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Ruby Spears

ScoobyAddicts.com is proud to have had the opportunity to interview Joe Ruby and Ken Spears. Thanks so much to Joe and Ken, as well as Craig King for setting everything up. This interview and the caricature pictures were posted on ScoobyAddicts.com with the permission of Joe Ruby & Ken Spears.

Joe Ruby Ken Spears
Joe Ruby and Ken Spears are the masterminds behind Scooby-Doo. They created Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? in the late sixties. In September 1969, Scooby-Doo premiered on CBS. All but four of the first 25 episodes of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? were written and story edited by Joe and Ken. When Scooby moved to ABC in 1975, Joe and Ken supervised all the writing and production on the show. In 1977, they founded Ruby-Spears Productions, which specializes in animation. In 1983, Ruby-Spears Productions became a sister company to Hanna Barbera (both owned by parent Taft Broadcasting). Check out their website for more information on them.

ScoobyAddicts.com: What inspired you to become writers?

Joe Ruby: There was no great awakening or such. I did some magazine cartooning years before, but never persued it much. It was just a "freak" oportunity that came up at Hanna-Barbera in 1959. They desperatly needed people to write the short openings, closings and 30 second "bridges" for the Huck Hound and Yogi Bear Shows, and both Ken and I started writing them on the side while we worked our regular jobs in the editorial department.

Ken Spears: Yeah. Back then Joe and I didn't even know each other because we worked in two different locations. And as it turned out, we ended up writing just about all those spots.

ScoobyAddicts.com: How did the two of you meet?

Ken Spears: Life magazine was doing a story about H-B and Joe Barbera called us together, introducing us to the reporters as the next writing team for the studio.

Joe Ruby: Which took another 8 years, following a bunch of other "next" writers.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Why did you leave HB to become producers at DePatie-Freleng in 1971?

Joe Ruby: Because we got a chance to become producers. That was our dream and goal.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You are listed as the creators for all of the Scooby-Doo Series, including the newest series Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue. Are you associated with all of the series? If not which ones did you create? Why did the gang get a make-over for Whatts New, Scooby Doo?

Ken Spears: We created the original series in late 1968 that first aired on CBS in 1969 and was reordered for 1970. There were a total of 25 episodes which we wrote the first five and either wrote or story edited the rest. So once you create the show you are always it's creator, no matter how many other versions are produced.

Joe Ruby: we were actually involved with the writing back in 1976-77 when we were hired by ABC to supervise all the shows, but most importantly, the new Scooby Doo series.

Ken Spears: And of course, we produced another Scooby series for Hanna-Barbera in 1982 when we were both owned by the same parent company, Taft Broadcasting.

Joe Ruby: We have no idea why they did such an extreme make-over in "...Get a Clue."

Ken Spears: Personally, we think it's horrible.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Originally, you were going to name the gang Geoff, Kelly, Linda, W.W. and Too Much. Where did you come up with the names Freddy, Daphne, Velma and Norville? Is there a story behind why Norville was nicknamed Shaggy?

Joe Ruby: We kicked around a lot of names, and just decided which ones seemed to fit their personalities best.

Ken Spears: Except for "Freddy" which was suggested, coincidentally, by CBS head guy, Fred Silverman.

Joe Ruby: There wasn't a story behind Shaggy, only that "Shaggy" came first, then we came up with his formal name.

ScoobyAddicts.com: You stated on your website that Scooby's name came from the Frank Sinatra song Strangers in the Night. Where did the name Scoobert come from?

Ken Spears: Scoobert wasn't our doing. We don't know who came up with that. We wouldn't have.

Joe Ruby: Neither was Scrappy Doo. We didn't like him either.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Do either of you have a favorite Scooby-Doo episode? If so, which one and why?

Joe Ruby: We loved all the ones we either wrote or were heavily involved in the writing. But we really liked "Mystery Mask Mixup" and "Nowhere to Hyde" probably best. They just came out real well overall.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Scooby-Doo has been a huge success. When you first created the show, did you think it would still be a big hit decades later?

Ken Spears: We were worried it wouldn't last but one season, much less 38 years. It was up against "The Hardy Boys" on NBC and we thought we'd get clobbered in the ratings.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Have either of you ever eaten a Scooby Snack? What are they supposed to taste like?

Joe Ruby: No we've never eaten a Scooby Snack. We imagined they were just going to be a super delicious doogy snack.

Ken Spears: I ate one of the Scooby Snack cookies, and it was just a regular kids cookie. And we've seen a bunch of other Scooby Snack other things too...candy and fruit chews mostly.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Looking back on Scooby-Doo, is there anything you would have changed about the characters or the show?

Joe Ruby: Nope.

Ken Spears: Me neither.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Do you have any future plans for Scooby?

Ken Spears: We don't. It's all Warner Brothers now.

ScoobyAddicts.com: Thank you so much for this amazing experience. It is a great honor to be able to discuss Scooby with you both.

Joe Ruby & Ken Spears: You're very welcome. Good luck with your site.