You probably know of Scooby and Shaggy's insatiable appetites, particularly how often they eat strange combinations of food, like chocolate covered hotdogs or sardine and marshmallow fudge sandwiches. While it is easy to chock up Shaggy's appetite to him being a stoner, there was a canon (albeit silly) explanation for Shaggy's crazy cravings. In the second episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! Shaggy tells Velma that his first toy was a garbage disposal, and that's why he feasts on strange concoctions:
"Can I help it if my first toy was a garbage disposal?"
But keen-eyed #ScoobyDoo fans will notice that there was a period during the character's history where Shaggy refused to indulge in one certain type of food: meat. Surpisingly, Shaggy was one of the first cartoon vegetarians. Watch the video below or keep reading to find out more!
Even if an episode featured a snack table that prominently displayed meat, the script would go out of the way to show that Shaggy was, in fact, gorging himself on some strange, meatless concoction like peanut butter and potato chip pizza.
However, this character trait wasn't present from the beginning of the franchise. It was added into the show during the second season of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! thanks to the actor who provided his voice, the legendary Casey Kasem. When Kasem became a vegetarian himself, he demanded that his character, Shaggy, follow suit. The transition of the character's diet wasn't perfect. There was the occasional unclear misstep like in the episode "Haunted House Hangup," where Shaggy suggests they flip a slice of bologna to make a decision:
"Heads we go to the right, and I eat it. Tails we go to the left, and I eat it."
With Shaggy Rogers established as a vegetarian, Kasem continued to reprise the role in subsequent Scooby series until 1995 when the actor was tasked with portraying his character in a Burger King commercial.
I imagine flame-broiled beef patties aren't exactly vegetarian-friendly. Afterwards, Kasem quit the Scooby-Doo franchise, and the role of Shaggy was passed on to others who didn't care too much about what Shaggy ate. For example, Scott Innes voiced the character in Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, where Shaggy can be seen clearly breaking his no-meat diet.
Casey Kasem would eventually return to the role of Shaggy nearly a decade later in 2002 when a brand new series would debut under the name What's New, Scooby-Doo? Reportedly, Kasem agreed to come back if, and only if, Shaggy would unwaveringly remain a vegetarian. The folks behind the show agreed, and Shaggy Rogers once again gave up eating meat. Unfortunately, this diet once again would not last.
After What's New, Scooby-Doo? ended in 2005, the role of Shaggy was passed on to other voice actors who don't seem to care all that much about the character's diet. The current actor playing Shaggy, Matthew Lillard, who had brought the character to life in the live-action Scooby-Doo movies, has provided mixed signals on the topic. Some say the character continued to follow his no-meat diet in those films, evidenced by how Scooby Snacks are vegetarian:
"I know they're for dogs, but they're 100% vegetarian and I love 'em."
The character does reference pastrami-flavored ice cream earlier in the film, though, so the jury's still out on that. Even though Lillard's portrayal of Shaggy was probably a vegetarian in the films, the Shaggy he voices in recent cartoons is decidedly not.
Casey Kasem's restrictions on Shaggy's diet added depth to the character that isn't there anymore. It rounded out a character who, frankly, should probably haven been rounder given the junk food he regularly binges.
But what do you think? Should Shaggy have remained a vegetarian after Kasem left the role? Let me know in the comments!