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Hanna-Barbera Saturday morning cartoon of the Scooby-Doo series, WB Television Network’s Kinds’ WB., Joseph Barbera (Executive Producer), Sander Schwartz (Executive Producer), March 27, 2004.
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imdb.com (accessed: January 23, 2019)
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Author of the Entry:
Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Deacy, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Russell Peabody Calabrese
, b. 1955
Russell Calabrese is an American cartoon producer and director. He was born on October 12, 1955 in New Jersey. He attended Rutgers University, New Brunswick and the School of Visual Arts, both in New York. Calabrese’s main interests are art, photography, and electronic music.
Throughout his career, Calabrese has worked for many animation studios. He is most known for directing episodes of Pinky and the Brain, Johnny Bravo, What’s New, Scooby Doo?, Grim & Evil, and Fanboy & Chum Chum. He has been the joint recipient of Daytime Emmys and one shared Primetime Emmy (for Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky and the Brain, Camp Lazlo: Where’s Lazlo? and Fanboy & Chum Chum). He is currently an Executive Board Member of the Animation Guild.
One of his famous quotations is: “Art imitates life. Life imitates television.”
Bio prepared by Anna Mik, University of Warsaw, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scooby-Doo, Fred Jones, Centaur, Cerberus – Frank Welker
Shaggy Rogers – Casey Kasem
Velma Dinkley – Mindy Cohn
Daphne Blake, Medusa – Grey DeLisle
Feta cheese vendor, Major Portsmouth, Shop owner – Jeff Bennett
Lasynder Demas, Scary-looking Greek – Nick Jameson
Susie Smythe – Moira Quirk
Sequels, Prequels and Spin-offs
Previous episode: New Mexico, Old Monster
Next episode: Fright House of the Lighthouse
The episode titled It’s All Greek to Scooby begins in contemporary Greece. The opening scene presents two field researchers, Lysander Damas and Susie Smythe, exploring a mysterious cave. Susie wants to persuade Lysander to go back and leave the cave, afraid of a mythical tale of a dangerous Centaur who put a curse on the place. Lysander is determined to stay, however, and goes further by himself, as he considers the tale to be a foolish fable. Whereas Susie does not want to take any chances and retreats, Lysander goes into the cave on his own. Inside he finds ancient statutes and an amulet at the bottom of a small pool. At this moment, a real centaur appears and attacks Lysander. Beast catches him and the scene ends.
The next scene depicts Mystery Inc. (group of teenagers and dog Scooby Doo, who solve mysteries) at the airport, excited to be embarking on their spring break. Velma is enthusiastic about exploring the birth-country of democracy, epic literature and mathematics, while Shaggy and Scooby look forward to tasting hummus, feta cheese and Greek salad. A scary looking man approaches the group and speaks to them in Greek, which they do not understand. Fred tries to translate it with his “Greek for a Week” phrase book and claims that what man said was: “The Greek god shall bring chaos into your lives.” The group escapes in a taxi convinced they have been cursed by a mad person.
In Athens, they go to the market, where we witness a fight between Lysander (who apparently ran away from the Centaur) and Susie. Susie is convinced that the Centaur attack is caused by the theft of the medallion (we find out that it belonged to the Centaur and Lysander stole it) and tries to persuade the Lysander to give it back. After a small struggle the amulet ends up, by accident, on one of the market stands and Shaggy and Scooby buy it, convinced by the seller that it will protect them from monsters.
Later they join the Mystery Inc. in the theatre of Dionysus where they watch a classical Greek tragedy. The play is interrupted by the appearance of a Centaur, who chases the children to the Acropolis. After a series of slap-stick jokes, Shaggy and Scooby defeat the Centaur, convinced of the magical powers of the amulet and of the fact that the attack was the consequence of the curse cast by the man at the airport.
Velma does not believe in such things as curses, so the group goes to the Historical Society of Athens to do some research. There, they meet a British scholar, Major Portsmouth, who believes that mythological creatures are real. He has dedicated his career to proving the reality of myths and has failed to persuade anyone – now he sees his opportunity to prove everyone wrong. When they leave the museum, the strange man from the airport comes back on a motorcycle and screams at them, scaring the group away back to the Acropolis.
There, Shaggy and Scooby again have to flee from the Centaur. Saved by Lysander, who wants his amulet back, they are forced to defend themselves again. Eventually they all manage to run away from the angry Centaur to the marina where they catch a ship to Crete. (Onboard the ship they also meet Major Portsmouth.)
On Crete, they are once again chased by the Centaur, this time into to the Minotaur’s Maze. The Centaur gets trapped in the labyrinth and Shaggy and Scooby are sent to flush him out. Instead of using the thread like Ariadne did, they use a fishing rod which they immediately lose. After they fail in their task, Major Portsmouth examines the amulet and makes them aware of its true purpose: it attracts the Centaur, it does not protect against him. What is more, Lysander, who also happens to join the group, explains that if it is taken to Santorini into the Temple of Light, the amulet will show the way to the Lost City of Atlantis – which is the reason the researcher wants it back.
On Santorini, they are chased – again – by the Centaur and the apparently crazy Greek. They lose the former for a moment, but the latter is too determined. As it turns out, the Greek man simply wanted to return Daphne’s lost purse, and Fred misunderstood what he was saying to them in Greek. Next, they go to the Temple of Light and use the amulet, which points to the entrance of Atlantis. There, the Centaur catches up with them and blocks the entrance. To defeat him, Daphne uses her make-up kit and transforms her friends into mythological monsters: herself into a Medusa, Fred into a Minotaur, Velma into the Hydra, Shaggy to a Cyclops, and Scooby into the three headed dog, Cerberus. The group of monsters confuses the Centaur who accidently breaks the stone entrance to Atlantis, which that turns out to be a fake. The Centaur also is a fake. It turns out to be Susie in disguise. She had wanted the entrance to Atlantis to be her own discovery, as this would probably have made her famous. At the end, Major Portsmouth arrives with a camera and takes photos of the ‘monsters’, convinced that he has finally found the proof of myths being real.
What’s New Scooby-Doo? is a reboot of the cartoon series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! created in 1969 by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears for Hanna-Barbera Productions. The What’s New… series produced by Warner Bros. Animation contains more modern outlook of the Mystery Inc. work (also visible in the technic of animation, not only content), with new technology and "up to date" cultural details. Beside this series, a number of other tv-series reboots and spin-off movies have been made (e.g. Shagggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue!; Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated for television, and the live-action firls Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed). The universe of Scooby-Doo is full of mysteries and monsters – some inspired by antiquity – others of which sometimes turn out to be real. Besides animations and live-action movies, there are also books, comic books, toys, and various events, proving Scooby-Doo to be one of the most famous franchises of the 20th and 21st centuries.
It’s All Greek to Scooby is a distinctive episode for several reasons. Unusually, Mystery Inc. are not chasing any beast from the beginning, as they are on their Spring Break and are going to Athens to relax. Secondly, it is a rare case for someone (here: Susie) to turn out to be a monster when the whole group has not had the opportunity to meet them. That is why Velma, who failed to suspect the right person, says that “this one doesn’t count”. Thirdly this episode brims with classical elements – from the location itself to the cultural heritage of ancient Greece: including Greek mythology.
A particularly interesting thread is the concept of monstrosity presented by the creators. The main antagonist – the Centaur – is presented, similarly to its depiction in myths, as an aggressive creature, hostile towards humans. The construction of this character is interesting mainly because it is actually a woman, dressed as a male monster, projecting her anger (driven by jealousy and hunger for fame) onto the behaviour of a mythical beast. Her emotions are re-interpreted through the figure of the Centaur as it might be claimed she identified with it and its pain. Another motif connected to the concept of monstrosity is the defeat of the Centaur with the help of another mythical monsters: Minotaur, Medusa, Cerberus, etc. This was likely done to give a clue to distinguishing a ‘fake’ monster, as a ‘real’ one would not have been afraid of its fellow beasts. The Mystery Inc. members, after educating themselves in ancient Greece culture, choose mythology as their main weapon.
Giannalberto Bendazzi, Animation: A World History: Volume III: Contemporary Times. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2015.
Stephen Cavalier, The World History of Animation. Oakland, CA: University of California Press, 2011.
Bay-Wei Chang, David Ungar, Animation: From Cartoons to the User Interface, “UIST’93: User Interface Software and Technology”,Atlanta, GA, Nov. 3-5, 1993. pp. 45-55.
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