Movies theaters have been closed for some time now. Many movie release dates have been delayed until audiences can once again gather in great numbers. But some productions have taken a different route and are bypassing the theater altogether, going straight to on-demand. This strategy proved quite successful for the recent on-demand release of the movie Trolls World Tour. The sequel made more money in 3 weeks on digital than the first Trolls movie made in 5 months in theaters. And I gotta say, I’m pretty excited about Lin-Manuel Miranda’s announcement this week that the Hamilton movie, originally scheduled for theatrical release in October of 2021, will be streaming on Disney+ this July 3rd!
Another movie going straight to on-demand tomorrow is Scoob!, the newest CGI feature film starring Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. gang. Scooby-Doo has been enjoyed for generations in 16 television series, 2 live-action films, 35 direct-to-DVD movies, 20 video games, 13 comic book series and 5 stage shows. That’s quite a run. How this all began is pretty interesting.
In the 1960’s, children’s cartoons were becoming increasingly action-packed and violent. Society was becoming more and more concerned about the effects of media violence on children. Robert F. Kennedy, father of 11, had always been a champion of children’s causes. As Attorney General, he worked with the FCC to improve children’s programming. It was his assassination in June of 1968 that led to real change and to the creation of Scooby-Doo itself.
Hours after Kennedy was shot, President Johnson announced the formation of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence. One of the things that came out of this was demand from groups all over the country to curb media violence. Looking out for children became a sort of tribute to Kennedy. This sent the creators of Saturday morning cartoons into a tailspin. In response to public demand, they suddenly had to move away from the scary, violent shows that had become their staple.
Hanna-Barbera, the largest children’s television animator at the time, answered this call with Scooby-Doo. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? premiered on CBS on Sept. 13, 1969. The goofy talking Great Dane with his equally goofy best bud Shaggy, along with Daphne, Fred and Velma, stumbled upon adventures but they were never really in danger. The villains always turned out to be, not monsters, but regular humans in disguise. It was just what audiences needed at the time. The shows have kept this formula for decades and the gang has been solving mysteries in their groovy van ever since.