It's that time of year when the days grow crisper and more colorful and pumpkins and mums are on every front porch. And that can only mean one thing... it's time for the new Scooby Doo straight to video release! This rite of autumn started for us when my oldest nephew was six. He and I were shopping at one of those big box stores when his eye fell upon a huge stack of VHS boxes, and he literally gasped. It was Scooby Doo and Zombie Island. "Aunt Tracey," he told me earnestly, "this time the monsters are real."
I did a double take myself at this nugget of information; child of the 70s that I am, it was hard for me to believe that the mystery wouldn't be resolved by the yank of a mask from the face of a bound bad guy revealing the all-too-human culprit. And what would that villain's response be? "And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn't for you meddling kids."
My nephew's enthusiasm along with this intriguing premise of real monsters landed that movie right into our cart, but not for long. He insisted on carrying it for the rest of the time we shopped. At the check-out line I noticed another little boy watching us enviously. As his dad pulled him forward to the cash register he pointed at the box my nephew eagerly clutched. "Can we get that?" he asked. His father brushed him off by saying that they already had lots of movies at home. "But Daddy," he told him, "this time the monsters are real!" His dad looked at me, and I nodded and pointed to the display.
"Stay here," he told his son and headed over to grab the video.
After that, the annual release of the feature length Scooby became a fall institution: October always included the corn maze, the pumpkin patch, and the Mystery Inc gang.
Twelve years later my nephew is a freshman in college and this weekend we're putting together a care package for him-- homemade cookies, a Starbucks card, and what else? The latest Scooby Doo, 'cause, like, you're never too old for tradition.