4 user 1 critic

Bedlam in the Big Top 

A ghost clown is haunting Mr. Blackstone's circus, and all the acts are quitting. It's up to the kids to stop the clown and find out if he's really a ghost.


Ken Spears (story), Joe Ruby (story) | 1 more credit »




Episode credited cast:
Nicole Jaffe ... Velma (voice)
Casey Kasem ... Shaggy (voice)
Don Messick ... Scooby Doo (voice)
Vic Perrin Vic Perrin ... (voice) (credit only)
Hal Smith ... (voice) (credit only)
John Stephenson ... Samson (voice)
Jean Vander Pyl ... (voice) (credit only)
Frank Welker ... Fred / Elephant / Lion (voice)
Stefanianna Christopherson ... Daphne (voice)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Emanuela Fallini Emanuela Fallini ... Daphne Blake
Rosalinda Galli Rosalinda Galli ... Velma Dinkley


A muscle man and a midget are riding on a tandem bicycle when it suddenly breaks apart and nearly injures them both. The gang happens by in the Mystery Machine and witnesses this strange scene. The mismatched pair tell the gang they're from the circus and blame the broken bicycle on a ghost clown. The gang visits the circus and hears more about the ghost clown from the ringmaster, who believes in this otherworldly creature. Real or not, the clown has frightened away all the talent; and the circus will have to close. The gang investigates this mystery, but the evil clown finds three of them, each alone at different times. He hypnotizes Scooby into thinking he's a high-wire artist, Daphne into believing she's a unicyclist and Shaggy into imagining that he's a lion tamer. Fred has a scheme to trap the ghost, but his plan fails. Scooby and Shaggy are the ones who get the laugh laugh on this sinister clown. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis







Release Date:

15 November 1969 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Somehow Daphne comes up with the sandwich used to cope both Scooby and Shaggy into luring the Ghost Clown into their trap. She didn't have it anywhere on her to carry it around with her. See more »


[first lines]
Max the Midget: [riding a tandem bicycle with Samson] Hey, what's happening?
Samson the Strongman: Watch it! We're gonna fall!
Max the Midget: I can't control it!
See more »


Referenced in Supernatural: ScoobyNatural (2018) See more »


Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (Main Title - Dutch Version)
Performed by Tony Neef
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Helped change one's perception of clowns forever
17 July 2016 | by TheLittleSongbirdSee all my reviews

'Scooby Doo Where are You' was the first Scooby Doo incarnation, and to me it's still the best.

"Bedlam in the Big Top" is up there with the best 'Scooby Doo Where are You' episodes for me, being one of the episodes that impacted me most when younger. There is a preference for the first three episodes and "Foul Play in Funland" as far as the previous episodes go, and there are admittedly funnier episodes in the show.

However, "Bedlam in the Big Top" is one of the creepier 'Scooby Doo Where Are You' episodes, took a few risks and is also one of the least predictable episodes of the series (aside from the motive). The haunted circus setting actually looks and feels haunted, compared to the more colourful and far less deserted circuses one's used to in their youth, setting a genuinely creepy ambiance. The villain is for me too one of the freakiest of the show, from the look, the voice, the mannerisms and his actions, helping to change the initial childhood perception of clowns being fun-loving and funny to something darker and scarier (while not being quite as traumatising as a film/TV clown like Pennywise), which for back then was different and bold.

"Bedlam in the Big Top" contains one of the show's most surprising reveals, refreshing compared to an episode like "Decoy for a Dognapper", "Mine Your Own Business", "Never Ape an Ape Man" and "The Backstage Rage" where it's obvious early on but this is one of the very few episodes like "A Clue for Scooby Doo", "Foul Play in Funland" and "Hassle in the Castle" where one doesn't have a clue who it is until the very end. The hypnotism tricks are incredibly clever and daring, not only showing the gang doing stuff that they would never do in a million years (Shaggy and Scooby especially, doing acts that normally they'd be too scared to even think of doing) but being one of the few episodes of the show to show a genuine sense of true danger.

That said, "Bedlam in the Big Top" still entertains as well. There are a higher number of jokes and funnier ones in other episodes, but the dialogue is still vintage Scooby Doo, being endearingly goofy, witty and hilarious, and some really fun scenes like with the trampoline. Love the chemistry between the gang and the amusing and charming friendship between Shaggy and Scooby, and the story is well-paced, never simplistic or confusing and high in atmosphere and entertainment.

Shaggy and Scooby never fail to bring a smile to my face, and Fred, Velma and Daphne are no less enjoyable either. As always, Don Messick, Casey Kasem and Frank Welker stand out of the voice acting, Messick and Kasem are without equal as Scooby and Shaggy and one cannot believe that it's been nearly 50 years and Welker's still voicing Fred with no signs of fatigue or inconsistency.

The animation is lively, atmospheric, lushly coloured and nicely drawn as always, the setting is effectively one of the most atmospheric as well. The music adds to the impact the atmosphere creates, and it is very difficult to resist the classic theme song, along with the opening credits where it is so fun spotting and recognising the villains, that is one of the most iconic in animation.

Overall, terrific episode, with the atmosphere and boldness standing out in particular. 10/10 Bethany Cox

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