Scooby-Doo first graced our TV screens with his show "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" in 1969, which makes the canine 46 years old. For almost half a century, the Great Dane's been making us laugh and reminding us that man is the true monster in the world.
The OG Scooby-Doo show never explained how a dog could speak English, and Shaggy, Velma, Fred and Daphne acted like it was totally normal — even when other characters would ask, "That dog can talk?!" Most people just shrug it off as a cartoon, but Reddit user themightyheptagon has his or her own theory: "Scooby was bred as a super-intelligent test subject for the Soviets' space program." WHAT.
Believe it or not, there seems to be some actual evidence to support this kooky theory. Get your magnifying glasses and Scooby Snacks ready, because we're going sleuthing.
For starters, "Scooby-Doo" premiered during the Cold War era.
Almost exactly two months after Apollo 11 put Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon, the first episode of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" aired. Themightyheptagon wrote, "By [the time the cartoon premiered], the Soviet Space Agency had been going strong for years: Sputnik 1 became the world's first artificial satellite in 1957, and the Vostok 1 spaceflight made Yuri Gagarin the first man in space in 1961."
Dogs had a history with the Soviets and the Space Race.
While Gagarin was the first man in space, he wasn't the first being in space. Themightyheptagon notes, "But if you know the history of the Space Race, you also might recall that the Soviets sent a few other cosmonauts into space before Gagarin's famous flight in 1961. Who were they? Dogs."
Laika, a part-Samoyed terrier, was taken from the streets of Russia and shoddily prepared for space exploration. Unfortunately, Laika perished shortly after being launched. This was on Sputnik 2 in 1957.
"The dogs Belka and Strelka were similarly sent into space as living test subjects on the Korabl Sputnik 2 [aka Sputnik 5] satellite in 1960, and became the first Earth-born creatures ever to fly into space and return alive," noted themightyheptagon.
But, what does this history lesson have to do with Scooby-Doo? Hold your horses, we're getting to it.
Scooby-Doo was part of an experimental project by the Soviets.
Yes, you read that correctly. According to themightyheptagon, "In the universe of 'Scooby-Doo,' it's a possibility that the Soviets also looked into an experimental breeding program that could have produced dogs with greatly enhanced intelligence. It sounds batty, but super-intelligent animals could potentially have been a great asset to the Soviet Space Agency. After all, why risk the life of a trained cosmonaut for a simple test flight when you could just send a dog who's smart enough to record data, operate consoles and understand complex commands over a radio?"
TBH, this makes a lot of sense. Humanity tends to have an ugly history of using animals, who are seen as "lesser than humans," to explore situations with a higher chance of fatality, as evidenced by Laika. (RIP Laika.)
Furthermore, the Reddit user argues, "But in the course of their secret breeding program, maybe the Soviets unintentionally gave birth to at least one dog who was smart enough to learn and imitate human speech." Cue: Scooby-Doo, the dog who speaks English, but it's definitely rough English — or should we say ruff?
Scooby-Doo's origin story was actually pretty badass.
"Scooby started his life as a subject in the Space Agency's breeding program, but escaped when one of the scientists bonded with him as a puppy, and decided to take him to America when he defected. Then maybe Scooby ran away when his original owner died of old age, leading to him being adopted by his future best friend Shaggy — who took Scooby with him when he joined Fred, Velma and Daphne on their meandering travels through the backroads of America in Fred's beloved van," claimed themightyheptagon.
And since there was some debate in the comments section about whose van the Mystery Machine actually was, we're gonna go ahead and mention it's been argued over the years that Daphne's father owns the van, as well as Shaggy. So, unless the OG animators at Hanna-Barbera release a statement about who actually possesses the van, we'll never really know for sure.
The CIA began hunting for Scooby-Doo after he escaped.
Since the U.S. and the Soviet Union (USSR) were opponents during the Cold War, getting inside information about what the Soviets were up to was definitely on America's mind. Themightyheptagon argued, "Scooby went on to live a happy life with his new friends, but the CIA also never gave up on the hope of getting their hands on a Soviet super-dog for research. Though we never saw it on the show, there were more than a few American G-Men who spent years futilely trying to find the Mystery Machine as it continued on its travels."
Then, the Reddit user dropped a major WTF bombshell on all of our childhoods: "Ever wonder why the show was titled 'Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!,' of all things? That's why."
Still not convinced? There's more!
Scooby-Doo's parents were of German ancestry.
Themightyheptagon points out Scooby-Doo's breed. "Despite the misleading name, the Great Dane is actually a German breed... The Germans were [responsible] for most early research into rocket technology during World War II, and many of the Soviet Space Agency's researchers were German-born scientists recruited by the Russians. It's possible that Scooby's parents were brought over from Germany along with the researchers who helped breed them."
This would explain how our favorite cartoon dog ended up in the hands of the Soviets in the first place.
Finally, Scooby-Doo's speech impediment revealed his purpose for the Soviets.
As mentioned earlier, Scooby-Doo can speak English like his four human friends, but he's a tad harder to understand. "The way Scooby talks, he almost gives off the impression that he's intelligent enough to learn the English language, but doesn't have a mouth adapted for human speech. Because that's exactly the case: He was bred for his learning capability, not for his flawless elocution. He understands human languages, but can't speak them perfectly," themightyheptagon explains.
So, whenever you hear Scooby-Doo talk, you're really hearing and witnessing the USSR's Cold War effects. Let that sink in for a moment.
But what about "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo"?
The Reddit fan theory doesn't address this, so I'm going to toss in my two cents on the subject. Themightyheptagon's argument doesn't hold up with this '80s cartoon out in the world — unless the cartoon was all in the imagination of young Scooby-Doo while he was being held captive by the Soviets. He would daydream about a happier life with people who loved him, until he actually got one after escaping.