by Michelle Erica Green

Grade: B
Production: Warner Bros., 2000
Running Time: 1 hour 31 minutes

Video Summary:

These four classic SCOOBY-DOO episodes from the 1969 series all feature haunted houses and phony ghosts. Scooby-Doo's first creepy caper is "Go Away Ghost Ship," in which the spirit of the feared pirate Redbeard gets blamed for stealing the cargo of hapless merchant vessels until Shaggy realizes real ghosts don't eat ham sandwiches. Next, Scooby is in line for an inheritance from Colonel Sanders, but discovers in "A Night Of Fright Is No Delight" that he and his friends must brave a night in a house full of ghosts who may want them all to perish. Leave it to Freddy and Velma to unmask the opportunistic "ghosts" in both cases.

"Hassle in the Castle" finds the Scooby gang washed up on a mysterious island, where a magical phantom competes with them to find a legendary pirate treasure. Finally, in "The Haunted House Hang-Up," the group takes a detour from a trip to a concert to follow rumors of a headless man with a secret treasure of his own. In each case, the young sleuths find the truth behind the specters and track down the missing loot.

Best For Ages:

2-5 - The younger set may be frightened by these ghost stories, but kids old enough to appreciate the humor love Scooby.

6-8 - Th perfect age group for Scooby and Shaggy's antics.

9-12 - Some will roll their eyes at the dated jokes, but many pre-teens still enjoy solving the mysteries.

Parental Advisory:

Educational Value: Out to recess. Some historical horror themes.

Entertainment Value: Four ghost stories from the old TV series reveal the modern underpinnings of historical mysteries. Despite the annoying laugh track, the simplistic animated humor remains appealing.

Violence: Lots of cartoonish aggression, including a magic sword that stabs at Shaggy and an armed headless man who chases the heroes.

Frightening Situations: Ghosts galore chase the gang, a large ship rams their little boat, Daphne falls through a trap door, Shaggy walks the plank, Scooby finds a coffin intended for him, wooden dummies of the characters are sawed in half and beheaded.

Questionable Behavior: Scooby defaces an old painting; Shaggy cooks stew made of ashes and soap.


Scooby-Doo and his friends have aged fairly well. Though the laugh tracks and stiff animation of the old episodes date them, kids still appreciate the comedy and antics of the old gang. In these 1969 episodes, the supernatural mysteries all had rational explanations that clever viewers can guess. "This is silly, not scary," laughed one seven-year-old viewer, who preferred Scooby's panicked responses to the mysteries themselves.

These ridiculous "ghost stories" are safe for young children. Unlike SCOOBY-DOO AND THE WITCH'S GHOST and other new installments, the spooks here all turn out to be ordinary greedy folk, so there's not much to be afraid of. For adults, SCOOBY-DOO'S CREEPIEST CAPERS offers the nostalgic pleasures of cheesy images and sappy songs from the old series.

Don't expect to be impressed by the animation, which looks two-dimensional and inconsistently colored. Lips don't move in sync with dialogue. Like Road Runner in the old WB cartoons, the characters' legs race in space under them for several seconds before they actually take off running. The good news is that this makes the ghosts look fake enough for most kids.

And since the heroic dog is a scaredy-cat, children have no trouble identifying with him and his human parallel Shaggy. Though Velma is a strong heroine for girls, the smartest of the lot, it's Scooby's panicked flights (usually directly into danger) that generate the most interest from viewers. If these creepy capers aren't enough for you, try SCOOBY-DOO'S GREATEST MYSTERIES, also from the old series, or the newer A HALLOWEEN HASSLE AT DRACULA'S CASTLE.

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