Interview Transcript – Episode 15: Victor Cook

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AL: What’s your relationship to Scooby-Doo, did you grow up watching?

VC: Yes, I’m old enough to have seen the original show when it first came on. I was born in the 60s, so I was a kid in the 60s, and so I think the show, didn’t it premiere in ’69 or ’70? Yeah, so I would’ve been in third grade when that show came out. I was a huge Hanna-Barbera, Saturday morning cartoon fan back in those days. Jonny Quest, The Herculoids, and Scooby-Doo.

AL: Do you have a favourite personal memory related to Scooby-Doo at all?

VC: Not from watching the show, ’cause it’s like I loved the pantheon of all the Hanna-Barbera shows. Back in those days, I gobbled up Hanna-Barbera cartoons, and Marvel and DC comics. And also newspaper comic strips, like Charles Schulz’s Peanuts. And outside of those things, there was a syndicated show called Speed Racer that I was a fan of. So I was just sort of like, the whole pile of that stuff I was a huge fan of. My personal memories of Scooby I think have more to do with when I was working on the show.

AL: And how did you come to work in animation?

VC: How did I get into animation in the first place? I actually did not set out to have a career in animation. I grew up with the idea that I was going to be a cartoonist. I always thought I’d be a cartoonist, but I defined that, and in my imagination and goal was that meant I would either draw comic strips, political cartoons, comic books, or even like greeting cards. I thought I’d be like a print cartoonist. ‘Cause I really admired all those artists. When I was a kid, my parents didn’t really take us to the movies that much, so I didn’t really get to go see the latest Disney movie releases, so you know, the animation I saw was on TV, like I mentioned before. And I think one of the reasons why back then I didn’t have an interest in pursuing animation is I had read this biography or a story about Jack Kirby’s career. And there was this one little thing I read where one of his first jobs was he was an in-betweener at the Fleischer Studios, which used to do the old Superman cartoons and the Betty Boop cartoons, and the old Popeye cartoons. But he said he hated it, he said it was like a factory job. Like some guy drew this hand on the left, another guy drew the hand on the right, and his job was to draw the hand in the middle to create that motion of the hand moving. So I read that, and I’m like “God, that doesn’t actually sound that fun,” and I never sort of looked into all the other aspects of animation. So growing up, I thought I’d be a print cartoonist. When I was in college, I was in a life drawing class, and we’re all sitting around the model and drawing this figure, but I would always add horns to its head, or claws to its hands, or bat wings, or something. I’d always do something that wasn’t there on the model. Luckily my art teacher got a kick out of that, and she had said to me that one of her former students was an animator at Hanna-Barbera, and I should look him up. And I should mention by the way, that I was at a junior college in central California, which is like six hours north of LA, just a small little, almost farm town that had an Air Force base nearby, my dad was in the Air Force. But, because I had read that biography thing of Jack Kirby, I politely took the name of that artist and his number and wrote it down in my book, and I just sort of never intended to call the guy. And this is like 1980 or something, so there’s no Internet or anything like that. So I go to southern California, transfer schools, and I’m submitting comic strips to the syndicates, you gotta do a month’s worth of your comic strips, so I did a few of them. And I was working at a local paper as a graphic artist and doing political cartoons once a week. So after a few years of that and not being syndicated yet, I did think in the back of my mind, maybe I should look that guy up. And I cold called him, and he recommended I take an animation class at the union, the Animation Guild, because it’s taught by professionals and they teach you exactly how to create your sample to get a job. And I did. I never ever met this person by the way, face to face. It’s so strange, you know, 30 years later I wish I could look him up and find him, because it was great advice. I took that class, six months later I applied to Filmation Studios, they did She-Ra and He-Man and I got hired to do BraveStarr, it was like one of their last shows, as an in-betweener and assistant animator. And while there is when I discovered storyboards. They gave me a tour of the studio and I saw the storyboard department, and you know, it was like three panels on a page, and it looked and reminded me of a comic strip, which is one of the things I originally wanted to do. So I thought “Hey, I’m going to try to be a storyboard artist.” So I took classes at the union at night while I worked during the day to build up some samples and learn how to storyboard. And then two years after I had gotten that job at Filmation, they actually then went out of business. BraveStarr completely flopped, and it went out of business, but by then I had storyboard samples and got hired at A.L.F. and ALF Tales. The director of that show was a guy named Kevin Altieri, who later would be one of the four directors on Batman: The Animated Series. He gave me an opportunity to board on A.L.F. and ALF Tales, and the experience I got on that show gave me also samples that got me hired at Walt Disney TV Animation a couple years later on TaleSpin and Darkwing Duck. I spent 16 years at Disney, storyboarding on those shows, Gargoyles, Aladdin, and then got a chance to be a director on 101 Dalmatians, and various shows, Buzz Lightyear of Star Command, Lilo and Stitch, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, those kind of shows. And then I left for a decade, and I did sort of four things in that decade. One was I got to co-develop for TV The Spectacular Spider-Man, and also showrun it with my partner Greg Weisman. Then after that went on to Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated, and then after that, went to Hasbro, and sort of reimagined with these writers Kevin Burke and Chris “Doc” Wyatt, we reimagined and executive produced Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters, and then as that was ending I was approached by Disney Junior, to work with this creator named Travis Braun on a new show called T.O.T.S. which is what I’m doing now. So I hope that wasn’t too long of a story.

AL: How do you cross over from being a storyboard artist into directing?

VC: There’s not really any one way that I can think of. All I can say is if you are interested in being a TV animation director, you’re most likely going to get there by being a storyboard artist first. It has happened that people who are designers or had other responsibilites in animation on the show have crossed over to be episode directors, but it’s more likely you’re going to be a storyboard artist first and make that transition. But simply being a storyboard artist doesn’t mean you’re going to be a director, because there’s other sort of factors and skills that you find that are needed to be a director. When you’re a storyboard artist, you have your storyboard and you’re on it for six weeks and you’re focused only on what you have to do. And you’re not assigned anything else until you’re done with that storyboard. When you’re a director, you’re multitasking. You may be launching a storyboard artist on episode one, while working on your animatic of episode two, while editing episode three, it’s all kind of happening at the same time, and you’ve got to keep track of it. So I guess when you’re storyboarding, they one, want to make sure you’re creatively doing a great job as a filmmaker, you’re funny or dynamic or whatever that show needs, you’re able to do that. And then two, are you reliable, are you hitting the deadlines, are you able to do it in the time allotted, and then the third thing is like the quality of, you know, I don’t know how they decide this from storyboarding, but like are you going to be able to multitask. And sometimes that, they just have to find out by throwing the board guy into the directing role to see if they can do it. So for me, how I did it, and everybody does it a different way, but when I got in at Disney on TaleSpin, the showrunner had a pep talk at the start of the season where he said how everybody should learn what everybody else does. That the production assistant should learn what the background painter does, and that the character designer should learn what the storyboard artist does, and that the prop designer should learn what the writer does, and the writer should learn what the production person does, that kind of thing. And I was brand new, and I took it all to heart. I didn’t realize (until) later that a lot of the crew were just sort of like rolling their eyes and wanting to get back to work, but I took it to heart. And I thought “Okay, I’m going to learn what a writer does,” and I signed up for a UCLA extension class in animation scriptwriting, without any intention or goal of wanting to be a professional writer, I was just really doing it to learn about another part of the process. When you’re taking the class, you know, part of the assignment is you do have to generate springboards and premises and scripts, and they want you to do it based on existing shows. So I chose Darkwing Duck, I knew that was next coming up at Disney, so I just said “I’ll make this my class assignment.” Meanwhile, while I’m at work I am kind of hearing that Darkwing is part of the Disney afternoon, they just bought ABC, they had all these episodes they had to make, and I heard some writers and story editors commiserating in the hallway about how they really need to find more stories or more writers because of the big order of shows. So I went and mentioned to one of the story editors, “Hey, I’ve got some springboards and some story ideas,” because I had them from the class, and I pitched them, and they picked one. And then they said “Okay, you get to freelance one.” And I was a storyboard artist on this show at the time, and (I) got to freelance this script. And then months and months later, it was no guarantee I’d get to storyboard on my own script, but it worked out that I got to storyboard on my own script, and then after that was all done, the creator of the show, the showrunner and creator of the show, Tad Stones, came knocking on my door, and he was like impressed. I don’t think he was necessarily impressed like “Wow, this guy wrote a great script,” I think he was more impressed that I had the gumption to try to write a script, and I sold it. He said “We love you as a storyboard artist, and you writing this script also tells me you understand story in that way too, and those are the qualities I’m looking for in directors.” And that was the beginning of the company thinking of me as a director, and that’s how I became a director.

AL: And in your opinion, to be an animation director, or any other role really, do you need to have that artistic ability that you would have as a storyboard artist or a designer?

VC: You know, this has been a little bit of a debate recently on other projects. I think you do. Some of the shows, like up in Canada for instance, there was, for I’d say a good generation, 20, 30 years, they had their own industry, but they’ve also done a lot of work for hire for American companies. Usually just doing the animation portion of it, and then slowly maybe “Okay now we’re going to do the design portion of it.” And a lot of it is CG, so you have a lot of people who are great CG animators, who might feel like they’re ready to be episode directors. And some people could make an argument that they have the skills needed to do it because that last part of the pipeline, they can make all these adjustments in the CG, in the layout process. I’m more of the old school thought of “Okay, if you’re going to direct, you do need to be able to storyboard.” I mean, you do need to be able to put your ideas on paper. You can’t really act everything out. If you’re talking about a squash and stretch animal doing crazy Tex Avery antics, no human being can stand in front of another person, and you can’t physically act that, right. You need to draw what you mean sometimes. And TV moves so fast, like if you want a dynamic angle, you can handwrite the note on a panel, “Hey this needs to be more dynamic,” and hopefully a board artist, when he interprets that and does what he thinks is a dynamic angle, you’re going to be happy with it. But if you’re not, eventually you’re going to have to like loosely thumbnail in that dynamic angle. So the directors I had could storyboard, and the directors I hire can storyboard. And I just believe the best TV directors come from storyboarding, but there are exceptions, that they can come from other areas. So I can be proven wrong sometimes on that, but my preference is they are storyboard artists first.

AL: For those who maybe don’t know, can you describe what the role of a director is?

VC: Yeah, the director’s job is to basically, visually tell the story. You know, a writer wrote the script, right, but the director is, like when you watch any movie or TV, you see a series of closeups or far shots, and camera angles, and does the character walk from here to there, and how do they gesture. All those kind of things, the director is supposed to steer the ship on that, and have the final say on that. Especially animation, with the acting. It’s like, you know, how they physically act or move or stand, that’s going to be the director’s job, the camera angles. The places where the script isn’t as descriptive, like if it’s an action sequence, a chase sequence, or a gag sequence, there will be something written there, to kind of get that started, or maybe it will be super descriptive, but a director may feel there’s a different or better, or a more exciting or fun way to do it, and they have to dream that up. Or song sequences for instance. There’s some loose idea of what it’s going to be, but until you get in there and just start listening to the song and making up what you’re going to see, that’s the director’s job. 

AL: And conversely, what is the role of a producer?

VC: Well it really depends on where they came up from. So a lot of shows I’m on, there’s usually at least three people that have a producer title. One person who has that is really all about the schedules and the budgets, and making sure all that’s going to flow. But if it’s someone like me, then one of the producers is somebody who’s come up from a directing background, sort of the nuts and bolts of how to put the show together. And the other producer usually came up from being a writer. And together, their job is to sort of showrun the show. So I just described what a director does, a producer would usually then – the director’s job usually goes until the storyboard ships to animation. I’d say in a lot of cases his job may finish at that point. Then it’s the producer with the director background that would take it over from then, in terms of retakes, communicating to the animators, and then also editing, sound effects, music, all the producers together weigh in when we’re casting the show, when we’re choosing the actors. And all the producers together are also weighing in on what kind of music style do we want, what composer we’re going to hire, and also spotting each and every episode with the composer. And then the producers are at the final mix, giving notes about adjusting sound levels, sound effects, music, all that stuff, and they kind of sign off on the show. And I should go back in time, before the director does anything, the producers are developing the show, they’re developing it from who the characters are, what the storylines are going to be, and then on my side of it, the art of it, like what’s it going to look like, what is the filmmaking style of the show.

AL: And what is the difference when you’re working on a project in maybe both roles as opposed to just working in one or the other?

VC: Well, there’s a lot of crossover. I would say on Scooby and Hasbro, it really was almost an intertwined role. You know, because I was a supervising director and a producer on those shows, my hands were really in the weeds on all of it. Like really getting into, almost like an episode director sometimes, and re-drawing and re-staging and sort of thumbnailing sequences and things like that. On my current show we have a supervising director and he really does all that, so I can take a step back and sort of take a broader view and kind of just step in sometimes on what he does, but because he’s so good at covering all that, it really gives me breathing room to see the whole thing and make sure everything is happening when it needs to happen and working how it needs to work and I can focus on speaking to the animators and that. So that’s the difference, if you’re doing both, like if you’re being a supervising director and you have this producer title, you’re really, you’re up to your eyeballs in work. If you are properly crewed and you’re an executive producer, like say you’re on the writing side, you’re an executive producer but have a story editor under you, that gives you more breathing room to oversee the whole show, so the same thing on the visual side. If you have a supervising director under you, it lets you kind of have a step back and have a broader view of the show. 

AL: Are there any challenges to having both roles, does the project either suffer or benefit from having one person in both roles?

VC: I think the main difference is time. When you’re doing both roles you are potentially going to be working evenings and weekends. And I think you do run the risk of burnout, if the show isn’t budgeted to have those extra roles. I feel like we are so blessedly budgeted for the show I’m working on now, it’s great.

AL: Moving more towards Scooby, how did you come to work on Mystery Incorporated?

VC: Before that show I was on The Spectacular Spider-Man, and my line producer Wade Wisinski rolled off the show before me, and he landed at Warner Bros. on Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated as line producer. He just contacted me and said “Hey, they’re looking for a couple of directors on the show.” And he introduced me to the supervising producer Tony Cervone. And we hit it off and he decided to bring me aboard. I met him and Mitch Watson and they brought me aboard as a director, and Tony was also simultaneously producing another show, and I’d say maybe four weeks into the job, he asked me if I would want to step up to be the supervising director on Scooby. And I said “Of course.” And then after that season, they asked me to produce the second season.

AL: What was it like to come into a darker overarching story as your first experience working on Scooby?

VC: I loved it. Like I mentioned before, I remember the original show, but in those days, as I said, I was a huge fan of the Hanna-Barbera action shows like Jonny Quest, The Herculoids, and those kind of shows. So this new darker approach to me, it made it more dramatic, it made it more grounded for me, which was more my sensibility. And especially after coming off The Spectacular Spider-Man, it just seemed like a perfect fit to go into a Scooby like this that had a big storyline that continued over two seasons, and there’s backstory to the characters and lore, and the characters’ personalities were fleshed out. It just seemed like it fit me more to do this type of a Scooby, so I feel very fortunate that it all worked out that way.

AL: And can you explain what maybe the day to day experience was like working on Mystery Incorporated?

VC: Oh my gosh, well let me try to remember. I do remember it day to day being a super pleasant experience. It was also an example of a show that was very well thought out schedule wise. So we were able to sort of handle the demands of the art directing and the staging because of just how it was scheduled out. It wasn’t all on top of each other what we had to do. So that I think also made it fun to do. What I remember, this isn’t like a day-to-day thing, but like what I remember when I first came on the show was how eclectic the crew seemed to me. Especially when you would tell people you were on Scooby-Doo, everybody thought, prior to Mystery Incorporated, every Scooby-Doo was, people had an idea of that original show but just updated, right. And I think most people in our business thought a certain, you know, we have people who sort of specialize in different genres in this business. Like the funny cartoon guy or the primetime cartoon guy, or the action show guy. And there’s a lot of people who pride themselves that they can sort of step in and do any of those roles, but I think Scooby was in the camp of up until that point, of only comedy people work on this show. So I get on the show and I’m watching this crew get put together. So besides me who just came off The Spectacular Spider-Man, they hired Curt Geda, who was like one of the top DC Universe superhero directors at Warner Bros. Batman Beyond, all those shows, he was on the show directing. They brought in this art director, Dan Krall, who came off Samurai Jack. Derrick Wyatt, who also designed Transformers. So it was this kind of an eclectic mix of sort of stylized action shows, comedy shows, all on this show. And it had all made sense, because you know, besides story-wise it being a more serious tone with an overarching story, filmmaking-wise, we were going to do it like mini movies. If you think back to the original show, and I think mostly because of the limitations of animation at the time, the original show was very left to right, and kind of flat. It wasn’t that dimensional, you know. But we were going to have up-shots, down-shots, like any angle you’d see in any horror movie or any action movie. And also, the show was going to still have comedy and be funny, but more in the sense of you know, I guess like Ghostbusters, where it’s kind of rooted in, the scary moments are really scary, you know what I mean. Anyway, I may have gone off track a little bit, but I just remember it was an eclectic crew that came together to really make this a very different sort of a Scooby.

AL: With people coming from all different backgrounds, how did that bump up the quality of the show?

VC: It worked out surprisingly well. Because Curt and I and the storyboard artists, we just, the sensibility was like “Okay, we’re going to stage this as if we’re on an action show.” As if this were a movie. We’re not staging this like a comedy left to right show, we’re going to do this like a movie. Meanwhile, the background painters are doing these super stylized paintings that aren’t necessarily realistic, they’re very artistic and stylized, and with the cinematic quality of a sequence would have a certain colour. Like this sequence is green, or this sequence is blue or whatever it’s going to be. So you put those two things together and it was like really something different, it was great.

AL: What was it like to be able to play with those horror aspects with a lot of the calling to other different horror movies within the show?

VC: It was fun. A lot of us were fans of these movies, and it was a lot of fun to do. There was an episode I remember directing, I think it was called mecha mutt, does that ring a bell? So Mitch Watson I know was riffing off certain horror things, but for me, when Scooby had to battle the mecha mutt, in my head I was thinking of Alien, I think it was Alien 2, when Ripley got into that palette mover thing and was fighting the alien. So I made Scooby get into that. So working on the show, you kind of, sometimes it would spark you to remember things of other horror movies and kind of try to put them in. 

AL: Moving to the special episode shorts, like Spooky Games, Haunted Holidays, I think there were six of them. Can you speak to how those came to be?

VC: Well, I gotta say, in terms of how it came to me, they were already planned and developed, like I had no idea of them I should say, until they actually said “Vic, we’d like to see if you want to do these.” I was on Mystery Incorporated, but as we were going into only post-production on the final season, I was approached and they said “Hey, we have this feature-length DVD and this sort of handful of these 30 minute specials, and we’d like you to do them.” And I took a look at them, and I thought “Sure, I’d love to do them,” but you know, they sort of had nothing to do with Mystery Incorporated, it was outside of our show in terms of storylines and in terms of art direction. Those shows were developed, I would say by Alan Burnett, who before he retired in recent years, was the co-producer of all the Scooby DVDs and specials. And his background, he was a writer. So he would work with different writers on all the various specials. So like I said, by the time it came to me, the scripts were done and my input was more after the scripts were done, but it was just really as simple as they had them, and they needed someone to do them, and they just asked me if I’d like to do them, and I said sure.

AL: Can you speak to the development process from when you came in to when they were realized?

VC: Well like I said, story-wise, they were already developed. For me, it was like “Okay, what is this monster going to look like, what are the powers.” So in the Christmas one, I really thought it would be really cool, if this snow creature could have sort of morphing abilities. And I started sketching out these different sort of like, almost like Sandman morphing abilities. And I bounced it off of Alan and he loved it, and he put it in. So like I said, the stories had been worked out, but I look at the monsters like “Okay what can we do to make it scarier or more monstrous rather than just a guy in a suit.” And we would somehow, the script would somehow explain in some pseudo-science way how this snowsuit was able to do it, but it was just like an excuse to have those visuals to make it extra cool. But you know, design-wise, it was really just based on the original Iwao Takamoto designs from 1969, just done today. And we would storyboard it like it was today. But design wise, the aesthetic was the original show for those specials.

AL: And in your mind, were you thinking of them like an extension of the original show, or was it more like a mini movie?

VC: Well, you know, my real, how do I say this. I love Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated, that’s my Scooby, right. That’s the one I was on and had that rich lore. The other Scoobys always seem to be standalone adventures. Even though there would be a whole series about it, it’s like they never talked really about that much, about what just happened in the last episode, and what they were doing now didn’t necessarily connect to future episodes. I’m talking about the original show. And so, to me, at least at that time, the specials also story-wise, didn’t seem to connect to each other at all. They were just standalone adventures, it was like, here’s Scooby and the gang in this situation, or this mystery to solve. So it, maybe Alan and the writers, it connected for them, but for me they seem like standalone adventures, unlike how Mystery Incorporated was done. 

AL: Out of all the specials, did you have a favourite?

VC: Hmm, I think I liked the Christmas special.

AL: And why?

VC: Just what I talked about, the snow creature, that was fun to do. That was a fun one. I liked the one, I can’t remember the name, but it was at a hotel on a beach, do you remember that one?

AL: Yeah, I think it’s called the Beach Beastie.

VC: Yeah. So the thing that was kind of fun about that is we had Adam West. And when I was a kid I was such a Batman fan, so it was just fun to have him, to be able to work with him was one of his last few projects. So I’d say those two were fun to do. Stage Fright wasn’t a 30 minute special, it was a feature-length DVD, and that was also really fun to do and one of the most fun things to do actually was the main title sequence of it, because we just sort of went off and did a completely different stylized version of all the characters, and I’ve always loved that main title sequence. I kind of hope one day maybe they’d consider making a show based off those designs, I thought those designs turned out great. They were designed by Stephen Silver, who was the Kim Possible character designer. 

AL: And moving to talk about Stage Fright a little bit more, what was it like to play with the Fred and Daphne dynamic in that movie too?

VC: That was fun. That’s one of those things that’s like built into I guess, the lore of Scooby, you know. It didn’t really, it wasn’t like a continuation necessarily of an arc from any other DVDs to this DVD, or after it. It sort of, to me, it’s like the ongoing Superman/Lois Lane kind of thing. That’s just part of what Scooby is about, is their relationship. But it was fun to do, it was definitely fun to do.

AL: And moving back to talk about the opening title sequence, what was it like to be able to play with a different style within the classic style of the movie?

VC: Well that was really fun. Especially when we were on Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated, you know, it is a stylized take also. It’s more angular. Derrick Wyatt did a fantastic job of, you look at the Mystery Incorporated designs, and yes you recognize those characters are very reminiscent of the Iwao Takamoto designs, but if you really, really look at them, there’s like these angles, and he just angled them the right way, and kind of the proportions, and made them even more animate-able. We hardly had any off-model issues in animation with this. So, and the background style also being non-traditional. So working on Mystery Incorporated, it’s like, I just love this idea of how you can reimagine this franchise and these characters in these different art styles. So when you do the specials, and the DVDs, you really don’t get that opportunity, at least at that time, you don’t get that opportunity. The style is to be the original style, but the main title is the spot where you can play. So yes, it was super, super fun. And like I said earlier, after we were done, I’m like man, that would make a great series if they did it that way. So it was very fun.

AL: What was your favourite part about getting to work on a handful of vastly different Scooby projects?

VC: Just to see the scope of them. At a very close proximity of time, I’m working on a Scooby that “Oh, these designs are Iwao Takamoto designs,” and then, literally within the same week, these new designs, and a more modern sensibility. And then also that main title sequence. So it was just fun to get to play and see how these characters and this premise, and this idea of Scooby-Doo works so well in so many different art styles.

 AL: Did you find any challenges working on Scooby at all?

VC: Actually not really. I mean just the usual challenges of you know, you want to make it great, and you have x amount of time to do it. And you know, you’re just racing the clock to make it great. But I don’t think there was any extraordinary challenges, you know, the crew, this was a top tier crew on Mystery Incorporated. Everybody was like at the top of their game. So it just made everybody’s job just that much smoother and easier because you know, you weren’t having to help pick somebody else up, because everybody was so great. The other directors, the producers, the writers, the supervising producers, the art crew, the actors, even our exec, I shouldn’t say “even our exec,” but the exec on our show. He was so great and pleasant and had great ideas too, with the notes he gave. It’s like if you’re on a basketball team and you’re the only one who can play, and everybody else is sort of like, has their arm tied behind their back, it’s going to be difficult for you. But this was like, you’re playing where everybody is like Magic Johnson, they’re experts. So it made it pretty fun and easy to work on.

AL: Do you have a specific episode of Mystery Incorporated, or one of the specials or the movie that you’re the most proud of?

VC: There’s quite a few. Like the first episode, which was directed by Curt, I just loved the way that turned out, that was awesome. I really liked the Dynomutt episode, with the Blue Falcon, that was really fun. And I like our two season finales, All Fear the Freak and then our season two finale, those were great. I love the twists and turns that Fred had to endure, thinking the mayor was his dad, and then finding out that he’s not, and that his real dad is not such a good guy. It’s like so many cool things about the show. 

AL: What was it like to come to work on a show that you had grown up watching?

VC: Fun. I couldn’t wait to get to work every day. It was a blast. Like I said, a lot of that also had to do with the crew. And besides them being such experts and professionals and good at their job, they were just a fun bunch of people to work with. The nicest people you’d want to work with.

AL: Why do you think that a cartoon about a mystery solving dog has held up for over 50 years now?

VC: Well, I will repeat something that Tony Cervone told me. And I think this is the key. Fear, food, and flashlights. I think that’s the reason for the success of the Scooby-Doo show. You combine those elements in just the right way, of drama and comedy and fear, you’re going to have a hit.

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

VC: About Mystery Incorporated? No, I think that was good.

AL: Just before we end, do you have any recent projects that you’d like to promote?

VC: As far as besides Disney Junior’s T.O.T.S., which is current, there’s also a show on Netflix called Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters, that’s still on Netflix that I think people would get a kick out of watching if they decided to check it out.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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