Josie and the Pussycats (1970), Episode 01 – The Nemo’s a No No Affair

Writers: Larz Bourne, Tom Dagenais, Bill Lutz
Directors: William Hanna and Joseph Barbera
Original Air Date: Saturday, September 12, 1970
Length: 19:29 (excluding themes)

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The character of Josie debuted in She’s Josie, No. 1, cover-dated February of 1963 (but actually on sale as of December 10, 1962), created and drawn by Dan DeCarlo and written by Frank Doyle. She was named after DeCarlo’s wife, who recalled in one of his obituaries: “We went on a Caribbean cruise, and I had a [cat] costume for the cruise, and that’s the way it started.” Dan DeCarlo originally tried to sell it to various publishers as a comic strip called “Here’s Josie” but was rejected. He recalled in 2001: “Then is when I decided to take it to Archie to see if they could do it as a comic book. I showed it to Richard Goldwater, and he showed it to his father, and a day or two later I got the OK to do it as a comic book.”

Some sources claim the story, “Tongue Twister”, in Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals, No. 23 (cover-dated Winter 1962-1963) was the first Josie story, but it went on sale one week after She’s Josie, No. 1.

The series featured everygirl Josie; her bubbly, ditzy friend, Melody; and bookworm Pepper. Josie had a beatnik boyfriend named Albert. Pepper had a strong, dumb boyfriend named Sock (Socrates). There was also rich guy, Alexander “Alex” Cabot III, who lusted after both Josie and Melody. Alex has an obnoxious twin sister, Alexandra Cabot. The characters would occasionally interact with Archie and the Riverdale gang. The “She’s” in the title was dropped with issue # 17 (cover-dated December of 1965).

While Filmation’s Archie/Sabrina juggernaut was going strong on CBS and NBC, rival animation studio Hanna-Barbera (responsible for “The Flintstones”, “The Jetsons”, and Scooby-Doo) contacted Archie Comics about possibly adapting one of their other properties into a similar Saturday-morning musical cartoon series. Archie Comics let them use Josie and made some changes in the latter half of 1969 in order to help set up the series. Josie met a hunky folk singer named Alan M. Mayberry, who eventually became Josie’s sometimes-boyfriend. Alexandra also lusted after Alan. Alexandra discovered her cat, Sebastian, was actually a reincarnation of an ancestor of the Cabot family, who was executed for consorting with witches. Whenever Alexandra held Sebastian in her arms, she could cast powerful magic spells. This aspect was never used in the cartoon series and disappeared from the comic as well, though it has reappeared rarely. The series was retitled “Josie and the Pussycats” with issue #45 (cover-dated December of 1969), written by Dick Malmgren. Pepper, Albert, and Sock were dropped. Josie and Melody formed a band. Alex became their manager (of his own choosing!) and found a bassist for them, a new girl in school named Valerie. Alan became their roadie. Alexandra desired to become the new leader of the band.

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The stage was set. The characters were in place. So what did Hanna-Barbera do? Rip off Scooby-Doo. Seriously.

Here is the main voice cast:

Janet Waldo (possibly as Judy Waite) – Josie (speaking)
Catherine Dougher – Josie (singing)
Jackie Joseph – Melody (speaking)
Cheryl Stoppelmoor (as Cherie Moor) – Melody (singing)
Barbara Pariot – Valerie (speaking)
Patrice Holloway – Valerie (singing)
Jerry Dexter – Alan
Casey Kasem – Alex
Sherry Alberoni – Alexandra
Don Messick (uncredited) – Sebastian

In preparation for the upcoming cartoon series, Hanna-Barbera began working on putting together a real-life Josie and the Pussycats girl group, who would provide the singing voices of the girls in the cartoons and also record an album of songs to be used both as radio singles and in the TV series.

The Josie and the Pussycats recordings were produced by La La Productions, which included producer/songwriter Danny Janssen (who had written for Bobby Sherman and The Partridge Family), his business partner Bobby Young, and songwriters Austin Roberts, Sue Steward (now known as Sue Sheridan), and Bobby Hart (formerly one of the producers/songwriters for The Monkees). They held a talent search to find three girls that would match the three girls in the comic book in both looks and singing ability; early plans, which did not come to fruition, called for a live-action Pussycats segment at the end of each episode. After interviewing over 500 finalists, they settled upon casting Kathleen Dougherty (Cathy Dougher) as Josie, Cherie Moor (later known as Cheryl Ladd (of “Charlie’s Angels” fame)) as Melody, and Patrice Holloway as Valerie.

Janssen presented the newly-formed band to William Hanna and Joseph Barbera to finalize the production deal but was in for a major surprise. Hanna-Barbera wanted Janssen to recast Patrice Holloway, because they had decided to portray “Josie and the Pussycats” as an all-white trio and had altered Valerie, who had been conceived as African-American and was already appearing as such in Archie’s revamped “Josie and the Pussycats” comic book, to make her white. Janssen refused to recast Holloway, whose voice he felt he needed for the soul-inspired bubblegum pop songs that he had written, and threatened to walk away from the project. After a three-week-long stand-off between Janssen and Hanna-Barbera, Hanna-Barbera finally relented and allowed Janssen to keep Holloway and changed Valerie back to being African-American. Word quickly spread around Los Angeles about the stand that Janssen had taken. To show their gratitude, a number of the most notable soul session players in the city offered their services to La La Productions and the Josie album at a fraction of their regular fees. Among them were Elvis Presley’s drummer Ronnie Tutt, Elvis’ bassist Jerry Scheff, keyboardist Clarence MacDonald, flutist Wilton Felder, and guitarist Mike Stewart. Ironically, Holloway ended up singing lead on most of the songs, including the theme song. The Valerie character was the first African-American female character on a regular Saturday morning cartoon series. The Hardy Boys drummer Pete Jones had been the first African-American male to appear on Saturday mornings a year earlier.

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Okay, let’s look at the first episode:

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In the cold open, a freighter is moving through water in heavy fog.

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Something is following it.

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It’s a weird submarine.

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A scary-looking dude is playing scary music on a giant organ.

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Two henchmen are piloting the sub (I guess).

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One of them, Mr. French, reports to “Captain Nemo” that the freighter is “dead ahead”. It seems Nemo is in the habit of sinking ships. He targets this one – by striking a key on his organ. Okay.

Guess who’s on the freighter.

Seriously, guess.

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Congrats. Have a cookie.

Anyway, as you can see, I wasn’t kidding when I said Hanna-Barbera ripped off Scooby-Doo. Look at this shit. Alan looks like Fred. Alex looks like Shaggy (he even wears a green shirt) and is even voiced by Shaggy’s voice actor, Casey Kasem. I wonder if Kasem demanded Alex be portrayed as a vegetarian. Sebastian is voiced by Don Messick, the voice of Scooby-Doo.

Alex unnaturally exposits they’re on their way to their big gig at Pago Pago Island. It’s almost as if he’s on a TV series or something.

Alexandra makes clear her wish to drown her brother. As it turns out, Alex set up the transportation (which makes sense, since he’s the manager).

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Melody (heh, I’m dealing with another blonde girl named Melody) has a dumb moment but then laughs, so maybe she was intentionally trying to sound dumb and then gave it away. Who knows?

The ship is in poor condition. Alexandra is miserable, but Josie is looking forward to the island. Alexandra predicts the trip will be “strictly Dullsville”.

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The theme song starts, and it’s really cute and fun. Infectious, actually. It was written by Hanna-Barbera musical director Hoyt Curtin (and based on a recurring score cue from “The Jetsons”), William Hanna, and Joseph Barbera. Most of the shots seem to be from various episodes (I recognize some from this one).

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Then Sebastian blows up the band. Seriously. Well, that was dark.

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After the theme, everyone except Alexandra is enjoying themselves.

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Josie’s hoping to fuck Alan.

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Unfortunately, Alex, the son of a millionaire (at least), didn’t have enough money for the fare, so he secretly had all of them made indentured servants.

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Alexandra lets her brother know exactly how she feels.

Down below, Nemo gives the order to attack by pressing a key on his organ. Why’s he taking so long? And what’s this bullshit about giving an order? Can’t he attack the freighter himself?

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We break away from that (again), because it’s time for kitchen duty! Valerie gives Alexandra a choice of washing or drying, but Alexandra wants to “supervise”.

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Nemo’s sub attacks the freighter…

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…and ass-rapes Alexandra.

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The girls wonder what the fuck’s going on.

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Melody is upset that she’ll have to dry the dishes all over again. Goddess bless her.

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Brilliant.

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The captain orders all hands to abandon ship.

Alex panics. Alan goes to save the instruments. Really? That’s your priority? You can always buy new instruments. I mean it might take a while (if only they knew someone with money), but these are nothing that can’t be replaced.

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Alex uses his broom to pole-vault into a lifeboat and pulls some Titanic-level shit.

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Fortunately, the girls and Sebastian happen to get washed out of the freighter at this very moment and land in the boat…

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…and on top of Alex. Hehehe.

Melody thinks they landed on a “lumpy old pillow”. She…really is the stupidest person on the planet, isn’t she?

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Alan has successfully rescued the instruments (whew!) and jumps into the boat.

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Unfortunately, this results in the destruction of Josie’s guitar. Josie must realize they know someone with money and doesn’t care about the guitar. She just wants Alan’s trombone up her ass.

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Alexandra shoves the “crazy redhead” (says the woman with the skunk hair) aside, so Alan can ream her asshole.

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Josie hits the motor, which somehow gets it started, and the boat just takes off at high speed, blowing them past the other survivors.

Nemo’s happy that he’s sunk the freighter and plays his organ in celebration.

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A while later, the gang’s gotten the boat stopped. Alex blames his sister. Alexandra blames Josie for being clumsy and falling on the “motor switch”. Anyone know anything about motorboats and whether any operate by switches?

Valerie wonders if they’ll ever see land again.

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Not to worry, though: Melody’s on the lookout!

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I know I feel better.

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They somehow land on Nero’s sub.

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The guards shoot seaweed (seriously) at them, tying them up, so they can’t move (seriously).

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They’re brought aboard the sub at seaweed gunpoint and taken to meet Nero. Alexandra insults his playing. He tells her to shut the fuck up and introduces himself. Apparently, he’s the great-grandson of the original Captain Nemo and continuing his hobby of sinking ships. Both he and Valerie treat Captain Nemo as a historical person and not a goddamn fictional character.

Nemo’s grand plan is to “avenge the name of Nemo by sinking every ship in the world” and become “master of the seven seas”. So he’s a classic cartoon villain that has a grandiose plan but doesn’t see the consequences beyond it (massive fucking retribution).

After the commercial break, Alan asks what Nemo’s gonna do with them. Nemo says, unfortunately, they’re of no use. Alex insists they are. Nemo asks what they can do. Josie has Melody and Valerie go with her and…

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Okay, so check this shit out. In the span of a second, the girls retrieved their instruments from wherever the fuck they were, repaired Josie’s guitar, changed outfits, and carried the instruments back with them. Nemo guesses they’re “quick change artists”. Kinda funny.

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So the girls jam. Well, Josie and Melody do. Valerie just shakes her stupid tambourines.

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Nemo doesn’t “dig the groovy beat”, so Alexandra decides to lead the group by conducting them and telling them to play faster. This allows the animators to work less by recycling shots pisses Nemo off.

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He drops the band through a trap door (they look so happy about it!). Alexandra chews Nemo out for ruining her groove. Alan chews Alexandra out for ruining the band’s act. Alex suggests they get the fuck out of here. They run away. Nemo calls for the alarm to be sounded (instead of just doing it himself). Alexandra tells the guys to follow her; she’ll lead them to safety.

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Alan is happy to see Josie, Melody, and Valerie. However, Alex chews his sister out for leading them into the brig, which the Pussycats are in, despite the brig being on the same level as the bridge, which the Pussycats had fallen down from.

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Nemo comes by to laugh evilly (seriously) and orders his henchmen to take them to the “diving well”.

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Alan asks Nemo why he’s locked them in these glass tubes after he’s done it. Nemo plans to send them to the bottom of the ocean. It’s his way of getting rid of unwanted pests. Melody happily “corrects” him that they’re Pussycats.

Alexandra asks the “creep” what he’s gonna do with Sebastian.

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Sebastian, worried, sucks up to Nemo, who spares him. Alexandra calls Sebastian a traitor, but he laughs it off.

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Nemo laughs evilly and starts up the machine, which drops his captives to “the bottom of the ocean” in three seconds.

Melody laments they forgot their instruments, because she’s so adorably stupid.

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Nemo goes back to playing his organ. He exposits his plan to himself: going back to his secret fortress on Volcano Island. Having overheard this dastardly plan, Sebastian steals a fish bowl (he spares the fish instead of eating it) and Nemo’s keys and dives to the rescue. Alexandra praises Sebastian.

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Alex laments they’re hopelessly lost at sea.

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Melody spots an island “that’s hopelessly lost at sea, too”. They swim for it.

Once they get there, Alan suggests climbing the quite active volcano to find out what’s on top. I can’t even…

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Alexandra inadvertently finds a secret elevator and then sputters funny nonsense in a daze.

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They get in, and Valerie tries to figure out the controls. Alexandra just starts pushing buttons, and the look on Valerie’s face is priceless.

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They land on the bottom floor.

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Then they somehow spy on the operations, even though Josie talks loudly.

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Melody refers to the “secret sub base” as a “yacht club”.

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Valerie spots a couple of henchmen stashing the band’s instruments “in cold storage” (how does she know this?). This worries Josie, because, “with no instruments, there’s no Josie and the Pussycats”. If only they knew someone with lots of money…

Alan wants them to get the instruments back and “put Nemo out of business to boot”. So the first priority is the instruments, and saving untold lives and billions of dollars’ worth of ships from a madman are second. Got it.

“Alexander the Great” loudly proclaims he has a plan. WHY HAVEN’T THEY BEEN SPOTTED YET?!

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Alex’s plan: Alan, Josie, Melody, and Alexandra sneak into the storage room and grab the instruments. Valerie “very cleverly” gets aboard the sub and “discombooberates” the engine. Alex is gonna stay here and hide.

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Alexandra admits her “bragging brother” was right: this is a cinch. Alan guesses they don’t believe in guards.

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Son of a fuck…

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The gang runs away from the sentinel laser sentry.

After the commercial break, Nemo is monitoring the situation.

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The gang runs into the conveniently labelled and unoccupied emergency hospital.

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The advanced robot is incapable of recognizing the people that it was just chasing two seconds earlier, because they’re wearing different clothes, and two of them are wearing fake mustaches. Melody, don’t ever change.

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Melody laughs at her own stupidity again, which leads me to believe she’s just faking, and this is just her odd brand of humor.

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The “doctor” “examines” the sentry.

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They then “operate” on it.

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Yeah, Melody’s just dicking with them.

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Meanwhile, Alexandra is jelly of Josie being Alan’s “nurse” while she’s stuck on guard duty. Sebastian finds it amusing.

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On the sub, an impatient Alex stands around while Valerie sabotages the engine.

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Nemo’s viewscreen is fucked up, which he somehow takes as proof that something’s wrong with the laser sentry, so he goes to investigate.

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The “medical team” has completed the “operation”.

Two of the sentry’s springs burst forth and hit Alexandra in the head, so she decides to become Alan’s “new nurse”. She tells Sebastian to take the air hose from a helium tank and blow up Josie like a balloon. Alexandra then exposits her motive to the audience herself.

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This does not science.

Josie immediately accuses Alexandra.

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Alexandra makes a quartered-assed attempt at feigning innocence.

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Just then, Nemo arrives.

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Josie pops and crashes into the others.

Nemo orders his guards to capture the “meddlers”. They might also be “kids” from his perspective, but he doesn’t call them that, so the series can continue its pretense of being original.

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Our heroes ain’t having it.

They make a run for it.

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On the sub, Valerie gives Alex instructions, not accounting for the fact that there are two blue wires.

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Yep, that’s about what I expected.

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The engine starts chasing Valerie, and the featured song of the episode starts up. Yeah, a song plays during a chase sequence, I guess so they didn’t have to write a concert scene into the episode.

Anyway, the song is called “Road Runner”, and it’s pretty catchy, even though it has nothing to do with this scene nor the episode (it’s about a cheating womanizer). It takes up a bit of screen time, so just enjoy these screencaps of the chase sequence:

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That’s just cheap and sloppy.

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So Alexandra’s netted Captain Nemo and his henchmen…

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…and netted herself as well.

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Sebastian finds it amusing.

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The Coast Guard arrives (is Volcano Island a U.S. territory?), extends their thanks, and arrests Nemo and his henchmen.

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Melody laughs at everything. She’s gotta be high.

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A change of shirt later, Alex announces the Coast Guard is giving them a ride to Pago Pago.

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Alexandra’s pissed that they laughed at her, so she refuses to go on the same ship as them.

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Ha.

The closing credits sequence is just a shortened repeat of the opening theme (no action scenes) with the credits overlayed.

This series is less “Josie and the Pussycats” and more “Josie and Friends Play Scooby-Doo”. Nevertheless, it was a mild success (I guess). It ran for sixteen episodes from September 12, 1970, to January 2, 1971. While it wasn’t nearly as successful as the Archie cartoons, it’s the better overall series by far. I actually enjoy watching it (despite the cheapness), and I like listening to the songs (then again, I prefer female singers, anyway). It’s such a shame that the album sold far below expectations, and plans for a national tour were shelved.

So what did Hanna-Barbera do? Revamp the series by sending the characters into space. Of course.

josie-space-promoJosie and the Pussycats in Outer Space” premiered on September 9, 1972, and ran for sixteen episodes, ending on December 30, 1972. This series, about the characters accidentally getting launched into space on board a rocket, has them criss-crossing the galaxy (as rockets were known to do), “trying to get back to here”. It was definitely an…odd direction to take the series (not to mention completely pointless). If you’re wondering if they ever got back to Earth, the answer is yes. The characters crossed over with Scooby-Doo (appropriately enough) in the “movie”, “The Haunted Showboat“, which originally aired on Saturday, September 22, 1973. Your minds may now be set at ease.

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Early production art for Hanna-Barbera’s 1977 “all-star” Battle of the Network Stars spoof, “Laff-A-Lympics”, featured Alexandra, Sebastian, Alexander, and Melody among other Hanna-Barbera characters as members of the “Scooby Doobies” team, but legal problems prevented their inclusion in the final program.

As with the Filmation cartoons, these cartoons have a laugh track, but it was removed for the DVD release.

The cast is pretty good in their roles. As far as characterization, Melody steals the fucking show. She’s just so adorable. Alexandra is kind of the star (and, in this case, the unintentional hero). Alexander got changed the most, transformed from the scheming Reggie-like character in the comics to a Shaggy clone (though the dickishness was retained). His wealth was forgotten, because it was inconvenient to the plot. His interest in fucking Josie and Melody was dropped as well. Josie is, unfortunately, kind of bland and doesn’t get much to do, even though she’s the nominal star. You’ll have to look to the comics if you want to get to the core of Josie’s being. Um, look really hard.

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The “Josie and the Pussycats” comic book lasted until issue #106 (cover-dated October of 1982), and the characters have starred in occasional new stories since then. The comics, unlike the show, generally avoided the over-the-top mystery plotlines. The series is soon to be relaunched as part of “New Riverdale” continuity (see the Introduction page for explanation).

Josie and the Pussycats” is an important – and enjoyable! – cartoon series, the effects of which can be felt to this day. Check it out.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1969), Episode 01, Segment B – Hiccups

Writers: Jack Mendelsohn, Jim Mulligan, Bob Ogle, Chuck Menville, Len Jansen, Jim Ryan, Bill Danch
Director: Hal Sutherland
Original Air Date (as part of her own series): Saturday, September 11, 1971
Length: 9:07

Sabrina the Teenage Witch debuted in Archie’s Madhouse, No. 22, in October of 1962, created and written by George Gladir and designed and drawn by Dan DeCarlo. Gladir recalled in 2007: “I think we both envisioned it as a one-shot and were surprised when fans asked for more. We continued to do Sabrina stories off and on in Mad House until 1969 when we were flabbergasted to hear it was to become an animated [TV series]. When it came to naming Sabrina I decided to name her after a woman I recalled from my junior high school days … who was very active in school affairs, and who assigned a number of us to interview prominent people in the media. In addition, the woman’s name had a New England ring to it. Some years later I recalled the woman’s name was not Sabrina, but actually Sabra Holbrook.”

Sabrina Spellman is a “half-witch”; she has a mortal (human) mother and a witch (immortal) father. However, she lives with her aunts, Hilda and Zelda, and she has a pet cat named Salem Saberhagen. She has a mortal boyfriend named Harvey Kinkle, who I’m amazed made it to his teenage years without killing himself out of embarrassment.

Filmation adapted not only the main Archie Comics characters to television but also Sabrina the Teenage Witch and her supporting cast. Sabrina made her animated debut when “The Archie Show” expanded to a one-hour format in 1969, retitled “The Archie Comedy Hour”. The Sabrina segments were later repackaged as a series called “Sabrina the Teenage Witch” for airing starting in 1971. Actually, it’s probably more convoluted than that. My point is we’ll be taking a look at the second Sabrina segment that originally aired in 1969. I chose the second segment, because it features more characters.

Before we get into the story, though, I should mention one big change made to Sabrina’s origin since her debut. Originally, Hilda and Zelda wanted to create a third evil witch, but they accidentally made Sabrina good. Yeah, Sabrina was made as a “teenager”. No parents. And, yeah, Sabrina’s aunts and other witches were bad in the early days of the comic and tried to pressure Sabrina to be bad a well. That’s not the case today, but it’s what things were like back then. As for Sabrina’s origin, it has absolutely no impact on the plot of this story.

As evidenced by the numerous writers listed above (I assume that’s a collective series credit), the main voice cast is equally difficult to determine, since Wikipedia, IMDb, and the series’ actual closing credits differ as to who was actually involved in the series and in which role(s). Wikipedia and IMDb say Don Messick voiced Harvey, but he’s not listed in the show’s credits. Wikipedia says Howard Morris voiced Ambrose, but IMDb says Messick did. Compounding matters, the show’s credits list Larry D. Mann, who seemed to voice only characters on the “Groovie Goolies” segments (which aren’t included here). It’s a mess. The only thing that I can say with certainty is Jane Webb voiced Sabrina and all of the other female characters.

Okay, let’s look at the story (sorry for the quality of the screencaps; the YouTube video that I downloaded was weird; I actually decided to downscale the so-called “HD” video, but I couldn’t figure out how to fix anything else).

sabrina-1969-01-themeThe theme song is likely just scenes from the series (I recognize some shots from the first segment). It concludes with Sabrina magically creating the series’ logo while flying on her broom, which includes a…palm tree? Giant sunflower? Fucked if I know.

sabrina-1969-02-houseWelcome to La Casa de Sabrina.

Sabrina doesn’t introduce the segments, and she doesn’t have her own musical numbers.

sabrina-1969-03-record-playersabrina-1969-04-sabrina-hiShe just talks to you for a bit while listening to a record of “Sugar, Sugar”. Yay.

sabrina-1969-05-sabrina-fullsabrina-1969-06-sabrina-insert-1sabrina-1969-07-sabrina-insert-2By the way, the editing is really weird in this scene. It pans out to reveal more of Sabrina, and then there are two different back-to-back insert shots of Sabrina, followed by a repeat of the full shot. It seems like a way-too-complex way to extend the visuals, so she can keep talking; it would have been far easier to simply keep her lips moving, perhaps by just looping a second or two of video.

sabrina-1969-08-sabrina-combsAnyway, Sabrina talks about keeping her secret but also OPENLY DEMONSTRATES her magic to her audience. I guess we don’t count, though, because we’re not a threat to her.

sabrina-1969-09-harvey-car-1sabrina-1969-10-harvey-car-2Harvey comes by in his clown car to pick up Sabrina for school.

sabrina-1969-11-hilda-zeldaHilda and Zelda are magically cleaning dishes in the kitchen, and Harvey’s interruption disrupts Hilda’s concentration, causing her to break dishes.

Sabrina tells Harvey that she’ll be right down. Harvey touts the new muffler on his “buggy”, which is loud as fuck (and his car is not eco-friendly in the slightest), but Sabrina calls it “groovy”, no doubt to spare his feelings.

sabrina-1969-12-hilda-castsThis gives Hilda an idea.

sabrina-1969-13-harvey-muffledsabrina-1969-14-sabrina-magicSabrina comes out and realizes “Aunt Hilda is picking on Harvey again”, so she uses magic to reverse it. She performs magic on this series by tugging on her earlobe.

Sabrina gets in the car, and they drive off.

Harvey asks about the strange things that always happen to him around her house, and Sabrina’s like “Dunno what the fuck you talkin’ ’bout”, which I guess is her go-to response.

Sabrina realizes, to her dismay, that she has the hiccups, which causes magic to go haywire in witches. Sure, why the hell not?

sabrina-1969-15-sabrina-hiccupsHarvey says they’re gonna be late and wishes they had wings. Sabrina hiccups.

sabrina-1969-16-sabrina-car-fliesHarvey doesn’t notice they’re flying, because…he’s not looking where he’s going? Beats me. He also babbles about how his “new cushion tires sure hug the road”. This is so stupid.

Sabrina hiccups again, and they go faster. She tugs her earlobe to set them down.

Despite going fast for only a few seconds, the speed of their arrival at the school surprises Harvey. Sabrina gets out and tells a dumbfounded Harvey to hurry the fuck up.

sabrina-1969-17-sabrina-hiccupsLater, Sabrina’s walking down the hall, relieved at her lucky bullshit “close” call, and hiccups again.

sabrina-1969-18-sabrina-insertWe get an insert shot (which doesn’t match the preceding or following shots at all), because the animators didn’t know how to smoothly transition to this:

sabrina-1969-19-sabrina-elephantJust have Sabrina walking on the left side of the screen and then bamf the elephant into the shot. It’s not difficult.

sabrina-1969-20-weatherbee-commandsMr. Weatherbee comes by and tells the elephant to go fuck itself. Sabrina bamfs the elephant away, and Mr. Weatherbee is satisfied. He then goes into his office and does that sitcom trope where he has a delayed reaction of shock to what he’d just seen and faints.

Sabrina runs into a closet and magically sends for cousin Ambrose, hoping he’ll have a cure for the hiccups. Remember how I said Sabrina was originally created by her “aunts”? What’s this “cousin” bullshit?

sabrina-1969-21-ambrose-pizzaAmbrose is at a pizzeria in “Roma” and compliments the owner while doing a stereotypical Italian accent. Tony should have kick Ambrose’s ass to the curb.

sabrina-1969-22-tony-wtfWhat was Sabrina saying earlier? Something about keeping magic a secret?

sabrina-1969-23-sabrina-ambroseSabrina apologizes for summoning Ambrose, hiccups (which does nothing), and pretty much demands he help her. No asking. No “please”.

sabrina-1969-24-ambrose-zapsAmbrose agrees and calls one of his “colleagues in the medical field”.

sabrina-1969-25-grundy-scaredThe “doctor” scares the shit out of Miss Grundy and chases her as well as the nurse.

sabrina-1969-26-weatherbee-nurseMr. Weatherbee can’t get the nurse to stop.

sabrina-1969-27-weatherbee-doctorHowever, he has a chat with “Doctor Ungawa” and seems to start to have a delayed reaction to him, but it takes Ambrose bamfing Ungawa away to really freak Mr. Weatherbee out. He chases after the nurse.

Sabrina hiccups Ambrose away just as he figures out the cure for her hiccups. Ha.

Miss Grundy witnesses Mr. Weatherbee chasing the nurse. Mr. Weatherbee stops in his tracks, goes back into his office, calls for Doctor Ungawa, and then faints. Confused delayed reaction?

sabrina-1969-28-grundy-ambrose-1Ambrose bamfs in in front of Miss Grundy and offers her a drink.

sabrina-1969-29-grundy-ambrose-2She gladly accepts, no questions asked. What is it with this show and mismatching backgrounds?

Ambrose realizes Miss Grundy isn’t Sabrina (no fucking shit!), but it’s too late. Ambrose bamfs out. The cure seemingly does nothing to Miss Grundy. She just recites the often-recited line in the Filmation Archieverse (“I didn’t see that”) in reaction to Ambrose bamfing out, even though she seemed perfectly fine with him bamfing in.

sabrina-1969-30-sabrina-jughead-1Sabrina bamfs herself into class. What was that about keeping her magic a secret? Oh, well, probably not important.

Jughead doesn’t notice, because he’s so into his textbook (ha! yeah, right!) with pictures of jets. I guess no one else saw Sabrina suddenly appear either.

sabrina-1969-31-sabrina-jughead-2Anyway, Jughead starts doing “flying” motions with his arms, Sabrina hiccups, and Jughead turns into a jet pilot. Sure, why the hell not?

sabrina-1969-32-reggie-laughsReggie finds this hilarious but otherwise doesn’t react to Jughead suddenly changing clothes.

sabrina-1969-33-reggie-dressSabrina hiccups again, and Reggie’s suddenly wearing a dress. Archie, Veronica, and Betty laugh at this, because cross-dressing is funny.

sabrina-1969-34-monkeyReggie says “I’ll be a monkey’s uncle”, Sabrina hiccups, and a monkey appears. In stark contrast to the adults, the teens find this magic hilarious.

sabrina-1969-35-sabrina-leavesSabrina nervously and quietly gets the fuck out of there.

sabrina-1969-36-sabrina-salemSabrina is relieved to see Salem (who’s red here instead of his usual black as in the comics), who came to school…for some reason.

sabrina-1969-37-salem-frogSabrina hiccups and turns Salem into a frog…

sabrina-1969-38-salem-pig…and then a pig…

sabrina-1969-39-salem-wtf…and then…whatever the fuck this is.

sabrina-1969-40-salem-cuteSabrina lobes Salem back to his normal, cute self.

sabrina-1969-41-sabrina-salemSalem’s like “Go the fuck home, you stupid bitch”, and Sabrina agrees and goes home…

sabrina-1969-42-flowers…but not before hiccuping again and causing flowers to grow…

sabrina-1969-43-submarine…and making a submarine appear on the football field during practice, which occurs early in the school day…and consists of two players and no one else.

Harvey tells his buddy, Spencer, that they’ve been “practicing too hard”, and Sabrina lobes the submarine away.

sabrina-1969-44-cheerleadersSabrina hiccups and turns the football players into cheerleaders, because cross-dressing is funny.

Salem and Sabrina get the fuck out of there. Why didn’t she just immediately bamf them home?

sabrina-1969-45-sabrina-auntsBack home, the aunts can’t help Sabrina. Sabrina is depressed, but Hilda finds Sabrina’s hiccups produce “entertaining and colorful” special effects. Fuck you, you old twat.

Sabrina mopes and says being a teenage witch is terrible. Hilda tells her to shut the fuck up, because she “might be overheard”. By who? If she can’t talk about this in her own bedroom, where can she talk about it?

sabrina-1969-46-zelda-eyeroll-1sabrina-1969-47-zelda-eyeroll-2sabrina-1969-48-zelda-eyeroll-3sabrina-1969-49-zelda-eyeroll-4Beautiful.

sabrina-1969-50-lightningsabrina-1969-51-stellaLightning and thunder herald the arrival of Della, the Spellmans’ Head WBitch, who detected “a note of rebellion”. What? So Sabrina isn’t allowed to question the awesomeness of being a witch? This is actually quite the opposite of real Wicca and Witchcraft, which allows questioning and exploration, compared to, say, Christianity.

Hilda and Sabrina explain the sitch, and Della, fearing Sabrina being discovered, agrees. She also makes fun of them for their incompetence, and Ambrose comes the fuck out of nowhere and says they’re “working on it”. What about that potion from earlier that you accidentally gave to Grundy? Did you try that?

sabrina-1969-52-bookHilda and Zelda search their untitled book (of shadows?) for an “old family cure for hiccups”, hoping such a thing exists. Sabrina apologizes to “Miss Della” for bothering her. It’s all cool with Della, because apprentice witches are her “prime interest”. She threatens them with unspecified “changes” if they don’t get their shit together, and then she leaves.

Sabrina hiccups and bamfs out of there.

sabrina-1969-53-betty-veronicaBack at school, Betty and Veronica are glad that this fucked-up day is over.

sabrina-1969-54-sabrina-spiesSabrina spies (I guess) on them (I guess). Why?

sabrina-1969-55-spencerSpencer suggests to Harvey that they “head for Pop’s and have a blowout”. Wouldn’t that get Pop’s shut down by the health inspector? Seriously, though, it sounds like Spencer’s hoping Harvey’s car will break down. Anyway, Harvey agrees. Sabrina hiccups.

sabrina-1969-56-tires-deflatedHa.

Somehow, Sabrina realizes this (a loud noise) cured her hiccups. Was this her intention? Hoping something would shock her? Also, why weren’t Sabrina’s hiccups cured while riding with Harvey earlier?

sabrina-1969-57-curedBack home, the other witches are astounded that “an ordinary, mortal remedy” cured Sabrina. Hilda tries to tout her magical abilities but isn’t convincing.

sabrina-1969-58-sabrina-kisses-hildaSabrina patronizes Hilda.

sabrina-1969-59-ambrose-bagAmbrose suddenly bamfs in (having not bamfed out earlier) and decides to “test” Sabrina’s remedy.

sabrina-1969-60-ambrose-bursts-bagSabrina reminds him that she’s already cured (this scene is so weird!), which disappoints him.

sabrina-1969-61-hilda-hiccupsAnyway, Ambrose somehow shocked Hilda into getting the hiccups.

sabrina-1969-62-ungawaDoctor Ungawa comes out of another room. What was he doing in there?

sabrina-1969-63-hilda-runsHe chases Hilda (who runs backwards for some reason) through the impossibly long room, which repeats the same stuff in the background, because the studio was too cheap to animate anything else.

sabrina-1969-64-sabrina“Oh, well, whatcha gonna do?”

The closing credits sequence is just a shortened repeat of the opening theme (albeit with new lyrics, so points for that) with the credits overlayed.

So this is a typical Sabrina episode from Filmation. I found it more enjoyable than the Archie segment, I guess, but the editing is weird, the insert shots lack background details, the characters are idiots, and the mortal kids seem to treat magic as nothing more than a curious oddity. Why is Sabrina so worried about protecting her secret? And it’s not like she or anyone else in her family go to great lengths to conceal it.

As with the Archie segments, these cartoons have a laugh track.

The cast is pretty decent in their roles. As far as characterization, I’m not too familiar with Sabrina’s supporting cast, but nothing seems off. Well, there is one thing: Sabrina sounds…sophisticated? I think that’s what they were going for. Not quite Southern, maybe, but there’s something there. Did any teens actually sound like this back then?

I guess I should address why Sabrina is living in Riverdale, since some of you might be wondering. While it’s true that more recent comics have Sabrina living in the neighboring town of Greendale (“Afterlife With Archie” actually has Greendale bordering Riverdale), the early comics did indeed have Sabrina living in Riverdale and attending Riverdale High School with Archie and the gang (in fact, Archie and Betty make cameos in Sabrina’s first comic story). I don’t know why the comics decided to move her; having everyone live in Riverdale would make crossovers easier.

Anyway, that’s it for our look at the Filmation series. It was responsible for the creation of The Archies, which Archie Comics introduced into the comics, so it’s important for that, I guess, but little else.

Tune in next Wednesday, when we’ll look at some hot pussy.

The Archie Show, Episode 01, Segment A

Writer: Bob Ogle
Director: Hal Sutherland
Original Air Date: Saturday, September 14, 1968
Length: 7:40

For those three of you that might be wondering, no, I didn’t forget the two 1960s unaired pilots; I simply don’t have them. I’m trying to get them, but, for now, just be aware that there were two attempts at making a live-action Archie series in the 1960s: one in 1962 and one in 1964. From what I can tell, they were standard 1950s-style sitcoms: not bad but not great either.

This week, I’m going to take a look at an episode of “The Archie Show“, the first iteration in a long series of cartoons by Filmation Associates, an animation studio that was founded in 1962 in Reseda, California. The studio would later be responsible for much of my childhood: “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids”, “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe”, “She-Ra: Princess of Power”, “BraveStarr”, and, yes, even the shitty “Ghostbusters” cartoon that I watched alongside DiC’s “The Real Ghostbusters”. Filmation was founded by Norm Prescott, Lou Scheimer, and Hal Sutherland, and it had a long life, becoming defunct in 1989, essentially going out with the 1980s. I cannot overstate the importance that this studio had on my youth. It, Sunbow Productions (1980-2004), and DiC Entertainment (1971-2008) were responsible for a lot of the cartoons that I – and many others of my generation – used to watch.

That was the 1980s, though. What we’re looking at today comes way before that.

Filmation got the license to make cartoons based on Archie Comics, and…they did, but the characters weren’t really the characters (outside the very basics that you can read about on the Introduction page on this blog). Corny jokes and slapstick comedy were the order of the day, and the shows delivered.

Yeah, shows, plural. See, the series went through a few iterations, revamping the format pretty much every year and adding some new episodes (or at least a bit of new animation) while also repeating various older episodes from previous incarnations. It’s kind of convoluted, and there’s really no central place where all of this is documented. In the little episode list that I put together for myself, I count 213 stories, and that’s not counting the “Groovy Ghoulies” spin-off with original characters, the short gags between story segments, or the musical numbers.

the_archies_sugar-UKCD1

Yeah, musical numbers. The main Archie characters formed a band called, uninspiringly enough, The Archies (no, there is no origin story; they’re just a band suddenly), and an actual “band” was formed, consisting of singer Ron Dante as Archie (he sang on every song except one), various background vocalists that came and went, and session musicians. Little music videos would appear in the episodes. The Archies actually had a few hit songs. “Sugar, Sugar” reached #1 in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K. in September of 1969. It, like the other Archies songs, is standard 1960s bubblegum pop. Why did it become so popular? Maybe because of its ties to the popular cartoon series? Perhaps. It’s also the most-produced recording ever, largely because Post Cereal placed millions of the records on the back of cereal boxes. It’s also been sampled and covered by numerous artists over the decades. The song is still popular to this day, and Archie Comics even continues to have The Archies perform it in the comics, decades after it went out of style.

As for the cartoons themselves, well, they’re all over the place in terms of concept, from standard adventures to the gang running a funhouse (populated with an audience of live-action kids) to the gang running a TV station that specialized in showing cartoons based on comic strips (aside from a “news story” in Riverdale that was mentioned throughout the episode before finally being resolved at the end, these had little to do with Archie) to the gang learning about how their ancestors (who looked and sounded exactly like them, naturally) were involved in one important event in American history after another (the bicentennial was approaching, okay?) to going back to standard adventures at the end. The various Filmation series ran from September 14, 1968, to December 3, 1977, lasting a little over nine years, all told (and, really, not too much shorter than the radio series).

Here is the main voice cast:

Dallas McKennon – Archie Andrews and every male character except those listed below
Jane Webb – all of the female characters
John Erwin (Prince Adam / He-Man himself!) – Reggie Mantle
Howard Morris – Big Moose, Jughead Jones, Dilton Doiley

Look, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it: the show sucks. Outside the rare funny line, this is just standard slapstick comedy that, with minimal alterations, could star any generic cartoon characters. There’s not much of a love triangle (which is a good thing, because, even though it’s one of the central set-ups of the comics, the love triangle is unbelievable). The characters are often very idiotic or absent-minded. The animation is cheap and frequently recycled, as was often the case in those days, but it’s very noticeable here.

What I’m getting at is this really isn’t the series to be watching if you want any amount of depth or character exploration, which even the comics provided.

So I think one story segment each of Archie and Sabrina will be sufficient before we move on.

This week, I’ll review the first story segment in the first episode of “The Archie Show”. The two segments in the first episode are untitled, so I’m just calling it Segment A.

Archie-Show-01-titleArchie-Show-02-band“Everything’s Archie!”

Archie-Show-03-Archie“Archie’s here.” But he has no freckles, which some people find weird.

Archie-Show-04-Betty“Betty’s here.”

Archie-Show-05-Veronica“Veronica, too.”

Archie-Show-06-Reggie“Reggie’s here.”

Archie-Show-07-sticks“Hey, Jughead, where are you?”

Anyway, the plot of the theme song is the gang can’t have a groovy time without Jughead. They don’t look for him or anything. They just wonder where he is.

Archie-Show-08-assAnyway, we get a panning shot of random people dancing, including this girl that’s shaking her ass in front of the camera.
Archie-Show-09-gang-drivesArchie-Show-10-gang-drives-2
Archie-Show-11-gang-drives-3

We get shots of the gang driving, and Reggie’s so into playing and singing that he continues to do so in Archie’s piece-of-shit car, despite the loud noises that it makes. Archie’s car remained consistent for decades, being an unbelievably outdated Ford Model A. It’s yellow here, but it was red in the comics. (The real Ford Model A didn’t come in yellow.)

Archie-Show-12-band-2Archie-Show-13-Veronica-2There’s a repeat of the character introductions with minor alterations (Veronica raises her arms!).

Archie-Show-14-Jughead

“And here comes Jughead…”

Archie-Show-15-Hot-Dog

“and Hot Dog, too!” Yeah, Jughead’s pet dog is a “mascot” for the band and a character on this series. We often hear his thoughts.

Archie-Show-16-band-3

I have a sneaking suspicion that this series is going to be just a tad silly.

Archie-Show-17-Archie-intro

The segment is preceded by Archie talking to “the gang” (the audience, I guess) and asking for ideas on raising quick cash.

Archie-Show-18-house-jumps

The segment proper starts with Archie’s house literally jumping. Why?

Archie-Show-19-Archie-dancing-1Archie-Show-20-Archie-dancing-2Archie-Show-21-Betty-dancingArchie-Show-22-Jughead-lazyArchie-Show-23-Archie-Veronica-dancingBecause Archie and his friends are dancing, of course! Yeah, that’s totally what happens when a group of thin teenagers dance in an upstairs bedroom to blaring royalty-free muzak.

Anyway, check out those killer moves. Yeah, no, there’s no way that these fuckers are getting on “Dancing with the Stars”, which accepts pretty much anybody.

Archie-Show-24-Hot-Dog-bed

Hot Dog hates the loud music.

Archie-Show-25-Betty-Reggie-dancing

Hot Dog silently wishes teenagers would bring back the waltz, because that’s something that he, a creature with a much shorter lifespan than humans, would totally remember.

Anyway, through the power of the music and dancing bullshit, he gets knocked out the window and bounces off a bush.

Archie-Show-26-Fred-newspaper

Fred Andrews is sitting in the living room, reading his suspiciously blank newspaper (not happily).

Archie-Show-27-Fred-Hot-Dog

Fred yells at Archie and runs upstairs.

Archie-Show-28-Fred-record

He puts an abrupt stop to their party and demands to know what the fuck is going on. Jughead and Reggie bullshit a bit.

Archie-Show-29-Archie-girls

Betty and Veronica look like they’re ready to fuck Archie in front of his father, but Veronica wants Archie all to herself, which Archie tries to talk her out of (man knows what he wants).

Archie claims they were thinking of a way to raise some money (which doesn’t explain the party), so they can hire some “special entertainment” for their school dance. Fred suggests doing it “on some far-off island”. This gives Archie an idea.

Archie-Show-30-yachtArchie-Show-31-Veronica-ArchieSooner than you can ask “What the fuck?”, the gang’s speeding off toward a deserted island on Mr. Lodge’s yacht, which he let them borrow for some reason.

Archie-Show-32-Reggie-overhearsMeanwhile, Reggie’s listening in and feeling neglected by Veronica, so he starts cooking up a scheme.

Archie-Show-33-Reggie-runs

He runs toward Veronica, “warning” her that she’s standing too close to the rail. Veronica’s like “What are you blabbering about, idiot?”

Archie-Show-34-Reggie-slipsJughead’s scrubbing the deck (for some fucking reason), which Reggie somehow doesn’t see, so he slips and somehow gets launched high enough to go overboard. Veronica and Archie seem unconcerned. Hot Dog makes a stupid pun.

Archie-Show-35-Betty-rescues-Reggie

The yacht stops, and an amused Betty rescues Reggie.

Archie-Show-36-Archie-spotsArchie spots their destination:

Archie-Show-37-Shipwreck-IslandShipwreck Island. Really? With such a blatant name for an island that’s not too far off the coast of wherever the fuck Riverdale is, why haven’t these vessels and their cargo been salvaged by their nations of origin – or otherwise pillaged? For that matter, why isn’t there a “Stay the Fuck Away” sign in the water?

Betty finds this a “boss place” to look for sunken treasure. Yeah, that’s Archie’s plan. Not “Ask Veronica to ask her dad for money” or “Have a bake sale” or whatever. Take a yacht out to a deserted island in the hope of finding sunken treasure.

Reggie makes fun of Betty, and she suggests he “dry up”. Ooh, burn!

Archie tells Jughead to drop anchor.

Archie-Show-38-Jughead-anchor

It goes as you’d expect.

Archie-Show-39-Jughead-octopusJughead falls to the bottom of the ocean or wherever, and the anchor awakens and angers an octopus. Jughead is somehow able to talk to it underwater.

Jughead swims to the surface, climbs up the side of the yacht, gets in, and warns his friends.

Archie-Show-40-octopusArchie comments on the octopus before it’s visible. The octopus shakes its “fists” angrily and goes back into the water. So much for that.

Archie-Show-41-Reggie-girlsLater, Archie is gonna swim out to one of the wrecks to search for treasure, which gets the girls wet, which pisses Reggie off. If anyone’s gonna fuck Betty and Veronica, it’s him.

Reggie has a “scene” “planned”. He covers himself in dried-out grass:

Archie-Show-42-Reggie-disguise

He goes off to “toss a chill down the girls’ spines”. What, exactly, is his plan? Just scare the girls? To what end? I think the show’s got Reggie’s character confused. While getting disguised as a monster to scare someone is totally a Reggie thing, he’d do it to scare Archie or Jughead, not the girls. He might get someone else to dress up as a monster and scare the girls, so he could be the hero, but not this.

Veronica and Betty get into a little Archie-related argument. Apparently, they’re in a “club” of some kind, which I guess is involved in the school dance somehow. No explanation is given.

Veronica hears a growl and shouts “A beast!”, which offends Betty. Huh? Why’d she think Veronica was talking about her?

Archie-Show-43-Betty-Veronica-hugAnyway, the girls find comfort in each other’s arms as the “beast” approaches. They call for Jughead.

Archie-Show-44-Jughead-tree

But he’s “a coward-type cat” and has climbed to safety.

Archie-Show-45-beast-tree

Or not.

Archie-Show-46-Jughead-coconutThere’s a stupid gag where Jughead mistakes a coconut for his own severed head, simply because it’s wearing his hat and has a “face”. That…does not work on any plane of existence.

Archie-Show-47-beast-pissed

The “beast” scares Jughead, who tosses his hat away but regains it through the power of shitty continuity.

Jughead and the girls run away as the “beast” gives chase. Betty calls for Archie.

Archie-Show-48-Reggie-happyReggie is happy that his plan (whatever it is) is “working like Neatsville” and prepares for the “finale” – “Reggie to the rescue”. Yeah, um, what are you gonna rescue them from, dumbass?

Archie-Show-49-Reggie-desired

Oh, how about a random monster that coincidentally looks exactly like the fake monster that Reggie dressed up as and wants to fuck Reggie? Sure, why the hell not?

Reggie gets a kinda funny line: “Hold it, chick, I’m not your type! I’m counterfeit!” Sometimes, that’s what the ladies want, Reg. Just search Betty and Veronica’s underwear drawers.

Archie returns, wondering what the fuck’s going on. Betty explains. They see this:
Archie-Show-50-Reggie-chased
Archie-Show-51-Archie-girls-hug

No time for a threesome, because Archie detects “a familiar run” by one of the beasts. He identifies the beast as Reggie. Veronica surmises Reggie tried to scare them, and it backfired on him. Reggie calls to Archie for help.

Archie-Show-52-Jughead-bananaJughead advises Archie to not help Reggie. He tosses a banana peel. In a subversion of a cartoon trope, the banana peel merely causes Reggie to…stop in his tracks. What?

Archie-Show-53-Archie-oil-drumArchie gets an old oil drum and starts drumming (see what they did?) to “soothe the savage beast”.

Archie-Show-54-beast-Reggie-dance

The female beast starts dancing, and so does Reggie, in a sense, although it seems more like he’s slipping on the banana peels.

Archie-Show-55-jealous-lover

The “jealous lover” arrives, growling angrily. Everyone’s worried. Archie keeps drumming.

Archie-Show-56-beast-punches-ReggieArchie-Show-57-Reggie-down

The beast knocks Reggie out of the way.

Archie-Show-58-beasts-dance

It turns out that the beast just wanted to groove with his chick.

Archie-Show-59-Archie-Jughead-drumWhile Archie keeps the music going, everyone quickly leaves.

Archie-Show-60-Reggie-swimsRather than getting on the boat, Reggie decides to swim back to the mainland, because that’s a perfectly sensible thing to do.

Archie-Show-61-Archie-Jughead-Pop'sLater, at Pop’s, Archie and Jughead are bummed over their treasure-seeking expedition being a bust.

Archie-Show-62-Betty-Veronica-Pop's

The girls are pissed at Reggie for ruining everything. The dance is tomorrow night.

Archie-Show-63-Reggie-Pop'sReggie finally apologizes (angrily) and calls himself “a natural-born gorilla talent scout”. This gives Archie an idea.

Archie-Show-64-Riverdale-High-SchoolArchie-Show-65-Archie-Veronica-backstage

The next night, at the dance at Riverdale High School (HRS, of course), Veronica is eagerly anticipating the “special entertainment”, which Archie’s being secretive about.

Archie-Show-66-Archie-stageArchie goes on the stage and presents “Reggie Mantle and His Newly-Discovered Mod Monsters”.

Archie-Show-67-group-dancesYeah, they somehow went back to the island, convinced the beasts to come and perform at the school dance, and either convinced the school to let them do it or sneaked the beasts in. Sure, why the hell not?

Archie-Show-68-Jughead-octopus-danceJughead asks Archie if he and the octopus, who he befriended and brought onto dry land, can go on next. Sure, why the hell not? Reggie can legitimately snidely comment “He’s dying up there.”

That’s the end of the segment, but, while we’re here, I guess I should take a look at the musical segment.

Archie-Show-69-Jughead-dancesJughead demonstrates a stupid dance for the “kids”.

Archie promises to show a “groovy dance step” in the “dance of the week” after the commercial break. I know I’m pumped.

Archie-Show-70-Archie-excited

After the break, Archie excitedly introduces “the bubblegum”, and Jughead demonstrates, which basically consists of making circular motions with his index fingers, hands, and arms.

Archie-Show-71-Hot-Dog-bubble-gum

This gets Hot Dog so excited that he decides to have some bubblegum!

Archie-Show-72-Archies

After a bit of this, The Archies perform their new song, Bang-Shang-A-Lang”.

Archie-Show-73-dogs

IT’S ABOUT DOGS WANTING TO FUCK. AREN’T YOU GLAD THAT I REVIEWED THIS?

Before Hot Dog can bang Shang A. Lang, the song ends.

Archie-Show-74-Jughead-hoseArchie-Show-75-Jughead-soaked

Then there’s a short skit where Hot Dog takes a lesson in fetch to the extreme. Jughead offers to sell Hot Dog to Archie. Ha.

Then Archie introduces the next story segment.

The closing credits sequence is just a shortened repeat of the opening theme with the credits overlayed.

So this is a typical episode of “The Archie Show”. This was actually the most successful format. “Archie’s Funhouse” got more scatterbrained with its variety format. Taking time away from the main characters, because they decided to get jobs showing cartoons at the local TV station (“Archie’s TV Funnies“) or had to learn about history (“The U.S. of Archie“) didn’t help matters.

I guess I should mention these cartoons have a laugh track, which was the norm at the time.

My thoughts on the cast:

Dallas McKennon is annoying as Archie, kind of like Bob Hastings on the radio show.

Howard Morris isn’t much better than Harlan Stone as Jughead.

John Erwin is annoying as Reggie.

Jane Webb is okay. Her Betty voice is good.

Characterizations:

Characterizations?

Okay, seriously, it’s there, but it’s only the broadest characterization. The characters are basically the characters from the comics but no more than (and probably actually less than) that.

Also, Filmation decided to give Veronica a Southern accent, I guess as a “tribute” to the old radio show (she’s supposed to be a “Southern belle“, I guess), but it really doesn’t suit her (as I said before, she was from New York or Boston in the original comics).

That’s all that I have to say about this episode. Tune in next Wednesday, when we’ll look at a Sabrina episode from Filmation.

The Adventures of Archie Andrews: Jokes At Mrs. Lodge’s Red Cross Party

berman Archie andrews

Writer: Carl Jampel
Director: Kenneth MacGregor
Original Air Date: Saturday, March 15, 1947
Length: 27:59

For my first review, I’m going to take a look at an episode of the long-running “The Adventures of Archie Andrews” old-time radio show. According to Wikipedia (which doesn’t have a lot of info), this series premiered on the NBC Blue Network on May 31, 1943 (less than two years after the comics debuted). It switched to Mutual in 1944. It then continued on NBC Radio from 1945 until September 5, 1953. So this thing ran for a little over a decade, all told.

Here’s a two-page article from the Mutual period (“Tune In Magazine”, March of 1944):

1archieradioa1archieradiobOkay, now forget about them, because they’re not in this episode. The series went through some cast changes in the early years. Furthermore, seemingly only a few dozen episodes survive, all of them from the later NBC years.

Here is the main voice cast:

Archie Andrews – Bob Hastings
Jughead Jones – Harlan Stone
Fred Andrews – Arthur Kohl
Mary Andrews – Alice Yourman
Betty Cooper – Rosemary Rice
Veronica Lodge – Gloria Mann

The title and original air date come from Jerry Haendiges Vintage Radio Logs. They may or may not be accurate. The episode length is the length of the MP3 that I have. The scene lengths include the transitional music after the scene.

Okay, let’s dive in:

00:00 – 00:21

The show starts with a skit between Jughead and Archie that’s done in a lot (if not all) of the radio episodes. Here, it goes like this:

Jughead’s phone rings.
Jughead: “Hello?”
Archie: “Hello, Jughead, this is Archie. Come over right away. It’s a matter of life or death.”
Jughead: “Oh, relax, Archie. Relax.”

00:21 – 00:37

The announcer, Bob Sherry, introduces the characters (not by name) to a live audience of cheering kids (the show was performed on a stage in a theater).

00:37 – 05:19

It’s Saturday afternoon. Fred Andrews is sitting in the living room, “happily” reading his newspaper. Archie comes over and asks for the comics. Fred refuses. Archie asks for the sports section. Fred angrily refuses to give Archie any section, because Fred is reading. Archie gets on the floor to read the newspaper, but Fred makes him get up. Fred suggests Archie call Veronica, but Archie has nothing to talk to her about. Archie expresses an interest in the movies, so Fred gives him a dollar to see it twice. Mary Andrews walks into the living room and tells Fred to run next door and borrow two onions, because she needs them for dinner. After a bit of arguing, Fred agrees to go. After he leaves, Mary starts to complain, and the phone rings. It’s Genevieve Lodge, Veronica’s mother. She invites Mary and Fred to her Red Cross benefit party tonight. She wants Fred to tell his funny stories. Mary agrees but worries about it after hanging up. Fred arrives with the onions. Mary tells him about the party, but Fred is upset and badmouthes the parties, the “stuffy” people, the bad food, and Mrs. Lodge herself. Fred says he’s not going to the party, but he changes his mind when Mary mentions Mrs. Lodge wants him to tell his jokes.

05:19 – 12:05

Mary is in the kitchen, chopping the onions. Fred comes into the kitchen and wants Mary to listen to his routine. Mary agrees, but the chopping distracts him, and he tells her to stop. He starts to tell his joke, but she finishes it, which upsets him, and she apologizes. Fred starts to tell his second joke, but Archie comes home, singing, which continuously interrupts Fred. Fred calls Archie into the kitchen. Archie comes in, singing. Archie explains he’s imitating an actor in the movie that he saw. Fred tells Archie to be quiet, Archie apologizes, and Mary is upset at Fred. Fred tries to guilt-trip Archie. Archie apologizes again and starts crying. Mary thinks it’s because of what Fred said and makes him apologize to Archie. Archie accepts but continues crying. Fred demands to know why. Archie says there must be onions around here. Mary reveals her onions. Fred complains to Mary. Mary apologizes. Fred tells Archie to go into the other room and be quiet. Archie leaves. Fred finishes his second joke. Mary laughs but then cries. Fred asks if she’s crying at his joke. Mary says no; it’s the onions. Fred decides to go someplace else to rehearse.

12:05 – 16:46

Archie is outside, enjoying the fresh air. Jughead comes by. Archie tells Jughead about the movie that he saw, which was all about Al Jolson. Archie, who claims to be better than the actor (Larry Parks), demonstrates his singing for Jughead. Jughead joins in, which upsets Archie. Archie sings another song. Jughead joins in again, which upsets Archie. Archie and Jughead get into an argument. Betty, who sees them from her house, comes over and interrupts them. Betty asks what they’re arguing about. Archie and Jughead get into an argument again, and Betty interrupts them, asking since when either of them could sing. Archie asks if Betty wants to hear him sing. Betty says she should know better but agrees. Archie sings. Betty finds it nice and asks if he meant it about being in love. Archie tells her to never mind the song and asks about his singing. Veronica arrives in her car and honks. She gets out and meets with the others. Veronica mentions her date with Archie tonight and badmouthes Betty. Betty, trying to get back at her, says Archie has been “serenading” her. Veronica angrily breaks their date and leaves. Archie is upset. Betty apologizes to him. Archie brushes it aside, saying he’s been looking forward to playing gin rummy with Jughead for a long time.

16:46 – 17:21

Mary and Fred are ready to go to the party. Fred asks if Archie’s going with them. Mary says Archie has a date with Veronica. Fred is surprised, and Mary guesses Veronica isn’t going to her mother’s party.

17:21 – 27:26

Mrs. Lodge greets Fred and Mary and mentions “Mrs. Hastings” is playing the piano. Fred complains about the music, and Mary admonishes him. Mrs. Lodge seats them. Fred fidgets. Mary tells him to stop. Fred applauds prematurely when he thinks Mrs. Hastings is done but then apologizes. Mary shushes him. Mrs. Hastings finishes playing. Everyone except Fred applauds. Mary gets him to applaud. Mrs. Lodge addresses the guests and compliments Mrs. Hastings on the music. She walks over to Fred and Mary. Fred compliments Mrs. Lodge on the music. Mrs. Lodge says she’d heard better. Veronica comes over to them and says some of the guests are leaving. Mrs. Lodge says she was afraid of that and introduces the guests to Fred. Fred goes over, makes some introductory comments, and starts to tell his first joke, but Archie starts singing. When he stops, Fred tries to tell his joke again, but Archie starts singing again. Fred goes over to the garden and demands Archie come into the house. Archie is embarrassed when he sees the crowd. Jughead comes in, too. Mrs. Lodge is upset at Archie, but Veronica sticks up for him and convinces her mother to let Archie sing for the party, which upsets Fred. Mrs. Lodge moves his jokes to later. Fred says he and Archie are going to have “a long, long talk”. Archie sings “Sonny Boy” by Al Jolson while Mrs. Hastings plays the piano. It receives thunderous applause and cheers. Mrs. Lodge, Veronica, Mary, and Fred praise Archie’s singing. Veronica apologizes for thinking Archie couldn’t sing and offers Archie “a great, big kiss”, which causes the crowd to cheer. Fred apologizes to Archie. Mary says she’s proud of Archie. Mrs. Lodge uses the moment to take up another Red Cross collection. Fred asks Archie why he didn’t tell them about this secret talent, but Archie says that wasn’t talent; he was standing next to a table with onions.

27:26 – 27:59

Bob Sherry gives the closing remarks. Only the writer, Archie and Jughead’s actors, and the director are credited.

Wasn’t that exciting? This is an example of a typical episode of “The Adventures of Archie Andrews”. Judging by the audience’s reactions, it sure didn’t take much to make them laugh back then.

Seriously, this is one of the most banal Archie stories that I’ve come across. It’s filled with a lot of small talk and moments of confusion among the characters that fill up the time. I didn’t even bother summarizing everything, because it’s so trivial. The writer seemed to be lazy and just threw in a bunch of filler to ssstttrrreeetttccchhh things out. Look at those scene lengths! Every episode that I have is like this. This plot could have been told as a 6-page comic book story with no important losses.

Also, the radio show treats Archie – the title character – as a secondary character. His father, Fred Andrews, is the real star – and gets an awful lot of air time.

Judging by the above article, Reggie seems to be a character on this series, but he’s probably not prominent. I have yet to listen to an episode with him in it – or, for that matter, an episode that takes place in school.

This episode is odd in that there are no commercial breaks, which means the story is a bit longer than usual. Lucky me.

My thoughts on the cast:

Bob Hastings is annoying and wimpy as Archie. Interestingly, he’d voice another comic book character, Commissioner James Gordon, decades later on “Batman: The Animated Series”, where he’d do a much better job.

Harlan Stone is atrocious as Jughead. Enough said.

The rest of the cast is fine.

Characterizations:

Archie and Jughead are annoying.

Fred is the world’s most impatient and inconsiderate person.

Veronica has a Southern accent. I can’t picture that. She had a Boston or New York background (she was introduced twice) in the comics of the time.

Mrs. Lodge is stuffy and arrogant.

Random thoughts:

Genevieve was one of Mrs. Lodge’s first names before they settled on Hermione.

Archie’s singing is annoying – except for the final song. Funny how he magically got turned into a decent singer – thanks to onions!

The movie that Archie sees is “The Jolson Story” (premiered October 10, 1946), which seems a bit old for this episode. Did movies run in theaters a lot longer back then?

Jughead has an annoying joke whenever he shows up. It goes like this:

Person: “Oh, good grief, Jughead.”
Jughead: “Who’d you expect? [names someone]?” *laughs annoyingly*

It happens twice in this episode. It’s annoying.

Archie is speechless and makes “funny” noises whenever he hears Veronica’s voice for the first time in an episode. The audience of kids finds it hysterical. I don’t. It’s annoying that Archie is physically incapable of speaking in Veronica’s presence during their first meeting in any given “adventure”.

Was Mrs. Hastings Bob’s wife? She doesn’t speak, but is it her playing the piano?

What was Archie actually doing in the Lodges’ garden? We never find out. Maybe he was trying to “serenade” Veronica and win her back.

Does Veronica actually kiss Archie or not? It’s unclear.

That’s all that I have to say about this episode. It has some nice lines, but it’s mostly painful. It was the first time that the characters were given voices, so it’s an important part of Archie history, but that’s it. I don’t think I’ll review another episode of the radio show – unless I find something really different than the norm.