Hey gang! Here’s my first written Q&A, featuring none other than Fred himself, Frank Welker!
I had the opportunity to ask Frank a few questions by email, which you’ll find below:
AL: What is it like to have the opportunity to voice the same character for the entirety of the 50 years of the franchise?
FW: I have to be totally honest, it is fabulous. In this crazy business to have a job this long is unheard of and I believe we have a record of some sort here. I love the fact that I am playing a teenager, Freddy Jones, (which is pretty much my own voice anyway) for over 50 years and a crazy ageless Great Dane for two decades now. It fits right into my mental state (I still think like a kid) and gives me a reason to act goofy and I get to hang out with a gang of really fun talented young actors. This is one of the benefits of doing voice work, though I may look like Fred’s dad, I still sound and behave like the teenager.
AL: Over the years, Fred has been written in various different ways, do you have a favourite incarnation of him, or a series or movie that was your favourite to voice him in? Likewise with Scooby?
FW: I think the years with Mitch Watson overseeing and writing the shows were epochal. He took Fred and went to the milky way and back. I had a hometown, a father, girls, became bumbling, genius and back again. It was amazing how much backstory there was in all of our roles. The stories were much more complex and biting and funny and certainly out there. Mitch is a great person to work for and I think of those times fondly. Currently, I do have much affection for the latest shows which we just finished SDGW. Our director writers creators Chris Bailey and Michael Ryan are really into all things Scooby and respect the past but also try new things. They are very considerate of the cast and encourage us to adlib or make suggestions to help the story along. Hope I am not letting something out of school, but they did one show where we play ourselves…stay with me…we actually are the special guest stars. The show was so complicated and intricate I had to read and re-read it just to follow along. It was so creative and well thought out by Michael and directed by Chris with such interest and feeling I think I will have to say it is going to be one of my all time favorites. I will tell you how it starts and that’s all I am going to say! Wink! The Scooby Doo gang come to my home studio (Michael insisted I have a mansion with airstrip) on the bluffs of Pacific Palisades or Malibu Bluffs anyway some bluffs along the coast and that is where Frank Welker, Matt Lillard, Grey Griffin, and Kate Micucci meet Scooby Doo, Freddy, Shaggy, Velma and Daphne. Oh my that is where the mystery begins it is some fun crazy stuff!!!!
AL: When you first booked the role of Fred, did you ever think the show would have the long-lasting impact that it has?
FW: No, as it was my first animated show I really didn’t know what to expect but I was hoping, hoping, hoping we would get picked up for a second season…yikes, who knew!!!!
AL: What do you think it is about Scooby-Doo that has made the show last for over 50 years?
FW: Well, if I really knew I would be head of Franklin W Studios and we would be doing this interview in my boardroom. But it takes a lot of things to catch the lightning in a jar and luck of course plus timing can’t be over looked…however, I think that Ken Spears and Joe Ruby created great characters and Iwao Takamoto’s designs were perfect and Joe Barbera and Bill Hanna’s spirit and direction were all no small part. I think the relationship between the gang is really key. Their friendship and loyalty along with how they all rely on each other to get out of jams and of course the gags. Fred and his traps, Shaggy and Scooby reluctant heroes who are often bait, Velma’s brains and Daphne’s fashions all add humor and variety. The formula seems to be very pleasing to the audience and we love having a crime to solve and mask to remove. The original voice of Scooby created by the great Don Messick has to be one of the golden pieces to the pie and good stories, comedy and fun in the end.
AL: What was it like when you first took on the role of voicing Scooby as well? Were you at all apprehensive about it at first after being able to work with Don Messick?
FW: I was asked by the studio to do the voice early on but did not feel comfortable because I was hoping Don would come back from his illness. Scott Ines did the role for a couple of videos then the studio asked me again to consider it. Being a person who does impressions I was certain I could do a voice that was credible but I wanted to get as close to what Don created out of respect for him and the audience. I knew that over time, my DNA would creep in and my sense of humor (or lack thereof) would take over and after two decades now I feel I have one foot squarely in the past and one foot squarely in the present….no, no, no, uh…let me rephrase that. I have two paws in the past, one paw in the present and one paw in the future! Another 50 years? Scoooooooby Dooooooobie Dooooooooo!
The responses have been edited slightly for clarity.
And there you have it! Before this post comes to an end, I just want to give a huge thank you to Frank for taking the time to answer a few questions! He also answered a few Happy Halloween Scooby-Doo specific questions, which you can find in the special Halloween episode of the podcast here.
Thanks for reading! Make sure to keep an ear out for the next full episode of the podcast, coming soon.