Bedlam in the Big Top

Bedlam in the Big Top is the tenth episode of the first season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and the tenth episode of the series in general. In the episode, The gang stumble upon a circus that is supposedly haunted by a Ghost Clown that hypnotizes people with a gold coin.


Mystery Inc. is driving through the woods and encounter two carnies experiencing bike trouble. Samson the Strongman and Max the Midget introduce themselves, and explain they are leaving the circus because of strange happenings. Mystery Inc. go to the circus and talk with the manager, Mr. Barnstorm. Mr. Barnstorm tells the kids there is a Ghost Clown haunting the premises and warns them to leave. Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley and Shaggy Rogers leave, but Scooby-Doo is mistakenly left behind and hypnotized by the ghost clown with a gold coin. The rest of Mystery Inc. arrive and split up to look for Scooby. Velma and Shaggy find Scooby balancing across the high wire in a trance. They manage to save him. Fred and Daphne go into the costume tent, and Fred is locked in a trunk by the clown. Daphne is then hypnotized. Velma and Shaggy find her riding a unicycle. They save her as well, thanks to the spray of an elephant, and rescue Freddy. Then the gang set up a trap to capture the ghost clown in a cage, but it backfires, when the clown hypnotizes Shaggy and sets him taming lions, but Scooby saves Shaggy and they flee, the clown in pursuit. They manage to lead the clown into the cage, but he vanishes from inside it. Fred's frustrated cry unlocks Shaggy's memory; the clown uses a gold coin to hypnotize his victims. Going out again, the clown tries to hypnotize both Shaggy and Scooby, but the two counter-act with a mirror (while closing their eyes) and trick the clown into hypnotizing himself into acting like a chimp. They lure the chimp-clown into a cage and then unmask him as Harry the Hypnotist. Harry used to be a hypnotist in the circus act, but he was caught stealing, and was fired as a result. He came back to get revenge and dressed up as the ghost clown to do so.




  • This episode marked the first appearance of the Ghost Clown who would later reappear in many Scooby-Doo productions mostly recently the 2013 animated movie Scooby-Doo! Mask of The Blue Falcon.
  • In this episode, Shaggy states that Daphne cannot ride a bicycle, and he implies that he is good at track athletics.
  • Mr. Barnstorm's name is a play on words; it means "to tour rural districts putting on shows, esp. theatrical, athletic, or acrobatic shows".
  • This is the first time members of Mystery Inc. have been hypnotized; namely Daphne, Shaggy and Scooby.
  • The exciting circus music heard during Scooby's stunt is from Wacky Races.


Set after Scooby-Doo! Adventures - The Mystery Map and every episode of A Pup named Scooby-Doo.


  • Disguises: None.
  • Scooby Snacks bribe: None. (They're mentioned, but it isn't followed through.)


  • This was the sole story for Gold Key Comics' Scooby Doo... Where Are You! #9. It was renamed to The Phantom Clown. Differences include:
    • Velma saving the day.
    • The Ghost Clown's costume.
  • Elements were borrowed for the 2006 video game, Scooby-Doo! Who's Watching Who?, where Samson S. Samson wanted to expose his bad boss by haunting the grounds of Sugarland as the Ghost Clown.


Animation mistakes and/or technical glitches

  • The Ghost Clown's miscoloured mouth.
  • When Velma reacts to the tandem bicycle going out of control, Daphne's lips move (or at least just barely).
  • Samson points off to his left, saying that Max flew off the bicycle in that direction, yet Scooby finds him hanging from a tree off to the strongman's right.
  • Velma's mouth doesn't move when cheering for Scooby after he rescues Max.
  • It takes mere moments for the rest of the gang to get out the van and out of its reach, after Scooby saves Max.
  • At first, Max is standing behind Scooby, with Samson next to him, then suddenly Max is by Scooby's side, and Samson is gone.
  • When Shaggy says, "Don't tell me that there are two of them", his head is up instead of right.
  • The Clown's mouth is coloured red, but when hypnotizing Daphne, it turns the colour of his skin. It does flicker red at the beginning of his sentence, though.
  • Perhaps for more detail, Daphne is not only given white sclera, but also blue irises when being hypnotized by the Ghost Clown.

Inconsistencies/continuity errors and/or goofs/oddities

  • Samson hangs onto the bicycle handlebars, keeping his arms in the exact same position, even though the handlebars are no longer attached to the bike.
  • It is revealed in this episode that Daphne can't even ride a bicycle. However, she rides one in the The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode, The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair, very proficiently. Logically, she could have practiced a lot since then.
  • Velma's fine with clowns in this episode, which contradicts the later produced What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode, A Terrifying Round with a Menacing Metallic Clown, which claims she's had a phobia of clowns since her 5th birthday.
  • When the gang (minus Scooby) were leaving the circus with the Mystery Machine going from left to right it is obvious that the animators simply flipped the cells of it going from right to left. Unfortunately, this results in the steering wheel being on the left side and the gang being in the opposite positions (Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy from left to right) from where they should be when the animators change to the front view.
  • The Clown attempted to convince the gang that there were two of them when they attempted to capture him. The Clown they captured was a balloon which was deflated to make it appear as though the Clown had disappeared into thin air, however, wouldn't the gang have seen the balloon in the cage once it had deflated? (Perhaps they did not check until after they had caught him?)
  • Right before the Clown is finally captured, Scooby and Shaggy hold up a mirror to prevent themselves from being hypnotized. The Clown should have stopped the hypnotism chant when he saw the mirror; instead he hypnotizes himself.
  • Mr. Barnstorm states that the lions had begun acting like scared kittens, yet the one Shaggy tames seems to be acting perfectly normal. It is possible the Ghost Clown reversed his hypnosis on that lion, assuming this is why the lions were acting scared.
  • Shaggy says about going back to the hero sandwich in the cage (that the Ghost Clown balloon would be caught in), but there would be no reason why it would be there, especially since he would've surely ate it not long after getting it.
  • Daphne says she hopes Scooby doesn't try the high wire again, even though she wasn't there with Velma and Shaggy when it happened.
  • It is not revealed how the Ghost Clown/Harry the Hypnotist was brought out of his trance.
  • At the end of the episode, a young boy in the audience is inexplicably holding a balloon shaped similar to Scooby's head.

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