Interview Transcript – Episode 11: Laren Bright

Not able to listen to the full episode? Don’t worry! You can still read the full transcript of the interview with Laren Bright below. Or click here to listen to the podcast episode. 

AL: What’s your relationship to Scooby-Doo, did you watch at all?

LB: No, I mean I’d seen the odd episode, I wasn’t particularly a fan. But you want the history of how we ended up with the show? Well here’s what was going on. Hanna-Barbera at that time, and that’s the late 80s, had I think the largest stable of writers of any studio around. There were I think 34 writers at that time and I was number 33. They had a kind of situation where the writers could jump in on certain shows, and what happened was a guy named Tom Ruegger, who did the first season of Pup Scooby as I recall, went, I think he went to Warner Bros. Animation, so they had an opening. And the guy that actually brought me in to work at Hanna-Barbera, a fellow named Lane Raichert, he was a very strategic thinker. And he saw that as an opportunity, so he jumped in and grabbed the opportunity to story edit Pup Scooby. And so we came in, I’m pretty sure it was the second season, and that’s how we kind of got moving on that show, and we did it for a couple years that I recall.

AL: Just generally, how did you come to work in animation?

LB: That’s a funny story in a way. I mean, I was old for animation at that point. I was like 42. But Lane Raichert, who I just mentioned, I knew his mom. And he was doing cartoons, I mean hand-drawn cartoons, static cartoons. And I saw a few of them and I sent him a fan letter. I said “This is great.” He was I think 22 maybe at that time, 23. And we struck a friendship. One night we had gone out, my wife and I, and Lane and his wife, we had gone out to dinner, actually to see his mom in a dinner theatre thing. And he said “You know, you’re funny. You ought to be writing scripts.” And I said “I don’t know anything about writing scripts.” And he said “Well, okay. Just keep it in mind.” So about maybe two weeks later he gives me a call and he said “Hey, we’re doing a pitch meeting for a show named Snorks, do you want to come?” So I said sure. So I went down to Hanna-Barbera and sat in a room with I don’t know, 20 people, and I was very intimidated because I didn’t know anything about what was going on. And he said “Okay, go home and write some premises.” And I said “What are premises?” And he said “Well they’re kind of story ideas.” And I said okay fine, so I went home and dashed off some premises and took them in, and he looked over my list, I probably had eight or 10 of them, and he said “Well okay, I like this one. Okay, go home and write an outline for this.” And I said “What’s an outline?” And he said “Well, uh here,” and he gave me a stack of outlines and I went home and read a few of them and wrote up an outline and took it back to his office. He said “Yeah, that’s good. Okay, turn it into a script.” And I said “What’s a script?” And he gave me another pile of papers that were scripts and I went home and turned my outline into what I thought looked pretty much like a script and I took it back to, a couple days passed and I took it back to his office, and he said “Hang on, don’t leave. Let me take a look at this, I’ll be able to tell right away whether you’ve got it or not.” And he looked at it and he kind of shook his head, and he said “Well let’s go to lunch.” So we went to lunch and over lunch, he told me what I needed to do to turn what I had done into an actual script. So I did that, took it back, and he said “Yeah, this is a script.” And he says “Do the same thing with this story idea.” So I turned in a couple of stories, turned them into scripts, and I made more money than I had ever made before, I think it was like $1700 or something like that for a script. And one day he said “I’m going to see if I can get you hired over here.” And like I said, they had a million writers on staff. But he went to the business affairs guy, and said “I’d like you to hire this guy, Laren Bright.” And he said “Well, we don’t really need any more writers,” and he said “Hey, he’ll work for cheap.” And it was like, I think I started at $700 a week, this is 1987, and the guy said “He’ll work for that cheap?” And Lane said “Yeah.” And to me it was like tons of money because I was doing freelance writing up at that point, you know, it was sporadic. So I got hired on to Hanna-Barbera, pretty much a week-to-week basis, and after I don’t know, six to eight months, they hired me full time. I was able to join the union at that point. And I wrote animation from then on, for seven years. So that’s how I got in.

AL: Was writing cartoons something that you had ever thought you might do?

LB: Never ever. It was just, my life has been kind of, sort of like that. Where I don’t have any particular plan, but things present. I worked in animation for seven years, almost to the day. And I found that my life goes in two year or seven year cycles, if you want to get all woo-woo about things. So no, I hadn’t thought about animation. I loved comic books when I was a kid. And I liked cartoons, but I surely didn’t know anything about it. And it took me a long time before I felt really confident of what I was doing. Even though I would turn in scripts and there would be minimal editing, and it was really fun to watch them turn into actual cartoons. There were three of us working on Pup Scooby together. Lane Raichert, myself, and a guy named Bill Matheny, who recently passed away. He was a young guy too – anyway. Bill knew everything about animation. He was a walking encyclopedia. I just kind of got sucked in there, and said “Wow, this is an interesting ride, let’s go.”

AL: What was the atmosphere like working at Hanna-Barbera?

LB: Hanna-Barbera was a fabulous place to work. It was really wonderful. Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera were still there when I got there. They had sold the company to some large conglomerate company, but apparently they were allowed to run it. They were awesome, and because of the way they treated writers particularly, Mr. Barbera was very protective of the writers. And we would go in on, we’d get a year-to-year contract. When your contract was up, they’d make you an offer, they’d offer you a $100 or $200 raise, and you’d say “That’s ridiculous, I want a $1000 raise,” and you’d end up somewhere with $300-400 more. But the atmosphere at Hanna-Barbera was very collegial. The writers were in a particular wing of the building on Cahuenga Blvd., and you know, if you got stuck on a story you’d walk down the hall and pop your head into somebody’s office, and say “Hey, I’m stuck, can we talk about this?” And they’d say “Sure.” It was really great. And I left Hanna-Barbera in I think ’90 or ’91 to work on Batman: The Animated Series over at Warner Bros. Animation, which was a whole different story. It was very corporate and a lot of political gains and it wasn’t fun for me – other people probably thrive on it, but I sure didn’t. Then I went, I ended up going back to Hanna-Barbera to work on Captain Planet. And when I came back, people I barely knew were coming into my office saying “Welcome back.” There were sometimes, folks there had their children and grandchildren working there, that was the kind of atmosphere that Hanna and Barbera had set up. And it was just, it was a joy to go to work at Hanna-Barbera, it really was. It was just super.

AL: Do you have any fun stories or memories from working there?

LB: Well, let’s see. I’ll see if I can think of any clean ones. The one thing I remember was in the artists’ wing, the artists had their own wing, it was actually in a separate building, you had to walk a ways to get there. And being artists, they all had all kinds of different stuff, different art hanging up on the wall. And when the company that owned Hanna-Barbera when I was there sold to another company, when another company came in, they were a lot more stiff-necked about things and they went into the artists’ wing and made them take down all their drawings, which were, if you ever look at comic book drawings, especially girls, you can imagine what was the content. 

I’m trying to think, I can’t think of any really funny stories at Hanna-Barbera. I’ll give you another sense of atmosphere though. Animation writers, we pretty much knew each other, whether you worked at Hanna-Barbera, Warner Bros., Disney, or DIC, which were the major studios at that time. And there was a woman at Hanna-Barbera named Barbara Simon who was in charge of the writers. She kind of was the mom for all the writers, and she was just awesome. If we were going to go out for lunch, we’d just say “Barbara, we’re going out for lunch, be back later.” Whenever later was. And I remember going out with the guys, we’d have lunch, we’d meet up with some of the guys from Disney, and we’d be sitting eating lunch, and they’d be watching the clock. And I’ll tell you, they had one hour for lunch. And that’s what they got. And if they didn’t finish their lunch, they were still out of there and going back to the office. So that was one of the really cool things about working at H-B.

In the process of producing the shows, we would get the animation, you know it takes, back in those days it took forever for animating. So we would write the script, and then I don’t know, I don’t remember how long it was, but it’s like months, and then we would get a chance to look at the thing. The first thing you look at had no sound effects, no music, and it was just really interesting to look at it and to see it, and then to see when they fleshed it out. It was really quite a process. And it was, the other thing at Hanna-Barbera that was really cool, was when they would record the episodes, we would go down, the writers, they would invite us in to the recording sessions. So we could comment, we could give notes to the voice artists, saying “No, no, this needs more emphasis on this part, or what’s underneath all of this is this, so you can convey that.” And we were really part of the whole process. And it was really exciting in a lot of ways. And we got to meet a lot of cool people too.

AL: What was it like to be able to be present at those recording sessions and to see your words come to life?

LB: It was very cool. Most of the voice artists, maybe all of them, I don’t know if I can think of any that don’t fit this, were really, really neat people. And very open to hearing what we had to say. And we were respectful, we weren’t making changes a lot. But they would read through the script, they would record the script, and then we would give them notes and then we’d go back and make changes, where we would suggest changes. And it was just fun. I mean, all of it was fun, but it was fun to be able to do that, to sit and watch. I remember when we were doing Fender Bender 500, there were about 16 characters, and some of the voice actors at that time did two or three voices maybe. But the recording room would be filled with people. And I remember that the voice director at the time, Gordon Hunt, made a comment to one of the other old timer guys that was there looking in the room, seeing 10 people sitting in the room, and he said “You know, 10 years ago, there would be one person in that room doing all those voices.” That was Mel Blanc, who did the voice of Bugs Bunny and people like that. But he did, apparently for Hanna-Barbera, he did all those voices when he was alive. After he died they had to, each character had its own voice actor. So, that’s kind of an interesting little tidbit.

AL: What was it like to write for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo specifically, with it being such a different incarnation of Scooby?

LB: Tom Ruegger, the guy that story edited the first season had pretty much set an environment for Scooby. And we stayed pretty much true to that. The way it worked when we were writing Pup Scooby, was that Lane and Bill and I would sit down and we’d break stories, we would come up with some ideas. They really were into, and I very much agree but I was brand new at this point. So, they were always looking for wacky stuff. I didn’t know how far we could push the envelope, but they were pretty comfortable pushing the envelope fairly far. So anyway, we would break these stories, and kind of flesh them out, then one of us would go write it, or they’d bring in a freelance writer. There were different styles of story editing, and the style we used was, we would break the story with the writer, and spend maybe two, three hours, going through so that when they came back – the way the process was, was we’d come up with a story idea, then we would send the writer out to do it, and then they would come back with an outline, much like I had done with Lane when I first started. We’d read the outline, make any kind of corrections, and then they would go back and write the script. The advantage of doing, other guys would just say “Hey, here’s a premise. Go come back with an outline or a script.” And then they would spend hours and hours fixing it to fit the vision that they had. By investing the time in advance, we were able to, when the outline came in, there was very little that was off track from what we had in our vision of what we wanted the story to be. And we could make the changes on the outline so when the script came back, it was pretty much exactly what we wanted. And it just, for me, doing it that way, in a sense we put the hard work in at the beginning, and then we could coast with the rest of it because we were getting what we wanted. 

AL: What was the timeline of how long you would have to work on the story for an episode?

LB: That’s a really, really good question. I think, I mean it’s a good question because it’ll give you kind of an insight into how the cartoon industry was going at that time. I think, if my memory serves, we had about a week to go from story idea to finished script. And on very rare occasion, we would be able to put a script down for a week and then come back to it. And it was just like, what a luxury, because when you come back, you come back with new eyes. You can really plus the script and plus some of the little gags and things like that. But in general we didn’t have that luxury. And at one time, I was working on a show, it was a short show, it was a five minute show, Fender Bender 500, that took all of the Hanna-Barbera key characters, all the major characters, and put them all together in a race, and we had to have a different race every week. I worked on that show with another story editor named Kristina Luckey, and I think we had to turn out, it started out, for the first few weeks we had to turn out three scripts a week. Then after that it was like four scripts a week. And so, we used to call it sausage factory, you know, you’re just grinding out scripts, grinding out scripts, grinding out scripts. 

AL: How long would it take you roughly to write one of those scripts?

LB: Well, like I said, we had a week. So we could do it. I remember, back in the day, I guess Ronald Reagan was president, and his wife was into the Just Say No to drugs campaign. And I guess Mr. Barbera and Mr. Hanna were at some event, I don’t know, some big political event. And apparently Mrs. Reagan said something like “I’d really like to have a cartoon about Just Say No,” and one of the guys, the studio guys said “Gee well, we own a cartoon studio, we’ll do that.” And I think we wrote, we wrote a Just Say No special and we wrote it almost over the weekend. It was something like that, so you know, that’s how fast we could get (a script). Now keep in mind also, some scripts were 20 minute scripts, which were half hour scripts, and some scripts were 15 minute scripts, or actually I think 11 and a half or 12 minutes. So depending on the length of the script, that had an impact on the length of time it took to write it.

AL: Generally would you be working on one show at a time or would you kind of go between the various different shows that Hanna-Barbera would be working on at one time?

LB: That’s another really good question. No, we would be working on one show at a time until we completed that, and then we would go on to the next show. That was one of the cool things about being a writer at Hanna-Barbera, because we had a year’s contract, we would go from show to show, but then there was a period where they weren’t producing shows. Each year, there was, once you finished the season, there was a lull. And that was the time when writers could come up with their own ideas, or develop new shows, or people would come with show ideas and we would work up development, a bible and maybe a script or two, or a bunch of stories ideas, and pitch them to the network. So that’s how networks came up with what shows they were going to use for the next season. We’d go out and pitch to them and then the network would decide. The one thing about Pup Scooby was, the head of animation programming at ABC was a woman named Jennie Trias, and she loved Pup Scooby. So it was always great working with her because she liked the show and so consequently she liked us. And so it was kind of neat.

AL: What was it like to work on a childhood version of the iconic characters in the Scooby-Doo gang?

LB: Interestingly, I worked also on Flinstone Kids, which was a similar process, you know, taking iconic characters and aging them down to kids. And it was a lot of fun. In a lot of ways, I think I prefer Pup Scooby to the actual Scooby-Doo. And then there was also Scrappy or somebody, they came up with another character that had kind of a short life, that was also part of that evolution. But I mean, it was neat working at Hanna-Barbera with like you said, iconic characters. We knew the characters, but we didn’t know them as kids. So we had a chance to re-develop them. They’re the same characters but they’re different, and it was kind of fun.

AL: Did you have a favourite character to write for in that style?

LB: I think we probably liked Shaggy a lot. They were all kind of cool characters, I mean, Velma was kind of cool too. Maybe I would say, of them all, I mean aside from Scooby, Velma and Shaggy were probably my favourites.

AL: The childhood version of classic characters was a pretty big trend at the time, why do you think that formula worked so well?

LB: Well, boy that’s an interesting question. I think it worked well, for one thing, because the characters were known, and the characters were liked to start with, the adult characters, the adult version of the characters. With Scooby particularly, it was pretty formulaic, but it was a fun formula. With Scooby particularly, we could just get ridiculous. You know, with the monsters and the villains, and all that stuff. But I think that we had momentum with the adult characters, and we were able to be fun enough, aging the kids down, so that younger kids would like it. And I’m going to suspect that maybe some adult, parents of the kids kind of got off on watching the characters do things they did as young kids. So that would be my guess.

AL: Were there any challenges writing for Scooby at all?

LB: No more challenges than just writing in animation period. I mean, the challenge with the schedule always. I mean, it wasn’t horrible, but it was, you know, we would keep working. You had to kind of keep working to get the scripts out on the timing that the studio needed it. That’s probably the biggest challenge. Because the environment at Hanna-Barbera was so, the word that comes to mind is positive, it was just a really positive work environment, and such an easy-going place and an easy place to work, that minimized I think, a lot of the challenges that exist in the writing business. It’s funny, live action writers look down on animation writers, but the way I always looked at it was with children’s cartoons, we’re really shaping the future in a lot of ways – because what we portray in our cartoons is what kids start to look for in reality, and start to create in reality. I mean, Lane had a company that he was doing some publishing, and he asked me, because I had been working in advertising prior to that, and he asked me to come up with a slogan, like a statement of our philosophy. And what I came up with was “What we inspire the children to believe is what the world will become.” And I always felt like that was a responsibility that I had when we were writing, was to present positive images. We always, back, now this was ’87, ’88, ’89, there about, we always made it a point. I think in Flinstone Kids the mayor was a black woman, we always were very respectful of women in the cartoons and of minorities. We always tried to include minorities in a positive light, and stuff like that. And that was just, to me an opportunity to make a contribution, other than just writing entertainment. And so that’s why I laugh when sitcom writers would kind of sneer at us or look down their noses at us. It’s like hey, we’re planting seeds for the future here, you know, what are you doing.

AL: You mentioned being inclusive, but what are some of the other positive messages that you would try to get through in the cartoons that you were writing?

LB: Well, probably a really good example, the last three years of my career in animation, I worked on a show called Captain Planet. The tagline for Captain Planet was “The power is yours,” it was an environmental show, and Captain Planet was the world’s first environmental superhero. The message that we always put in every episode was “Hey look, here’s what’s going on, and here are things that you kids can do.” We always tried to, in that show, but in pretty much everything we did we always tried to present positive imagery for children. That was why when I went to work at Batman, I found that a real challenge because they didn’t care about that stuff. They wanted sort of dark and angst-ridden, I mean that’s who Batman was at that time, you know, the Dark Knight kind of imagery. And it’s like, no, that’s not the legacy I want to leave. So, I guess at the time they were calling it pro-social content, where you show positive stuff about the environment, positive stuff about gender, that kind of thing. So that was something that personally I always tried to include. And most of the people that I worked with similarly tried to do that.

AL: Why was it important to you to be able to put those messages in the programming that you were working on? 

LB: Well, because I was aware that our primary responsibility was to entertain, but telling any story does more than entertain. It sets up ideas, it sets up mindsets, it sets up ways of thinking. Like I said, it sets up belief in the way the world is. So my own ethical philosophical system just required that I present always a positive message. That’s what I wanted to do. I mean, in the writing that I do now, which is mostly books, I’m always looking to have a positive message in there. Yeah, you want to have action and adventure, and you have to have tension and conflict, that’s part of story. But at the same time it can be done in a positive way, or a less positive way, and my preference is a positive way.

AL: Have you paid much attention to animation these days, do you think that programs today still have that aspect?

LB: That’s interesting. I really have not paid a lot of attention to animation when I left that industry. Partly because the nature of the whole industry changed. I mean Saturday morning cartoons almost disappeared. I was fortunate enough to be there pretty much in the heyday of children’s animation, and that dominated Saturday morning. That all changed pretty much. I watched a little animation, on things like Netflix and Amazon Prime and places like that, more adult animation than kids animation. I don’t know what children’s animation is doing these days really. I think there’s always an underlying intention to be positive in children’s animation, and that kind of shifted when they started writing animation for older kids, I think they went off in a kind of different direction. I think Batman: The Animated Series is a good example of that. It just got darker and less fun. When I read Batman comic books when I was a kid, it was fun. And when I watched the Batman: The Animated Series stories, they were exciting and they were adventurous, but I would not put the word fun in that description.

AL: Can you elaborate on why you decided to leave the animation industry?

LB: I didn’t decide to leave animation, animation decided to leave me. It was the strangest thing. I had a fairly impressive resume with high profile shows including Batman, that was a very prestigious show to have worked on and I worked on the first year of that. One of the things that happened was, the last three years of my animation career was working with Captain Planet. For whatever reason, Captain Planet was not looked upon as a prestigious show. It’s interesting because at one time, it had the largest global viewership of any animated show ever. We had a huge presence overseas, but it was not a show, it was almost a dead-end kind of a show, for me it was a dead-end kind of a show. I worked with a woman named Sean Derek, we were the story editors and we worked together on all the shows when we started working on Captain Planet. And she went on and did very well. For me, it was just weird. Not to get too woo-woo on you, but actually what I think happened was my karma finished with animation, because I mean, I’ve got three Emmy nominations, it’s not like I was some hack writer. I had recognition, I had good shows, and I could not get a job. It was the weirdest thing. For about a year and a half I was trying and trying and nothing was showing up. Finally I realized, wait a minute, I’m not an animation writer, I’m a writer and I do animation, but I have other areas that I can work in as well. So I just turned to those instead of beating my head against the wall trying to get jobs in animation. And I mean, ultimately, at the end of the day looking back, it was like oh, that was kind of lucky that I had a broader range than just writing animation, because the animation business changed entirely. And I think a lot of the guys that were working in it, I think had to move on. I think, I mean, I don’t know that for sure, but that’s what I think.

AL: Were did you go after your stint in animation?

LB: Well, there were two or three years that were very lean years for me, and that was just strange. And like I say, one day I literally woke up saying “Wait a minute, I can do other stuff.” So I started doing what I had done prior to animation, which was writing advertising stuff. And I found that writing animation really enhanced my advertising writing. Then I ended up hooked up with a woman who, this was right around the late 90s, and self-publishing was just coming into popularity. But self-published books looked like crap. And I hooked up this woman who, she called herself a book shepherd, and she would shepherd people through the process of producing a book that when it came off the press, you looked at that book and you could not tell the books that she helped people produce from a book produced by Doubleday or one of the big publishers. She and I were working together, and she would have her clients hire me to write all the promotional stuff, which would include the book title, the subtitle, the back cover and what has become, it used to be the flaps, now we call it the Amazon description. And that’s the stuff that really sells the book. And occasionally she would have me edit, if the book needed editing, so I would edit. So my career took a turn in that direction and I’ve co-written a couple of books, young adult fantasy kind of stuff. So I had kind of a broad spectrum career writing animation, promotional stuff, and publishing. 

AL: Are you still working at that today?

LB: I am. I’m currently working on a book, it’s an amazing book, it’s about transcendent leadership. This is for corporate CEOs, big heavy duty folks, and it’s about loving leadership. I mean, believe it or not, it’s coming around to help corporations be more humane places to work. So that’s what I’m working on at the moment. Although I have in my head a very young children’s picture book that when I finish this editing I’m going to jump in and write it, I’m kind of excited about it. 

AL: Moving back to Scooby, what was your favourite thing about working on A Pup Named Scooby-Doo?

LB: Oh, man. There were so many things that I really liked about doing that. I loved the process of working with Lane and Bill. I mean, here’s these two young guys and I’m in my mid-40s, and I’m the least experienced. But they were really kind, and they were fun to work with, so there was that. I loved working just in the environment at Hanna-Barbera, and also it was fun working with the folks from ABC. You know, the process of writing scripts would be, you’d write the outline, you send it to the network. The network would come back with notes, so you address the notes and write the script, and then you send it to the network, and then the network would come back. Both the network and the studio executive would come back, and so you’re dealing, here you got writers who have written scores if not hundreds of scripts dealing with executives who’ve taken a weekend class on writing and are telling us what to do. Sometimes it could get unpleasant. I mean, when I say unpleasant, I should say, sometimes it was not fun. With Scooby that was never the case. We were all on the same page, we were happy to make changes that the network wanted or the executives wanted, because we were all looking at the same thing and their comments and notes were generally on target. I mean, sometimes we’d say “Ehh, I don’t know that makes this any better,” but you know, we’ll accommodate that. Sometimes on other shows the executives come back with “Make this funnier,” so what does that mean, we think this is funny, if you don’t, you’ve got to tell us what it is that will make it funnier because we think this is pretty funny. So working on Pup Scooby, it was just fun, it was a party all the time. And I don’t mean we didn’t work hard but the atmosphere was always fun and funny. So that’s what I liked about it.

AL: Do you have a favourite episode that you wrote at all?

LB: Oh, man. There was one, I don’t remember the name of it but it featured Davie the Letter Man and it was a game show. God, I don’t even remember the whole thing. But it was something like that, I liked that show a lot.

AL: A Pup Named Scooby-Doo had a lot of more wacky ghosts and monsters, do you have one out of the whole show that sticks out in your mind now?

LB: The one that I remembered was the one in your trivia question, it was Chickenstein. I couldn’t even tell you what the story was about, but I just remembered the monster and I thought it was a funny monster. I think the headless skateboarder guy was pretty good too.

AL: Out of your time at Hanna-Barbera, do you have a favourite show that you worked on?

LB: I really liked Captain Planet. Despite the fact that like I say, it was not highly regarded. I just felt like that was one that was making, I mean it’s nice to have your work acknowledged as actually making contribution in addition to just entertaining. And Captain Planet, that was its whole franchise, was to educate in an entertaining way. I guess it was called edu-tainment. But the message to me of Captain Planet about environmental stuff, you know, how to be responsible, it wasn’t like progress is bad or capitalism is bad, it was that greed is where the problem was coming in to create problems, and I still think that’s a good message, and I think it’s a particularly good message for today. So I really liked working on that, and just for a little history, Captain Planet was the brainchild of Ted Turner. Ted Turner ultimately owned Hanna-Barbera, or actually he owned Hanna-Barbera at one time later, but it started out at a different studio called DIC. Then when Ted Turner bought Hanna-Barbera, they bought the program back from DIC and brought it to Hanna-Barbera, and that was at the end of my year at Batman, so I ended up getting hired back at Hanna-Barbera to work on that show. And that’s the story of that.

AL: When it comes to Scooby-Doo, why do you think that a cartoon about a mystery solving dog has held up for over 50 years now?

LB: Boy that’s scary isn’t it, over 50 years, wow. You know, it’s just, I think it’s just a really good premise, with some really good characters that people enjoy. The little quirks, you know, Jinkies, and stuff like that just works. And apparently it works from generation to generation. So if anybody can really distill it down and say “Oh this is what makes shows become classics,” they could make a fortune. But I don’t think anybody knows. I think they just hit on it with Scooby. Because Scooby has outlasted some of the really more high profile ones, the Flinstones, stuff like that. Scooby persists. I don’t know, maybe it’s just a great idea.

AL: Is there anything else you wanted to add at all?

LB: I guess I’d like to say that I really felt like it was a privilege and an honour to work in animation when I did it. I learned tons doing that, and as I’ve kind of been saying all along, I can’t say enough about working at Hanna-Barbera, and the people there and the whole philosophy of that company, which obviously has disappeared now, it’s been absorbed into other big corporate things. But it was really an experience that I’m grateful for in my life, of having had the opportunity to do that.

AL: Do you have any recent projects you’d like to promote?

LB: Oh, thank you so much. Actually, I really kind of don’t. I can tell you, I recently finished a book called, I co-wrote, with a woman named Grace Grace Allison, a book called Einstein’s Compass, that I’m particularly proud of. I like the message of the book and I like the way that we handled it. It was really kind of her story, and I contributed to make it more exciting I guess I would say. And I worked on another book called Golden Voyages, a young children’s book, that I was pretty happy with also, so those two I would say are probably the two I’d really appreciate having the opportunity to mention.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *