According to Wikipedia, Scooby-Doo's name comes from Frank Sinatra's scat line from the song Strangers in the Night. The song was released in 1966 and the first Scooby-Doo cartoon was released in 1969.

However, Sinatra's line is "doo-be-doo-be-doo" and has no "scoo" part as far as I can hear. I wonder where this came from. The 1968 song Picture Book by The Kinks has a line "a-scooby-dooby-doo" which is much closer to Scooby-Doo's name (and practically identical to his catchphrase "scooby-dooby-doo").

Was Scooby-Doo's name inspired more directly by somebody other than Sinatra? Perhaps The Kinks?

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    Asking the important questions.
    – Malekai
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 11:25

3 Answers 3


Here is a video of Fred Silverman, CBS' head of daytime programming back in 1969, discussing the creation of Scooby-Doo. Starting at about 1:40, he describes hearing "Strangers in the Night" while on a plane and conceiving the Scooby-Doo name on the spot:

On the plane, I couldn't sleep -- y'know, it was a Red-Eye, and I'm listening to music -- and as we're landing, as we're going in for the landing, Frank Sinatra comes on, and I hear him say "Scooby-dooby-doo", and it's at that point I said, "Yeah, that's it! We'll take the dog, we'll call him Scooby-Doo, move him up front, and it'll be the dog show!"

So this is about as authoritative as you can get: Scooby-Doo's name was inspired by the Frank Sinatra song, and not the Kinks song. As you note in the question, and as others have noted in the comments, "scooby-dooby-doo" may not have been the actual lyric, but having been listening to it through tinny 1960s speakers, Silverman clearly misheard it.

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    Here is a version by Sinatra that has the phrase at the end about 2:20 in the track. youtube.com/watch?v=h5h_EW4odWw
    – MaxW
    Commented Jun 18, 2019 at 18:23
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    @MaxW That very clearly sounds like "doo dee doo bee doo" to me, not "scoo bee doo bee doo". (Not even "doo bee doo bee doo".) I wonder if Silverman simply heard the song wrong, or remembered it wrong when he wrote it down. Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 0:57
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    @MaxW: That's the same URL the OP linked in the question. And yes, I can clearly hear Doo Dee not Scoo Bee like Tanner says. But over airplane headphones in the 1960s? Who knows! Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 2:21
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    People often mishear song lyrics -- there's even a word for it, mondegreen. I'm sure I've heard many others sing this line as "scooby-dooby-doo", but maybe it's because the cartoon has also entered the lexicon.
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 14:02
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    @TannerSwett - There's a whole website of what people think they hear in songs, so the fact that you hear it correctly in no way impacts what someone else thought they heard (that's a hilarious site, btw - kissthisguy.com) Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 15:52

Fred Silverman's explanation cited in F1Krazy's answer has always suffered from the fact - as noted in the comments - that Sinatra sings 'doo be doo be doo'.

(Frank, incidentally, reputedly described Strangers in the Night as 'the worst f*ing song I've ever heard' - but that's neither here nor there.)

Scoubidou is the name of a 1959 hit (in France) for Sacha Distel, who had to settle a copyright claim by Abel Meeropol, the songwriter of the original from which it had been adapted without permission.

(Something else that's neither here nor there, is that Meeropol was the adoptive father of the orphaned children of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg.)

It's not implausible that somebody wishing to avoid copyright problems might go to some effort to establish an alternative narrative.

This is, of course, entirely unsubstantiated.

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    There wouldn't be any copyright problems, you can't copyright a single word. You can trademark it, but I doubt there would be a conflict between a cartoon dog and a song title (unless the song is about a dog with the name).
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 19, 2019 at 14:04
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    It would also seem weird that someone trying to avoid any kind of legal claim from one singer would instead publicly admit to taking the name another singer. Regardless of whether any claim has merit, in doing so they'd just be setting themselves up for the exact kind of claim they were seeking to avoid. Better to just say he made the word up himself, if that were his intention.
    – delinear
    Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 13:20
  • "Scoubidou" is also a pastime consisting in creating lace structures out of (plastic) thread: Scoubidou. "It originated in France, where it became a fad in the late 1950s and has remained popular. It is named after the 1958 song of the same name by the French singer Sacha Distel." I don't think anyone ever cared about the fact that a Sacha Distel song name got re-purposed. Commented Jun 20, 2019 at 21:36
  • To be honest, I agree - although I would maintain that at least from the perspective of creative pride, there's a significant difference between being inspired by mishearing 'doo be doo' to invent 'Scooby Doo', and literally hearing 'scoubidou' and later using it as a name. But even that's drawing too long a bow. In any case, the tangents and side roads I found myself wandering down while reading about this stuff made my afternoon.
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jun 21, 2019 at 8:40

As a boy, Scoobydo was a knotting craft fad. We'd make these squared off plaited things with colorful, flexible wires. Nice. With that in mind, I googled, and got "Scoubidou (Craftlace, scoobies) is a knotting craft, originally aimed at children. It originated in France, where it became a fad in the late 1950s and has remained popular. It is named after the 1958 song of the same name by the French singer Sacha Distel." So who knows? Dooby doo Sinatra style, mistakenly heard as Scooby doo and voila! A hound is born!

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    Hi! This seems to be interesting theory but not backed up. Can you add some sources to back up your answer?
    – A J
    Commented Oct 1, 2020 at 5:06
  • Scoobydoo plaits were a well documented, worldwide fad in the 50's and 60's; the phrase came directly from a Sacha Distel hit single and through the dad, was in wide use by millions of kids in the states. The Archies had a hit single using that name just a few months before Fred's epipheny. It's no big deal, but Fred told the story much later in his life, and while he might well remember it as Sinatra inspired, it is more likely a little more complicated. As for sources, well, its just a theory meant to amuse. But whatever the "truth" is, the series was great' Commented Oct 2, 2020 at 4:25

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