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Coney dog: Short film brings canine sleuth to Luna Park

Scooby Dooby Doo, I see you: The cast of “The Mystery Gang,” a short film featuring mystery-solving teens and their dog set in Coney Island’s Luna Park, wander along the Boardwalk.
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Scooby Dooby Doo, where are you? Coney Island!

A short live action film based on the adventures of Scooby and the gang will bring the mystery-solving teens and their canine companion to the People’s Playground next weekend. The 10-minute movie “Mystery Gang” will screen at the Coney Island Film Festival on Sept. 9, as part of a program of shorts shot in the neighborhood. The film is a showcase for one of the rescue dogs belonging to director Eric Carlson and producer Bonnie Harper, a pooch who felt left out of the family business of filmmaking.

“The film was conceived for our dog,” said Bonnie Harper. “We have three dogs, and two of them are routinely on television sets and movie sets, and this other dog is too crazy, he’s too loud.”

But usually outcast dog Krypto — an American Foxhound named after Superman’s best friend — was ready and was willing to take on the lead role in “Mystery Gang.” And his rambunctious nature was a good match for Scooby Doo’s character, she said.

“He loved it, and it worked well with all of us,” said Harper. “When it was his scenes, what you saw was how he was.”

The cartoon Scooby Doo is a Great Dane, but the four lead human actors resemble their cartoon characters — both in real life and in the film — more closely. The parallels are enough to evoke a pang of nostalgia for most viewers, said Harper.

“It’s essentially a parody, a send-up [of the original cartoon],” she said. “But to some extent, probably anybody over the age of 20 would know who the characters are — and maybe even over the age of 12, for that matter, just because it’s been such a long-running comedy.”

But the human characters are a bit more three-dimensional than their cartoon counterparts.

“The film kind of shows different sides of each character,” she said.

The scrappy film team made the movie over three days, shooting early-morning scenes in an empty Luna Park, where the characters investigate a g-g-g-g-g-ghost haunting the amusement district.

Other films in the Coney Island–centric shorts program include the documentary “The Blazes and The Brooklyn Yeti,” which follows the titular local performers on New Year’s Eve, the music video “Coney Island” from singer Adrianna Mateo, and the Shakespearean con man story “Shell Game,” among others.

“The Mystery Gang” at the Coney Island Film Festival (1208 Surf Ave. at W. 12th Street in Coney Island, www.coneyislandfilmfestival.com). Sept. 9 at 6 pm. $8.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Updated 5:55 pm, July 9, 2018
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