The Archie Situation Comedy Musical Variety Show (1978)

Writers: Eric Cohen, George Yanok
Director: Tom Trbovich
Original Air Date: Saturday, August 5, 1978
Length: 44:20

I’m sorry that this is late. Stupid thunderstorms in my area.

Four years after the failed second attempt to create an Archie television series, Filmation got the license and developed a successful, long-running animated series. But there was nothing new on the live-action front for many years.

Then ABC aired a one-hour special, simply called “Archie“, as an episode of “ABC Saturday Comedy Special” on Sunday, December 19, 1976 (the date is according to two online sources, but take it with a grain of salt). I have never seen this special, and I don’t know of anyone else that has either. Much like the elusive 1962 pilot, the 1976 special can be considered one of the holy grails of Archie.

The following information comes from David Krell’s article, “Everything’s Archie“:

“David Caruso (CSI: Miami, Michael Hayes, NYPD Blue) often receives credit for portraying Riverdale’s red-headed Romeo. In fact, Dennis Bowen, an actor with a recurring role on Welcome Back, Kotter, played Archie. James Komack’s production company produced Kotter and the two Archie specials. Thus, Bowen’s nexus to Komack provides an explanation in how the Archie role came to be. But what about the confusion concerning Caruso?

Mark Evanier, a Story Editor on Kotter, dissected the confusion in an article for the August 25, 1995 edition Comic Buyer’s Guide. While Caruso was set to play Archie, a contract dispute occurred the day before rehearsals began. Press and promotional materials had already been distributed, thus causing the mistaken credit to Caruso.”

Here’s another bit of trivia from IMDb: “Gordon Jump auditioned to play Mr. Weatherbee. He did not get that role but the producers liked his audition so much that they cast him as Mr. Andrews. But nobody notified Jump and he showed up for filming ready to play Mr. Weatherbee. When he was told of the error, he took a copy of the script and went off to a corner of the studio. In just a few minutes, he was prepared to play Mr. Andrews.”

As for the plot of the special, the only info that I’ve come across is from a book called “Encyclopedia of Television Series, Pilots and Specials – 1974-1984” by Vincent Terrace: “Archie tries to arrange for a popular singing group (the Hound Dogs) to perform at Veronica’s birthday party.”

Various characters from the 1976 special that didn’t return for the 1978 special include Mr. Lodge (Whit Bissell), some guy named Phil (Paul Thomas Gordon), someone’s Aunt Helen (Mae Marmy), some guy named Larry (Bill Mumy), Little Jinx (Michelle Stacy), Mrs. Lodge (Amzie Strickland), and Mr. Weatherbee (Byron Webster) (despite IMDb claiming he’s also in the 1978 special, he’s not).

Supposedly, this special was re-broadcast in 1978.

From David Krell’s article: “Variety reviewed the special for its December 22, 1976 issue, offering encouraging comments. “Overall, one got the feeling that the special had come close to achieving its original goals and might yet turn up on ABC’s prime time sked–possibly as a summer skein.” Translation: sked means schedule, skein means series.”

Despite the good review, ABC passed on the series and had them try again nearly two years later. This time, using the same cast, they switched things up by turning it into a variety format and giving it an obscenely long title. I don’t know what the reaction to this special was like (although, obviously, ABC passed on the series again), but it faded into the mists of time…until YouTube came along.

I was lucky(?) enough to save this special when it was briefly on YouTube (it’s gone now), so here’s a detailed summary for you to enjoy(?). Apologies in advance for the poor quality of the screencaps. The video is atrocious, sometimes skipping (making jokes and plot points disappear in the process) or just taking a shit (along with the audio). Still, I suppose this is better than not seeing it at all.

Archie-Variety-01-stage
The special opens with the shot of the stage where The Archies perform (and where the characters do dumb skits). It isn’t enough to simply open on the show, though; it has to do cartwheels (mixed with a shot of outer space), set to trippy music, before settling into place. Then space-age sound effects accompany flashes of light as some of the characters suddenly appear on the stage, like they teleported in or something.

Archie-Variety-02-ArchieArchie introduces himself. He rambles philosophically about who he is for a while. It doesn’t amount to anything. He ends with a joke (I guess; I can’t understand him), which the audience laughs at.

Archie Andrews is played by Dennis Bowen. He racked up 34 credits in a career that spanned 1975-2002 and died on March 9, 2012, at the too-young age of 61. He’s best known for playing Todd Ludlow on “Welcome Back, Kotter”.

Archie-Variety-03-Betty
Then Betty says she knows Archie loves her, despite his being turned on by “a certain girl who shall remain nameless”.

Betty Cooper is played by Audrey Landers. She’s racked up 64 acting credits (plus various other credits) in a career that spans 1971-2014. She’s mostly known as Afton Cooper on both “Dallas” series and Veronica on “Burn Notice”. She was also Polly Morrison in a 1985 movie called “Deadly Twins”.

Archie-Variety-04-Veronica
Then Veronica introduces herself as “Nameless” (I’m guessing; the audio gives out briefly), which is pretty funny. She then gives her real name and mentions how lots of guys buy her stuff in order to get a little somethin’-somethin’, but only a new car might do the trick.

Veronica Lodge is played by Hilarie Thompson, credited under her birth name of Hilary Thompson. She racked up 51 credits in a career that spanned 1967-1988 (although her TV debut was actually in 1966 in a Kodak commercial shown during the Academy Awards). She played Elizabeth Coates on “The Young Rebels”, Lizabeth Barett in the “Manhunter” TV movie (and on the series), Betsy Alexander on “Hec Ramsey”, Cheryl in “The Fury”, Lt. Betty Wheeler on “Operation Petticoat”, and, for her final role, Betty on “ALF”. She might be Veronica, but she sure seemed to play a lot of Bettys. She even got a Cheryl in there. I guess that’s no weirder than a Cheryl playing Betty.

Then Reggie talks himself up and blows a raspberry at the audience.

Archie-Variety-05-ReggieReggie Mantle is played by Mark Winkworth. Other than theater work, he didn’t have much of a career. He racked up only 5 credits in a career that spanned 1976-1981 (2 of those credits being Reggie Mantle). Notably, his first role was as John Quincy Adams in a 1976 TV miniseries called “The Adams Chronicles”. Insert “Reggie Mantle in politics” joke.

Archie-Variety-06-Archie-pointsVeronica comments about how she loves that. Betty complains about that. Archie calls Reggie obnoxious. Archie and the girls gets into a brief argument, and then Archie tells them to shut the fuck up, because there are people watching.

Archie-Variety-07-cast
The rest of the cast suddenly bamfs in. The audience applauds.

Archie-Variety-08-title
The unwieldy title comes on the screen (a few words at a time) over a star background while music plays, and then it collides and is destroyed or something. I dunno.

Archie-Variety-09-neonWhat are these neon shapes in the dark?

Archie-Variety-10-Archies
Oh, it’s The Archies on supposed musical instruments. Of course.

Archie-Variety-11-Archie-singsArchie-Variety-12-Reggie-singsReggie, unusually, is on keyboard, not bass guitar.

Another cartwheel spinning effect occurs for no reason (other than to be “trippy” or “cool” or something).

Archie-Variety-13-Midge-singsMidge is…also on keyboard, I guess.

Midge Klump is played by Susan Blu. To children of the ’80s, she needs no introduction. She was Stomer and Lindsay Pierce on “Jem”, Arcee and Marissa Faireborn on “The Transformers”, and a shitload of other characters. Her still-ongoing career started in 1974, and she shows no signs of stopping. Her credits are way too massive to list here. Suffice it to say her contribution to the animation industry is incalculable. Just go, read her IMDb page, and be fucking amazed. This was only her sixth credit (her fourth also being Midge Klump). I will note, amusingly, she voiced a character named Midge in a 1989 episode of “DuckTales”.

Archie-Variety-14-Moose-singsMoose is on guitar (in addition to Archie).

Moose Mason is played by Jim Boelsen. He hasn’t had much of a career, racking up only 10 credits from 1976 to 2015 (and with a huge break from 1987 to 2012). This was only his third role (his first also being Moose Mason).

Archie-Variety-15-Betty-sings
You can’t see what Betty’s instrument is (or even if she has one), but I’m hoping she didn’t get stuck with the fucking tambourine.

Archie-Variety-16-Archie-guitarArchie-Variety-17-Betty-sings-2
The following shot of Veronica was too messed up to get a good screencap of, but…

Archie-Variety-18-Veronica-guitar
…it’s clear in the next shot that Veronica is also on guitar. So this band consists of three guitarists, two beyboardists, and a tambourine player. Seems like they’re missing someone…

Archie-Variety-19-Jughead-drums
Ah, Jughead on drums. That was it. He’s got an awesome set-up.

Jughead Jones is played by Derrel Maury. He’s racked up 58 acting credits (plus 1 casting credit) in a career spanning 1972 through the present day (but with a long break from 1985 to 2007).

Archie-Variety-20-Betty-Veronica-sing
Oh, yeah, the song. It’s a very poppy song about it being a great time for the human race.

Archie-Variety-21-Veronica-singsWow, Veronica’s really getting into it.

Archie-Variety-22-Jughead-singsArchie-Variety-23-Midge-sings-2Archie-Variety-24-Moose-sings-2Archie-Variety-25-Reggie-sings-2Archie-Variety-26-Archie-drums
As the song ends, there’s a weird effect where the shot of Archie shrinks and falls back onto a shot of Jughead’s drums.

The audience applauds.

After a commercial break (I guess; it’s really hard to tell with the picture quality), a shot of Midge and Moose Phantom-Zone-effects onto the screen.

Archie-Variety-27-Midge-Moose
In this skit, Midge is envious of Moose’s height, because she gets ridiculed for hers. Moose vows to defend her but then makes a joke about her short height. Ass. She shoves him away.

Archie-Variety-28-students
After another transition effect, we see a hallway in Riverdale High School.

Archie-Variety-29-classroom
Then we fade to Miss Grundy’s classroom.

Archie-Variety-30-Veronica-Betty
Betty says she loves Biology and asks Veronica if she does as well. Veronica says she learns a lot more from dating, and the audience goes nuts. Yeah, Veronica loves the cock and is proud to admit it.

Archie-Variety-31-Reggie-ArchieArchie thinks the class is a waste of time, but Reggie needs to do well in it if he hopes to become a “handsome doctor”. Probably a gyno, knowing him. Archie makes a joke that the copy that I have skips over. Reggie takes offense and talks about the “painful research” of finding a good tax loophole.

Archie-Variety-32-Grundy
Miss Grundy comes in, says good morning to her class, and, somewhat uncharacteristically, calls them fucking idiots.

Miss Grundy is played by Jane Lambert. She racked up 13 credits in a short career that spanned 1973-1978 (this being her last role). She died on July 6, 1980, at the too-young age of 59.

She says, in today’s “test” (I think she means lesson), they’re “going to examine the most beautiful thing that God ever created: the human body”.

Archie-Variety-33-VeronicaArchie-Variety-34-Veronica-2
I’m not sure if Veronica is presenting herself as an example or silently saying “Yeah, I know all about that.” Maybe both.

Archie-Variety-35-Grundy-impatient
Miss Grundy says “Not yours, Veronica.” This, coupled with her above statement, means Miss Grundy believes Veronica is offering to be “examined” by her classmates.

Betty and Veronica are amused by it all. Jughead hopes it’s not Miss Grundy’s body (ew, me too). The girls are further amused.

As Miss Grundy is about to explain how they’re going to “conduct the test”, the video skips.

Archie-Variety-36-Veronica-Betty-surprisedVeronica and Betty are surprised (in an amused way). Betty asks if they have to cut up live frogs. Miss Grundy says they’re asleep (I think). Jughead jokes they must have been in her last class.

Archie-Variety-37-Midge-EthelMidge says she doesn’t think they have the right to take the life of any living thing. Ethel (the actor is uncredited here; Tifni Twitchell played her in the 1976 special; she had a sporadic career, racking up only 6 credits (plus this, assuming it’s her) from 1969 to 1989) stands up and says they shouldn’t kill any animal except for food. Veronica tells Ethel to shut the fuck up and adds, if Ethel was a vegetarian (um, she clearly isn’t), “a thousand cows would be alive today”. An embarrassed Ethel sits down.

After another skip, Miss Grundy talks about how “the greatest advances in medicine” came from experiments on animals. She says those that wish to participate in the dissection may do so, and “the chickens are free to leave”.

Midge, Ethel, two other girls, and Moose get up. The girls leave. Miss Grundy stops Moose and expresses her surprise.

Archie-Variety-38-Grundy-Moose-Midge
After Midge yells at Moose to come along, Miss Grundy nods in understanding.

Miss Grundy says they will conduct the “test” in teams: one surgeon and one assistant. She asks the assistants to come up and get a frog and scalpel.

Reggie (already playing the doctor) orders Archie to get up and get him his frog. Archie starts to do so but then argues with Reggie about it.

Archie-Variety-39-Grundy-Veronica
Miss Grundy is surprised to see Veronica and says she misjudged her, not knowing she had an interest in science. Veronica nods. Miss Grundy then admits she’d always considered Veronica to be “such a flaky little twit”. Veronica is surprised but doesn’t say anything and just goes back to her seat.

Miss Grundy hands Archie his frog and scalpel. Archie thanks her and returns to his seat.

Archie-Variety-40-Archie-ReggieReggie is repulsed and insults the looks of frogs – and Archie.

Archie-Variety-41-Veronica-Betty
Miss Grundy gives instructions. Veronica offers Betty the scalpel. Betty thought Veronica wanted to do it. The video skips over Veronica’s response, but she looks at her nails, so we can kind of guess what it was.

Archie-Variety-42-Reggie-ArchieReggie is freaking out, because the frog is “looking at” him. Archie calls bullshit but then says the frog is looking at him. Reggie tries to get out of dissecting the frog, but Archie says he needs to do this kind of shit if he wants to become a doctor. Reggie changes his mind: he’s going into psychiatry.

Archie-Variety-43-Reggie-frog
He then talks to the frog in a Sigmund Freud impression.

As Miss Grundy gives further instructions, Reggie muses about becoming a “handsome druggist” instead.

Archie-Variety-44-Grundy-JugheadJughead’s fucking eating his goddamn frog.

Archie-Variety-45-Jughead-ribbit
He then ribbits at Miss Grundy.

Archie finally grabs the scalpel and decides to dissect the frog himself. Reggie appreciates it but has to do it himself. He demands the scalpel back. Archie gives it to him.

Archie-Variety-46-Reggie-Archie
After some more banter, Reggie dissects the frog with his eyes closed, and then Archie gets sick and runs off to hurl.

Archie-Variety-47-Reggie-proudReggie is proud of himself and declares himself to be a doctor.

Archie-Variety-48-Reggie-frog
Then he talks to the frog like it’s a woman, telling her that she can put her clothes on. I was right! Reggie wants to be a gyno! By the way, talking to a dead frog as if it’s a naked woman is all sorts of fucked up.

Archie-Variety-49-Betty-sings-1Archie-Variety-50-Betty-sings-2
After another transition effect, we get another song. This time, Betty’s singing a silly love song about Archie.

Archie-Variety-51-Betty-sings-3
She might or might not be high.

Archie-Variety-52-Archie-BettyArchie-Variety-53-Veronica-sings
Then Veronica cuts in.

Archie-Variety-54-Archie-VeronicaArchie-Variety-55-Archie-singsArchie’s caught in the middle but seems to choose Veronica.

But Betty gets the last word in, still professing her love for Archie.

The audience applauds.

After the commercial break (I guess), the next skit Phantom-Zones into place.

Archie-Variety-56-Moose-Jughead
This skit involves Moose discussing his seeming stupidity with Jughead. Jughead says he doesn’t think he’s stupid. Moose thanks him and calls himself a “heavy philosophic thinker”. He’s at the age where he realizes he “probably will” die and asks “Why is there death?” After a lot of thinking, he came up with the answer: if there wasn’t death, you’d never find…SKIP! Damn it!

Anyway, Jughead doesn’t worry about death. He then talks about the child custody battle between his parents, the punchline being they each were trying to give up custody of him! Moose lightly shoves Jughead, and they get up and leave.

Archie-Variety-57-transition
As they pass by a wall, the next scene is showing! The scene expands to fill the screen.

Archie-Variety-58-gang-Monopoly
The gang’s playing Monopoly at Betty’s house. The doorbell rings (I guess). Archie goes to answer it.

Archie-Variety-59-Archie-parentsArchie is surprised that his parents came over. Fred explains they have a dinner date with Betty’s parents.

Fred Andrews is played by Gordon Jump. He racked up 125 acting credits (plus a director and associate producer credit) in a long career that spanned 1965-2004. He was mostly known for playing Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson on “WKRP in Cincinnati” and its revival. He died on September 22, 2003, at the age of 71.

The actor playing Mary Andrews is uncredited.

Mary thought Archie and Betty were going to the movies tonight. Archie says they were going to, but the gang wanted to play Monopoly instead. This might well be the most implausible scenario in the history of Archie.

Fred thought Archie didn’t like Monopoly. Archie went along with the gang. Fred recognizes it as peer pressure. Mary says, when they were young, they were part of the group too. Fred says, when Archie gets older, he’ll get the courage to express his individuality.

Archie-Variety-60-adults
The punchline is Fred and Mary are dressed just like Hal and Alice. Hal and Alice’s actors are uncredited.

Archie-Variety-61-gang-watches
The gang watches the adults leave. Archie throws some Monopoly money in the air in anger.

Archie-Variety-62-money-air
The scene freeze-frames. Music plays. There’s a transition effect to the next scene.

Archie-Variety-63-girl-1Archie-Variety-64-girl-2Archie-Variety-65-girl-3
In a hallway in Riverdale High School, three girls in a row walk by, each wearing some kind of activist shirt.

Archie-Variety-66-girl-ReggieReggie takes an interest in the fourth girl.

Archie-Variety-67-Reggie-girl
The audience applauds. This gag might be funny if I could read what’s on the girl’s shirt.

Anyway, the scene freeze-frames and then shrinks down into a starfield. The next skit Phantom-Zones in.

Archie-Variety-68-Archie
The skit has Archie spouting more bullshit about wondering who he is. He blames his dad, saying his dad insists on teaching him everything (or else he won’t know how to do it right), so he can’t find his own identity. He reveals his dad spent the first three weeks of his life teaching him how to sneeze.

Archie-Variety-69-Archie-Fred
Fred says he still can’t do it right.

Archie-Variety-70-transition
Fred hugs Archie with one arm, and the two of them walk past a wall, which has the next scene playing. The scene expands to fill the screen.

Archie-Variety-71-Moose-Midge-Jughead
It takes place at Pop’s (though it isn’t mentioned as such until much later).

Archie-Variety-72-Archie-PopArchie has a job. Pop’s actor is uncredited.

Archie-Variety-73-Archie-servesAnyway, Archie is generally incompetent at his job but manages to serve his friends without…

Archie-Variety-74-Archie-towels-JugheadNever mind.

Archie apologizes, saying he’s nervous. Midge asks about what. Archie says his dad’s gonna take a look at the sports car that he wants to buy. Moose is like “Forget it, you ain’t gettin’ it.” It seems Moose is a bad driver (or at least his dad thinks so), and his dad had his car’s back seat sealed up to prevent him from fucking Midge there.

Midge asks Archie why he needs his dad’s permission, since it’s his own money that he worked for. Archie says he earned just the down payment; he needs his father’s signature to arrange a loan. Moose makes a joke, but the video skips over it and cuts to him laughing hysterically at his own joke, which I didn’t get to hear. Then it skips over another joke. Anyway, the gist is they’re making jokes at Archie’s expense.

Archie returns to the counter. Fred comes in. Archie asks him if he saw the car.

Archie-Variety-75-Fred-zeroArchie’s initially excited, but Fred was just making a visual joke and calls Archie a yo-yo.

Archie-Variety-76-Fred-Archie
They get into a debate. There’s a joke where Fred recommends the same car that Moose’s father picked out for him and even says he’ll seal up the back seat.

Teens are gonna fuck, Fred, no matter what you do to “prevent” them from doing so.

Archie and Fred continue debating about Archie’s right to make his own decisions. Fred gets a good comeback in, which I won’t spoil. Fred is a “Perry Mason” fan, but he seems to speak of the series as if it’s current; it had ended twelve years earlier. I guess he watches the reruns religiously.

Archie-Variety-77-woman-FredArchie eventually tells his dad to “ask anybody” about what they’d do. He asks a random woman (the actor is uncredited) that, according to his own sarcastic self, looks like one of Archie’s “typical teenage friends”. He goes into a detailed explanation of the situation and his concerns. The woman whacks Moose in the head with her purse. Fred points out his actual son, so the woman whacks Archie as well. Then Archie whacks the woman in the head with his cleaning rag as she leaves.

Archie-Variety-78-woman-Archie
The woman is genuinely shocked by this. Yeah, typical customer: abuse the help and then be appalled when your shitty attitude is reciprocated. Anyway, the audience applauds.

Archie-Variety-79-group
The debate continues. Everyone gets in on it. Moose makes a (perhaps unintentional) joke about Midge’s height. Archie makes it sound like he and the rest of the gang are 18. Fred eventually comes around to Archie’s side.

Archie-Variety-80-Archie-hugs-FredArchie-Variety-81-group-cheers
The ending gag is Archie asks his dad to help him decide between the red and blue model, and Fred says it’s entirely up to him.

Archie-Variety-82-Archie-pissedArchie gets pissed, not realizing Fred’s teaching him a lesson.

Archie-Variety-83-old-woman
An old woman (the actor is uncredited) calls “sonny” over. Archie goes over to her.

Archie-Variety-84-old-woman-helmet
The video messes up, so I don’t get exactly what she’s saying (except “Forget the sports car”), but I guess she’s recommending Archie get a motorcycle. Because little old women riding motorcycles is hilarious.

After the commercial break (I guess), the next skit Phantom-Zones into place.

Archie-Variety-85-Jughead
This skit is just Jughead making a joke about his mom laying guilt trips on him.

Archie-Variety-86-transition
He walks past a wall, which has the next scene playing. The scene expands to fill the screen.

Archie-Variety-87-Midge-MooseMidge and Moose are at Pop’s. Midge talks a worried Moose into taking a bite of her hamburger (contradicting the Biology scene from earlier).

Archie-Variety-88-Moose-toothacheMoose has a toothache. Midge suggests chewing on the other side.

Archie-Variety-89-Midge-Moose-laughKudos to the show for subverting my expectation. I thought this would be a “dumb” moment for Moose; instead, he’s very aware he’s making a joke. But then he laughs so hard that he irritates his toothache.

Archie-Variety-90-Archie-waitingArchie-Variety-91-Archie-impatient
After a transition effect, we find Archie in Betty’s living room, impatiently waiting for her to get ready, so they can go to the school’s basketball game.

Archie-Variety-92-Archie-Betty
He manhandles her even before she’s down the stairs.

Archie-Variety-93-Betty-phoneThey’re about out the door when the phone rings, so Betty rushes back in to answer it. It’s her mom. As Betty tries to talk with her, Archie keeps bothering her.

Betty gets off the phone. Archie asks what’s up. Betty explains a big rainstorm washed out the whole bridge, and her parents won’t be home until noon tomorrow, so they have the house to themselves all night. They rush out the door…

Archie-Variety-94-Betty-Archie
…but soon come back in once they realize what this means. They dance around the subject for a while and feel awkward and nervous (Betty: “Would you like to take your things off?”). There’s some dumb physical comedy (exchanging clothes back and forth). Archie checks his reflection and his breath and then…

Archie-Variety-95-Archie-flower…uses a flower as deodorant. Then he wipes his hands on his chest for some reason.

Archie-Variety-96-Archie-Betty
The video skips a lot here, but the basic gist of the scene is they’re talking about fucking without actually talking about fucking. It’s sorta funny. It gets kinda creepy, though, when Archie says what he wants to do is a “surprise”.

Archie-Variety-97-Archie-forces-Betty.jpg
After a while, Archie forces himself on Betty. Yeah. That happens…

Archie-Variety-98-Archie-forces-Betty-2Archie-Variety-99-Archie-forces-Betty-3Archie-Variety-100-Archie-forces-Betty-4Archie-Variety-101-Archie-forces-Betty-5Archie-Variety-102-Archie-forces-Betty-6…multiple times.

Betty shoves Archie away (I’m guessing; the video skips) and leaves him with a case of blue balls. Betty suggests watching TV, which Archie rejects (“Why should the TV get turned on if we can’t?”).

Archie-Variety-103-Betty-Archie
Betty suggests they wait a “couple of years”, which is acceptable to Archie. Archie suggests they go somewhere (the video and audio mess up), and Betty agrees. They rush out the door. Archie hopes they can still get in. Betty says, even if they can’t, who cares; they can always neck in the car. I can’t tell what Archie’s reaction is, but he seems more frustrated than excited.

Archie-Variety-104-transitionThere’s a neat scene transition where the scene splits apart to reveal the stage for the next song.

Archie-Variety-105-ArchiesArchie-Variety-106-Reggie-VeronicaOkay, this is a game of telephone put to song. Reggie asks Veronica if they have a date tonight.

Archie-Variety-107-Reggie-Veronica-2Veronica is excited to possibly have a date with Reggie, so…

Archie-Variety-108-Veronica-Archie
…she breaks her date with Archie, lying about having the flu.

Archie-Variety-109-Veronica-Archie-2Archie is disappointed, so…

Archie-Variety-110-Archie-Betty
…he asks Betty out, claiming he just got over the flu. Typical.

Archie-Variety-111-Betty
Of course, Betty is eager to snatch Archie up, so…

Archie-Variety-112-Betty-Midge
…she breaks her date with Midge. Maybe she gives a reason, but I can’t tell, because the video and audio mess up.

Archie-Variety-113-MidgeMidge is excited, because…

Archie-Variety-114-MooseArchie-Variety-115-Midge-Moose
…she immediately asks Moose out, claiming she just got over the flu.

Archie-Variety-116-MooseArchie-Variety-117-Moose-JugheadMoose breaks his date with Jughead, lying about having the flu.

Archie-Variety-118-JugheadJughead is desperate for a date, because they “just closed the candy store”, so he “can’t eat no more”. There’s no food at home?

Archie-Variety-119-Jughead-girl“Reggie’s dreamboat” (Jughead’s cousin) just arrives in town. She’s very affectionate with Jughead. She doesn’t talk, and the actor is uncredited.

Archie-Variety-120-Jughead-girl-ReggieJughead hopes to turn it into a threesome, so he calls Reggie.

Archie-Variety-121-ReggieReggie is so turned on that he announces over the phone that he hopes Veronica will believe his lie.

Archie-Variety-122-Reggie-VeronicaArchie-Variety-123-Reggie-girl-Veronica
He lies about having the flu (and he sounds like he just thought of that on the spot) while Jughead’s cousin is getting ready to have her way with him. He doesn’t even remember Veronica’s name. Veronica hangs up in anger.

Archie-Variety-124-gang
This somehow leads to everyone else breaking their dates. Why? I have no idea.

Archie-Variety-125-gang-2
Can’t forget to include Jughead.

The audience applauds wildly.

After the commercial break (I guess), the next skit Phantom-Zones into place.

Archie-Variety-126-Betty
This one’s just Betty joking about her mom’s attempts to be like a teenager.

Archie-Variety-127-Midge-Jughead
A concerned Midge comes to talk with a depressed Jughead. Jughead confesses he’s “such a loser with girls”. Midge says he shouldn’t feel that way and confesses, before she met Moose, she had such a crush on Jughead. She brings up the “passionate love letters” that they used to write to each other. The joke is neither one of them could read. Um…

Archie-Variety-128-Midge-Jughead-2
They stand up and walk off together, arm in arm.

Archie-Variety-129-transition
They walk past a wall, which has the next scene playing. The scene expands to fill the screen.

Archie-Variety-130-ticket-counterArchie and Veronica are at a ticket counter, where Archie pays $140 for concert tickets. An excited Veronica claps her hands.

It turns out that Archie bought the last tickets. Veronica is excited about their luck in getting the last tickets for “the greatest rock concert ever to hit Riverdale”. Archie has to get going, so he gives Veronica the tickets and tells her to have the gang meet him at Pop’s at 8:00. Veronica points out the the show goes on at…the video and audio mess up. Archie takes one ticket for himself (just in case he’s late) and will meet Veronica and the gang inside the auditorium.

Archie-Variety-131-Veronica-warnsVeronica yells after Archie to drive carefully, because, if he gets killed, he’ll miss the whole concert. Ha.

Archie-Variety-132-clockArchie-Variety-133-Reggie-PopLater, at Pop’s, Pop complains to Reggie about rock and the $20 concert tickets (so I guess Archie bought seven tickets).

Archie-Variety-134-Pop-complains
Pop back-in-my-days for a while. The video skips over a joke.

Archie-Variety-135-Reggie-ArchieArchie comes in, wanting to know if Veronica’s here.

Archie-Variety-136-Reggie-Archie-Veronica
She arrives…

Archie-Variety-137-Veronica…with bad news.

It takes a while for her to get around to it, but she lost the tickets. They were in her purse, and she lost her purse.

Archie-Variety-138-Veronica-yellsWhat follows is a bunch of corny “jokes” and screaming and circular arguing about purse and pockets.

Archie-Variety-139-Veronica-shoves-ReggieVeronica eventually gets pissed off and shoves Reggie.

Reggie wants Veronica to act out everything that happened to her today. She was in church, praying she wouldn’t lose the tickets. Archie assumes she accidentally put the tickets in the poor box. He talks about altar boys and the priest going to the concert. Uh, moving along…

Archie-Variety-140-Archie-Veronica-ReggieReggie tells Archie to shut the fuck up. He has them roleplay. Reggie plays the priest, and Archie plays…something (the video skips). They both do bad Irish accents for whatever reason. Reggie (as the priest) asks for a donation for “the poor pagan children”. Then Archie ruins the roleplay by suggesting Veronica put the tickets in her pocket.

Archie-Variety-141-Archie-Reggie
Then Veronica went to the bank. Reggie plays the teller. Archie plays (according to Reggie) “a cancelled check”.

Archie-Variety-142-Reggie-VeronicaMore dumb jokes and screaming ensue.

Archie-Variety-143-Veronica-scaredReggie eventually gets Veronica so scared that she doesn’t want to act out the scenario.

More screaming ensues. Holy shit, NOTHING’S HAPPENING!

Archie-Variety-144-Veronica-breaks-downVeronica finally breaks down.

Archie-Variety-145-Veronica-scared-2Veronica can’t even. Massive kudos to Hilarie Thompson for her performance during this scene.

Archie-Variety-146-Reggie-noMark Winkworth as Reggie is good too – in a more annoying kind of way.

Archie-Variety-147-Veronica-upsetVeronica is massively upset and just about loses it. I so wanna see her take an ice cream scooper to these motherfuckers.

Archie-Variety-148-Archie-VeronicaArchie gets on Veronica’s case again, suggesting she put the tickets in her pocket. Veronica screams at him. The two of them argue. Archie fears Moose killing him for…Veronica losing the tickets. Makes perfect sense.

Archie-Variety-149-Archie-Veronica-ReggieVeronica sits at the counter. Reggie asks her where she went after the bank.

Archie-Variety-150-Veronica-criesCrying, Veronica says the drug store for lipstick.

Archie-Variety-151-Veronica-Archie-ReggieRoleplay time! Reggie is the “saleslady”, and Archie is the “mouthwash”. It goes as you expect. Archie gets on Veronica’s case about her stupid pocket again. God damn it, dude, give it a rest.

Archie-Variety-152-Veronica-ArchieVeronica screams at him again. I’m amazed that Hilarie Thompson didn’t blow out her throat during this scene.

Archie-Variety-153-Veronica-upsetVeronica finally just apologizes and wants to be left the fuck alone.

Archie-Variety-154-Veronica-Archie-2Archie won’t let it go, though.

Archie-Variety-155-Veronica-Archie-ReggieReggie finally pulls Archie away and gets him to apologize to Veronica. Veronica forgives him.

Archie-Variety-156-Veronica-bananaVeronica sits down to drown her sorrows in a…banana. She tells Archie to go to the concert himself. Archie is confused but then excitedly realizes he still has his ticket. Veronica seems to guilt-trip him, though. Archie tears up his ticket, shocking the audience. He throws the ticket in the trash can and joins Veronica in the booth.

Archie-Variety-157-gang
The rest of the gang arrives.

Archie-Variety-158-Veronica-purseMidge brings Veronica’s purse. It turns out that Veronica had left it in the drug store, which Midge had visited later. I’m not sure that the saleslady could just hand a customer another customer’s purse, even back then.

Everyone rushes out the door.

Archie-Variety-159-Archie-trash
Then Archie rushes back and frantically searches through the trash for the ticket pieces. I don’t think it’d help him; the ticket would likely be considered invalid. He eventually just picks up the trash can (not taking into consideration that he might have already thrown the ticket pieces on the floor) and rushes out the door.

Archie-Variety-160-Pop
Then Pop comes out (instead of earlier, with all of the screaming going on), refusing to believe he was ever a kid. Circus music plays. Seriously.

After the commercial break (I guess), the next skit Phantom-Zones into place.

Archie-Variety-161-Archie-VeronicaArchie-Variety-162-ArchieArchie ignores Veronica and addresses the audience. He switches from “Who am I?” to “Who am I gonna be?”

Archie-Variety-163-Betty-Archie
Betty answers this by trying to present herself as Archie’s future wife, but Archie thinks Betty means he and Veronica will end up married to each other.

Archie-Variety-164-VeronicaVeronica believes she’s gonna have “the most fantastic married life any woman ever had”; she reveals to Betty that she’s gonna marry multiple men that Betty doesn’t know.

Archie-Variety-165-Betty-surprised
Betty is momentarily surprised but then just kind of shrugs it off. I guess she’d already learned to expect Veronica to be like this in 1978.

Archie-Variety-166-Moose-MidgeMoose tells Midge that his future is simple: he’s gonna be a pro football player for the rest of his life.

Archie-Variety-167-Moose-Midge-2Rather than point out the stupidity of this, Midge just brings up the possibility of injury. Moose would then become a hockey player.

Archie-Variety-168-Moose-Midge-3
My reaction (minus the nodding).

Archie-Variety-169-Jughead-ArchieArchie has a laugh at this and then asks Jughead if he’s thought about his future. Once he gets over his shyness with girls, he’s gonna date a different girl every single night for the rest of his life.

Archie-Variety-170-Jughead-Archie-2Archie clarifies, asking Jughead what he’s gonna be.

Archie-Variety-171-Jughead“Very tired.” Boom-chicka-wah-wah…

Archie-Variety-172-Jughead-laughs
I hope Jughead doesn’t laugh like this on his dates.

Archie-Variety-173-VeronicaArchie-Variety-174-Reggie-VeronicaVeronica is somewhat amused and then asks Reggie what he’s gonna be when he grows up.

Archie-Variety-175-ReggieReggie doesn’t know. For a while, he thought he’d be a doctor in private practice. Now, he thinks that’s too selfish. He thinks he’d like to do something for all of humanity. He thinks he’ll join the Peace Corps. Veronica thinks that’s beautiful and asks Reggie where he thinks they’ll send him. Reggie guesses wherever he’s needed most – and then names Paris, Las Vegas, and the Riviera. Ha.

Archie-Variety-176-gang.jpg
The audience applauds.

Archie-Variety-177-ArchiesArchie-Variety-178-Archies-2Archie-Variety-179-creditsArchie-Variety-180-ArchieArchie-Variety-181-Betty-Veronica
After the commercial break (I guess), the final Archies concert Phantom-Zones into place. It’s a reprise of the first song, shot very similarly to the first version.

Archie-Variety-182-Archie-2“Good night, everybody. I hope you had as much fun as we did. Peace in.” I think that’s what he says.

Archie-Variety-183-writer
The writer had to be supervised? I’ve never seen that happen elsewhere.

Archie-Variety-184-musicWow, Mark Snow (of future X-Files fame) did the music score for this special – nearly twelve years before he did the score for the TV movie!

So that’s the fourth attempt at a live-action Archie television series. It’s…okay. I’m not fond of the skits and jokes. The music is okay. I just don’t like the variety format. It didn’t work for the Bradys, and it doesn’t work here.

I like the cast. Everyone’s good in their roles. The standout is Hilarie Thompson as Veronica. I wouldn’t mind if they had done a regular half-hour sitcom with these actors. Still, I’ve noticed a problem with the regular scenes: they’re too long. There’s a lot of repetition and screaming meant to stretch things out. I’m not sure how this would translate to a sitcom format; maybe have multiple plots going on per episode and have an Archies song in there somewhere (but in a normal setting). Ditch the trippy visual effects too.

Alas, it was not meant to be, and it would be nearly twelve years until they tried again to bring the Riverdale gang to television in live-action form.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Author: markmooreauthor

I love watching anime and superhero movies, and I love playing video games. I also write fan fiction and original fiction.

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