American detective and debunker of paranormal phenomena Norville "Shaggy" Rogers, who passed away Sunday, rose to cultural prominence in the spring of 1969 as a member of the Mystery Incorporated's non-profit crime-fighting team. Along with his human compatriots and notably long-lived Great Dane Scooby-Doo, Mr. Rogers, whose life was considered by many to be inextricably linked to that of Radio DJ Casey Kasem, helped unmask hundreds of criminals over the course of a 45-year career. Though his investigate style was often haphazard - involving disorganized chases through mansions with confusing floor plans - Mr. Rogers always got his man.
Unlike his buttoned-up coworkers, who referred to him exclusively by his nickname, Mr. Rogers was a counter-cultural icon. Though his personality was initially reminiscent of Maynard G. Krebs, the sitcom character portrayed by Bob Denver and used by T.V. Executives in the early '60s to both embody and lampoon the studied indifference of the beatnik generation, Mr. Rogers ultimately became part of the "hippie" movement. In large part, viewers of Scooby Doo tuned in to watch Mr. Rogers attempt to drop out. Despite playing Falstaff to Fred Jones' Prince Hal, Rogers never gave up the ghost on a career in a field he was singularly ill-equipped to handle.
The question of how and why Mr. Rogers continued working with Mystery Incorporated has been much discussed and pondered. The goateed young man was confrontation averse and easily frightened. When faced with a fresh horror, his reflexive response was to shout "Zoinks" and seek comfort in the arms of whoever stood next to him. Many close watchers of the "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?" series have theorized that Mr. Rogers turned to marijuana to help him handle the stress of his job. Internet scholars, writing for journals like HailMaryJane.com and drugsrus.wordpress.com, cite Rogers' perpetual hunger as evidence of cannabis dependence. This sense that Mr. Rogers was toking up on set ultimately increased his stature, earning him a loyal following among smokers.
During the course of his career, Mr. Rogers also served as a pitch man for Keebler's "Scooby Snacks" cookies, State Farm Insurance, and a number of vegetarian causes. His concerns about factory farming led to him turning down lucrative offers to represent Burger King. At the height of his fame, Mr. Rogers' nickname was adopted by Jamaican-American singer Orville Richard Burrell.
Mr. Rogers is survived by a pair of bell bottoms, a green shirt, and Scrappy-Doo, who will be put down.
Photos by Arun Nevader / WireImage