- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

CHOUTEAU, Okla. (AP) - Matthew Davis could be the biggest Scooby-Doo fan on the planet. His bedroom is slam full of Scooby items, including about 100 DVDs that he watches on a big screen TV near a bed covered with Scooby pillows and Scooby blankets.

Matthew watches Scooby-Doo every day and he has seen his DVDs so many times that he can often tell you what a character is going to say or do before they do it, the Tulsa World (https://bit.ly/1GeHXr6 ) reported.

On the day when news organizations visited to come to get a look at the Scooby collection, Matthew dressed appropriately for the occasion. He wore an ascot (you know, like Fred) which was given to him by an uncle.

“He would wear that thing every day if I would let him,” Matthew’s mother, Lesha Davis, said.

The next time Matthew’s bedroom is due for a makeover, he wants it painted like the Mystery Machine, of which there are several replicas around his room. Sometimes, he likes to wear a Scooby costume when he accompanies mom to the grocery store.

Matthew is 16. He has Down syndrome. His world revolves around Scooby-Doo. A doctor recently asked Matthew what he wants to do when he gets older. His answer was “solve mysteries.”

Maybe Matthew can crack the biggest mystery Scooby-Doo has yet to solve: What’s the secret of Scooby’s popularity?

Viewers know how episodes will end because the formula is the same.

“I would have gotten away with it if weren’t for you meddling kids.”

“And meddling dog,” Matthew adds when the subject is broached.

But people tune in to watch the mysteries unravel anyway, and they’ve been doing so since 1969, when “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?” premiered as part of CBS’ Saturday morning programming.

New tales have been produced in each decade since, creating fresh waves of Scooby fans, and there’s no end in sight. A new series - “Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!” - is scheduled to debut on the Boomerang cartoon channel in the fall.

Why does Scooby appeal to viewers? Why does he have staying power?

“I wish I could tell because I would make another cartoon just like it,” former Scooby-Doo animator Tom Cook said during an interview at a Wizard World pop culture convention last year.

Cook (who speculated that it must drive writers crazy trying to come up with new ideas when story outcomes are predetermined) guessed that Scooby’s success may have something to do with the relationship between Shaggy and Scooby.

Consultation with the world’s No. 1 Scooby fan suggests Cook is close to hitting the target.

Hey, Matthew. Why do you like Scooby so much? “Because they are all best friends,” he said, clarifying that Scooby is a best friend and a “best dog.”

Is Scooby the best thing ever to “happen” to Matthew?

When Matthew was a baby and it was confirmed he had Down syndrome, his parents came to the realization that Matthew was not going to be the type of kid who could fall in love with, for instance, playing sports.

“And when he started loving Scooby so much, this is his sport, kind of,” his mother said. “That’s his obsession. So it made us feel a lot better that he would be actually into something so much.”

Elmo of “Sesame Street” fame was Matthew’s first TV love. One day his mother was flipping through channels, and Matthew caught a glimpse of the cartoon with you-know-who. Mom monitored his reaction (“dog!”) and surfed back to Scooby-Doo. Matthew was 2 at the time. He and Scooby have been besties ever since.

Mom said Matthew started talking more after he became a Scooby watcher. He learned to write words other than his name by looking at things like Scooby DVD cases. He signs his name Matthew Scooby Doo Davis on school papers. He almost always has a pencil and a Scooby book in his possession. Mom will tell you Scooby aided in Matthew’s development (he memorized which DVDs he owns) and sparked his imagination.

“He’s very observant now when we go places because he says he is looking for clues,” she said.

It became necessary for Mom to get a new car, and Matthew was upset because she purchased a “normal” car instead of a Mystery Machine. Consolation prize: The new car gave Matthew a mystery to solve. A raccoon walked on the car and left prints. Matthew said the “meddling kids” and Scooby will find that raccoon. He let it be known that he’s available to solve any mystery, even if there’s a monster involved.

“I was kind of worried when he was younger that he might get scared of the monsters and stuff, but he has never been,” his mother said. “At one time, when we first moved into this house, he was worried that there was a monster in his closet, but then he realized Scooby would solve the mystery and he would just take off the mask, so he has never been really scared of monsters because of the movies.”

Because Scooby-Doo touches Matthew in a way that nothing else does, family members are “all in” when it comes to the relationship. They’re always on the prowl for Scooby merchandise, and that’s how he wound up with (all of these are Scooby branded) wall hangings, stuffed animals, a clock, a coin bank, a wallet, two castle play sets (for action figures), a remote control car, lunch boxes, drink cups, curtains, a telephone, dominoes and Valentine’s Day cards, which are unopened because Matthew didn’t want them opened.

Matthew’s mother said she considered buying a $300 van from a salvage lot so he could have a Mystery Machine to explore in the yard.

Matthew said the Scooby item he wants but does not yet own is a “booby trap.” Mom said a relative is trying to figure out a way to build Matthew a trap like the one Scooby and the gang use to catch bad guys. He’ll sometimes re-enact the end of Scooby adventures and pretend to unmask family members. Mom is Velma. Sister is Shaggy.

Of course, Matthew can do a Scooby impression: “Scooby say, ‘Ruh-roh, Raggy, there’s a roast!’”

The words create smiles all around.

“I see how happy he gets with Scooby and I about cry sometimes, just because of the look on his face when he sees something new or he gets a new toy or a new Scooby,” his mother said, indicating that something as simple as a Scooby napkin can brighten his day. “His face, he is like, ‘Oh, thank you, Mama.’ He gets so excited. It makes me happy that he is so happy.”

Mom said Matthew was “just in heaven” the day he attended a performance of “Scooby-Doo Live!” She said her mother-in-law escorted Matthew to the show, and he got moist eyes when Scooby came on stage. “He was just so starstruck, you know?”

The mother of Scooby-Doo’s No. 1 fan was asked if there is anything she would like to say to the people responsible for creating Scooby tales.

Two words: Thank you.

“Just because Matthew is so passionate about it,” she said. “Just thank you for putting something into his life like that.”


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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