Writer: Carl Jampel
Director: Kenneth MacGregor
Original Air Date: Saturday, March 15, 1947
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):
Okay, 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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