To All the Ghouls I’ve Loved Before is episode 1 of the 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo and originally aired on September 1, 1985. In this episode, we learn how Shaggy and Scooby are tricked into opening the Chest of Demons and releasing the thirteen ghosts of Scooby-Doo.
Directed by Ray Patterson, and written by Tom Ruegger, we are introduced to Vincent Van Ghoul (voiced by Vincent Price) as well as Flim-Flam, a clever street child who seems to be based off of Short Round from the Temple of Doom. On top of this, we have Scrappy, Shaggy and Daphne returning. Finally, we also get Bogel and Weerd, who are two bumbling and incompetent ghosts that will appear in every episode.
I love the concept of this series as it features the gang trying to capture a new ghost every week. This made for some fun and spooky television! Granted, I’d rather it have Freddy and Velma in it vs Scrappy and Flim-Flam, but at the time of its release, it was a great improvement over the 7-minute Scrappy shorts they were showing.
To All the Ghouls I've Loved Before
The episode begins with Vincent Van Ghoul in his creepy castle library looking into a crystal ball. Within it, he predicts the unlocking of the Chest of Demons, and the 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo.
We then cut to the Himalayan Mountains, where in some mountain ruins, we find Bogel and Weerd being stirred awake by a rumbling Chest of Demons. They are excited as the meanest Ghosts ever to wander the earth will be grateful for being released. There is only one problem. Only the living can open the chest, which they are not.
As the chest is glowing red, Weerd states that living ones are coming there way, and they seem to be the stupidest humans on the earth.
Meanwhile, aboard the Mystery Flying Machine (an airplane), Shaggy, Scooby, Scrappy and Daphne are on their way to Hawaii for vacation when Daphne realizes that something is wrong. Outside the windows, she sees snow. Checking the map, she realizes they have a chart for the Himalayas, not Hawaii, and as such, they are 7,000 miles away from their destination.
Weerd uses a bit of his ghostly magic to drain the fuel from the gas tank, causing the plane engines to stop. Gliding downward at a fast pace, Daphne tries her best to land the plane.
We then zip to the town of Ursolvania, where con-artist Flim-Flam is being run out of town. The mayor thinks Flim-Flam is nothing but a troublemaker as Flim-Flam has been selling “Lotsa Luck Joy Juice”, a cure-all that removes all curses, jinxes and evil hexes.
It must have some luck, as the gang’s plane swoops down over the village, causing enough of a distraction for Flim-Flam to escape and leap onto the airplane.
The airplane lands just a few kilometres past the town near the Himalayan temple ruins. There, the gang are arrested for landing in a no crashing zone, as well as aiding and abetting the juvenile criminal Flim-Flam. After the gang are headed off to court for their trial, Bogel and Weerd drag the airplane into the temple so the gang can not leave.
The gang are brought to trial before Judge Burgermeister, whose name makes Scooby and Shaggy salivate. The angry judge demands they leave town by sundown, and Daphne exclaims that she’ll fix the plane and they’ll all be gone lickety-split.
Back at where they landed the plane, they find it gone. Following the tracks, they enter the temple. Unfortunately, it’s locked, as Bogel had locked it out of habit. Weerd is angered by this, but fortunately, Flim-Flam knows a local who can unlock it.
Flim-Flam takes the gang to a local tavern where the gang meets Vincent Van Ghoul. There, he gazes into his crystal ball and explains that their plane is inside the temple, but they must not enter as the chest of demons is also within.
Vincent Van Ghoul also informs them that the 13 Ghosts are so angry for being locked up, that they have put a curse on the local townspeople. The curse is that they turn into werewolves at night!
As it will be evening soon, Vincent urges them to leave. The mayor who has overheard the conversation, unfortunately, insists they must stay. There the gang witness a stage performance of a lounge singer named Ghoulio, singing ‘To All the Ghouls I loved Before’. For those of you not in the know, ‘To All the Ghouls I Loved Before’ is a play on the song called ‘To all the Girls I Loved Before’, which was performed by Julio Iglesias and Willy Nelson
As Ghoulio croons, a full moon appears through the window, and the singer, along with the rest of the townsfolk turn into werewolves! Zoinks!!!
Shaggy goes towards Daphne so that they can escape, however, she too falls victim to the curse and transforms into a Werewolf! It turns out that her drink, called ‘wolfsbane’ is what had caused the transformation.
Shaggy and Scooby are chased outside by the Werewolves, including Daphne, but thanks to the quick thinking of Flim-Flam and Scrappy, they take cover in a sewer through an open manhole cover. Unfortunately, the werewolf Daphne follows them in and corners them.
Splashing Daphne with his Lotsa Luck Joy Juice (man I hate typing that name), Flim-Flam reverses the curse, and Daphne is returned to her human form.
The gang makes it out of the sewers through a hole that had been chiselled out by Bogel and Weerd. Hearing the werewolves behind them, they barricade the hole up, but the werewolves make their way through. Scooby and Shaggy naturally bolt off in the opposite direction, while Daphne, Scrappy and Flim-Flam stand their ground. Flim-Flam then douses everyone with his lucky juice and converts them back to humans.
Meanwhile, Scooby and Shaggy are elsewhere in the temple. There they are tricked by Bogel and Weerd to believe that they are on their favourite game-show called ‘Let’s Make ‘Em Squeal’ (a play on Let’s make a Deal). During this charade, they are presented with the Chest of Demons as a prize by Weerd pretending to be Haunty Maul (a take on Monty Hall ~ not Darth Maul). Excited to see what is inside, our not-so-bright duo opens it and unleash the 13 Ghosts upon the world.
Vincent Van Ghoul then shows up and explains that since they released the most heinous demons upon the world, they must return each of them to the chest. Vincent gives Daphne a crystal ball, so they can communicate with one another.
Flim-Flam gets the plane repaired by dumping his lucky juice into the gas tank, and the gang fly off, not realizing that Bogel and Weerd are hitchhiking on the tail of the plane.
I give this episode a 7.5 out of 10. I like this episode a lot, but it’s mostly just setup for the rest of the series. A lot does happen, but we don’t even get to meet our first ghost!
I enjoy the premise and setup of this episode, but it feels like a bit of a tease as we know the best is yet to come (hopefully). Overall though, due to its scope, the episode has a cinematic feel to it. This just feels like the start of a movie.
A town full of werewolves, though, that is cool, and it reminded me of an old 80’s film called The Howling. Ghoulio, the vampish lounge singer, is also hilarious! Bogel and Weerd are super annoying and Flim-Flam, well, I don’t hate him, but I can see him getting annoying. Scrappy is just a shadow of his former self and plays the straight man to bounce ideas off of Daphne.
What elevates this episode is the addition of Vincent Price. Here, we get a touch of class from this film-star actor who knows how to deliver campy lines with a touch of playfulness and magic.
Honestly though, I’m excited to dive into the next episodes! Until next time, Stay Spooky!
Don Messick: Scooby, Scrappy
Casey Kasem: Shaggy
Heather North: Daphne
Susan Blu: Flim-Flam
Vincent Price: Vincent Van Ghoul
Howard Morris: Bogel
Arte Johnson: Weerd
Kenneth mars: Burgermeister
Hamilton Camp: Ghoulio