Horror fans may not be familiar with the name Joe Ruby, but he may have been responsible for their first forays into the genre–with an unlikely cartoon character.
Ruby–who created Scooby-Doo and the iconic Mystery, Inc. gang with Ken Spears–passed away this week at the age of 87, according to Variety. It was reported he passed away of natural causes in Westlake Village, Calif.
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! debuted in 1969 on CBS, with the original show running for 41 episodes over three seasons. Branching out from those humble beginnings, the lovable Great Dane and friends Shaggy, Velma, Daphne and Fred went on to have innumerable adventures through the years, with several of them leading Mystery, Inc, into the realm of animated horror.
The most recent scary scenario for the intrepid group–as reported here in Horror News Network–will be the upcoming Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo! from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. In this film, slated for Digital and DVD this fall, Scooby and pals encounter Elvira and the Batman villain Scarecrow.
Other horror-themed films starring Ruby’s prized creations include: Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island (1998); Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost (1999); Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire (2003); Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004); and Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy (2014).
It also was reported that Ruby-Spears Productions–founded by the duo in 1977–was responsible for the animated sequence in the 1988 horror classic Child’s Play, the film that introduced the world to the demonic doll Chucky.
Ruby–who studied art before landing a job as an animator at Walt Disney Productions–went on to a position at Hanna-Barbera Productions, where he teamed up with Spears to create their famous cartoon family. The rest–as they say–is history.
Ruby is survived by his wife of 63 years, Carole, and his four children and 10 grandchildren.
The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.