In December we reported the death of Joseph Barbera, of the Hanna-Barbera animation studios. Now comes the sad news of the demise of Iwao Takamoto, the Hanna-Barbera animator who designed Scooby-Doo. Takamoto was 81 when he died on Monday of heart failure.
Takamoto always freely admitted that he bastardized the breed when he created Scooby. According to The Independent, the animator actually interviewed a Great Dane expert about “the straight back, straight legs, small chin and other features of a great Dane,” then pointedly reversed everything he learned. “I decided to go the opposite and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, big chin and such… Even his colour is wrong.” (Ironically, the same criteria were used when Hollywood designed another famous character.)
Takamoto also created the dogs Astro (from The Jetsons) and Muttley (from The Wacky Races). Not to speak ill of the creative powers of the dead, but that does explain why Astro and Scooby-Doo seemed like pretty much the exact same character, and why all three “talked” the same. (Didn’t help that all were voiced by the same guy.)
Well, Gilbert Stuart did his repeated portraits of George Washington, after all. Why shouldn’t Iwao Takamoto be able to dash off the same pooch over and over? Best wishes to you Mr. Takamoto, wherever you are!