. He was just, he dressed great, he looked great all the time, he was very, he enjoyed the celebrity part of it. Bill Hanna, on the other hand, was one of those guys that would just roll up his sleeves and jump in and start working with you. When things were behind or something he would just jump in. He was very work-oriented, both of them were. They both did their jobs really well. Joe was always trying to plan what the next thing was and how to get it done, and Bill was always the one that had to get it done, you know, had to figure out the production end of it. They employed a lot of people, and it was almost like a big school, because it was like, we all kind of cut our teeth there. And the fact that they let us be a part of it and join in and do the stuff that they had sold was just amazing. The fact that I got to be a part of that was just amazing to me, coming from where I came from and dreaming of that my whole life.
The other thing working at Hanna-Barbera too, was being teamed up with Iwao Takamoto and him becoming my mentor. He started out at Disney, and trained under Milt Kahl, who was the ultimate animator basically, of the Nine Old Men from Disney. Iwao worked for him I think for probably over 10 years. Then he left Disney and went to Hanna-Barbera, and basically gave everything at Hanna-Barbera the look that it has to this day. Joe Barbera made Iwao the creative producer, so pretty much everything was run past Iwao for him to kind of give his take on everything. But Iwao, I mean, he created the Scooby characters. He’s the one that designed all those. And he almost made it to where nobody could draw that dog but him the right way. I mean he taught me a lot, he taught me a lot of the ins and outs of how to do it, but it’s like, nobody holds a candle to what he did, because again, it was his design. You’d be surprised at how responsible he was, even for some of the stuff at Disney, he was responsible for the look of some of the characters. But yeah, he designed all the Scooby characters and made them what they are, and he was just an amazing draftsman, and he was that way up until the day he passed, he was still going over my stuff, you know, up until the last moment I would ask him for advice and stuff. I’m really glad I had the relationship with him that I did.
And with Bill and Joe too, the relationship I had with them, like I said, they both took me under their wings. It’s like the difference between the two of them, when I got to be design supervisor, when Jayne Barbera, who is Joe’s daughter, she was in charge of production, and she put me in charge of design at Hanna-Barbera after I was only there for like a year. And I was only I think, I was 27-28 at the time. The difference between the two of them, she took me around to all the guys like to Iwao, and Iwao was very happy that she was doing it, she took me into Joe’s office, and Joe’s like “Yeah, we got a couple of guys,” that he’d rehired from the old days, and he goes “Make sure you keep them busy.” And that was his whole take on it. I was like “Okay,” because I asked Joe, I said “Is there anything you want me to do?” He goes “Well yeah, keep these guys busy and make sure you give them all the stuff they need.” And then when I went into Bill’s office, I said “Well is there anything I need to do,” because again, I was more on the production end of it, and he’s like, “Well why don’t you let me take you out to lunch and we’ll talk about it.” And I was like “Really?” So we went out to lunch, and he took me to this, there was this place he always went to, it was like an old ladies home, is what they called it, but they had lunch there. And he was tipping the guy who brought the water, and he let me ask all the questions that I wanted to ask since I was like eight years-old. And he was a little taken aback by the fact that I was so enamored with him. I mean the fact that he was responsible, one of the people responsible for me getting into the business. And he just, he kind of couldn’t grasp that, sort of. And we both found out that, he’d had heart problems, and I had a little bit of a heart condition too, I had high cholesterol, and he gave me a recipe for this bean casserole and he’s like “This will bring your numbers down.” So he was very, very sweet, just a real gentle guy. Back in the day I guess he was kind of hard-nosed as far as getting stuff done, but as long as you got your stuff done, they were both great, and as long as you did your job, and you were passionate about it, they were amazing to work for. And the fact that like I said, they both took me under their wing and made sure that I felt very welcome there and very secure in my job and what I did and how I did it.
AL: Do you have any fun or interesting stories that stick out in your mind from working at Hanna-Barbera?
SJ: Oh gosh, I could write a book. Being in Bill Hanna’s office and him trying to teach me how to do timing on sheets. All my meetings with Joe Barbera. The relationship I had with Iwao Takamoto, it started off very teacher-student like. It was a very teacher-student relationship. And like I said, there were some days where I stood behind him for eight hours and watched him go over stuff that we had designed to make sure everything was right. But it was so funny, it was like, when both Iwao and I ended up at Warner Bros., we became really close friends. And that teacher-student thing was gone and we were just buddies hanging out. I would tell him all the stories of how he used to torture me by making me stand behind him for eight hours a day. And he got a kick out of that, he just said “Well I’m glad I had an impact on you.” And I said “My god, yes you did.” It was interesting. But yeah, he turned out to be, like I said he was my mentor, he was my really good friend. And I’m glad that our relationship evolved into that.
AL: The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo was the first Scooby project you worked on, is that right?
SJ: Yeah, I did freelance storyboards on that. I did about five episodes of it.
AL: What was it like to work on that show?
SJ: Well, again, it was one of those where I just kind of went over and met with the producers. I was just looking for a freelance gig. And what happened was, I had gotten the bible that they had written for it, to show what the show was going to be. And it had such a dark edge to it, and I’m like “My gosh, nothing like this has ever been done before.” And I just loved the way it was written and the way that the characters all interacted and the fact that they brought Vincent Price in and they had this Flim Flam character, and Scrappy was in it. They had done a makeover on Daphne. And they gave them a new van, and they had an airplane. It was just, it was like nothing I’d ever read before. So I called up right away to see if I could do freelance on it. And I met with the producers and I think the fact that I was working on Muppet Babies kind of opened up some doors for me, because that was a really highly respected show. And whenever I would call up and tell them I was working on that, they’re like “Oh, you know what you’re doing so we’ll give you work.” So my very first storyboard job for Hanna-Barbera was on Scooby.
AL: Do you remember when that show was cancelled at all, do you know what happened with that?
SJ: No, I don’t. ‘Cause I wasn’t there full time by the time that they finished that show. I don’t know why it only went one season. Because usually there’s, because I know when we did Pup Scooby there was a reason that we only got so many episodes per season and all of a sudden they decided to cancel it. And it may have been the same thing for 13 Ghosts, I don’t know. There might have been something else that they had to negotiate or they had another show that they wanted to put on their schedule, and maybe 13 Ghosts wasn’t performing as well as they wanted it to or something, I don’t know.
AL: What were your thoughts on the added characters? – because I feel like Flim Flam and Scrappy especially are kind of universally loved or hated.
SJ: Well it’s no different where Flim Flam is concerned, it was no different than the Hanna-Barbera of old or however they worded it. They were always pulling from whatever the pop culture thing was at the time. So you know, Indiana Jones came out with the Short Round character, so it’s like “Okay, let’s have a character like that on our show.” And then I know the producer was a huge Universal and Hammer film fan, and that’s why he wanted Vincent Price on it. And Vincent Price was like, he was almost like everybody’s grandpa. He was a very gentle man. But I know the producer was a big fan of those old horror movies so that’s why they got Vincent Price in it. And I thought it was a pretty good addition. I just loved the makeover of Daphne and Shaggy. Scrappy, like you said, you either love or hate Scrappy. I’ve never had a problem with Scrappy. But yeah, like I said, when I read the bible on the show it was just, the way the show came together, and it was real ghosts too, which was kind of a novelty at the time until we did Zombie Island and that was the other time where we started to get real monsters and stuff, because I storyboarded on that too. But yeah, it was just, the premise was different. And it was just breathing new life into Scooby that it kind of needed at that point.
AL: And what was your role on A Pup Named Scooby-Doo?
SJ: I was working on developing a junior version of all the Yogi Bear characters at that point. Which we eventually did, which evolved into something I don’t even want to go into. So I was working on a version of that, and then the head of development came in at one point and said “Oh, the Yogi project is dead, but we’re going to go ahead with the Scooby-Doo kid version.” And somebody else was working on that at that point. So Iwao said “Well, I’ll put you on that now.” And I started doing development on that. Working with the producers and stuff on that, I had to go over and tell them “Okay, I’m on this now.” And we did all the development and got it all worked out. Again that was one of those stand behind Iwao eight hours a day and have him go over all my poses of the characters, and making them what they needed to be. And then I storyboarded the first episode. I wasn’t in charge of the department yet, I was still just a designer. So I storyboarded the first episode and I was in charge of design on the show. So I had a crew of like five or six guys and we did all the character designs for that. And then I didn’t really do anymore storyboards on Pup Scooby until the second season and another producer, Lane Raichert took over. And he and I really kind of, we kind of revamped the show a little bit as far as the design goes and made it more cartoony. Because it was weird, when we first started designing it, I thought “Well even though these characters are more cartoony, they’ll fit into the Scooby world.” Because I didn’t realize that it was going to be as cartoony as it was at first. And then after I started storyboarding, I’m like “Oh, we really need to push this thing.” So we started doing all these crazy Tex Avery type takes and stuff like that, and it just kind of evolved into a wackier version of, again, it was reinventing the franchise to something that had never been done before.
AL: Can you describe what the development process was like for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo?
SJ: Well like I said, it just got more cartoony as we went along. We started out kind of doing it straight, and it started veering into this, the producer really wanted to make it cartoony. So that’s the direction we went, and I think, the second season, when Lane and I kind of got a hold of it, it got a lot more cartoony. We simplified the designs of all the supporting characters and stuff too. Like all the ghosts and everything, we just made them more cartoony. He and I had the same sensibilities as far as the direction of the show went.
AL: What was your favourite thing about A Pup Named Scooby-Doo?
SJ: I loved storyboarding it. I storyboarded, gosh, how many of those. Like I said I did the first episode and then in the second season I think I did maybe five, I think we only got 10 (episodes) that season. And then I got to, the last season it was on we did like four episodes, but I got to produce those. Because nobody was left that worked on the show, everybody had gone on to other projects and there was nobody left. So they’re like “Well Scott knows the show.” And I had a really good relationship with the execs at ABC and they really liked my storyboards a lot so they were like “Well, let Scott produce them,” and that’s while I was doing my design supervisor job too. So I produced the last, and I even got to co-write one of them, the little 3 minute short that we did. But yeah, those are some fond memories of that. I mean, I loved storyboarding. That was the only show I can remember storyboarding and never feeling like I should be done yet. It was like, it just came so natural. And it was so easy for me to do. And I’d be done with it before I realized that I was done with it. It was just, it was probably one of the most natural feeling storyboard jobs I’d ever done on anything. Cause I was so tuned in to the way that the characters should act, and do takes and react and everything. It was just kind of second nature, it really felt good. And then I had designed a lot of stuff for it too, so it was really easy to just fall into that.
AL: Was it a lot of juggling to do the producing and the design supervising and everything else that you were doing on that last season?
SJ: Yeah, but I was kind of doing, I mean the design supervisor job took in, we did publicity stuff, we helped that department out. And we had a ton of shows rolling through there at that point too. So it was like, I had about 30 or 40 people in the department that I could assign different shows to based on their strengths. And it all worked out, everybody got their stuff done and that’s all that mattered. So I had a little bit of time to, I mean there was a lot of times where I would take stuff home at night and finish it up for the next day if I fell behind a little bit. But I never really had a, it wasn’t that hard. Again, I loved what I was doing and I loved the place I was at. And I would have done anything for that studio at that point. I’m not saying it was easy, but it didn’t feel like work. I had a good time.
AL: Working at a studio that is producing a lot of shows, would you normally be working on just one of the various shows they were working on at that time, or would you have a hand in a couple of them?
SJ: Well I would do development, I’d be in on development on everything. And work that all out with Iwao. And then, at a certain point, there was a CEO that came in and he made me in charge of development too, so I was development, publicity, and then taking the shows from development into production at that point too. So I’d pick the shows that I felt more comfortable with, or the ones that I had more to do with in development. So I kind of had my choice. Pup Scooby, it’s like I could never let anybody else do, so. I don’t know why. There were a lot of shows I was kind of heavy-handed in and would help on design or I’d oversee it just to make sure that it was being treated the right way. And especially when it was something I was more attracted to.
AL: Being able to work on Scooby projects for Hanna-Barbera, and then moving to work on Scooby projects for Warner Bros., what were the differences between working at both places?
SJ: Hanna-Barbera was more of a family. Warner Bros. I never really felt that way about. I mean it was so funny because when I went to Warner Bros., I left Hanna-Barbera to go to MGM because a lot of the guys I’d worked with at Hanna-Barbera went to MGM and they were kind of switching owners at that point, because Turner was buying Hanna-Barbera. I didn’t really see eye-to-eye with a lot of the stuff that they were going to do, so I decided to leave. And so I went to MGM for a couple years and then after that, I went to Warner Bros., and the guy who produced 13 Ghosts and Pup Scooby hired me at Warner Bros. And I was there for about 12 years. But it was funny, while I was there, Warner Bros. bought Hanna-Barbera. So those characters kind of followed me to Warner Bros., which was kind of odd. So it was like, “Hey we’re going to be doing Scooby-Doo again, would you like to work on it?” Like, really? You know. Because there was a little bit of a mix up there at one point because I think Cartoon Network was doing some Hanna-Barbera properties so it was kind of up in the air like who’s going to actually do this stuff. So Scooby landed at Warner Bros. The difference was like I said, Hanna-Barbera was more of a family, at Warner Bros. it always felt a little more corporate. It was just a whole different atmosphere, I can’t even explain it. It was just a little more regimented I guess, I don’t even know what the word is.
AL: What was it like to be able to take on some Scooby projects again?
SJ: Oh, it was amazing. I couldn’t wait. In fact, first thing I did when they gave me the DVD, I guess the people in development decided that, they knew that I knew those characters really well, so they were looking for a new producer for the DVDs, and they came to me and said “We’re going to do a DVD, and would you like to do it?” And the first thing I did was run into Iwao’s office and said “Guess what we’re doing?” And I got him really involved in it. So he and I sat in my office across my desk, he would sit on one side and I’d sit on the other and we were poring over the script, adding gags to it, and we could plus it here and make this work here.
And my biggest thing was, and I really had to fight for this, to get the original voice cast back together. And that was something that was a dream of mine. I wanted to make it that 1969 show that I saw when I was nine years-old. And so at that point, all the voice cast except for Frank Welker, were not there anymore. They weren’t doing anything. In fact, the lady who did Velma’s voice, Nicole Jaffe, hadn’t done Velma since like 1972, after The New Scooby Doo Movies. So I went and got them all back together, I went to Casey Kasem’s house, and I gave him the script, I went over it with him to make sure that he was okay with everything, because I called him up and I’m like “I’d really like to go over this with you, and make sure you’re okay with everything.” And he really appreciated that. And then Frank Welker actually auditioned for me to do Scooby’s voice. I called him up and I said “Frank, you didn’t have to audition.” He sent me a cassette tape. “Frank you really didn’t have to audition, you just needed to let me know that you wanted to do it.” So we had Frank take over Scooby, and he did Freddie. Then I went and got Heather North to do Daphne, and like I said, the trickiest one was getting Nicole Jaffe back. She was an agent, a talent agent. So I called her agency and we talked to her on the phone for a while and we convinced her to do it. And she had to, she gave her salary back to the Actors Union or something like that because she didn’t feel right being an agent and taking away a job from one of her clients basically. But it was so neat, when I got them all in the room together, I just, I lost my mind. It was like I was nine years-old again and I actually got to see all four of them, except for Don Messick, God bless him, he wasn’t around anymore. But to have Frank do Scooby and do it justice, it was just, it was really overwhelming. I got lost a couple times because I was so happy that they could all do the voices and still do it. ‘Cause I was really worried about Nicole because she hadn’t done it, like I said, since 1972. So actually she came and did it by herself the first time, and then after that I got all four of them in the room together and watched them all act together and bounce off one another and it was amazing. Doing the DVDs and then you know, I got to do a couple of those with the original cast. And then after that I think we went to, they used the What’s New Scooby Doo? cast after that, for the other DVDs that followed.
AL: And you mentioned having to fight for the original voice cast, what were the politics around that, do you remember?
SJ: The fact that they were too old. And a lot of the people really didn’t want to go back to, as much as I did, didn’t want to go back to the original show. They were just like “Oh, we want to make this more modern,” and they just weren’t, a lot of the executives weren’t real thrilled about it. And I really had to do a lot of convincing. So they just finally gave in because they saw how passionate I was about it. And like I said, I only got to do two with them that way, but that was fine. I’m really proud of both of them and the way they turned out. And the fact that we really made it, I think we made it as close, and we went back and got the original music. I know you had Rich Dickerson on, and we had him do – I actually brought all the old Scooby-Doo music cues, and sat with him and just said “I want this one here, I want this one here.” And he had to re-score everything because of the rights issues and stuff. He did those scores but he re-recorded them and made them all sound as much like the original as he possibly could. I was really, really proud of those two films I did.
AL: Were the executives happy in the end with the results of getting the original cast back?
SJ: Well, that’s a good question, because after that we did What’s New Scooby-Doo? and I worked really hard to show them that I was the guy to do Scooby – and then they brought in another producer to do What’s New Scooby-Doo? the series. They made me supervising director, which meant I had to help the producer because he had never done a Saturday morning series before. So I had to help him figure that out, and then I had a whole crew of directors that they brought in, there were four different guys, and I had to supervise all their storyboards. So I was kind of like the go-between between the producer and the directors, and making sure everything got done the way it needed to go. So yeah, I didn’t get to produce What’s New Scooby-Doo?, so that was kind of their way of saying “Well we let you have that, but we’re not going to let you have this.” So I was like “Okay.” You know, that’s showbiz, that’s the way it works.
After the first season, they said “Okay, the producer knows what he’s doing now, so we’re not going to have you be supervising director anymore because he’s okay.” I was like “Okay.” So they put me down to director. So I just went ahead with that. And episodically, I got to do the Christmas episode, which they used to show every year, which was kind of cool. The Evergreen Scooby Doo Christmas episode that like I said, they would show all the time. And then I was supposed to have directed four episodes, I only got to direct one and then they pulled me off to do I think the Tom and Jerry direct to video, oh no, I was doing Krypto the Superdog at that point. But I was supposed to have directed the episode with Simple Plan and the episode with KISS in the second season. So I still got to go down to the recordings and hang out and oversee those, even though I was on another series. So that was neat. Design-wise I didn’t, basically I oversaw the design, I would go over things if I thought that they were kind of straying away from what we needed. The episodes I remember really enjoying doing were the Christmas one, and the one with Simple Plan and the one with KISS.
AL: What was it like to be in the room watching the voice cast recording the lines?
SJ: Oh, it was amazing. In fact, on What’s New Scooby-Doo?, they were looking for a new actress to do Velma, because Nicole Jaffe obviously, she was done, she wasn’t going to do it. And there was one night I was working at home, and my kids had on, I think it was a reunion movie of Facts of Life. And I wasn’t even watching it, I was just listening to it. And I was drawing and all of a sudden Mindy Cohn started talking and I’m like “She could be Velma. That’s perfect, she’s perfect.” So we got a hold of her, and even before the network approved it, we brought Mindy Cohn in for the first recording and they’re like, the network was like “Well we don’t know if we really want her or not,” and then the minute she started they were like fine with it. But that was a little bit of a risk.
And again, I got Frank Welker to do Scooby-Doo, and I got Mindy Cohn to do Velma. And I got Nicole Jaffe to do Velma again, I got Heather North to do Daphne again, I got Casey Kasem back. So I mean, that was like – it’s so funny, when I was a kid, it’s like, I just said the whole thing about listening to stuff, I would tape cartoons on my cassette recorder, because it was before VHS and any way of videotaping anything. And I would sit and draw and I would turn the tapes on and I’d listen to the tapes. And even when I’m working now, it’s like I don’t really watch TV, I listen to TV. So I’m really tuned in to how a cartoon should sound. So again, when I did the DVDs, I had a certain way, I wanted all the old sound effects, I wanted all the old music, I wanted all the old voices. I wanted it to sound like the cartoon that I grew up on. So I was a little more tuned in to that. And the thing is when we were, like I said, when we were looking for Velma, for her voice, for a replacement for Velma, I heard Mindy Cohn. I didn’t really see her, I heard her. And I was like “Oh, that’s it right there. She could be perfect.” And she spent a lot of years being Velma on the What’s New series, and everything after that for a while.
AL: What was it like to be able to have a part in that decision of casting Mindy Cohn?
SJ: I don’t know that I got any credit for it. I don’t think I did. All of the sudden, after she worked out, it became everybody else’s find, so I just kind of, again, that’s showbiz. You just kind of step back and let it all happen. As long as it comes out the way it should, it’s not a problem.
AL: Out of the movies that you had worked on, do you have a favourite at all?
SJ: Oh, wow. Probably Legend of the Vampire. I like it. You know, it’s so funny, I like parts of both of the ones I did. I think Vampire probably had a weak ending, and Monster of Mexico, the Chupacabra was not a true Chupacabra, we made it a Bigfoot, which was kind of, we got a lot of flak for that. From just fans saying “This isn’t a true Chupacabra,” and I’m like “I know that.” Which is so funny because I ended up doing a show called Secret Saturdays later on which is nothing but those type of creatures, they were like the main focus of the show. So I knew all those creatures, the way they’re supposed to be. But yeah there were definitely parts of both films that I really liked. “I really captured it here, this was a little bit weak.” I mean, again, I’m the worst judge of that because it’s like I’m so tied in to certain aspects of it and I just want it all to be good. And there’s parts that I think work better than others. I mean, watching both of them to this day, I still find like “Ah, I should’ve done this, should’ve done that.” In fact on Vampire Rock, my main gripe was I was so busy trying to get the original cast back together, that the incidental characters, I was like, the only thing I really kind of wanted was I wanted Micky Dolenz to be the manager of Wildwind, I wanted him to voice that, because I thought he would’ve been perfect. And he was busy at the time and that was really kind of disappointing. But like I said, there’s parts of the movies that work better than others, and that’s the thing. Like I said, as a producer/director, you’re always looking back at it going “You should’ve done this, you should’ve done that.”
AL: Were there any challenges working on Scooby at all?
SJ: No, not really. I mean I was pretty comfortable with that character, and having been trained by Iwao on how to draw the characters the right way, there’s really not any poses that I can’t do with those characters. I kind of keep going back to the ones we did when we were developing the style guide and everything. And those are the poses that I think show up in everybody else’s work. Like whenever they do comics now it’s like guys just kind of cut and paste those poses, like here’s Scooby running, and they’ll put him upside down like he’s flying through the air but it’s like a Scooby running pose and I’m like wait, that doesn’t work. So it’s kind of funny to see all that stuff, you know, somebody else using the stuff that you’ve done.
AL: Moving towards the comics that you had worked on for Scooby, how did you become involved in those?
SJ: When I was at Hanna-Barbera in the publicity department, we did all the comic book covers, I think when Archie Comics and Harvey Comics both, all those went through us. So we did all those. And then when DC got the property, because Warner Bros. owns DC, I think I just, the first one I did was like 2008 maybe. It might’ve been earlier than that. I don’t really remember what year that was. But I just, I got a hold of the editor’s name that was doing the book and I asked, I told him who I was and they were like “Oh okay, yeah, you can do this.” So I did one and it went for a while before I got another one. DC switches editors like every six months on Scooby for some reason. And so you almost have to kind of like re-introduce yourself every time, even though they have you on a list. And I’m an approved Warner Bros. artist for those characters, for all the Hanna-Barbera stuff and for Scooby and all that stuff. But it’s kind of tricky keeping your name in the pot for the comic books, that’s the only downside of it. The thing that I enjoyed on the comic books the most was doing those Team Up ones. I did the Scooby-Doo Team Up which they cancelled after 50 issues. But I did a pretty good handful of those. It was so cool, I got to do Scooby-Doo teaming up with Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines, and the Perils of Penelope Pitstop. So those three shows again, full circle, going back to 1969, those three shows came back to me at that point and I got to actually draw those characters together in two different books. So, that was kind of cool. So again, it all came full circle, it came back around to those three shows that my mom told me about reading out the TV Guide. I got to work on them what, 30 something years later.
AL: Can you speak to the development process for the Scooby comics?
SJ: Those are all figured out. By the time I get it, the scripts are done and they give me the script. Usually, well the Scooby-Doo Team Up books were 20 pages, the regular stories in Scooby-Doo Where Are You? are 10 pages. So they give me the script, I break it down, do my layouts. I usually, because I work digitally on a computer, I do it really clean and send it in. Back in the day, when I used to draw on paper, I would do my roughs, and then send them in and get them approved and then I’d ink it, or somebody else would ink it. Then after I send my line drawings in, then they put the lettering and the colouring in, and then they send me back the proofs to make sure everything works with what my intent was. So that’s pretty much it. It’s pretty cut and dry, because that’s the way they’ve done it forever. It got to the point, like I say it was really nice after I stopped drawing them on Bristol board and on paper basically and did it digitally. It was nice just to do it one time, because when I would draw them on paper I would have to do it two or three times. I’d have to rough it out, send it to them, get it approved. Then get it back and then ink it and then send it to them and get it approved. So I would be doing it twice. And I draw really, really tight anyway, so it was kind of a hassle to have to go back over something I’d already done. So that’s the upside now, working digitally I can just do it one time and send it to them, and if they have any revisions then I just, everything is on layers and I can take that panel out, re-work it, put it back in.
AL: Was it a bit of a process to transition to digital from paper or was that fairly easy?
SJ: No, not for me it wasn’t. I fought it for a long time, but it’s like, if I want to keep working, I have to learn how to do this. And I want to say it was probably a good year before I got real comfortable with drawing that way. In fact I still, because of the way that my posture is now compared to the way I used to draw on a desk with paper, it really works out different muscles that I didn’t know I had. So being in a different position, and the way I do stuff on my tablet is that I usually move my arm around and click on different levels or different aspects, or you know, like to blow something up or reduce it or whatever. And I’m constantly moving. Whereas when I did it on paper I was just in one position and I would be over the top of it. Here it’s like I’m not that way, it’s kind of like a little more slanted, and like I said, it’s a whole different posture, which hasn’t agreed with me in my later years. That’s the hardest part, in fact I’m fighting that every day now, where it’s like, I can’t sit for five or six hours now without standing up and stretching and being really sore.
AL: More generally, what do you consider career highlights from your work on Scooby Doo?
SJ: Well working with Iwao is probably the biggest one. And having him, like I said, starting out as very teacher-student relationship and then evolving into just really good friends and him, still up to his late days, he was going over my stuff and showing me how to draw. And working with Bill and Joe, I mean, working with people that I grew up seeing their name on the credits was just amazing to me, and I’d be pretty awestruck, or starstruck I guess. Those were the highlights of actually having them sit down and show me how to do stuff and learning from them. And I kind of feel sorry for the younger people now that are in the business because they don’t have anybody like that, that they can go to, that came out of that era.
One of the biggest highlights that we had when doing Pup Named Scooby-Doo, was we actually had Bill Hanna time our first episode. It’s so funny, there’s a little story behind it, I was standing in the doorway, talking to the producer, and Bill Hanna walks by, and he’s like “Hey, I saw that storyboard that you guys did on your Pup Named Scooby-Doo episode.” And he said “Are they really gonna let you do all those wild takes that we used to do?” And the producer’s like “Yeah, we get to do that.” And he’s like “Well, that’s great.” And he said “Just keep it up.” And then he walks off and goes into the elevator and goes up, and then I turned to the producer and I said “You know what would be great, if we got Bill Hanna to time the first episode,” because we were trying to think of who’s going to do it. And the next thing I knew the producer runs up to Bill Hanna’s office and convinces him to do it, because he hadn’t timed anything in quite a while. And so a few days went by, and again I’m in the producer’s office and we’re talking over things. And Bill Hanna comes by with the storyboard, he just finished doing it and he goes “This thing moves like a house on fire.” And he was really pretty happy I guess with what he did. And really, everything hit exactly where it should. It was some of the best timing I’d ever seen on anything. I mean everything hit exactly where it needed to and he understood all the gags, and I mean, why wouldn’t he, he’s the one that started all that stuff. But it was amazing. It was really, really a joy to have him involved in it. And the fact that he really enjoyed doing it too. So that was great.
AL: And for those that maybe don’t know, can you describe what timing is and what the purpose of it is?
SJ: Yeah, timing is, what they do is they take the soundtrack and the storyboard, and everything is like, they have to set everything down onto a timing sheet. So they have to show how many frames dialogue takes to say, and then the action that happens in between. It’s basically breaking down the frame count, so the animators know what the exposures are, so the cameraman knows what the exposures are for each drawing and everything. It’s not a fun thing to do. I’ve done it, I’ve gone over sheets and corrected stuff and made sure stuff hits, but it’s too much like math for me, and I draw for a living. It’s not a fun thing for me to do. Like I said, I’ve gone over many sheets in my day, and corrected stuff and figured out where things hit. But for me, and it’s so funny, like when Bill Hanna had me up to his office one time – usually you time with a stopwatch and you just kind of figure out how long things take and everything. But Bill Hanna timed with a metronome, and it was a real musical beat thing to him. So he would speed the metronome up, and slow it down whenever there were certain actions. He would just kind of physically act the action out while he was timing it, to see how long it took him, how many seconds it took him to do it. But again, it was like Greek to me. I had no idea. He showed me I don’t know how many times. He didn’t get frustrated, I just didn’t pick it up. It was like again, when I was in math class in high school I’d just be a blank. But like I said, I figured out my own way to go over sheets and figure out timing and seeing where things hit and figuring out dialogue and stuff like that. So, as a producer/director, I was able to go over stuff and look at it, and make sure things hit exactly where they needed to, or if they were too fast or too slow.
AL: When it comes to Scooby, what was it like to work on so many vastly different Scooby projects?
SJ: Well I think it was kind of neat because every time we did it the franchise was kind of reinvented. Like 13 Ghosts, like I said it was like nothing I’d ever read before, and it was not a version of Scooby that had ever been done before. Pup Scooby again, whole different version. Then when I did the first direct to video, I just storyboarded on it and it was real ghosts, that was a whole different reinvention of it. And then when I did the Alien Invaders, I got to do the How Groovy song sequence, I storyboarded that. But every time I worked on Scooby it was different. Even when I did the direct to videos, I got to make that 1969 show again. But when we did, it was so funny, when we did What’s New Scooby-Doo?, I’d actually pitched a show in between there, because they kept saying they wanted to make it more modern, bring it more up to date. So I was like “Okay, let’s re-dress the characters.” And that’s kind of how some of the What’s New Scooby-Doo? costumes came out of, with the big stripe on Fred’s shirt and stuff, that was mine. But when I designed it, I gave Fred like a buzz cut, and I gave him a soul patch. And I put Shaggy in like a stocking cap and shorts and a real baggy shirt, and Velma had her big sweater but it was off one shoulder. And I don’t remember what we did with Daphne, we did quite a few things. But I redesigned those characters that way, and they were just like “Well this is a little too far out, it doesn’t look like them as much as it should.”
So then I designed another show that I pitched, that nobody went for. But they did look at it while we were in the What’s New Scooby-Doo? meeting, which kind of ticked me off a little bit. But it was called Son of Scooby-Doo, and Scooby had a full-grown dog son that was more scared than he was. He was called Scaredy Doo, and he was yellow. And he was more of a coward than Scooby was. And I had all the different versions of, it was Fred’s brother, Velma’s niece I think, who was really tuned in to the paranormal so she could tell whenever there was a real ghost present. And it was real ghosts. And we had Shaggy’s, I don’t remember how they were related, but they were brothers that were kind of like, almost like Jay and Silent Bob looking guys. And I gave them all this ghost catching stuff and made it like a real ghost thing. And everybody’s like “Well this is a little too far away from what we want to do.” And I was like “Okay.” So I wasn’t winning on any level. So I just kind of sat back and they came up with What’s New Scooby-Doo? And the more I developed it, the more it got back into what it originally was, so it was like, it was weird, it was like they were trying to reinvent the wheel without reinventing it.
AL: I wanted to circle back here and talk about the How Groovy sequence for Alien Invaders, what was it like to work on that?
SJ: It was a lot of fun. I did the lead in to that song, when they were sitting in the diner, then I did the song, and then I think the end part of it, just a little bit when they’re back in the diner. But it was a lot of fun, the producer just let me go on it. And I went back and looked at a lot of song sequences that Hanna-Barbera had done for shows back in the day, when they did Cattanooga Cats, I don’t know if you’re familiar with that. But there was a show called Cattanooga Cats, back, I think it was in the same year as Scooby, and they did all these old song sequences and they had all this psychedelic stuff, they were trying to do their version of Yellow Submarine, sort of. And I went back and looked at those, and just kind of took a cue from that and made it that way. Yeah, it was a lot of fun. I love doing song sequences because you can just kind of run wild with it. Like when we did all the chases in the Scooby shows, we did all the musical romps that they did in the second season of Scooby Doo Where Are You? We just kind of took that, and we put those in the DVD too.
AL: Having dipped your toes in so many different roles from directing, designing, do you have a favourite?
SJ: I enjoyed producing and directing because it was like, for the most part it was my vision, this is the way that I wanted to do it. And I had a crew that I could count on to like, they knew exactly what I wanted to do. I enjoyed producing and directing quite a bit. To the point where it’s like “Okay, I’ve done enough of it.” So yeah, after a certain point it was like okay, and it was like why do more, I’ve already done this show, or I’ve already done this kind of thing. But that was probably my highlight. I love storyboarding, the way storyboarding used to be done. The way they’re doing it now is just, you’re almost animating the thing for them. Because I’ve done storyboards recently and it’s a young man’s game, that’s for sure. It’s a whole different mindset, because you’re just posing everything out a lot more and just basically laying it out and animating it. I mean I was all for, I kind of introduced animatics to Warner Bros. when I was there and it was like, so you could see it before you saw it. Before it was sent overseas. And it was saving on retakes and everything. But now everything is done that way, they do animatics for every cartoon. And it was kind of a curse and a blessing because now, like I said, now they expect you to pose everything out a lot more. Back in the day we could get away with not doing as much. But yeah, like I said to answer your original question, producing and directing was my favourite thing. I love storyboarding, I love designing stuff, there’s really not anything about animation that I didn’t love, and I didn’t have a good time doing.
AL: What’s your favourite thing about working on Scooby Doo projects specifically?
SJ: Again, I’ve had a real attachment to it since I was nine years-old. It was funny, I was nine years-old watching the show, 16 years later I was working on it, and I’ve been working on Scooby for 35 years. So that’s my attachment to him, it’s just something I’ve been attracted to and just been real comfortable doing over the years. And because I was trained by Iwao, I’m kind of the guy that they go back to, even when there’s projects that people have, there’s a couple projects that people were like “We’re trying to make this look like Scooby-Doo so that’s why we called you.” I’m like “Okay.” You know from other studios and stuff, so I’m like well that’s flattering I guess because I supposedly know it.
AL: I wanted to talk about the Scooby Doo’s Ultimate Fans special feature, how did that come about?
SJ: I had done a bunch of interviews for the company that put that together. I had done other, you know, on the DVDs of like series compilation (sets), whether it be like Magilla Gorilla or Frankenstein Jr. and the Impossibles, or whatever, they would bring me in as a historian or an expert. And I would give, because I did cartoons and stuff, I had an attachment to it, or I grew up on it, so I would talk about that. So whenever they got to the Scooby-Doo one, they had heard about my office, because I had talked to the guy about it, the guy who was the producer of those segments. And he’s like “We’re doing this ultimate fan thing, sounds like you’ve got a lot of memorabilia, can we come to your house and film it?” I’m like “Sure, whatever.” I didn’t know it was going to turn into a big interview, or I was going to be compared to the other two guys that were on there either. My whole interest was I grew up the show, I drew the characters as a nine year-old, and I took it into a career. And I had a lot of stuff, I had a lot of Scooby stuff in my office. ‘Cause you know Scooby basically, like I said in the interview, Scooby paid for my house. So I owed him a debt of gratitude.
AL: Do you still have a lot of those items that were featured?
SJ: Yeah, it’s all still out.
AL: When did you start collecting?
SJ: Like I said, there wasn’t a whole lot of merchandise when I was a little kid, other than colouring books and comic books, and maybe board games and things like that. But as Scooby got more popular, and became more of an evergreen character they were putting him on everything. Like I said I had relatives that would send me items like “Here’s a Scooby-Doo waffle iron, you need this,” or “Here’s a paper towel rack, you need this.” And my daughters would get stuff. I’m even giving things to my granddaughter now that I have. It’s like well I haven’t used this a while, here’s like a little Scooby-Doo, after you get out of the bathtub, a little Scooby-Doo shaped towel thing that you put over your head with Scooby ears and a nose, she needs this, I don’t need to have it hanging around.
AL: You mention the (Easy-Show) Projector, did you ever find one?
SJ: Oh, yeah. I found one in the box with all the films and I don’t think it’s ever been used. I still have it, and it’s sitting up on my shelf.
AL: What was your reaction when you did find it?
SJ: I was crazy happy, because I had it when I was probably, I think it came out probably a couple years after Scooby was on the air. They would put a new one out every year. So it would be whatever cartoons were on, they would take those. I had one with, I think I had one with Frankenstein Jr., Moby Dick and Mighty Mightor, and then the year after that there was one with Autocat and Motormouse and Wacky Races, and maybe Scooby was on that one. But they would give you different films, and you would take these films and you’d thread them in to this projector. When I was real little, the very first one I had, I think had Atom Ant and Secret Squirrel, and I remember, I woke up real early on Christmas morning, like right after Santa had come, and my parents let me open my presents. After I opened my presents, we all went back to bed. I woke up before they did, and I went and got that projector out and I started trying to thread it, and I ripped up about three films before I figured out how to make it work. So I broke it before I got to look at it. But by the time they came out with a Scooby one I knew how to do it. And like I said, I sat there and pored over every frame of that film.
AL: Do you have a favourite piece that you have, or one that’s maybe more sentimental than others?
SJ: Like I said on the interview, I have this presentation board, it’s actually a lithograph made off the original presentation board. It was the picture they used for the ad in the comic book, when I saw that back in the day. It was a presentation board that actually sold the show. And Iwao got it for me. He’d done something for some guy at a gallery back in Cincinnati or something, and he said “Do you want one of those?” And I’m like “Yeah!” And he said “Well I think I can get you one.” And it’s signed by Bill and Joe and Iwao, and it’s hanging on my wall, it’s like the prominent piece in my studio. I have everything kind of surrounding that. It’s a print off the original presentation board that they used to sell the show.
AL: What do you think it is about Scooby-Doo that has been able to hold up for over 50 years now?
SJ: I think it’s more of a thing where it teaches, I know this is a little bit looking into it more than you need to, but I think it teaches kids on how to deal with things they’re scared of, or how to deal with their fears. Because they play it out as goofy and then when you actually get to the end of the show, it’s never really a monster, it’s always somebody acting like a monster. They’re doing it for whatever reason that they have to do it, whether it be smuggling or real estate problems or something like that. I think it’s that, I think it’s just the fact that it teaches kids how to not be scared of something, or how to deal with things that they’re frightened of, and the fact that the characters are really, really endearing. I mean, you know, Scooby’s a real lovable character, Scooby and Shaggy both. They’re almost the same character, really. Except Shaggy talks better than Scooby does. The way that the characters act together and they’re really good friends, I just think that, like I said, it’s an evergreen thing. And you know, people my age grew up with it, they showed it to their kids, and they showed it to their kids, and so on and so on. So it’s like, it’s got that kind of legacy.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.