Charlton VS Mighty MLJ

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Archie Animated: The Start of a 60's Cult Classic!

Following on last weeks (admittedly) extensive review of the limited amount of animated appearances by characters formerly of Charlton Comics, we now turn our attention to Mighty MLJ's cartoon output...

...if you are listening to crickets churp, its because none of the superheroes in the Mighty MLJ stable ever made the jump to the big screen, in that format. Or much of any aside from marketing purposes for the ill-fated Mighty Crusader action figure line. However, that publisher's bread and butter, the Archie franchise, made a serious impact. So without further adieu, we consider the impetus of a nationwide sensation beginning in 1968. From Memorable TV Dot Com:

The number one cartoon of 1968?69 by a huge margin, The Archies had success beyond its ratings: it revived interest in the Archie character, which had been seen in comic books since 1941; it showed the appeal of silly jokes, teenagers, and music to the Saturday morning audience, a mix which would be much copied in the 1970s; and it even generated an international hit single.

The shows format changed considerably over the years, but most incarnations featured amiable Archie Andrews as nominal leader of a clique in fictional Riverdale High, where Mr. Weatherbee was the principal. His cohorts were vain, rich Veronica, who had an exaggerated Southern drawl in the cartoon; egocentric Reggie, who often fought Archie for the attention of Veronica; down-to-earth blonde Betty, whom Archie should have been pursuing; Jughead, the skinny yet always hungry sidekick of Archies; and Hot Dog, the group mutt. They rode around in Archies jalopy and hung out at Pops Chok'lit Shoppe. 

In the first two seasons (titled officially The Archie Show in 1968-69 and then The Archie Comedy Hour m 1969-70), interspersed between brief sketches involving the gang were musical numbers with flashy color backgrounds having the characters show off the "Dance of the Week" and sing new songs. (A character introduced here got her own show in 1970; see Sabrina, the Teenage Witch.) More significantly, for the first time, there was a concerted effort to make some of the shows tunes hits on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart.

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