Scooby Doo and WWE: the megapowers collide

This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 17th December 2013.

As kid growing up in the eighties, one of my favourite things to do on a Saturday morning was to wake up early and watch cartoons. Nowadays, I much prefer to sleep in and miss Saturday morning altogether. My favourite animated series was Scooby-Doo and if it was listed in the TV guide, I’d make sure that I was glued to the box for every minute.

Sure it was super formulaic. There’s a mysterious figure haunting a location, usually a mine, theme park or film set. Scooby and the gang arrive in the Mystery Machine to investigate. Chaos ensues. Insert a whacky chase scene. The criminal is collared and unmasked to reveal that it was Old Man Smothers / McGillicutty / Jackson all along. The famous phrase is uttered. “And I would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids.” Roll credits and theme tune.

I guess the simplicity of the formula appealed to my young brain.That would also explain why I also loved similarly simple shows such as The Famous Five, Murder She Wrote, Hey, Hey It’s Saturday and A Current Affair.

My absolute favourite episodes were the ones which saw the Scooby Gang team up with guest stars, in particular Batman and the Harlem Globetrotters.


Produced in 1972, the “Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair” and “The Caped Crusader Caper” see Batman and Robin work alongside Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Velma and Daphne to battle the dastardly Joker and Penguin. I was a huge fan of the sixties camp incarnation of Batman, starring the legendary Adam West, so this was the coming together of two of my most beloved franchises. It’s also worth nothing that the quality of acting is not much different between the animated and live action Batman. I’m not sure if that’s a compliment to the voice actors of the cartoon or a brickbat for Adam West’s thespian skills…

As a child, I had no idea who the Harlem Globetrotters were. I still don’t. They seem to be some sort of basketball team who specialise in doing tricks but aren’t very good at playing an opposing team, kind of like the Parramatta Eels. Amazingly, they were also sleuths who like to solve mysteries. In “The Mystery of Haunted Island” and “The Loch Ness Mess” they team up with the Scooby Gand to investigate locations being haunted by mysterious figures… I won’t bother. You know the rest.

It was with some trepidation that I discovered recently that the latest Scooby-Doo animated movie sees the titular Great Dane work alongside another of my loves…wrestling.

Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery sees the Scooby Gang investigating the world of professional wrestling. Despite my initial reservations that these two worlds colliding might be a mistake, I’m think I’ll keep an open mind. After all, there are plenty of masked men in the WWE to be revealed. And quite a few steroid smugglers I’m sure. Scooby snacks anyone?

Many WWE Superstars will be lending their likenesses and voices to the project, including renowned Shakespearean actors Triple H, John Cena, Kane, The Miz, Brodus Clay, Santino Marella and the chairman of the board, Mr McMahon.

In March next year, Scooby-Doo! Wrestlemania Mystery will be unleashed on the world, direct to DVD. Hopefully the Scooby Gang will solve some of WWE’s greatest mysteries, such as, “Why didn’t the referee see that?” and “How is it possible to be beaten up that badly and not get a single bruise?” I might finally also get an answer to the most commonly asked question whenever I admit to liking professional wrestling, “How on earth can you watch that garbage?” Jinkies!

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Published in: on January 7, 2014 at 16:46  Leave a Comment  
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Superhero going stale? Reboot!

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This column was originally published in the Central Western Daily on Tuesday 10th May 2011.

Next year will see the cinematic release of The Dark Knight Rises, the third film in Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy. With stars Christian Bale and Gary Oldman returning, along with new cast members Anne Hathaway as Catwoman, Tom Harding as Bane and Joseph Gordon-Levy as an unnamed character, the film is sure to be a major box office hit for Warner Bros and DC Entertainment. However, with Nolan and Bale confirming that they will not be back for a fourth film in the franchise, rumours are rife that Batman will be rebooted with a new director and star.

In cinema, a reboot is where all previous continuity in a series is discarded and begins anew. In the Caped Crusader’s case, Tim Burton’s original series, which began in 1989 with the box office smash starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson, had petered out to a kiddie friendly mess by 1997 with Batman and Robin, directed by Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys), when the big red reboot button was thankfully pressed.

Batman isn’t the only comic superhero to undergo a reboot. The Man of Steel has been revised once, and is soon to be revamped again. Following four films starring Christopher Reeve, each one sillier than the next, reaching rock bottom with the anti-nuclear rubbish that was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, X-Men director Bryan Singer was given the reins to reboot the franchise. Starring Brandon Routh and Kevin Spacey, Superman Returns essentially eliminates the original third and fourth films and picks up from where the second film ended.

Superman Returns, which was shot in Sydney, was not the mega success anticipated by Warner Bros, and now the rebooted Superman: The Man of Steel, which will premiere in 2012 and star Henry Cavill in the blue tights, will begin production soon.

Marvel comic characters are also not immune to a reboot or four. Mr Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, the Human Torch and The Thing make up the Fantastic Four, who were successfully translated into cinematic gold in two films produced between 2005 and 2007.  Starring Jessica Alba and Julian McMahon, both movies were profitable for Fox. A much more superficial take on the superhero genre compared to Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, the Fantastic Four are due to be rebooted soon.

Sam Raimi’s very successful Spiderman trilogy has made a fortune for Sony Pictures. Following the critically panned Spiderman 3, which starred Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, Sony has announced a reboot, The Amazing Spider-man, to be directed by Marc Webb (no pun intended) and starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker and Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy.

The dilemma with reboots is where to take a renewed franchise. After the serious Gothic style of Michael Keaton’s Batman to the silliness of Val Kilmer’s Caped Crusader to the craptacular Bat-nipples on George Clooney’s Bat-suit to the super dramatic gravelly tones of Christian Bale, where to next for the Dark Knight? You can’t really go any darker than Health Ledger as the Joker and you can’t get any campier than Arnold Schwarzenegger as Mr Freeze (unless Adam West is looking for work). The choice in my opinion is simple, a musical spectacular on ice in 3D. Holy reboot Batman!