Decoy for a Dognapper is the fifth episode of the first season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and the fifth episode of the series in general. In the episode, Mystery Inc. hears about a series of dognappings, and decide to investigate. But when Scooby-Doo is dognapped, mistaken for another dog, the gang track him to a secret hideout in the desert where they face a Indian Witch Doctor and a ghostly Indian on horseback.
While out for a walk, Scooby-Doo sees a prize poodle kidnapped and races to find the rest of the gang, who listen to the radio broadcast an update on a rash of dognappings. They visit one of the victims, Buck Masters, who thinks that the dognappings are related to an upcoming dog show. The gang decide to play the hunch, substituting Scooby as a decoy for a prizewinning Great Dane belonging to another show competitor. The ploy works, and Scooby is grabbed by the dognappers. Shaggy Rogers gives chase on a motor scooter but loses the dognappers' truck when he is menaced by a ghostly Indian on horseback. Meanwhile, the dognapper's ringleader, the Indian Witch Doctor, recognizes that Scooby is not Miller's Great Dane and has his henchman put Scooby on a handcar and send him down the mountain. The rest of the gang, following the tracking beacon on Scooby's collar, catches up with Shaggy, and they then all watch as Scooby goes racing down the railroad track. Shaggy leaps onto the handcar, brakes it, and rushes it back to safety just ahead of the Midnight Express. Scooby leads them back to where he had been taken, an abandoned Indian village high up in a cliff. No sooner do they arrive than the witch doctor appears and warns them off. But the gang separates and press on. Fred Jones and Daphne Blake once again meet the witch doctor, and Daphne vanishes when Fred goes to investigate the stone idol in front of which the witchdoctor had been standing. Meanwhile, Scooby also becomes separated from Shaggy and Velma Dinkley; following a passage, he finds Daphne who's been tied up and the imprisoned dogs. The two of them round up the rest of the gang, free the dogs, and use them to chase and tree the witchdoctor, who they unmask as Buck Masters. It had been Masters' plan to kidnap all the dogs who might have beaten his own dog in the competition and then release his dog in time to win.
- Main Characters
- Supporting characters:
- Charlie (single appearance)
- Sheriff (single appearance)
- Dognapped Dogs (single appearance)
- Don Messick as Scooby-Doo, The Radio voice, Buck Masters, his monster the Indian Witch Doctor and the Sheriff
- Casey Kasem as Shaggy Rogers and Mike
- Frank Welker as Fred Jones, Pink dog, Charlie and Princess
- Stefanianna Christopherson as Daphne Blake
- Nicole Jaffe as Velma Dinkley
- Jean Vander Pyl as Princess's owner
- Barry Richards as Ghost of Geronimo
- The Indian Witch Doctor in this episode later reappeared in the 2002 videogame Scooby-Doo! Night of 100 Frights and the 2014 animated movie Scooby-Doo! WrestleMania Mystery.
- The first close-up of the Indian Witch Doctor's warning (with the added glow) when the gang first arrive in the Indian village in this episode can be seen in the first season's opening and closing sequence.
- This is one of the few, if not the only, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episodes which begins outside in broad daylight; it looks like it's Autumn, although it's unknown if this is the intention.
- This is the first time one of the gang takes romantic interest in another character, and most appropriately it happens to be Scooby.
- This is the first time Daphne is kidnapped and held hostage by the villain, in case she's tied up.
- This is the first time Shaggy's seen to have a Scooby Snack, and it's implied that this is, in fact, the first time he's had one.
- The scene of Shaggy roasting the hot dogs is virtually identical to the one in A Clue for Scooby-Doo, only with the addition of Velma.
- Production-wise, this is one of the rare instances, perhaps even the only time, that Scooby is on a leash; chronologically, Scooby had been put on a leash in the A Pup Named Scooby-Doo episode, A Bicycle Built for Boo!.
- During the railroad trestle scene, in close-ups of the Midnight Express train, parts of the Santa Fe railway logo can be seen on the locomotive.
- The fact that the gang finds abandoned cliff dwellings (being used a hide-out by the villains) gives a hint as to this episode's setting: somewhere in the Southwestern U.S..
- This is the first time they play real detectives and offer their services to someone (even if it does turn out to be the culprit).
- This is the also first time that the gang decide to investigate a case that initially has nothing to do with the supernatural. Eventually, the dognapping case does become supernatural with the appearance of the Indian witch doctor ghost.
- Buck Masters and Bob Miller have the same initials.
- This is the first episode to feature "a projector making the ghost effects" explanation.
- Disguises: Scooby and Shaggy as champion dog and owner, respectively.
- Scooby Snacks bribe: Scooby and Shaggy both have 1 each.
- Geronimo was a prominent leader of the Bedonkohe Apache.
- Custer's Last Stand is a reference to the 1936 film serial of the same name. The film is based on Battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876, which was nicknamed Custer's Last Stand, due to the last war fought by George Armstrong Custer.
- The Indian witch doctor warns the gang that they will "meet the fate of Spanish conquistadores" if they do not leave. Spanish conquistador Francisco Vázquez de Coronado explored the southwestern United States between 1540 and 1542; he was among the first Europeans to view the Grand Canyon.
- The "Batusi" is actually an infamous dance by Batman from the 60s TV series, starring Adam West.
Animation mistakes and/or technical glitches
- The picture of Bob Miller's dog is originally shown in full, but the second time only its head and neck are shown. The word "Champion" also moves from inside the teal background to the white frame. The "p" in "Champion" in the second shot also looks more like a "d". The eye is different in each one too, in the first it's black and in the second the sclera is brown instead of white (which was done for animals, but not humans) which makes it look completely shut as its eyelid is half shut. Its eye dot is also a little above its eyelid.
- Fred calls it a "photo", although it could be seen as a framed picture.
- When the scene shifts from Fred holding it, to the entire gang, he's now holding two sheets of empty paper.
- The photo goes from Fred to Shaggy, but there's no noticeable exchange between them.
- As Fred is putting the new collar on Scooby, there is a line on his neck.
- The chair behind Mr. Masters is temporarily blue instead of brown.
- Scooby temporarily loses his spots when the garbage almost lands on him.
- On Beach Boulevard, while Shaggy is talking to Scooby about taking Miller's and his dog's place for their evening walk, the top of the dog lead is poking through the collar.
- The new collar is supposed to have replaced Scooby's regular one, but when Mike opens the crate and the Indian Witch Doctor reacts to seeing Scooby, his dogtag is sticking out. A few seconds later, when the Indian Witch Doctor tells Mike to get rid of Scooby, his collar is also sticking out.
- As Fred is announcing to Daphne and Velma that they've arrived on Beach Boulevard, his teeth turn flesh coloured as his mouth half closes.
- Also during that time, Velma is not wearing her headphones.
- Velma said the signal representing Scooby was moving awfully fast when in fact it wasn't "moving" at all. The signal flashing fast could compensate for that.
- Fred and Daphne are missing from the Mystery Machine, when he says, "Okay. That's it. Here we go."
- When Scooby digs his nails into the floor boards, they are brown.
- As Shaggy is telling Fred about his encounter with the Ghost of Geronimo, the additional equipment in the Mystery Machine is missing.
- While Scooby has his head out of the crate, two of the holes have simply been covered in brown even if it doesn't match Scooby's movements.
- When Scooby looks at Shaggy trying to pull the lever, his dog collar is miscoloured like his regular one. (A bit of his body below his collar is also missing so it looks like his head is floating.) When he then reacts to helping Shaggy, the new dog collar is completely in blue.
- Scooby's head floats again when he tells Shaggy to go faster as the train is gaining on them.
- When they watch the train go past them (after Fred pulled a switch), Scooby's new collar is blue again.
- After the brief fade to black after the rescue, Scooby is now wearing his regular collar. It's fairly possible that they replaced it in that brief instance, although it seems highly unlikely as the first thing Daphne and Velma seem to do is ask Scooby if he's okay.
- Shortly after the bats, as the gang enters the old Indian village, Daphne and Fred are about to go into a room (right before they see the witch doctor and Daphne falls through a trapdoor). Look closely and one part, one of the lavender strips on Daphne's skirt is missing.
- Fred's figure is gone after they chase after the dognapper.
Inconsistencies/continuity errors and/or goofs/oddities
- It's unknown why Scooby was roaming in the middle of the neighbourhood by himself without the rest of the gang. He doesn't do that again. It's possible like when Scooby said about walking him self, as revealed in the Scooby-Doo Mystery Incorporated episode The Man in the Mirror, that Scooby also does the same here.
- When the poodle is dognapped, it is broad daylight, but by the time Scooby gets to the beach, the sky is dark; it couldn't have taken him that long. It seems to be animation mistake, as this was also the case in A Clue for Scooby Doo, which made the gang look like they went in the evening.
- Mr. Masters has an office meaning he has some job of importance, but he could've very well got this from the many dog shows he's been in (although he could've just decorated his office with his many prize-winning show dog).
- It's impossible to identify Big Red, as Mr. Masters has his office full of pictures of other species of dog. Apparently he's bred many show dogs to be (and maybe that was the point).
- When Scooby is dognapped, Shaggy yells "Scooby" several times. He could blow the dog's cover that way.
- At this point in the series (as revealed in Spooky Space Kook), Velma is not established to be technologically proficient so it's unknown where they got the equipment (transmitter, direction finder, etc.) they used in this episode.
- Inspite of Daphne's wealth (which isn't established until the The New Scooby and Scrappy Doo Show/The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries episode, No Thanks, Masked Manx, or hadn't been reconnected yet like in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo), it doesn't seem likely that the gang would pay out for a new expensive collar, so it's unknown if they faked it or burrowed it from Miller? Also, it's unknown if Shaggy's trenchcoat and hat is burrowed from Bob Miller, too? If it is from Miller than it's rather careless of Shaggy when he seemingly discards it before driving the motor-scooter.
- The antenna is apparently wireless because it isn't attached to the direction finder or anything.
- It's unknown if the other equipment inside the Mystery Machine besides the direction finder was actually being used in junction with it or just there for show (to make the gang look more professional). Presumably it was the former.
- Perhaps due to toon physics, Velma (as well as Daphne if she was using it in the Mystery Machine as it was moving) can stay on a wheeled chair with ease as the Mystery Machine is in motion.
- The pink dog is of a made-up breed. It also seems to be completely left alone by its owner.
- It's unclear what relationship Mike and Indian Witch Doctor/Masters had, but it was enough that the latter knew the former by name.
- Hopefully, Shaggy had the courtesy of returning Charlie's scooter to him.
- When the Indian Witch Doctor warns the gang away from the village when they arrive, he flashes, but only in his first close-up. How he could do it and why only for a brief instant is unknown.
- To escape the bats, Shaggy runs through a door, leaving Velma behind. He meets Scooby, runs back through the door and closes it. On this side of the door, he sees Scooby again. To return to Velma, Shaggy goes through the door a third time, which should be the exact opposite direction from her.
- Shaggy should really be mistaking Scooby for the Indian Witch Doctor (the monster wearing the mask), not the Ghost of Geronimo.
- After Shaggy escaped the bats, Scooby greeted him with a hello, but Shaggy replied, "Hi, Rooby." Inspite of that, the subtitles and closed captions still say "Scooby".
- Fred says, "Good boy, Scooby, you found and freed them all". Daphne found the dogs first but she doesn't get any credit.
- Shaggy actually holds the space above the door handle instead of the handle itself.
- Shaggy describes a plethora of different food stashed, all from cans that simply say "Dog Food". Scooby calls it "Scooby food", which considering this is the kind of food he eats, he's not wrong. Shaggy then goes ahead and makes a large sandwich out of the contents he had just described, seemingly from the dog food cans, so clearly it's not exactly dog food to begin with. Although, there is a scene of him making his four-teir sandwich out of human food. It would've made more sense to just point out both. A green box with the words "Dog Food" was already seen before on top of the dog cages.
- All of what Shaggy mentions while making his sandwich, and only the lettuce and ham is seen. It would also be impossible for him to add a boiled egg without having actually boiled one before hand.
- Mike isn't apprehended, at least not on-screen, but he isn't mentioned in the exposition wrap-up to the sheriff at the end of the episode.
- Scooby-Doo's Original Mysteries DVD released by Warner Home Video on March 14 2000 (First Time on DVD) with the first four episodes.
- Scooby-Doo's Original Mysteries VHS released by Warner Home Video on June 4, 2002 with the first four episodes.
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: The Complete 1st and 2nd Seasons DVD set released by Warner Home Video on March 16, 2004 with the other 24 episode
- Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: Volume 2 - Bump in the Night DVD released by Warner Home Video on May 5, 2009 with the next three episodes.
- US Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!: The Complete Series DVD set released by Warner Home Video on November 13, 2012.