In 1979, Scrappy-Doo was brought on to revitalize the Scooby-Doo franchise. Before long, the charismatic Great Dane had taken center stage, pushing Daphne, Velma, and Fred out of the spotlight.
However, Scrappy's reign was short-lived. In 1988, he vanished from the scene completely, and when he returned in the late '90s, the cartoon industry had soured on his persona.
Cartoon Network began running promotional shorts that besmirched the pint-sized star's reputation, then the live-action Scooby-Doo movie turned everyone against Scrappy by making him the main antagonist.
While some might attribute Scrappy's fall from grace to his annoying cartoon voice, there's compelling evidence to suggest the dog caught the short end of the stick. There's even an extremely meta Scooby-Doo fan theory that attempts to shed light on why people dislike Scrappy-Doo. If it's to be believed, Scrappy may not be to blame for his unscrupulous public image.
Scrappy Was Originally Brought In To Save The Series
In 1979, ABC was on the verge of canceling Scooby-Doo, as the franchise's basic formula was beginning to feel stale. ABC tried a variety of new approaches, but no singular format prevailed, leading to the mishmash of movies and episodes that compose The Scooby-Doo Show from the late '70s.
In an effort to shake things up, Scrappy-Doo was added to the cast, and his quotable catchphrases were an instant hit with audiences. Seemingly overnight, Scrappy stole the spotlight from Daphne, Velma, and Fred, appearing at the forefront of franchise throughout the 1980s, up until he mysteriously disappeared in 1988.
Studio Execs Had Issues With Scrappy From The Beginning
Scrappy didn't have an easy start, and his journey only got rockier as time went on. Mark Evanier, the TV writer who created Scrappy, said the Broadcast Standards committee at ABC didn't think Scrappy was a great role model for children.
"Scrappy, they said, had to be 'toned down.' He was too rebellious, too outspoken," Evanier remembers. "I forget all the terms they used but I vividly recall [them saying he was] 'too independent.'"
Scrappy's Arrival Coincided With A Major Change In The Show's Tone
While Scrappy-Doo was not directly responsible for the changes that occurred within the franchise in the '80s, his arrival coincided with a major tonal shift.
In addition to the cast's shifting responsibilities, '80s Scooby-Doo abandoned one of the franchise's oldest conceits. Traditionally, the gang investigated criminals who were posing as ghosts, but in post-Scrappy installments, the supernatural horrors suddenly became real.
Fans of the old show's mystery-solving formula were undoubtedly disappointed, as there was little uncover about real vampires and aliens.
Scrappy's Voice Changed When He Returned For A Second SeasonVideo: YouTube
Due to some behind-the-scenes issues regarding the character, Scrappy-Doo's voice changed abruptly after the first season he appeared in.
Don Messick, who voiced Scooby, originally auditioned to be the voice of Scrappy as well. Showrunners felt he wasn't right, so Lennie Weinrib got the part. However, they weren't totally sold on Weinrib either, and continued to audition new voice actors as the first season was in production.
Between Scrappy's first and second season, Weinrib asked for a raise. Without warning, he was relieved of his duties, and Messick was brought in to take over the role for the rest of the 1980s. "All it took to make a firm decision was someone asking for above scale," Mark Evanier (Scrappy-Doo's creator) recalled.
In the live-action Scooby-Doo movie, Scrappy is voiced by Scott Innes.