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Creator of cartoon favourites dies

IWAO TAKAMOTO, the animator who created the cartoon dogs Scooby-Doo and Muttley, has died aged 81.

During his career, which spanned six decades, Takamoto's favourite subject was dogs; his work on the Disney cartoon film 101 Dalmatians in 1961 was of particular note amongst his peers.

At the time of his death, the animator, who also worked on The Flintstones and The Jetsons, was a Vice President at Warner Bros, who producved many of the cartoon shows that Takamoto had worked on over the years.

He said his inspiration for Scooby Doo came after meeting a Great Dane breeder. After studying pictures of a Great Dane, he cast aside the important physical characteristics of the breed, such as straight back, small chin and straight legs in favour of a caricature style representation with bowed legs and big chin… and a manic appetite for Scooby snacks.

Muttley was created as the sniggering canine sidekick to the villainous Dick Dastardly in the series ‘Wacky Races’ and later ‘Dastardly and Muttley in their Flying Machines’ Unlike Scooby Doo, Muttley never really spoke, but his muttering and sniggering voice was provided by Don Messick, acting as the perfect comic foil to Dastardly, who believed himself to be a high-flying master criminal, whilst all of his schemes came to nothing.

Iwao Takamoto’s death comes only weeks after that of Joseph Barbera, the co-founder of Hanna-Barbera with whom Takamoto had worked.