Today’s package program/cartoon nostalgia look is “The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour.” This show aired in 1976-77’s TV season. As the name indicates, the stars are Scooby-Doo (in his first new episodes since 1973’s “The New Scooby-Doo Movies”) and newcomer Dynomutt.
As noted above, this was Scooby’s first new series in a few years. Combined with post-“Dynomutt” episodes, these make up the last of the pre-Scrappy-Doo Scooby episodes.
As usual, it’s the gang solving mysteries. Among the more noteworthy villains from this season are the 10,000 Volt Ghost (an “electrical” ghost), the Gator Ghoul (a swamp creature). There were also the “Spirits of ’76,” in time for the nation’s bicentennial; they were the ghosts of several colonial-era figures.
Several episodes saw one cast addition, Scooby-Doo’s dopey country cousin Scooby-Dum. Dum was the first of the (very extended) Doo family relatives to appear. Dum lived up to his name—for starters, he’d keep trying to help “solve” the mystery after it ended. One episode also featured a distant cousin of both Scoobys, canine actress Scooby-Dee. After this series, Hanna-Barbera apparently decided that “Doo” was a family last name, and so gave different first names to Scooby’s relatives in all future spin-offs.
Dynomutt, “Dog Wonder,” is a goofy, bumbling robotic dog superhero. He’s the sidekick to the stoic, Batman-like superhero of “Big City,” Blue Falcon. Similar to the later 80s hero Inspector Gadget, Dynomutt was capable of pulling all sorts of robotic, mechanical gadgets from his body, as well as stretching his limbs. Dynomutt might’ve been partially inspired by the then-popular TV series “The Six Million Dollar Man.”
The two heroes defended Big City from all manner of supervillain threats. This was in spite of Dynomutt’s “malfunctions” and bumbling. As such, Blue Falcon sometimes referred to his sidekick as “Dog Blunder.” The Scooby-Doo gang, who apparently live within driving distance of Big City, appeared in a few episodes to help the heroes.
Blue Falcon never had an origin story, but was given a secret identity, millionaire art dealer Radley Crown. Radley lived in a penthouse apartment, which also secretly doubled as the Blue Falcon’s headquarters. Dynomutt lived with Radley, and served as his assistant/valet.
Gary Owens of “Space Ghost” and “Laugh-In” fame voiced Blue Falcon.
Frank Welker voiced Dynomutt.
Larry McCormick was the voice of Big City’s mayor. McCormick was an African-American voice and live-action actor. However, his main career was as one of the first African-American TV news anchors, mainly for Los Angeles TV station KTLA.
Later appearances and syndication
The following 1977-78 season saw the series replaced by a new package show, “Scooby’s All-Star Laff-alympics.” New Scooby episodes were made, both under the show’s name and as part of a short-lived third season of the original “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” “Dynomutt” continued to air in reruns as part of this package show, plus a few new episodes made. In the 1978-79 season, the Dog Wonder’s portion was dropped, with the show name changed to “Scooby’s All Stars.”
Dynomutt’s made cameo appearances in various modern productions, starting with a memorable episode of “Dexter’s Laboratory.” Dynomutt’s taken by Blue Falcon to Dexter for repairs. The funniest part is Dexter’s father thinks Blue Falcon plays for the Atlanta Falcons football team: “Oh right, the Falcons…you guys didn’t do so hot last season, huh?”
Blue Falcon and Dynomutt appeared on “Scooby-Doo: Mystery, Incorporated.” There, Blue Falcon is a Frank Miller-Batman-like grimdark superhero, despite Dynomutt being the same.
A direct-to-DVD movie was made in 2012, “Scooby-Doo: Mask of the Blue Falcon.” Oddly, the film treated the superheroes as in-universe fictional characters.
In syndication, both shows are aired separately, with their own opening and closing segments. “The Scooby Doo Show” is the syndication title that includes the Scooby episodes from “The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour,” “Laff-alympics,” and the aforementioned “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” revival. “The Scooby-Doo Show” used a variation on the opening/lyrics of the “Hour”‘s theme song, minus mentions or depictions of Dynomutt. This is pretty much the only way most people (including myself) have seen these episodes, even when both shows aired together (such as on USA in the 80s). But see below for these shows’ treatment on home video, where things get even more confusing…
On DVD/digital video
The entire “Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Hour” season is available on DVD as a box set. Disappointingly, the DVD set keep “The Scooby-Doo Show” and “Dynomutt” separate opening/closing titles.
However, the post-“Hour” Scooby episodes have yet to see them all released to DVD box sets. The aforementioned “third season” of “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” received a box set release, as well as inclusion in the “complete series” set for that series. The remaining episodes that’d air under “The Scooby-Doo Show” syndication package (i.e., the “Laff-alympics”/”All Stars” ones) are only sporadically available on a few single-disc DVDs.
On digital video, however, the entire “Scooby-Doo Show” package is available on iTunes and Amazon. Amazon confusingly lists it as “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (1976),” but it’s all there.
As for “Dynomutt,” the four episodes that were made for “Laff-alympics” aren’t available on the above DVD set or any other DVD release so far, nor on Amazon/iTunes either.
Finally, here’s the “The Scooby-Doo Show” and “Dynomutt” opening credits. I’d assume eating or panicking is what “Shaggy…does the most.”
And here’s the opening for the original hour-long series. Or at least its audio, spliced together with some old 16mm film footage of the opening. And even that’s spliced with some stock footage/photos. I gather WB doesn’t have an actual copy of the opening to at least include on the DVDs as an extra?