Bedlam in the Big Top

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Bedlam in the Big Top
[[File:Bedlam in the Big Top title card|290px]]
Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
US Air date November 15, 1969
Written by Ken Spears
Joe Ruby
Bill Lutz
Directed by William Hanna
Joseph Barbera
Previous episode

The Backstage Rage

Next episode

A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts

Bedlam in the Big Top is the tenth episode of the first season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!.


Fred, Daphne, Velma, Scooby and Shaggy stumble upon a circus that is supposedly haunted by a ghost clown that starts to hypnotize each of Mystery Inc. with a gold coin.



Mystery Inc. are 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. goes 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. Freddy, Daphne, Velma and Shaggy leave, but Scooby 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 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.

Cast and characters

Actor Character
Don Messick Scooby-Doo
Mr. Barnstorm
Max the Midget
Casey Kasem Shaggy Rogers
Frank Welker Fred Jones
Stefanianna Christopherson Daphne Blake
Nicole Jaffe Velma Dinkley
John Stephenson Samson the Strongman
Barry Richards Ghost Clown
Non-speaking roles
Harry the Hypnotist


  • Ghost Clown/Harry the Hypnotist




Culprit Motive/reason
Harry the Hypnotist as the Ghost Clown To get revenge on Mr. Barnstorm for firing him.



  • This episode was loosely adapted into the Gold Key's Scooby Doo comic issue #9 The Phantom Clown; one of the differences is the Ghost Clown's colors on the front cover.
  • After being hypnotized, Daphne is seen wearing a Tutu, one of the first times she has worn something outside her regular costume.
  • Mr. Barnstorm's name is pretty clever. The word barnstorm means "to tour rural districts putting on shows, esp. theatrical, athletic, or acrobatic shows".
  • First time where all the members of Mystery Inc. (except Fred and Velma) were hypnotized. 
  • The exciting circus music heard during Scooby's stunt is from Wacky Races. 


  • Disguises: None, but Daphne and Shaggy wind up in circus costumes.
  • Food: Super-duper Hero Sandwich
  • Scooby Snacks: none
  • Zoinks: none

Animation mistakes and/or technical glitches

  • It's hard to see because the picture is so tiny, but Daphne talks in Velma's voice.
  • 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.
  • 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 stongman's right.
  • Max is standing behind Scooby, then suddenly by his side.
  • 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.
    Bedlam in the Big Top Error

    Incorrectly colored Ghost Clown

Inconsistencies/continuity errors and/or goofs/oddities

  • It is revealed in this episode that Daphne can't even ride a bicycle. However, she rides one The New Scooby-Doo Movies episode, The Dynamic Scooby-Doo Affair, very proficiently, although she could have practiced a lot since then.
  • As shown in the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode, A Terrifying Round With A Menacing Metallic Clown, Velma has had a phobia of clowns since her childhood, but in this particular story, she has no known phobia of clowns whatsoever.
  • When the gang (minus Scooby) were leaving the circus with the Mystery Machine going from left to right it is obivous 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 what they should 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?
  • Right before the Clown is finally captured, Scooby and Shaggy hold up a mirror to prevent from being them hypnotized. Why didn't the Clown stop the hypnotism chant when he saw the mirror, instead he hypnotizes himself. It is definitely one of if not the most unique villain capture the gang has ever performed.

In other languages

Language Name Meaning
Greek Παλαβομάρες σε Σχοινί Crack-braining on a Wire

Home media


Ghost Clown: (Hypnotising Daphne) You will play attention for a time and soon your thoughts shall be mine. Watch the pretty coin of gold and you will do as you are told

External links

  • Buy from iTunes (US)

Previous episode: Series: Next episode:
The Backstage Rage {{{series}}} A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts

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