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Urban Legends

The Origin of Scooby-Doo

The Legend

Found on the Internet, May 2006

Did you know that the five main characters in Scooby-Doo represent characters in the UCLA/USC rivalry? Here's how it breaks down:

  • Fred is a UCLA student, handsome and intelligent.
  • Shaggy is a USC student, mentally numb and bedraggled from living in such a bad neighborhood.
  • Daphne is a USC student, because she looks like the kind of girl that's "never without a Trojan."
  • Velma is a UCLA student, smart and studious.
  • Scooby-Doo is a dog.

It's hard to tell if a UCLA or a USC student came up with this because the stereotypes ring so true, but everyone knows it!


Behind the Legend

This is a silly bit of fluff, typical of the legends born from college rivalries. It is easy enough to prove that Scooby-Doo and friends have nothing to do with UCLA or USC, because the origins of the characters are well documented.

In his autobiography How I Scooby-Dooed It, Reverend Joe Ruby Spears says that he based the show's characters on the horsemen of the apocalypse as follows:

  • Fred, strong and forceful, is War.
  • Shaggy, unkempt, is Pestilence.
  • Skinny Daphne is Famine.
  • Skeptical Velma, always putting her mind before her heart, is Death.
  • Scooby-Doo himself is, of course, The Beast.

It is not uncommon for television producers, writers, and other creative types to look to history, literature, and other sources for inspiration for their creations. Other examples include:

  • The Munsters parallel key figures in the Council of Trent.
  • The three in "Three's Company" are based on the heads of the Axis powers in WWII.
  • "Bonanza" was a metaphor for the reign of Edward I.
  • The Simpsons are based on characters in I Am Curious (Yellow).
  • Patrick McGoohan read a bunch of Ian Flemming novels on an acid trip and came up with "The Prisoner."

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