Charlton VS Mighty MLJ

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Archie Animated: The End of a Cult Classic

The Archies had all the makings of a perpetual plethera of plentiful plots from the published pandering to the prepubescent crowd. And then... something happened to cause the dominant freight train of Saturday mornings to come to a screeching halt! And now part two from

But the series took an unexpected plunge in popularity with The U.S. of Archie made in 1974. Designed as a mingling of history with entertainment, it found the gang going back in time in such plots as working with Harriet Tubman on the Underground Railroad for slaves during the 1800s. Such serious concerns were off-kilter for the normally light series, and it disappeared from Saturday mornings in 1975. Its last season on CBS consisted of U. S. of Archie repeats. NBC tried repeats of earlier shows in 1977 under the ride The Bang-Shang Lalapalooza Show, but it flopped too.
Nearly a decade later, NBC gave the property another try under the title The New Archies. The characters became prepubescent in this instalment, with a few modifications made for the properties to accommodate the 1980s. Some were substantial (Eugene the egghead and Amani the nice girl finally integrated previously lily white Riverside), others were subtle (Pop's Chok'lit Shoppe was now Pop's Video Cafe). Even Hot Dog became an English terrier. The emphasis remained on jokes and hijinks, but without the music and peppy atmosphere, this edition looked decidedly inferior to the earlier cartoon. There were two stories used in each show, and the 1988?89 season consisted of repeats.

Besides the comic book and cartoons, there was a radio sitcom titled Archie Andrews on Mutual from 1943-44 and NBC from 1946-53. Additionally, ABC commissioned unsold sitcom pilots for the show in 1962 and 1976, and there was a lousy live-action NBC TV movie in 1990 titled Archie: To Riverdale and Back Again, starring Christopher Rich as Archie, in which the characters appeared in middle age.

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