Without Iwao Takamoto, Saturday morning cartoon audiences in the 1970s and 1980s might have been treated to a show called The Mysterious Five, featuring the adventures of a teenage rock band and their sheepdog Too Much.
Thanks to the efforts of one of American television's foremost animators, however, the sheepdog morphed into a distinctly unorthodox great Dane whose name came from an ad-lib Frank Sinatra once did at the end of "Strangers in the Night": scooby-dooby-doo.
Takamoto, who died on Monday at the age of 81, enjoyed a six-decade-long animation career, first with Disney and then with Hanna-Barbera, creating characters such as Astro, the dog on The Jetsons, and Muttley and Penelope Pitstop from The Wacky Races. He will almost certainly be best remembered, however, for Scooby-Doo, the cowardly dog detective who always finds his courage when a snack is in the offing.
When he was assembling ideas for the character, Takamoto talked to a dog breeder on the Warner Brothers lot and learnt all about the straight back, straight legs, small chin and other features of a great Dane. He then proceeded to ignore every one of these. "I decided to go the opposite and gave him a hump back, bowed legs, big chin and such," he said. "Even his colour is wrong."Reuse content