What a Night for a Knight

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What a Night for a Knight
Black Knight in his eyes.png
Premiere date: September 13, 1969
Music composed by: Ted Nichols
Writers: Joe Ruby and Ken Spears
Directors: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
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"What a Night for a Knight" is the first episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! season one. It aired on September 13, 1969 on CBS. It was written by Joe Ruby and Ken Spears, the creators of the show, and produced and directed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, the co-founders of Hanna-Barbera Productions.

Mystery Inc. has to return a misplaced suit of knight's armor back to the museum, where they are informed that it is haunted, which leads to an investigation of art forgery.

Detailed summary

Professor Hyde White is driving a pick-up down a road during the night, unaware that the suit of dark armor in the back has come to life and left its containment. Its eyes glow yellow from inside its helmet as it watches the driver.

Close by, Scooby and Shaggy are walking home, with the latter complaining that they're out so late because the former had to see Star: Dog Ranger of the North Woods, twice; Scooby is still excited from it. Just then, they hear rustling from the bushes. Scooby pokes his head in and when he takes it out, a frog is on his nose. When it jumps off, Scooby gets annoyed, barking and giving chase. Shaggy quickly follows behind. Scooby eventually comes to a stop when he loses it. Shaggy doesn't have time to stop and trips over him. They notice the same pick-up truck from before, now abandoned. When they go for a closer look, they see the lifeless suit of dark armor in the driver seat. The two are quickly scared off once its head falls off.

They return with the rest of their group to properly examine it. Fred comments on why a knight's suit of armor would be out alone in the middle of the night in the driver seat of a truck. Shaggy jokes that maybe he's out for the night. Velma chides him for his joke, as Daphne wonders who it belongs to. Fred reads: "Deliver to Jameson Hyde White: Prof. of Archaeology, London, England." Shaggy makes another joke about having heard of hide and seek, but not "Hyde White". Velma says that is an English name. Daphne also finds a delivery slip reading: "Deliver to the County Museum."

The next day, the gang travels to the museum, where they deliver the knight to the museum curator, Mr. Wikles. He thanks them, but fears that perhaps it wasn't a good idea with Professor Hyde White disappearing. He goes on to explain the legend of the Black Knight and how it comes to life when the moon is full. Velma asks him what Professor Hyde White was doing with it (despite having already found out beforehand), and replies that the professor was delivering it to the museum all the way from England. As this is going on, they don't notice the knight's glowing eyes. Two workers begin to move the crate, one of them asking Mr. Wikles where to put it. He tells them to put it in the medieval room. As Scooby follows the workers, he finds a strange pair of glasses. He picks them up, as Daphne calls him, while Fred says they're leaving.

While driving downtown, Velma says that the mystery has her baffled, and has got Shaggy hungry, asking when they can eat? Scooby pops his head up, in agreement, while still wearing the glasses he found. The others notice, and realize he must have found them at the museum. Shaggy wonders what they're for, with Fred suggesting they go to the library to find out.

At the library, they read a book that says that the glasses are for jewelers, scientists, and archaeologists like Professor Hyde White. It also says they're made in England. These two clues indicate that something is definitely up, and the gang plan on returning to the museum to investigate.

The gang return to the museum at night and break in through an upper window. They split up and look for clues, not knowing that spooky eyes in an Indian effigy are watching them. Scooby, Shaggy, and Velma bump into the Black Knight and have a brief altercation. Scooby runs into the fossil exhibit and begins gnawing on the bone, but is chased by the Knight. He meets up with Shaggy and the two find one of the paintings is missing. He informs the gang, but when they return, the painting is back on the wall. Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby follow a trail of paint to a hidden room behind a sarcophagus and find the room full of finished and unfinished paintings. The Knight appears and chases the gang into the relic room, where Fred and the girls hide inside a Second World War armored tank while Scooby and Shaggy hide in a First World War biplane. Scooby accidentally flips the power, and the plane roars to life, flying erratically around the room (even losing both wings in the process) until it finally crashes, taking the Knight down with it. The Knight is unmasked as... Mr. Wikles, the curator! He was part of a smuggling ring; he would steal and sell the real paintings, and then create fake paintings and put them back on the wall (that explained the hidden room, the missing painting, and the paint drops on the floor). Mr. Wikles knew that Professor Hyde White would know that the paintings were faked, so he kidnapped him and thought up this Black Knight ruse. Professor Hyde White is later found tied up in the Indian effigy.

Once freed, he discusses the events with the gang about there being no legend and that Wikles just used it to cover up his mysterious disappearance, explaining he somehow got in the armor and made him disappear on the way to the museum. Suddenly they see the Black Knight in the museum office. He lifts up the helmet and is revealed to be Scooby-Doo; the whole gang laughs.

Memorable quotes

Shaggy: What a nervous night to be walking home from the movies, Scooby-Doo, and all because you had to stay and see Star: Dog Ranger of the North Woods, twice.


Scooby: Hyde White?
Shaggy: I've heard of hide-and-seek before, but never Hyde White.
Velma: That's an English name, you comedians.


Fred: Well, gang. Looks like we're up to our armor plates in another mystery.


Shaggy: Leave it to Daphne to pick the wrong door!

Characters

Legend
Character debut Speaking debut Ep. debut No lines Mentioned

In order of appearance:

Character Actor
Professor Jameson Hyde White Don Messick
Black Knight John Stephenson
Shaggy Rogers Casey Kasem
Scooby-Doo Don Messick
Frog Unavailable
Daphne Blake Stefanianna Christopherson
Fred Jones Frank Welker
Velma Dinkley Nicole Jaffe
Mr. Wikles Unavailable
Delivery man #1 John Stephenson
Delivery man #2 N/A
Sheriff Don Messick


Organizations

Locations

Objects

Vehicles

Production

Development

In storyboards and his model sheet, Jameson Hyde White is instead referred to as "James Hyde White". The storyboard also describes him as being from England, but gives him a fetish in cowboy attire.[1][2][3]

Music

The theme song's lyrics were written by David Mook, while Ben Raleigh wrote the music, which was performed by Larry Marks. The score was composed by Ted Nichols, who was credited as the musical director.

Release

Dates are in order of release:

  • United States: September 13, 1969 at 10:30 am on CBS

Behind the scenes

  • The opening and closing titles for this episode and "A Clue for Scooby Doo", 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 new composition by Ben Raleigh following lyrics written by David Mook. The original theme was unheard of 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.
  • The gang's names are revealed in the following order: Scooby, Shaggy, Daphne, and Velma. Fred is not named in this episode. Storyboards referred to him as "Ronnie", one of his working names.[4]
  • Daphne's the first character to say the famous quote, "Scooby-Doo, where are you?"
  • The scene with Scooby shivering and using his paws to close his mouth is essentially reused in "A Night of Fright is No Delight", except it takes place in the bedroom with Fred and Shaggy.

Errors

  • There is no one driving the truck in the first scene.
  • As Shaggy and Scooby are running after seeing the lifeless armor's head fall off, Shaggy's mouth moves, but he doesn't say anything.
  • Scooby pops up behind the gang while riding in the Mystery Machine, only he appears to be between Daphne and the back seat.
  • When Velma says, "Now look what that dog did! He knows I can't see without my glasses!", the end of her sleeve briefly flashes the color of her skin.
  • When Velma loses her glasses, she mistakes the knight for Shaggy and hearing the knight's raspy voice, she tries to give the Knight cough syrup, thinking it's Shaggy. Shaggy enters and takes the cough syrup. A few scenes later, with no time for Velma to find her glasses, she has her glasses back on.
  • The red plume on the knight's head disappears and reappears a few times during the episode.
  • After the entire gang exclaims Professor Hyde White's name while at the library, Daphne, Fred, and Scooby's eyes move left slightly before promptly returning to their normal spots.
  • When Fred raises the car jack to its limit, the grooved part is so long, it couldn't have fit into the jack in the first place.
  • When Freddy grabs that jack, his arm is certainly long.
  • Although the Black Knight casts a long shadow over Scooby, Scooby himself casts no shadow at all. 
  • The hidden door inside the mummy case is a different shape the second time it is seen.
  • The plane flies very well without wings for one scene.
  • When the gang exits the relic room, the background shows the same vehicles in the next room.
  • When the gang reacts to seeing the Black Knight again in the office room (before Scooby opens up the visor), Daphne's entire eyes disappear as she blinks.
  • When Velma says "So that's what the Black Knight was after," her mouth doesn't move.
  • Shaggy and Scooby go and investigate the car with the knight in, which, in later episodes, is something they would run from. It is possible that the writers were still setting up the formula and setting the scene for the series, but it is strange Shaggy and Scooby went to investigate it without being told to do so by Fred, Daphne or Velma, especially on such a "spooky" night.
  • Mr. Wikles appeared shorter than the Black Knight. Nothing was ever explained of how he made himself look taller.
  • There were two full moons in a row. Then again, the second one could have been a blue moon.
  • When Mr. Wikles was explaining about the legend, the camera moved to the Black Knight, showing its eyes lighting. This wouldn't make sense since Mr. Wikles was the Black Knight.
  • Velma asks Mr. Wikles about Professor Hyde White's role in delivering the Black Knight when she already knew full what it was. This was done either to remind the audience or to inform the new ones just tuning in, or of course, both.
  • Fred is able to see at the top window of the museum, not only in the dark but standing right up to the wall. Unless he's familiar with the place.
  • There must be little worry of burglaries since the windows have no glass.
  • This is the beginning of the gang's carelessness of not following the "no breaking and entering" rule. The window was "open", but it's still the same.
  • The ladder that Shaggy uses is way too long to fit in the Mystery Machine.
  • How is it possible for a plane inside a museum exhibit to be turned on and flown? Plus, even with the armor protecting him, Mr. Wikles would likely have been killed by the plane's impact.
  • It is never revealed what Mr. Wikles was planning to do with Professor Hyde White after kidnapping him.
  • Mr. Wikles hides Professor Hyde White, who is bound and gagged, under a large mask and blanket. The eyes of the mask are shown to move and blink while the Professor is behind it, implying that those are his eyes moving and blinking. However, the eye holes on the mask are much too far apart for the Professor to look through them both at the same time. In addition, while he is bound, he is not actually tied to anything, so he should have been perfectly capable of moving his body to get the attention of the kids. He should've also been able to make sounds as well.
  • Things are all too conveniently set up for there to be a real mystery to solve.
    • It would have been far less complicated if the suit of armor and Professor Hyde White had traveled to the museum separately. The way it looks, it's as if Professor Hyde White, an archaeologist, was merely being used as a delivery service to bring the suit of armor all the way from England to the County Museum. But if it was that simple then it wouldn't have had the two messages. The one on the crate could be to identify who it belonged to, but that doesn't explain why he needed a letter to go to the County Museum. From an in-universe perspective, it's possible the letter had a specific address if he wasn't working there to begin with, but the message on the crate said it needed to be delivered to him. It seems a lot of fuss went over a simple suit of armor unless it belonged to someone of importance. If it had been sent all the way to England and Professor Hyde White took it with him to America, then the first note on the crate with his name on it (which is presumably supposed to be a form of address, although if it were, it would be a lot more specified than just "London, England") would've been already replaced by another mailing address by airplane since it couldn't have traveled all the way from England by train. The fact that the gang had the convenience of finding those two addresses is fundamental to directing their mystery to begin with (other than just finding the suit of armor), otherwise, they'd just be stuck with the armor and wouldn't know what to do with it, except for calling the sheriff. (They would've likely deduced it needed to be taken to the County Museum itself, anyway.)
    • Professor Hyde White said that Mr. Wikles somehow got into the armor and down to the train station which is a mystery itself as he would have surely been caught in the time it would have taken to open the crate and then put the armor on himself and then close the crate up.
    • It isn't explained how while Professor Hyde White was driving, Mr. Wikles was able to get him gagged and bound to the museum. He must've at least either had the professor stop the car by scaring him and then either he fainted from shock or Mr. Wikles had to knock him out, then drive all the way to the museum, then gag, bound, and hide the professor away, and then finally drive the pick-up truck back to a reasonable spot back where Professor Hyde White had been driving or Mr. Wikles had him gagged, bound, and hidden after Professor Hyde White had driven all the way to the museum. The two museum workers might have helped along the way since it seems too elaborate for Mr. Wikles to do it all himself.
  • It's unknown how the delivery workers were caught. The only logical explanation would be is that Mr. Wikles ratted them out so he wouldn't take the fall himself.
  • When the gang finds the weird glasses Scooby took from the museum, instead of returning them like good citizens, they detour to the library to do some research on them. 
  • That mousy-looking curator certainly is strong. Not only does he run all around the museum in full armor, but he lifts a table with Shaggy and Scooby hanging under it and throws it with considerable force, even though the entire load has got to weigh around 300 lbs! Of course, after he throws Shaggy and Scooby against the wall, they are shown landing facing the top of the table instead of the underside, though it's entirely possible Shaggy and Scooby were impossibly quick enough to get on the other side of the table and to safety.
  • Scooby tackles Shaggy and knocks him down the hall, where he notices a missing painting. While they leave to bring the others, the painting is returned to its place. Just how far away did Scooby and Shaggy go to give Mr. Wikles time to replace it?
  • When Scooby tackles Shaggy and knocks him down, they are right by the gang. But then when they point out the painting is missing, the gang is far away. That scene doesn't last very long, so they don't have time to get away from Shaggy and Scooby.
  • Apparently, there is no night watchman in this museum, though Velma forces Scooby to be quiet anyway. 
  • The Black Knight puts his fist through a painting; one can only hope it's one of the forgeries. 
  • One area of the museum is called the relic room. This is awfully vague... aren't all museum exhibits considered relics? Besides, the room is filled with vehicles. Shouldn't it be called the transportation room or something?
  • When Scooby puts on the armor at the end of the episode, the hands have morphed to fit his paws.

Everlasting influence

  • This episode has been adapted several times in the following decades:
  • In the Johnny Bravo episode "Bravo Dooby-Doo", one of Jebidisa Bravo's disguises was of Hyde White.
  • Other DC comics reveal that Scooby's favorite film, Star: Dog Ranger of the North Words, also got a handful of sequels in Scooby-Doo #33, in a story entitled "Return of the Star Dog", and "The Black Knight Returns" in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #103, the latter of which also revolves around a reboot. In homage, the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "It's Mean, It's Green, It's the Mystery Machine", has Scooby and Shaggy leave the theater after having watched Return of Astro Mutt: Space Dog of the Future.
  • In DC Comics' Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? #48, a story called "Tiki Taboo Trouble", has Shaggy keep a newspaper report of the Black Knight case, described as Mystery Inc.'s first case.
  • The title is given an homage in the title of Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? episode "What a Night, for a Dark Knight!", which was directed as the pilot episode, but broadcast as the thirteenth. Then, in "Ollie Ollie In-Come Free!" and "The 7th Inning Scare", the character model of Hyde White is used for the antique dealer, and Macklemore somehow had a photo of the gang looking at the screen while discovering a clue, respectively.

Critical reception

In other languages

Language Name Meaning
French La Nuit du Chevalier The Night of the Knight
Greek Η Παράξενη Νύχτα του Ιππότη The Strange Night of the Knight
Hungarian Fekete éjben fekete lovag Black knight in a black night
Italian Che notte per un cavaliere What a night for a knight
Polish Noc w muzeum A night in the museum
Swedish Den svarte riddaren The Black Knight
Brazilian
Portuguese
O Fantasma do Cavaleiro Negro The Ghost of the Black Knight

Home availability

References