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For nearly two years, mighty PolitiFact New Jersey has dogged Gov. Chris Christie on topics ranging from job growth to taxes to education reform.
But we’re putting those concerns aside for now to examine a topic of major significance: his favorite childhood cartoon.
The governor wore a broad grin at a recent town hall meeting in Branchburg as he and a 4-year-old audience member talked about their favorite cartoons. The boy told Christie he was a big Scooby Doo fan.
"When I was 4, my favorite show was Scooby Doo, too," Christie told the boy, who had told the governor that Scooby-Doo is his favorite.
Ah, once again there is scandal in Trenton.
Timing, it seems, isn’t everything.
Call this a case of what did the governor watch and when did he watch it.
PolitiFact New Jersey has found that while Scooby-Doo apparently made quite the impression on a precocious young Christie, he was older than 4 when the show began airing.
This mystery isn’t as difficult to figure out as the ones uncovered by the teenage sleuths in Scooby-Doo, but let’s start by reviewing some basic facts about the governor and the actual TV show produced by cartoon masters Hanna-Barbera.
Chris Christie was born on Sept. 6, 1962 in Newark, according to multiple databases, among them Project VoteSmart.org and Biography.com. So he’s 50 and would have turned 4 in 1966.
Now let’s look at the history of the TV show "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!"
The Internet Movie Database, which tracks movies, TV shows, celebrity news and more, states the TV show premiered on Sept. 13, 1969. The series aired until 1972 and followed the adventures of four teenagers and a dog named Scooby-Doo who traveled around in a van dubbed The Mystery Machine, solving various mysteries.
So given the governor’s birth date and the official premiere date of "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" Christie would have been 7 years old – not 4 -- if he watched the show’s first episode.
We’ll give the governor props for remembering his favorite show as a child, but it’s not surprising that he’s off with the timing of when Scooby-Doo aired.
"Well, I’m older than the Governor by a year, and Scooby-Doo was one of my favorite cartoons too, in addition to the Road Runner and the Flintstones," Christie spokesman Michael Drewniak said in an e-mail. "I don’t think I could have recalled on the fly – or even if my own kids asked me right now -- when it was I started watching them. We all just know those characters were a part of our childhoods. I chalk it up to the blur of childhood memories and getting older."
And we thought we had something here.
Christie told a 4-year-old fan of Scooby-Doo at a recent town hall meeting, "When I was 4, my favorite show was Scooby-Doo, too."
The governor couldn’t have been 4 and been watching "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" since it didn’t begin airing until 1969 and he was born in 1962. That means he would have been 7 years old if he watched the premiere episode of the Hanna-Barbera classic.
As Scooby-Doo character Velma would proclaim: "Jinkies!" Like Drewniak, we’ll chalk this one up to age. Who among us can instantly identify the years our favorite childhood shows were televised? So in this one, Gov, we give you not a False or True. But a pass.
Here’s a list of popular cartoons that aired in 1966, when Chris Christie was 4 years old:
Frankenstein Jr. and The Impossibles
Milton the Monster
The Lone Ranger
The New Adventures of Superman
The New Casper Cartoon Show
The Super 6
The Tom & Jerry Show
Tweet from @Capitol Quickies to @GovChristie, April 12, 2013
YouTube.com, "Governor Christie: When I Was 4, My Favorite Show Was Scooby Doo Too," April 11, 2013, accessed April 13 and 15, 2013
IMDb.com, "Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!" accessed April 15, 2013
Biography.com, Chris Christie biography, accessed April 15, 2013
State of New Jersey website, Office of the Governor, accessed April 15, 2013
Project Vote Smart website, Governor Christopher ‘Chris’ J. Christie’s Biography, accessed April 15, 2013
E-mail interview with Michael Drewniak, spokesman, Gov. Chris Christie, April 15, 2013
The Cartoon Scrapbook website, accessed April 16, 2013
TVParty.com website, accessed April 17, 2013