Not too long ago, I answered a question over at veggiemacabre about how I got into all things horror-related. Following a response from Will/Bill, encouraging me to do this post, I decided to do this post.
While some people are coming at horror from an angle of, “I saw Frankenstein when I was 8 and was scarred for life!” I’m coming at horror, and spooky stuff in general, via Scooby Doo and my dad, who liked horror movies, which he called “spookers”. As in, “Ohhh, we got a spooker! We got a spooker!” if a scary movie was on tv.
Like most little boys, I wanted to be just like my dad. I wanted to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes 24 hours a day, and watch horror movies and westerns. I still want to do that, but I’ve traded the cigarettes for a tobacco pipe and my dad gave up tobacco altogether years ago.
I’ll never forget the day my dad came home and I was so excited to tell him, “I found a new scary show!” The new scary show I had discovered was, of course, Scooby Doo. In my kid mind, there was no difference between the horror movies my dad watched, and a talking Great Dane solving ever-so-slightly spooky mysteries with a gang of twenty-somethings. I have no clue how old the Scooby gang is, but I seriously don’t think they are teenagers. Fred is built like a grown man, Shaggy has facial hair, and they drive around the country, getting into adventures.
I also would like to take this opportunity to state that any lame bits about how Scooby and the Gang were on drugs will not be tolerated. Remember when every idiot thought they were Richard Pryor with that tired old joke? The 1990’s sucked.
The reason I have chosen this episode to break down, is this: I could not watch this episode. It was too scary.
It was too scary for two reasons: 1. His voice. The episode starts out with the Diabolical Disc Demon (DDD) talking angry with someone. His voice is like a typical Scooby Doo villain, except it is amplified and has a sort of robotic, electrical quality to it. It was terrifying to me. So terrifying, in fact, that I would literally run from this episode into the kitchen and have to get my mom to turn it off. The voice was the main reason I could not watch this episode.
2. He looked like KISS. Growing up in the early 80’s, KISS was still a huge deal (I know they are still big, gimme a break). Every time KISS was on tv, I would hide under the couch. And the DDD doesn’t just look like any member of KISS, either. He looks like Gene Simmons, The Demon, the scariest one! And there are tons of extreme close-ups of him, which I will get to later. I’ve mentioned before about how extreme close-ups useta scare the shit outta me, due to a scene in The Wizard of Oz. They still make me uncomfortable.
This is no exaggeration: I never made it through the entire episode until today. 30 or so years later, I’m finally able to watch the entire episode.
Granted, I held the images in my head for years, until I finally thought of the internet, and its ability to search for information. I typed in “Scooby Doo KISS villain” and found the episode I was looking for hidden in Season 3. Although I’m quite sure that, back then, Scooby Doo didn’t have “seasons”, at least not in the way we think of television seasons nowadays.
With all that background information out of the way, here’s the breakdown. As always, you can click on the pics to make them huge:
I knew, even as a kid, that this beginning meant I had a chance of catching the DDD episode, so as soon as this intro started, I felt a little dread in my belly. It was kind of exciting.
I bought this on dvd as Season 3 of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” but here we can clearly see that this particular batch of Scooby episodes was called “The Scooby-Doo Show”. That’s why I said earlier that it seems to me that Scooby Doo didn’t exactly have seasons. The music for this season is good, it’s groovy with a good spooky vibe, and seems much newer than the original Scooby Doo. The original air date for this episode is November 18, 1978, which was my sister’s 1st birthday.
Like most Scooby intros, this one features cameos of some of the villains from this season. None of which are on this dvd set. I guess Scooby and the Gang fight a wizard? I need to see that one, as I don’t remember it. That beard is better than mine.
In this season I guess there are episodes that feature Scooby’s idiot cousin, Scooby Dum. I’m assuming these dogs were named by their owners, not their mothers. I would wager that both of these dogs were owned by the same person at some point. Would Shaggy name a dog Scooby Dum? Even if he is dumb, that seems kind of harsh.
I already said that when this intro came on, I knew there was a chance that the DDD ep was about to come on, which petrified me. But I also knew that there was a chance for one of my favorite episodes to come on: the one with the Headless Horseman, which was just scary enough to be titillating, but not outright hiding-under-the-couch scary like this one was. Scooby Dum was in that one, and I always loved him for it.
We also get a preview for this here villain’s episode, called “Watt a Shocking Ghost”, which seemed like it came on at least once a week. I don’t know how Scooby Doo worked where you were, but for me, they would show anything that featured Scooby Doo, from any season, in his time slot. So you would think there was about a one in a hundred chance of getting this stupid “electricity ghost at the ski resort” episode. You would be wrong, as they loved to show this one. It also gets the longest cameo in the theme song. Maybe they were really pleased with their animation work on that thing or something. This episode was the “parking garage Seinfeld” episode of Scooby Doo; it was always on.
Look at that background! Look at Scoob! How could you not love this show? I actually like a lot of the design of the Scooby Doo shows, no matter what the season. I don’t know if Hanna Barbera sank more money into Scooby, knowing they had a hit on their hands, or what, but the animation and design of Scooby Doo always seems of a higher quality than shows like The Flintstones or The Herculoids. Still, people jank the shit out of Scooby’s bad animation all the time, despite my opinion. Not only is it better, in my opinion, than a lot of the HB lineup, but some of the background paintings are genuinely good.
I like those green and blue hexagons on tile, in other words.
That is probably what I would have thought if I could read back then. If I could read and realize that my most feared episode of Scooby Doo was titled, “The Diabolical Disc Demon”.
Going back to the art of Scooby Doo, this has a very Haunted Mansion-esque look about it. The haunted plantation in the swamp. I like that blue.
It didn’t take long to figure out what episode this was, however, because right off the bat we get hit with that robo-electro-demon voice, yelling at someone, presumably inside Decade Studios. I’m guessing this was a take-off of Decca Records. There’s also another reason it was probably called Decade, but we’ll get to that later.
The Demon menaces this famous songwriter, Tony Symes, who looks exactly like Jerry Reed. Or at least, the way he was drawn in the Scooby Doo episode where he guest-starred. Tony hides behind the washing machine, it’s his only defense.
Then we get a look at this bastard. Definitely a mix between Gene Simmons and maybe Ziggy Stardust. This extreme close-up was about as far as I ever made it into the episode. I just could not take that hideous mug.
Tony runs away, down a hall. Here we see that the Demon is following him. I really like this silhouette right here. It looks nothing like the DDD. Maybe some sort of bird creature? Like a muppet gone all wrong.
Like, seriously, a few. I count six. Now is not the time to be writing songs, Tony! There’s a Triple D after you! If a Triple D was after me, I’m fairly certain that getting that one last hit out there would be about the last thing on my mind.
Too late! The Demon is upon you! There’s a little Rocky Dennis in this jackal’s DNA daisy chain somewhere.
Late 70’s rockers looked so cool. That hair, that shirt, and dat necklace!
Now we cut to the Gang, on their way to Decade Records in the Mystery Machine. I like that our first scene with the Gang starts out with a shot of the hi-fi AM/FM stereo in the Mystery Machine. If there’s one thing the Gang liked, it was good tunes. There are multiple episodes that revolve around music and singers. Not the least of which features them rescuing Mama Cass out of a Haunted Candy Factory, which is hilarious.
Scooby Doo breaks it down in the back of the van. That Scooby Doo sure can cut a rug! I also find it interesting that there aren’t any seats in the Mystery Machine. The driver seat, the passenger seat, and room for a whole lot of ghostbusting gear… which they don’t need because ghosts aren’t real. At least in this world. Though they do seem fairly ubiquitous, as the Gang can’t seem to go anywhere without some idiot dressed up as a ghost plumber or something.
The Gang arrives at Decade Records, or Studios, or whatever the animators felt like painting at the moment the frame was finished. They are here to see their friend Jimmy Lewis record his new solid gold hit! It amazes me how many famous people the Gang knows, both real and imagined. Jimmy Lewis is fictional. At least I think he is. Davy Jones was busy this day, because I think that’s how long they spent on each episode.
“Knock on the door, Scoob!”
Suspect #1. The security guard, Joe, who looks like a lot of Scooby antagonists without having to wear a mask.
On that note, I can’t remember if, as a kid, I knew going into each episode that the monster/ghost/whatever was a fake. In other words, I’m not sure that if I would have thought of this guy as a suspect back then, but I definitely would have thought he was a creep.
“You kids can’t come in here, go away!”
Jimmy’s collar is out of control. He looks like the Flying Nun. He tells Joe that these are his friends, and he better move his minimum-wage ass out of the way if he values his employment.
Jimmy takes the Gang to see the studio, where the magic happens. He tells them that he doesn’t know how this new Tony Symes song is going to sound, because it’s different than some of the others. Daphne says, “I’m sure it’ll sound good if you sing it, Jimmy!”
Daphne is genuinely flirty with Jimmy throughout the entire episode. You never know if she and Fred are an item, but Fred just might be the kind of guy who would whoop someone’s ass if Daphne flirted with another guy in front of him. Probably Shaggy’s.
I also think it is interesting that it’s kind of a given that this pop star doesn’t write his own songs. Tony Symes is the hitmaker. Jimmy Lewis is just the frontman.
Suspect #2: Ian Barkin, stereotypical studio musician douchebag. Look at that hair and that weasely moustachio! What a wanker!
“This music’s kinda funny, Jimmy! It’s only got 6 notes!” Actually, he does say something about the music being weird and in a shaky handwriting, which is unlike Tony Symes.
At this point, my adult self is already thinking, “Are they gonna try and pass these 3 bars of music off as a complete song?”
Ok, so it’s nine notes now. I guess he got a few more in before Triple D busted in on him. If you know the notes of the music, look at them really close here and you can turn off the rest of the episode. Mystery solved. At least they got that part right.
Suspect #3: Ace Decade, nephew of the famous owner of Decade Studios, and obviously capped out on the goofballs here.
Meanwhile, Shag and the Scoob are goofing off in the studio. I’m not going to include a lot of the gags that are in this episode, but rest assured that, like any good episode of Scooby Doo, they are peppered in throughout.
This is one of them. Scooby jumps on a turntable for a ride:
Meanwhile, it’s down to business for the people recording.
“Give us a little of that new Tony Symes joint, Ian!”
Are they gonna try and pass off those nine notes as a full song? You bet your ass! Ian busts into some boogy-woogie-oogie number here that is, without a doubt, almost the complete opposite of what is on the sheet music.
Is he faking it? Maybe he has been the one writing the songs all along, and Tony Symes gets the credit because Ian doesn’t want to be rich and famous?
Nah. Ian would squash anyone in his path to get to the top of the pops.
The recording begins and the Gang has mysteriously disappeared. Brick is intent on his work, and Ace is definitely “feeling it”, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.
The equipment goes haywire as someone has apparently laid a bunch of fireworks under the studio mixing board!
No other way to explain it. No one but a ghost would lace the mixer with Jumping Jacks.
There are always a few moments that you know are going to be in every episode of Scooby Doo. This is one of them. When Shag and the Scoob hear that something supernatural could possibly be afoot, they always freak out. Shaking, holding each other, crying… the whole shabang.
Pop stars like Jimmy Lewis have no respect for their elders, whom they are probably ripping off, in some way. If I thought, even for a second, that the ghost was real, and was the ghost of some poor ruined musician, I could easily be persuaded to root for the ghost in this episode.
And speaking of the ghost, they call him the Phantom, not the Demon! There are two reasons for this: 1. They just wanted a catchy, alliterative title, and 2. The Demon is Gene Simmons’s stage name for that scary character with the cow tongue.
This next scene is important because it’s one of two scenes in this episode that illustrated Shaggy and Scooby’s relationship dynamic:
Scooby Doo is the ultimate wingman. Not only do the ladies like dogs, but he’s willing to make himself look like an idiot, just so his buddy doesn’t look like so much of one. If you’ve ever laughed at a friend’s unfunny joke in front of someone he/she was trying to impress, you have a little Scooby Doo in you. Good on ya.
I’d ruin her career, amirite guys?
It’s weird that this studio ruined this person’s career, but now his ghost is the bad guy? Corporate politics, man. Not only that, but the ghost isn’t even real (belated spoiler alert!). Ya gotta wonder how many musicians Jimmy Lewis and Ace Decade have ruined! I hate those guys. Maybe Ian is one of them. Maybe he’s the Demon! Maybe probably definitely not.
And here, friends, we get another example of Scooby’s wingmanity:
Since a lot of the recording equipment is destroyed, the staff must now decide what to do, to try and salvage the session:
Ian: “And I’ll take five!” – typical studio musician. Everyone else works while he sneaks outside for a doobie.
Something fell down! What was that sound? Shag goes to check it out:
The Demon comes leaping down the stairs like Riverdance! I have circled it for you here, but shouldn’t the rest of his abnormally-long body be coming across that doorway? Maybe he is a ghost! Or maybe this is a new ghost! The ghost of a leg that the studio ruined!!! EEP!!!
Shag: “You must be the Phantom!!!!”
Scooby does some sort of calypso dance move and they dive into the piano to hide:
People hide in pianos all the time in cartoons like this. Whose idea was it originally that pianos made great hiding places? Let me tell you, as a kid who took years of piano lessons, they don’t. There’s no room! They would have broken themselves on hard strings and wood.
So be it. Suspension of disbelief and all.
The buck-toothed baddie runs off the good guys, and makes for something on the floor:
But what would a Demon Ghost Phantom of a Dead Musician want with sheet music? Is he planning on using Tony Symes’s hit-songwriting to start his comeback? As a ghost? I hafta admit, that’s one helluva gimmick. I’d go see the DDD in concert, for sure.
During these hijinkies, Jimmy has been giving the Gang a tour of the label hq:
“There’s only six!” – Velma
“I’ll be damned!” – Jimmy
Another classic Scooby moment: imitating the bad guy they have just seen, but everyone else hasn’t seen yet. Sometimes this is funny. This time it’s the most disturbing moment in the whole show.
Back in the studio, it’s looking like tonight’s studio session may not work out. And just for the record, I would have been long gone if I was involved in this whole thing. These guys act like it’s business as usual. Just your everyday, run-of-the-mill, revenge-seeking Demon on the loose, guys! Hakuna Matata!
Brick: “Without the music, which the Demon absconded with, we can’t record!”
Jimmy: “No problem, there’s another copy in my room!”
Shaggy: “I’ll go get it! Me and the Scoob will go get it! It’s better than hanging out in here with you guys, where it’s safe!”
Brick: “Errrr, ummmm, I gotta go pee or something…”
Please. Please God blow this picture up and check out that portrait of Jimmy on the wall. I have circled it for your convenience.
I don’t even know what to say about it. I would say that he looks a bit retarded, but the R-word is taboo these days, so I’ll just say that he ’bout a stupid-lookin’ motherfucker. Maybe the artists that drew this don’t like Jimmy either. As artists, they are probably sympathetic to the Demon.
Pop stars are dumb.
We get a better look at that terrible portrait as the Demon closes the door behind our heroes. I also fear that the Demon may be suffering from acute scoliosis. That, or those shoulder pads would fit in better on the Golden Girls.
Scoob: “I didn’t close the door!!!!”
“Give me that music!”, exclaimed the Diabolical Disc Demon, in his Ned-from-South-Park voicebox voice. Maybe the studio made him smoke too many cigarettes in life! Good thing I gave them up for the safe alternative of the tobacco pipe! Scooby whimpers pitifully.
A dog crying in real life must be one of the most heart-wrenching things in the world, but this is pretty hilarious right here. It’s funny to me that he starts crying because he’s so scared. That should probably not be funny.
The Demon chases our guys around the desk. He’s so caught up in what he’s doing, that Shag and Scoob decide to pull one out of the Looney Tunes playbook:
Exactly what game is Cards? I hear people say that all the time. “We were playing cards when the boss walked in!” I usually assume poker, as that seems to be the Chief of all card games, but I doubt Shag and the Scoob are about to gamble for Scooby Snacks. Maybe a nice game of Rook, but not poker.
It’s even more true art when it zooms in on his fucking eyeball!!!!!
Holy shitballs, that still makes me a little uncomfortable. I don’t know if Scooby Doo ever did so many extreme close ups in an episode, or even if they did, did they ever get this close? That is ridiculous. This short five seconds of zooming in on the Demon’s fucking eyeball would have been enough to give me nightmares for the rest of my life! Now I’m glad that my survival instincts told me to hide from this wickedly evil episode!
Have the other members of the gang even seen the Demon yet? I don’t remember and I can’t be bothered to scroll up. If not, that is strange. This is almost a Shag & Scoob-only episode!
Yet another classic place to hide in Scooby Doo was inside of a hanging coat:
Is that a cow tongue poking out in this shot? Man, that dude is white.
And we know they are in the coat and hat, but where are their legs???
They return to the studio:
They give the music to Jimmy Lewis and Shaggy and Scooby wander off to find food. A common occurrence in Scooby Doo. This is usually a little respite from the scariness. Like the daytime scenes in a slasher movie. It’s no different here, and it’s also usually a way to work in some gags that have nothing to do with the plot.
I know I said I wasn’t going to show any of the jokes, but I did want to point a couple things out about this next scene:
#1. A MILKSHAKE VENDING MACHINE. The logistics alone boggle my mind. Not to mention that just a normal Coke machine isn’t in the break room at all, just this thing! If this was anything like any studio I’ve ever been in, there would be a bar where this thing is, and a Coke machine stocked with cola and ginger ale (mixers).
#2. A vending machine that has sandwiches… and pizza. Same thing. Is it really that hard to come up with a vending machine joke that they have to make the vending machines trade in impossibly-perishable items? No wonder Autovits and Popsipep went out of business!
Scooby: “What kind of chickenshit outfit is this, anyway???”
Shag: “Now, alley-oop into the window!”
Well, that plan that would have required a platoon of Chinese acrobats to pull off failed. How bout we just go through the window?
Where they belong.
While Shag is explaining that the dickhead rent-a-cop threw them out for no reason, the Demon sneaks in on little cat feet to steal the second copy of the music. That nine-note hit that is destined for pop stardom.
A chase follows, as the Demon chases the gang around the studio. I should point out that the Demon here is in the same room as Jimmy. Not that Jimmy was ever a suspect, being a friend of the Gang and all, but I felt it was worth noting. I also think this is the first time the rest of the Gang has seen the Demon and it’s at the climax.
Now. Time for the big reveal…
Will it be Ian, the giant douchebag studio musician with the look of a pedophile?
Will it be Brick, the recording engineer who is disgruntled with the idiots he had to work with?
Will it be Ace Decade, the drug-abusing nephew of the studio owner?
Or, will it be Joe, the scary security guard who takes his job too seriously???
Um. It might not be Joe.
Shaggy: “Then who was in the closet???”
Jimmy: “But Tony’s been out of the closet for years!”
Sorry. Couldn’t resist that one.
Time to end on a joke…
Once again with the HB tiles in the background. This screen brings me so many nostalgias.
Veggie Macabre, for giving me the idea.
The Scooby Doo Wiki, for having all the info I didn’t know online. Names, places, dates, and etc.
Thanks for reading, as always. Maybe next time I’ll do the Headless Horseman episode with Scooby Dum-duh-dum-dum-duuummmm.