American animation icon Joe Ruby, the co-creator of the classic cartoon series Scooby-Doo has passed away. According to Variety Ruby died at his home in Westlake Village, California home from natural causes. Ruby was 87. In addition to working with his production partner Ken Spears to create Scooby-Doo the pair also developed two other classic Hanna-Barbera cartoons in both Dynomutt, Dog Wonder and Jabberjaw. Ruby's extensive career also included work on the original Space Ghost series plus The Herculoids, Electra Woman and Dyna Girl, Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels, and even some live-action shows like the sitcom Punky Brewster.
Together with Spears, the pair brought a new class of cartoons to Hanna-Barbera Productions having been part of the team at the company since the late 1950s. "I did some magazine cartooning years before, but never pursued (working as a writer) much," Ruby said in an interview with Scooby-Doo fan site Scooby Addicts. |It was just a 'freak' opportunity that came up at Hanna-Barbera in 1959. They desperately 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."
Some of Ruby's other works that fans might know and love was the short-lived Planet of the Apes TV series and even the hugely popular 1980s version of Alvin & the Chipmunks. He also had a hand in bringing several live-action figures and franchises into the medium of animation including Mister T, Police Academy: The Animated Series, and even the cartoon version of Rambo.
Far and away though his most popular work was the Scooby-Doo franchise which they co-created in 1969. Spears and Ruby wrote the first five episodes of the series together and had a hand in crafting the rest of the original run. The pair returned to the franchise in both 1976 for The Scooby-Doo Show and in the 1980s for Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo.
"We kicked around a lot of names, and just decided which ones seemed to fit their personalities best," Ruby said in the same interview. "There wasn't a story behind Shaggy, only that 'Shaggy' came first, then we came up with his formal name (Norville)."
Ruby received a Special Thanks in the credits for this year's CG animated Scoob! along with Spears, a film that features not only the characters they co-created from Scooby-Doo but also Blue Falcon & Dynomutt but Captain Caveman.