A Clue for Scooby-Doo

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A Clue for Scooby-Doo
Scooby pulls out Cutler's ghost.png
Premiere date: September 20, 1969
Starring: Don Messick
Casey Kasem
Stefanianna Christopherson
Nicole Jaffe
Frank Welker
Jean Vander Pyl
Music composed by: Ted Nichols
Writers: Joe Ruby
Ken Spears
Directors: William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
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Title card
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"A Clue for Scooby-Doo" is the second episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! season one. It aired on September 20, 1969 on CBS. It was written by series creators, Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, and produced and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the founders of Hanna-Barbera Productions.

A case of missing ships caused by a ghostly deep-sea diver provides the gang their next mystery.

Detailed summary

Mysterious glowing footprints appear along the shore of Rocky Point Beach. As a wave washes them out, the scene pans to a mysterious glowing diver, who slowly disappears back into the sea.

The gang arrives at Rocky Point Beach and begins cooking hot dogs and dancing while Scooby goes surfing. He begins paddling along the sea when he paddles into a mysterious object, which he pulls up revealing it as the glowing diver. Scooby quickly dashes back onshore and tackles Shaggy, telling the gang about the ghost. They themselves catch sight of the diver and Shaggy runs and hides behind a rock, having run into an umbrella on the way. The rest of the gang catches up and Velma convinces Shaggy to come out of the umbrella. Shaggy hesitates after he's seen "what he saw", and the rest of the gang watch as the ghost again disappears back into the sea.

The gang heads to the malt shop and reads a news article about another yacht mysteriously disappearing and how the sheriff and the coast guard are baffled by the "mysterious disappearances". Ebenezer Shark, in the said article, reveals the diver as the ghost of Captain Cutler.

The gang pays a visit to Ebenezer Shark himself, who reveals that Captain Cutler was in a yacht accident that took his life and sunk him down into the Graveyard of Ships and that his ghost is back for revenge, stealing yachts from the marina.

Scooby falls into a hole where he discovers a diving suit, which he mistakes for again being the ghost. It falls on him and he growls again and again until he gets the gang's attention. Ebenezer Shark then suggests visiting Captain Cutler's wife in the lighthouse if they want more answers.

The gang split up this way: Fred and Daphne keep an eye on Ebenezer Shark, and Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby go up to the lighthouse and visit Captain Cutler's wife. There, they find she practices witchcraft, and they find mysterious cans, one of them containing hyena laughs. While looking at a book with Velma, Shaggy is frightened off by Captain Cutler's wife greeting him, which also frightens Scooby.

Captain Cutler's wife explains how she and her witchcraft brought Captain Cutler back from his "watery grave", and that if she had known he'd take his revenge, he would've been kept down in the said "watery grave".

Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby leave the lighthouse and find a clue: glowing seaweed, which Shaggy at first mistakes for being the ghost due to it appearing to move by itself. They follow it towards a drainpipe, and order Scooby-Doo to go in. Scooby tries passing himself off as being too fat, but Velma doesn't buy it and instead gets Scooby to change his mind with a Scooby Snack.  Once he goes in, Scooby manages to retrieve the glowing seaweed from a mouse that was making it appear to move on its' own.

The gang get back together and discuss the seaweed they found, revealing it's only found in the Graveyard of Ships, and that maybe the ghost himself could be found there too. They take a boat and drive to the Graveyard of Ships, where several wrecked ships are, and find a bottle with a note in it. The note is revealed to just say "No deposit, no return". They then see a boat moving by itself with no one aboard and the motor not running and decide to follow it until it disappears behind a cove, meaning the gang has run into a dead-end, so they turn around and drive back to the Graveyard of Ships.

The four teens are ready to dive, but Scooby is hesitant to do so and is therefore high up on a wrecked ship. Shaggy decides to get him down and does so successfully, only he himself gets caught on the rope and plummets down with Scooby. Scooby lands on a barrel but Shaggy manages to wreck a hole in one of the ships as he crashes right through it.

The gang begins swimming and split up again, but differently: Shaggy and Scooby go in the opposite direction, and Fred, Daphne, and Velma will continue going in the current direction.

Fred, Daphne, and Velma discover a body inside the cabin of a wrecked yacht, which they theorize might be Captain Cutler until Fred reveals that the diving suit is old-fashioned, meaning the body had been down there for 100 years. Just as Fred concludes his reveal, the ghost appears and locks the trio inside the cabin, and runs off. The trio then realizes they're locked in when they're unable to get the door open.

Shaggy and Scooby spot the ghost heading toward them, and Scooby inflates his diving suit to make himself look fat. Unappreciative of this, Shaggy punctures the suit sending Scooby hurtling through the Graveyard of Ships, hitting the ghost along the way. A steering wheel of a wrecked ship catches Scooby and he's sent in the opposite direction, wrecking through another wrecked ship, and ends up in a room where several scuba tanks are being stored. Scooby then realizes he's found a clue and quickly swims out of the room.

As Shaggy wonders where Scooby is, Scooby slams through a door, which in turn slams into him. Scooby tells Shaggy he's found a clue, before being chased away by the ghost. They go onto a wrecked ship, where Shaggy assumes a cannon is loaded and he can light it with a match. However, it doesn't work out for him and he realizes that matches don't light underwater. The duo then begins swimming away from the ghost again and hangs on to two separate wrecked ships. After scaring off a fish, Scooby yet again sees the ghost, and the duo again begins swimming just as the ghost is about to grab Scooby. The duo crash down the door to the cabin the trio was trapped in and then begin discussing the ghost with the rest of the gang until Scooby brings up his aforementioned clue (the scuba tanks), exciting Daphne. He then leads the gang to where he found the clue: the aforementioned room inside the wrecked ship he'd wrecked into earlier.

Fred discovers glowing footprints like the ones at the beginning of the episode and the gang decides to follow them until they find the prints dead-end at the side of a cliff. Shaggy sits down but doesn't realize he's sitting on the button (shaped like a rock) that opens a secret entrance at the side of the cliff until it goes down and opens the door. The gang swims through it and ends up in an underground cavern, where they discover the yacht from earlier that had vanished into the cove.

The gang makes a trap for the ghost, which is to spray the ghost with sudsy water, making him slip, and send the ghost into the net. They start sounding a ship bell, whistle, and siren to lure the ghost to the trap. However, the plan doesn't work correctly but still catches the ghost as the hose gets out of control and sends Shaggy flying around with it. Scooby gets sudsed and hosed into a boat, which starts up by itself and sends Scooby hurtling around the cavern. Daphne cries out in worry about Scooby being unable to see where he's going. Scooby's boat eventually hits a dock and crashes into the ghost.

The ghost is then unmasked as a man whose identity is unknown until Shaggy finds some seaweed and puts it on him as an imitating beard, therefore revealing the man as Captain Cutler. He and his wife spread the phony story about Captain Cutler dying so they could steal the yachts from the marina, which would then allow them to repaint and sell them. Cutler was storing extra scuba tanks in the Graveyard of Ships so he had spares when they were needed. The glowing seaweed Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby found made Cutler's diving suit glow.

With the gang reviewing the case at the malt shop, Scooby is able to sneakily drinks the gang's malts and then snickers after being questioned as to how he did it by Daphne before Scooby winks at the camera.

Memorable quotes

Fred: Here it is gang; Rocky Point Beach.
Daphne: What a groovy spot for a beach party.
Shaggy: Yeah, man. I can already taste those chocolate-covered hotdogs.
Velma: Yuck! His stomach must be made of scrap iron.
Shaggy: Can I help it if my first toy was a garbage disposal?

Shaggy: Did you see what I saw?
Fred: Yeah, we saw it, and we're going back to find out what it was.
Shaggy: Swell. I'll wait here. And when you find out, send me a telegram.

Shaggy: Velma, who do I know with long skinny hands?
Mrs. Cutler: Good evening.
Shaggy: Zoinks!


Character debut Speaking debut Ep. debut No lines Mentioned

In order of appearance:

Character Actor
Ghost of the Captain Cutler/Captain Cutler N/A
Fred Jones Frank Welker
Daphne Blake Stefanianna Christopherson
Shaggy Rogers Casey Kasem
Velma Dinkley Nicole Jaffe
Scooby-Doo Don Messick
Ebenezer Shark Don Messick
Mrs. Cutler Jean Vander Pyl
Mouse Don Messick







"A Clue for Scooby Doo" was produced as the third episode,[1] and has a unique title card just as the previous episode, which is perhaps why it was aired as the second episode. When first releasing this onto DVD, Warner Home Video would place it in production order.

The model sheet of the Ghost of Captain Cutler refers to him as just "Ghost Diver".[2]

Mrs. Cutler is much more frightening in the storyboards (mostly due to the fact that she's more ugly and creepy than just old and creepy).[3]


The theme song, "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" was performed by Larry Marks, with lyrics and music written by David Mook, while Ben Raleigh wrote the music, respectively. The rest of the music was composed by Ted Nichols, who was credited as the musical director.


Dates are in order of release:

  • United States: September 20, 1969 at 10:30 am on CBS

Behind the scenes

  • The opening and closing titles for this episode and "What a Night for a Knight" boasted different theme music composed by Ted Nichols, with a spooky feisty tune which is an extension of the sub-main title theme, complete with intro, bridge, and close. From the third episode ("Hassle in the Castle") on, the theme song was changed to a composition by Raleigh following lyrics written by Mook. The original theme was unheard for many years until the show's resurrection on USA's Cartoon Express in 1990 and was heard during its run on Cartoon Network until Turner decided to remaster all the episodes in 1998.
  • Velma's line, "veeeeery interesting!", was a catchphrase coined by Arte Johnson on the sketch series Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, which at the time of the episode's production, was one of the most popular TV series in the US.
  • Mrs. Cutler greets Shaggy and Scooby with "Good eveeeeeening!", which was Alfred Hitchcock's famous opening line from his long-running showcase series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
  • As a proud vegetarian, Casey Kasem insisted that Shaggy be a vegetarian after several years of providing the voice for the character. However, the animators could not obviously edit the already released episodes and in this episode, Shaggy is seen roasting hot dogs over the fire, although he seems to be cooking for everyone and it's never shown him actually eating them because of Scooby crashing into him.
    • The problem only applied when Kasem was voicing the character, since this wasn't an issue when he was voiced by Billy West, Scott Innes, etc.


  • When the gang talks about unloading the Mystery Machine, there are no lip movements, or any movements, for that matter.
  • The umbrella started off blue, but when Shaggy ran into it, it was red.
  • When Velma has the Witchcraft Made Easy book under her left arm, the title disappears.
  • The door of the locker disappears when the diving suit falls on Scooby.
  • When Shaggy says to Velma it's up to her to enter the lighthouse because he and Scooby are too afraid, the inside of his collar is skin-colored instead of green.
  • When Scooby is sitting on the bosun's chair, he is to the right of the rope, but when the rope is untied and catches Shaggy, Scooby is now to the left of the rope as he's falling.
  • When Scooby and Shaggy fall from the boat, the bosun's chair and rope are missing by the time they hit the water.
  • When Scooby says to Shaggy he's found a clue, the door they're next to is there. However, it disappears in the next shot.
  • When Shaggy grabs a bottle, his arm is bare, but before that, he was wearing his long-sleeved diving suit.
  • After Shaggy says he thought the underwater rock looked suspicious, then when he lowers it, his hair is the color of Fred's hair.
  • A plant in the foreground moves along with the gang as they swim.
  • The gang has an umbrella set up on the beach, yet even when they got there, the sky was murky; although it didn't appear to be cold. This is either a mistake or another example of them having no concept of time (or logic).
  • Interestingly, the mustard jar with its orange label looks exactly like Shaggy's cough syrup jar from the previous episode.
  • Shaggy probably couldn't be enveloped by the umbrella, without being seriously hurt by the wires inside. Even if he managed to avoid it, he couldn't possibly avoid the pain of his head poking through the top, with the ferrule in the way (which disappears when he does).
  • When Daphne says that the ghost has gone, while hiding behind the rocks, her scarf is much bigger than usual.
  • Velma mentions the lighthouse being creepy, yet technically she was referring to Mrs. Cutler's house, not the tower itself.
  • Shaggy knows Scooby is holding the canned hyena laughs without having even looked at the label.
  • Shaggy read the name of Mrs. Cutler's witchcraft book from the inside after Velma had already opened it. It's possible though that name was at the top of the page.
  • Even with the beard, Captain Cutler looks different in his portrait.
  • The Scooby Snack looks more like a cookie in this episode.
  • Velma says that only Scooby can squeeze through the drainpipe when, in fact, if Scooby can fit inside, then Velma or Shaggy could also fit just fine. It is possible she said this just to get Scooby to go.
  • It's unlikely that anyone in the gang could actually reach from the boat and grab the bottle with the note inside with their hand alone.
  • It would have been difficult (if not impossible) for the gang, and the ghost to stand, walk or run underwater.
  • There seems to be a lot of historically valuable salvage in the Graveyard of Ships, including a hundred-year-old corpse. Does anyone ever come back for it? 
  • Fred tries desperately to open the door of the sunken ship, but to no avail. He might have had better success if he braced his foot on the wall instead of the door he was trying to pull open. (Unbeknownst to Fred, the door opened by pushing).
  • Shaggy punctures Scooby's diving suit but Scooby shoots off in the direction of the puncture instead of away from it. The hole in Scooby's diving suit is never seen again and appears to cause no issues with his ability to breathe and function.
  • Shaggy and Scooby would have to have strong bodies for them to have crashed down the door to the cabin the rest of the gang were trapped in without possibly sustaining any injuries. 
  • After Shaggy opens the secret passage, the door is fairly low, but in the next shot showing it all of a sudden it's much higher allowing the gang to move through it freely unless the door was still opening and the gang was waiting until it was fully open to get through. 
  • Cutler was able to make glowing footprints off-screen, yet somehow he doesn't make them on-screen unless he had the ability to make the footprints appear whenever he wanted to. 
  • Shaggy says the cannon is loaded, but how can he tell?
  • Why does Shaggy carry matches in his diving suit?
  • When the gang arrives in the underground cavern, Scooby takes off his helmet to reveal it's full of water and there's even a fish. Normally, a diving helmet filling with water would be a cause for panic, yet it doesn't seem to disturb him. If the helmet was filled with water because of puncturing the suit earlier (see above), then somehow Scooby has managed to avoid drowning for quite a while.
  • When the gang spring the trap on the diver, the bottle with soap attached to the hose vanishes.
  • Velma points out the ramp to the others as if they had no idea how the trap was supposed to work. 
  • The cargo net in which they planned to trap the diver disappears.
  • Daphne cries out that Scooby can't see where he's going in the runaway boat; the soap suds aren't covering his eyes, and he's not trying to steer it.
  • When the diver is unmasked, Shaggy puts seaweed on the man's face and asks if it reminds anyone of the picture on Widow Cutler's wall. Fred, Daphne, and Velma all shout, "Captain Cutler", even though Fred and Daphne never even saw the picture, unless they both went to the lighthouse themselves off-screen.
  • At the end of the episode, Scooby drank most of Shaggy's drink but when he somehow drank up the rest of the gang's drinks, Shaggy's was filled up again.

Everlasting influence

The episode has been adapted several times throughout the next few decades, either fully or partially inspired:

  • The Ghost of Captain Cutler seems to have inspired other non-related ghostly deepsea divers such as the Ghost of Monsoon Max from Scholastic's Scooby-Doo! and the Deep-Sea Diver.
  • In the Saturday Night Live episode "Rob Lowe/Eminem," there is a skit about a fictional Crime TV program called Pros & Cons, which reports on Mr. Montgomery, a jailed felon, who allegedly dressed up as a ghost to scare people away from a run-down amusement park that had pirate treasure underneath. He was stopped by a group of "amateur detectives," who according to Warren "Shaggy" Shagowski, decided while in a malt shop that the law had gone soft and it was time to do something about it, especially after "dirtbags who get their jollies dressing as ape men or glowing deep sea divers."
  • When the Doctor wore a scuba diving suit in the Doctor Who book Dark Horizons, he said he would terrorize Scooby-Doo in reference to the ghost of Captain Cutler.
  • In Harley Quinn #64, Harley reads a comic book to her comatose mother in which the Justice League Dark has taken on the personas of Mystery Inc. as they investigate Rocky Point Beach for the ghost of Captain Cutler, which is interrupted by Harley trying to escape Lex Luthor, who reveals himself to be Captain Cutler's ghost.
  • Captain Cutler's ghost has a cameo at the end of the Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? episode "The Last Inmate!"
  • Grey Griffin takes on the guise of the ghost in the Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? episode "A Haunt of a Thousand Voices!"

Critical reception

In other languages

Language Name Meaning
Brazilian Portuguese Uma Pista para Scooby-Doo! A Clue for Scooby-Doo
French Elémentaire, Mon Cher Scoubidou! Elementary, My Dear Scooby-Doo!
Greek Ένα Στοιχείο για τον Σκούμπι Ντου A Clue for Scooby-Doo
Hungarian Scooby-Doo nyomra bukkan Scooby-Doo finds a clue
Italian Un indizio per Scooby-Doo A clue for Scooby-Doo
Polish Scooby-Doo na tropie Scooby-Doo on the trail
Swedish Havsspöket The Sea Ghost

Home availability