Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Man Behind the Legend

[posted by Callimachus]

Iwao Takamoto, the creator of Scooby-Doo, has died.

Takamoto said that he created Scooby-Doo after talking with a Great Dane breeder and named him after Frank Sinatra's final phrase in "Strangers in the Night."

But the scant sketch of his life suggests a great American story lurking under the few lines of text:

Born in Los Angeles to parents who had emigrated from Japan, Takamoto graduated high school when World War II began. He and his family were sent to the Manzanar internment camp in the California desert, where he learned the art of illustration from fellow internees.

Despite a lack of formal training, he landed an interview with Walt Disney Studios when he returned to Los Angeles and was hired as an apprentice.

The Wikipedia entry adds a few tantilizing details. Such as, "Takamoto's father emigrated from Hiroshima to the United States for his health" and that Takamoto also created The Jetsons' dog, Astro. If it's true that he also invented Muttley, as I've read, it gives him claim to the three Great Dogs of Saturday morning TV cartoons.