Editor's Note: It's spring cleaning time again here at Metro Pulse , and you know what that means: Time to spruce up the archives down in that musty old Metro Pulse basement. It's a weird, wonderful place, our basement, full of keepsakes left over from nearly two decades of high-minded journalistic strivings--ball gags, spent nitrous containers, dead marsupials, Ukrainian midget porn... Ho-ho, we're a wacky bunch.
Sometimes we even come across rare collectibles, souvenirs we accumulated through all those years of covering only the finest in arts and entertainment. This year, we found a treasure near and dear to the hearts of all of us who grew up in '70s and '80s, weaned on the wonder and whimsy of Saturday-morning cartoons: storyboards from a lost episode of one of the world's most beloved cartoon shows.
We're sure you remember it well, this wholesome, knee-slapping series about a loveable Great Dane and his perpetually ravenous hippie sidekick, travelling the countryside in a spiffy RV and solving mysteries with their crew of fun-loving friends. What makes this lost episode so extra special is that it was written with the talents of several well-known Knoxvillians in mind. For your reading pleasure, we've chosen to reprint both script and art from this undiscovered slice of classic Americana right here in the pages of Metro Pulse . See if you can guess where our friends from Knoxville make their cameos!
Hanna Barbarous presents:
Scott "Scoobie" Moore as Scoobie Moo in
"Scoobie Moo and the Case of the Terrible 'Toon Limits"
Also starring Greg "Lumpy" Lambert as "Lumpy"
(Fade in: Scene shows the Misery Machine van rolling down Interstate 40. Scoobie Moo and his best pal Lumpy are sitting in back; up front are their friends Fred, Velma and Daphne. Fred is driving.)
Lumpy: "Gee, Scoob, it sure was swell of those County Commissioners to get your nephew Scrappy a job in the County Clerk's office. He was a little more enthusiastic than they would have liked, but I'm sure he'll fit right in soon enough. Without opposable thumbs, he'll never actually get any work done."
Scoobie Moo: "Ruff-ruff-rah-ree-roh-ruff!"
Lumpy: "You got that right, Scoob ol' pal. He was one irritating little f#$%! I'm glad we ditched him in the first episode this season. Good riddance!"
(Suddenly a police cruiser comes motoring up and pulls in behind the Misery Machine.)
Lumpy: "Zoiks! Hey Fred, what's with that flashing blue light in the rearview mirror?"
Fred: "There's a policeman behind us! I think he wants me to pull over."
(The police car and the Misery Machine pull over to the side of the road and park. Sheriff Tim steps out of the cruiser and walks up to the driver's side of the van.)
Fred: "Good afternoon, Sheriff Tim. Did we do something wrong? I was trying to drive within the speed limit."
Sheriff Tim: "No, son, your driving is fine. But I'm afraid I've got some bad news for you. There's an APB out for the Misery Machine. It seems that I'm going to have to cite three of you for violation of 'toon limits."
Fred: "'Toon limits? What's a 'toon limit, sheriff?"
Sheriff Tim: "Well son, it's like this. Year in and year out, the TV networks bring back the same old cartoons with the same old characters. After a while, the characters start to feel entitled and complacent. They worry more about keeping their jobs with the same old lines than taking a chance on new material."
Sheriff Tim: "See what I mean? And since the networks are too wishy-washy to make changes themselves, they've passed 'toon limits. Now it's mandatory that all the old characters have to be replaced every two seasons, to make way for new characters with fresh new ideas. The days of the career cartoon character are over!"
Fred: "What does that mean for us, sheriff?"
Sheriff Tim: "Well, Fred, I'm afraid that for you, Daphne and Velma, it means no more schlepping your butts all over the countryside in the Misery Machine. You three have been posing as perky teenagers for almost 40 years now. Fred, you've got prostate issues; Velma's having hot flashes and growing a moustache; and Daphne's got enough Botox in her face for the entire cast of Sex in the City . It's time to make way for some new blood."
Scoobie and Lumpy, in unison: "What about us?"
Sheriff Tim: "Scoobie and whatsisname here are allowed to stay, due to complicated legal considerations, and the writer's inability to come up with a better explanation in the script. [Sheriff Tim turns and speaks directly to Lumpy] Which reminds me of something I've been meaning to ask: Didn't folks used to call you by another name, son?"
Lumpy: "They used to call me Shaggy, but that was before I gained 80 pounds and started losing my hair. Forty years of eating hamburgers and Scoobie snacks takes a toll on a guy. Besides, 'Shaggy' sounded too much like some hippie peacenik dope fiend. If a man has a nickname, it should at least be something respectable."
Sheriff Tim: "Hmmmm..."
Fred: "Well gosh, Sheriff Tim. We sure don't want to break any laws. I guess we'll just have to find three new characters to accompany Lump and Scoob on their adventures in the Misery Machine."
(Sheriff Tim gets in his cruiser and leaves. The Misery Machine gang stand on the side of the road looking befuddled and a little crestfallen. Suddenly, Lumpy perks up again. He smiles and snaps his fingers.)
Lumpy: "Hey, gang! I've got an idea."
(The five friends join arms and huddle in a circle, Lumpy's head bobbing excitedly as he whispers his plan to the other four. Scene fades.)
(Fade in to new scene: The Misery Machine is rolling down Kingston Pike, now with three extra passengers in addition to the usual gang. Of the three new passengers, one bears a striking resemblance to Fred; one to Velma; and one to Daphne. They're even wearing the same familiar outfits, save for slightly altered color schemes.)
Velma: "Lumpy, you're a genius. Asking my cousin, Fred's twin brother, and Daphne's sister to take our places in the Misery Machine was the best idea you've ever had."
Fred: "I'll say. Then all the three of us had to do was hire back on as stunt doubles."
Lumpy: "Yeah. It would have been a travesty to lose all those valuable years of cartoon experience you guys have--driving the Misery Machine and looking for clues and chasing after ghoulies and goblins."
Scoobie Moo: "Rah-ree-roh-ruff!"
Lumpy: "You're right, Scoob. It would have been downright undemocratic, too."
(Suddenly, Fred pats his twin brother, Frank, who's now driving the Misery Machine, on the shoulder and points to a strange figure standing on the yellow line in the center of Kingston Pike 100 yards in front of them.)
Fred: "Slow down, Frank. That guy is standing out in the middle of the road, and I don't think he sees us coming."
(As the van approaches, the figure continues to hold its ground. As it comes into focus, it's clear that the creature isn't a human at all, but resembles a huge, hairy gorilla. It looms menacingly in front of them, arms raised as if to strike, and its stench is overwhelming.)
Lumpy: "Oh, God, Velma. Did you let Polly out of jail again?"
Velma: "That was no air biscuit, Lumpy; that stink is coming from that, that... THING in front of us."
Daphne, sounding terrified: "Look at it! Then the old legends must be true."
Lumpy: "It's... it's... it's..."
All, in unison: "The Abominable Skunk Ape!"
The Skunk Ape, in a voice that sounds like God with strep throat: "Abandon your folly, Misery Machine cretins! You have defied my will. Surrender to the power of the Skunk Ape and his 'toon limits."
(The van screeches to a halt on the side of the road to avoid hitting the Skunk Ape, and the passenger-side tires slide into the ditch. The doors fly open, and the gang spill out in a mad panic.)
Lumpy: "Everybody run for your lives! The Abominable Skunk Ape is after us!"
(What ensues is a madcap high-speed chase, soundtracked by the groovy theme song, "Scoobie Moo, Where Are You?," as the characters run up and back down Kingston Pike and I-40, from downtown to Farragut, and also Broadway/Chapman Highway from Halls to South Knoxville. Soon it's unclear who's pursuing whom. After several minutes, all nine of them converge blindly on a single point in front of Knoxville Convention Center, all of them looking over their shoulders for fear that someone is coming up from behind. As they collide violently in a storm of stars and dust clouds, the music abruptly stops. There is an audible sigh of relief heard off-camera from members of Knoxville Tourism and Sports Corporation, who are thrilled that someone is finally meeting at the convention center.)
(As the dust clears, eight figures, including the Skunk Ape, lie prone, clustered in a dazed heap. Only Lumpy is standing, and he is now wearing a Friends of the NRA baseball cap, with a .380-caliber pistol in hand and pointed down at the Skunk Ape.)
Lumpy: "Hold it right there, Mr. Skunk Ape. I've got you covered!"
(A police cruiser comes out of nowhere and screeches to a halt in the street not far from the gang. An officer hops out of the car and rushes over to take charge.)
Fred: "Sheriff Tim! Just in time to take the Abominable Skunk Ape into custody."
Officer Tim: "Er, that's Deputy Tim now, son. These 'toon limits have been hell on all of us."
Lumpy, still holding his gun: "I'll say. But wait a minute. This is no Skunk Ape! It's somebody trying to scare us by wearing a Skunk Ape costume ."
Officer Tim: "Lumpy, I think you're right. Let's get a look at who's hiding behind that mask."
(Officer Tim pulls off the Skunk Ape mask, allowing everyone to see the real face of the man in the suit.)
All: "It's Mayor Ragsdale!"
Velma: "That explains everything. He was the one responsible for the 'toon limits in the first place."
Mayor Ragsdale, his unmasked face contorted into a scowl above his Skunk Ape suit: "I thought my plan was foolproof. I thought there was no way the viewers wouldn't support my 'toon limits. Curses! Foiled again!"
Lumpy: "Well, Mayor, I'm afraid you've once again underestimated the public's boundless capacity to not only accept, but embrace idiocy and numbing repetition. Have you ever watched this show before? It's terrible! The plots are formulaic, the characters are insipid, and the animation sucks. Yet kids come back and watch it again year after year, choosing Scoobie Moo even over better, fresher shows on other stations. Here on Scoobie Moo , we're not just providing kids with 30 minutes of lighthearted diversion on a Saturday morning. We're preparing them for an entire lifetime of preserving the mediocre status quo."
Scoobie Moo: "Rah-roh-ree-ruff-ruff-ruff!"
Lumpy: "Yeah, what he said, too."
(Officer Tim leads the sulking Mayor Ragsdale away, still wearing his Skunk Ape suit with no mask, hands cuffed behind his back. The scene fades and the credits run.)
Voiceover: "Tune in next time when Scoobie Moo and friends face the menace of the Ethical Hobgoblins, when you will hear Lumpy say, 'Gee, Scoob, this bowl of chili from the PTO supper sure tastes good.'"