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Designing Scooby Doo’s Character

Thought about a lot of different kind of dogs. One of the suggestions was a dog that was brighter than the kids themselves and he’s the one that solves the mystery and he’s a really feisty little Airedale kind of a guy. For some reason it appealed to me, I wanted to try a big dog. They were pretty wide open about the whole thing. The biggest dog I know of is a Great Dane.

I wish I could remember her name, but she was a woman that bred Great Danes and was serious about it, she took prizes with some of her dogs. She worked in our ink and paint department, so I called her and asked if she wouldn’t mind coming over and telling me about her prize winners. She did, came over and gave me a lot of pointers. The good strong legs, the firm strong chin, all sorts of things. And so I took most of what she said and a certain percentage I went the opposite to make it comedic. Instead of straight legs he had bow legs. He was a Klutz, he wasn’t very brave.

As the writing developed on that, his idiosyncrasies began to crop up. There was a show called Dobie Gillis, played by the guy on Gilligan’s Island, Bob Denver. There should be one guy like a beatnik, so I designed him (Shaggy). They seemed to make it off as a natural pair, so we paired them together.


animation Scooby-Doo

Date: August 6, 1998

Location: California, US

Interviewer: Janice Tanaka

Contributed by: Watase Media Arts Center, Japanese American National Museum

Interviewee Bio
Iwao Takamoto (April 29, 1925 – January 8, 2007) was a legendary animator for Walt Disney and Hanna Barbera, most famously designing Scooby Doo in the late sixties. Incarcerated at Manzanar after graduating high school, Iwao leveraged his art skills into a job at Disney upon returning to Los Angeles, working on classic animated films like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. He would go on to mentor other Japanese American animators such as Willie Ito, who worked with him on Lady and the Tramp. After leaving Disney for Hanna-Barbera in 1962, Iwao continued animating, as well as producing and directing films like Charlotte's Web (1973) until his retirement. (June 2021)
Ito,Willie
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Ito,Willie

Disney Drawing Tests

(b. 1934) Award-winning Disney animation artist who was incarcerated at Topaz during WWII

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Ito,Willie
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Ito,Willie

His mentor, Iwao Takamoto

(b. 1934) Award-winning Disney animation artist who was incarcerated at Topaz during WWII

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