V is for — Velma Dinkley, from the Scooby Doo cartoons
When I was growing up, I loved Saturday morning Scooby Doo. The original series, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, ran from 1969 to 1970. Mystery solvers, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and their Great Dane, Scooby Doo, traveled to various places in their psychedelically-painted van, the Mystery Machine. Wherever they went, strange things happened, and Fred would invariably say, “Looks like we’ve got another mystery on our hands.” Or words to that effect. Then the gang would set about gathering clues and solving the mystery.
Velma was the smartest of the group, always figuring out whodunit by the end of the show. “Jinkies!” — her catchphrase — prefaced many a startling discovery or sudden “monster” appearance that sent everyone scrambling. Her one Achilles’ heel was her glasses, which she was forever losing at the most inopportune moment, usually when she was about to run into the ghost or whatever villainous creature they were investigating at the time. And as anyone who has ever watched Scooby Doo knows, she can’t see a thing without her glasses!
The Scooby Doo show went through several incarnations over the years, including animated movies and live-action feature films. I haven’t seen any of the live-action films because I just don’t think they can compare to the cartoons I loved so much. My favorite animated Scooby Doo series are the original Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, the New Scooby Doo Movies with celebrity guest stars (1972-1974), and What’s New, Scooby Doo? (2005-2006).
One of the funniest episodes is A Terrifying Round with a Menacing Metallic Clown, from season three of What’s New, Scooby Doo?. Velma, who is terrified of clowns, swaps roles with the cowardly Shaggy, who wants the mystery solved so he can continue his mini-golf tournament and win the championship. He boldly analyzes the clues and takes on the monstrous clown, while Velma cowers and runs. Other favorites include, from the New Scooby Doo Movies, Episode #15: The Caped Crusader Caper with Batman and Robin and the gang helping a hilariously stuttering professor, and Episode #17: The Mystery of Haunted Island with the Globetrotters.