Ken Spears has passed away. He was 82-years old. Spears is arguably best-known for co-creating Scooby-Doo alongside his partner Joe Ruby. Spears passed away on Friday, November 6th, which is less than 3 months from Ruby, who passed away in late August of this year. Together, the duo formed Ruby-Spears Productions and changed the world of animation, along with their work for Hanna-Barbera.
The news of Ken Spears’ passing was announced by his son, Kevin Spears. He died peacefully in Brea, California, of complications from Lewy body dementia. “Ken will forever be remembered for his wit, his story-telling, his loyalty to family, and his strong work ethic,” said Kevin. “Ken has not only made a lasting impression on his family, but he has touched the lives of many as co-creator of Scooby-Doo Ken has been a role model for us throughout his life and he will continue to live on in our hearts.” The work of Spears and Joe Ruby continues to be celebrated and picked up by new generations.
While Scooby-Doo has been a household name since 1969, Ken Spears and Joe Ruby weren’t too sure if their creation had what it took to be a success. “We were worried it wouldn’t last but one season, much less 38 years,” Spears said in a 2007 interview. “It was up against The Hardy Boys on NBC, and we thought we’d get clobbered in the ratings.” Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! proved to be a hit right from the start and it has continued to be ever since, with new versions of the character, along with Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers.
In addition to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!, Ken Spears and Joe Ruby were also behind Dynomutt and Jabberjaw for Hanna-Barbera, in addition to The Barkleys and The Houndcats for DePatie-Freleng. They went on to produce some of the most influential animated shows in history, including Superman, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Fangface, Mister T, The Plastic Man Comedy-Adventure Hour, Thundarr the Barbarian, and Saturday Supercade. Back in the day, Spears and Ruby were involved with everything having to do with Scooby-Doo. Spears explains.
“We created the original series in late 1968 that first aired on CBS in 1969 and was reordered for 1970. There were a total of 25 episodes which we wrote the first five and either wrote or story edited the rest. So once you create the show you are always its creator, no matter how many other versions are produced.”
Warner Bros. has the rights to Scooby-Doo and they have gone on to make some decisions that Ken Spears and Joe Ruby weren’t exactly into over the years. According to Spears, “Scoobert wasn’t our doing. We don’t know who came up with that. We wouldn’t have.”
Ruby added, “Neither was Scrappy Doo. We didn’t like him either.” It appears that the duo never liked the name Scoobert or the character of Scrappy Doo. Regardless, the world continues to love both characters. The news of Ken Spears’ death was first announced by The Hollywood Reporter.