Saturday 10 January 2015

Panel 4: Scooby Doo In London

First blogged on The Daily Constitutional , these posts take us on a virtual Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London – 20 stops on a metropolis-wide search for all things illustrated. 

I'll be taking in everything from Gillray and Hogarth, to Scooby Doo and on to Deadpool and beyond! In addition I'll guide you to the best in London comic book stores as well as galleries that showcase the best in the cartoonist's art. 

Panel No.4: Scooby Doo & Wimbledon

We are big fans of Scooby Doo in our house. By we, I mean my seven-year-old daughter and me.

Although it’s mostly me.

Our favourites are the original Scooby Doo Where Are You? Series from 1969 and 1970 and the recent reboot Mystery Incorporated. The first has the best stories, best gags, best drawings; the newer version is vividly drawn, explores the characters well, is quite scary in places and is packed with knowing jokes for hardcore Scooby Doo fans such as my daughter and me.

Although it’s mostly me.

The 1976-1978 version of the Hanna-Barbera animated series, The Scooby Doo Show, features a visit to Wimbledon… sort of.

The Warlock of Wimbledon (first broadcast in 1978) sees the gang head to the famous tennis tournament in SW19… albeit a very, er, stylised SW19.

The spooky landscape that should be Wimbledon Common, for example, resembles more a wild moor (all the better to showcase the Baskerville-inspired villain). And has someone shifted Stonehenge to Wimbledon? Now that IS a mystery…

The accents are all a bit Dick Van Dyke – which is all part of the fun. Shaggy gets to utter the line, “I say old chap!” The tennis players play in yellow and blue kit (they’d have heart failure at the All England Club!)…

And, perhaps most far-fetched of all, tennis player Jimmy Pelton (above) wins the mens’ singles. And he’s an Englishman!

The one touch of realism sees Fred use the common American mispronunciation of Wimbledon as WimpelTON. Nice touch.

Turns out that Warlock of Wimbledon was no warlock at all, but actually just one of the seemingly innocuous peripheral characters all along. And he would have gotten away with it, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids.

Phew! Who saw THAT coming?

Scooby and Shaggy had been in London just the year before with Scooby’s All Star Laff-a-Lympics, an Olympic-themed cartoon also from Hanna-Barbera. Here's a most verdant Westminster as it appeared in that cartoon…

Laff A Lympics saw Scooby Doo’s team (the Scooby Doobies, ahem) take on a team captained by Yogi Bear and The Really Rottens, a team of villains led by Dick Dastardly in a series of madcap sporting events. The main event in the London-set episode was a Big Ben Tower Climb. Here's Shaggy dangling from the clock tower…

The real Wimbledon has often been rich subject matter for cartoonists. From John McEnroe's tantrums to Andy Murray's tears, newspaper cartoonists the world over have had much fun at the world's most famous tennis tournament.

Things were ever thus. Back in 1873 when the rules of Lawn Tennis were codified, there were those of the opinion that the new game was far from a masculine pursuit. This cartoon from Punch in 1874 concerns itself with exactly that subject…

Last summer our famous British comic The Beano appointed then reigning Wimbledon Champion Andy Murray as guest editor. The Scot featured in a scrape with Dennis the Menace.

We're big fans of The Beano in our house, my daughter and me…

Oh! Stop! Who am I trying to kid? 

My daughter is not in the slightest bit interested in The Beano. I, on the other hand…

I'll deal with The Beano another day when we go over to Fleet Street later in this series. But in the meantime, if you are down Wimbledon Way, the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum has a great collection of historic Wimbledon-themed cartoons and art on display.

Here's how to find Wimbledon…

And here's how to download the not-so-real (but great fun!) Wimbledon in Scooby Doo cartoon form on iTunes, The Scooby Doo Show HERE and Laff A Lympics HERE.

Coming soon on The Cartoon & Comic Book Tour of London… Sir David Low… The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen… and the acclaimed Über, an ongoing WWII alternate history comic book series from Kieron Gillen and Canaan White.

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