Fred Herman Jones, sometimes referred to as Freddie (which is what he went by as a preteen), is the self appointed leader of the Mystery Inc. gang, and (usually) the driver of the van; the Mystery Machine (which is strange because Daphne Blake owns the van). Fred is a blonde, ascot-wearing, statuesque and brave youth; everything that the group's other male human member, Shaggy, isn't. In later spin-offs, Fred is also shown as having a great interest in various types of sports.
During the series' run, Fred would often be shown constructing various Rube Goldberg traps for villains, which Scooby-Doo and/or Shaggy would often set off by mistake, only for the villain to wind up captured by the trap anyway. During the first season of Scooby Doo, Where Are You?, Fred would sometimes refer to his cohort Daphne Blake as "Danger-Prone Daphne" due to her penchant for getting into trouble.
Fred leads the group in solving mysteries and often orders the gang to split up to search for clues. Fred usually takes Daphne and Velma with him, while Shaggy and Scooby go off by themselves although he would sometimes send Velma along with Shaggy and Scooby; Fred's main catchphrase is related to this divide-and-conquer clue search method: "let's split up, gang..."
Some fans have posited that Fred and Daphne share an attraction to each other, but this has yet to be truly declared as such in the series itself (though Cartoon Network, in its various promotional bumpers, has had fun with this notion).
In the 1990s direct-to-video movies and in the 2000s series What's New, Scooby Doo?, Fred's outfit was given an update, with the removal of his ascot the most noticeable change. He also is shown as slightly less intelligent, and more clueless to his surroundings. The removal of the ascot was poked fun at during one of the first promotional advertisements for What's New, Scooby Doo?, when the ascot is found on the ground, puzzling everyone but Fred, who seems to be uncomfortable around the discovery. Also in the What's New, Scooby Doo? series he is more cowardly than his past self in Scooby Doo, Where are You! series. This is acknowledged in the episode "Recipe for Disaster" , when Fred, Daphne, and Velma have to split up to find Shaggy and Scooby, and Daphne asks if he minds seaching alone and Fred reacts a little cowardly "You mean by myself? in this haunted fact-" until he realises what he is saying and tries to act cool. Another instance of his new cowardness is in the episode "Farmed and Dangerous" when Farmer P. comes to them while their investigating and offering them some warm milk to calm their nerves and Fred replies "no thanks" but after he tells them about the story of the devil farmer to which Fred gets scared and said "I would like some warm milky" in a scared tone.
Fred's childhood started in the cartoon A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. He had a very odd childhood, noteworthy as being slightly hyperactive, danger-prone (of which now he calls Daphne), and superstitious. Fred was frequently picked on by Red Herring, the neighborhood bully. He subscribed to a magazine, the National Exaggerator, that "reported" real monsters (his favorites being the Mole People and the mud monsters). This is later hinted at in What's New, Scooby Doo?, shown from his eccentric actions. Fred also almost always gets something wrong at the end of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, as he always (or almost always) accuses Red as being the villain. It is shown that Fred has worn his ascot since childhood.
Relatives of Fred's shown or mentioned during the series include ():
Skip and Peggy Jones: Fred's parents.
Eddie Jones: Fred's uncle. The publisher of the tabloid newspaper The National Exaggerator.
The Count von Jones: Fred's uncle. Lives in a castle near a factory that makes specialized coffins, and runs a museum.
An uncle in the U.S. Air Force and works for a space agency.
An uncle who is first cymbalist in the U.S. Marine Corps band.
- In the original cartoon series and all of its spinoffs (save for A Pup Named Scooby-Doo), Fred is voiced by Frank Welker; the junior high version of Fred featured in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo was voiced by Carl Stevens. In Warner Bros.' two live-action Scooby-Doo feature films, he was played by Freddie Prinze Jr and Wayne Grayson.
- The second-season episode of The Venture Bros. entitled ¡Viva los Muertos! features the entire Scooby-Doo cast re-imagined as famous serial killers and racidals. Fred's analogue, "Ted", is charismatic and abusive, à la Ted Bundy, and bullies his companions into driving around in a van and solving nonexistent mysteries. He is also a sadist, as evidenced by his line, "Patty (Daphne), being out of your box isn't a right. It's a privilege. Baby, you don't want to go back in your box, do you?"
- He has been hypnotized 2 times so far in all the Scooby-Doo series combined:
- The first time was in the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode, "Mummy Scares Best" where he is hypnotized to be a slave of the mummy with Daphne and Velma.
- The second time was briefly in another What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode, "Reef Grief!" where he looks into the medalion that Spencer Johnson used to hypnotize the sand castle builders, he even said a famous line "Yes Master" in a tranced voice (This line is very common in many cartoons that have people who are hypnotized).
- He was hypnotized in the Gold Key Scooby Doo comic issue #9 "The Phantom Clown", when he was hypnotized with Shaggy by the ghost clown to act like horses.
- He was also hypnotized with Daphne and Velma in the Scooby Doo video game "Mystery Mayhem."
- He mentioned in What's New, Scooby-Doo? that he can bench press up to 220 pounds.