Essay – The Changing Archie Landscape

Introduction

So…

A lot has happened since I wrote my last essay. For one thing, the fucking plague hit, which greatly disrupted the comic book direct market in North America and caused people to flip their shit. While DC Comics and Marvel Comics are owned by giant corporations and probably won’t be shut down (although rumors are always swirling), Archie Comics is much smaller and has been much more greatly affected by the plague, which has, in general, hastened the transition to digital and streaming content.

No one seems to be talking about how Archie Comics is doing, so I decided to do that in this essay, giving an update on what’s happened so far and the current state of the Archieverse in 2021.

What’s Happened Since 2017

2017:

September 20 – Archie’s Funhouse Double Digest is cancelled at issue #28.

October 4 – The Archies, a New Riverdale floppy title focusing on the band, debuts.

October 4 – Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica, a miniseries coproduced by DC Comics and Archie Comics, debuts.

October 11 – Archie Halloween Spectacular, a floppy special consisting solely of reprints, comes out.

October 18 – Archie and Me Comics Digest debuts.

October 25 – Jughead: The Hunger, an AU horror title spinning off from the earlier one-shot, debuts.

November 22 – Betty & Veronica: Vixens, a New Riverdale title about the girls starting their own motorcycle gang, debuts.

December 20 – Your Pal Archie, a classic-style floppy title with a bit of Riverdale-influenced character designs, is cancelled at issue #5.

2018:

January 10 – Life With Kevin, a possible-future classic-style floppy title with almost no coloring, is cancelled at issue #5.

March 7 – Harley and Ivy Meet Betty and Veronica concludes at issue #6.

March 14 – Vampironica, an AU horror title, debuts.

March 21 – Riverdale Digest, a reprint-only digest of New Riverdale stories, is cancelled at issue #7.

May 2 – Betty and Veronica: Friends Forever, a classic-style floppy title reprinting stories that have recently appeared new in the digests, debuts.

May 16 – The Archies is cancelled at issue #7.

May 23 – The first run of the Riverdale tie-in comic is cancelled at issue #12.

June 20 – Archie’s Superteens Versus Crusaders, a two-part AU title, debuts.

July 11 – The Archie title, which had been rebooted in 2015, concludes its current run (written by Mark Waid) with issue #32.

July 18 – Archie Meets Batman ’66, a miniseries coproduced by Archie Comics and DC Comics, debuts.

July 25 – Archie’s Superteens Versus Crusaders concludes.

August 28 – Riverdale Student Handbook, a tie-in book to the TV series, comes out.

September 5 – Vampironica #3 comes out over three months after the previous issue.

September 12 – Archie 1941, an AU miniseries, debuts.

September 26 – Betty & Veronica: Vixens is cancelled at issue #10.

October 3 – The Archie title reverts to legacy numbering with issue #699, a $1.00 “primer” summary of what’s happened so far.

October 10 – Archie Halloween Spectacular, a floppy special consisting solely of reprints, comes out.

October 26 – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, a horror-themed take on Sabrina the Teenage Witch starring Kiernan Shipka, premieres on Netflix.

November 21 – Archie #700 comes out, kicking off a run by Nick Spencer.

December 12 – Vampironica is cancelled at issue #5.

December 19 – Betty & Veronica, a possible-future New Riverdale miniseries, debuts.

December 26 – Riverdale: The Day Before, the first tie-in novel, comes out.

2019:

January 9 – Archie Meets Batman ’66 concludes at issue #6.

January 23 – Blossoms 666, an AU horror miniseries, debuts.

February 6 – Archie 1941 concludes at issue #5.

February 13 – Archie & Friends, a classic-style floppy title reprinting stories that have recently appeared new in the digests, debuts.

March 13 – Riverdale: Season 3, the confusingly titled second tie-in comic, debuts.

March 27 – Sabrina the Teenage Witch, a New Riverdale miniseries, debuts.

March 27 – Jughead: The Hunger is cancelled at issue #13.

April 24 – Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica, an AU horror miniseries, debuts.

May 4 – Riverdale, Season 3, FCBD Edition #1, a floppy comic with an original story, comes out.

May 8 – Betty & Veronica concludes at issue #5.

May 8 – Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica, a maxiseries from Dynamite Comics, debuts.

May 28 – Riverdale: Get Out of Town, the second tie-in novel, comes out.

June 12 – Jughead’s Time Police, a New Riverdale miniseries, debuts.

July 9 – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Season of the Witch, the first tie-in novel, comes out.

July 17 – Blossoms 666 concludes at issue #5.

July 24 – Archie vs. Predator II, an AU horror-comedy miniseries, debuts.

July 31 – Riverdale: Season 3 is cancelled at issue #5.

August 7 – Archie: The Married Life – 10th Anniversary, a confusingly titled, possible-future, classic-style miniseries, debuts.

September 11 – Sabrina the Teenage Witch concludes.

September 18 – Archie 1955, an AU miniseries, debuts.

October 2 – Archie Halloween Spectacular, a floppy special consisting solely of reprints, comes out.

October 9 – Jughead: The Hunger vs. Vampironica concludes at issue #5.

October 15 – Riverdale: The Maple Murders, the third tie-in novel, comes out.

October 23 – Josie and the Pussycats in Space, an AU horror miniseries, debuts.

October 30 – Jughead’s Time Police concludes at issue #5.

November 27 – Archie and Me Comics Digest is cancelled at issue #23.

December 4 – Vampironica: New Blood, an AU horror miniseries, debuts.

December 26 – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Daughter of Chaos, the second tie-in novel, comes out.

2020:

January 22 – Archie vs. Predator II concludes at issue #5.

February 5 – Archie: The Married Life – 10th Anniversary concludes at issue #6.

February 6 – Katy Keene, starring Lucy Hale, premieres on The CW.

February 12 – Archie 1955 concludes at issue #5.

February 19 – Archie Meets the B-52s, a classic-style one-shot set in the 1980s, comes out.

February 26 – Josie and the Pussycats in Space concludes at issue #5.

April 1 – Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked, a New Riverdale miniseries, debuts.

April 7 – A Werewolf in Riverdale, the first novel in the Archie Horror line, comes out.

April 15 – Vampironica: New Blood concludes at issue #4, just barely making it through before Covid shuts down the floppy titles.

April 29 – Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked #2 comes out, just barely making it through before Covid shuts down the floppy titles.

May 5 – Riverdale: Death of a Cheerleader, the fourth tie-in novel, comes out.

May 5 – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: Path of Night, the third tie-in novel, comes out.

May 6 – Season 4 of Riverdale concludes at episode 19, cut three episodes short due to Covid.

May 12 – Betty and Veronica: The Bond of Friendship, Archie Comics’ first original graphic novel, comes out.

May 14 – Katy Keene is cancelled after one season of 13 episodes.

June 3 – The last new classic-style story for a while comes out in Archie Comics Double Digest #310.

July 7 – Interview with the Vixen, the second novel in the Archie Horror line, comes out.

July 8 – B&V Friends Double/Jumbo Comics Digest is pointlessly renamed to Betty and Veronica Best Friends Jumbo Comics Digest with issue #282.

July 15 – Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica #11 comes out nearly four months after the previous issue.

July 29 – Archie #713 comes out over four months after the previous issue. It is the final issue to date and is officially “on hiatus”.

July 29 – Red Sonja and Vampirella Meet Betty and Veronica concludes at issue #12.

July 29 – Archie Showcase Digest, a very sporadic reprint-only digest, debuts.

August 25 – The Riverdale Diaries, Vol. 1: Hello, Betty!, Archie Comics’ second original graphic novel, comes out in physical format only.

September 23 – Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked #3 comes out nearly five months after the previous issue.

October 7 – Archie Halloween Spectacular, a floppy special consisting solely of reprints, comes out.

October 14 – New classic-style stories resume in the digests after over four months with Betty and Veronica Best Friends Jumbo Comics Digest #285.

October 21 – Madam Satan, an AU horror one-shot set in the long-dormant Chilling Adventures of Sabrina title, comes out.

November 10 – Riverdale: The Poison Pen, the fifth tie-in novel, comes out.

November 10 – Katy Keene: Restless Hearts, the first (and possibly only) tie-in novel to the cancelled TV series, comes out.

November 18 – Betty and Veronica Best Friends Jumbo Comics Digest is cancelled at issue #286.

November 25 – Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked #4 comes out over two months after the previous issue.

December 31 – Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is cancelled after four parts, consisting of 36 episodes total.

2021:

January 6 – World of Betty and Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest Magazine debuts.

January 20 – The fifth season of Riverdale premieres, delayed because of Covid.

January 27 – Riverdale Presents: South Side Serpents, a one-shot, comes out.

February 3 – Archie 80th Anniversary Jumbo Comics Digest debuts.

February 17 – Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked concludes at issue #5, nearly three months after the previous issue.

Aside from a few exceptions due to timing, Archie Comics refused to put out floppy titles in digital format during the shutdown out of support for comic shops, and it seems the delays really took a toll. Of course, Archie Comics had been struggling with the floppy format for years, moving more toward miniseries and even then generally cutting miniseries from six issues down to five issues.

Where Things Stand Now

Remember the New Riverdale Jughead title? It went “on hiatus” and never came back. There hasn’t been a new issue of Archie since July 29, so it’s likely toast.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Something Wicked managed to limp to its conclusion. All told, it took 10.5 months for a five-issue miniseries to run its course.

No new floppy titles, whether ongoing or miniseries, have been solicited. This marks the end of the great New Riverdale revamp. It was a good effort, but it might have been misguided. Why chase the comic shop crowd when comic shops are dying?

It seems the company is still doing one-shots, but the last one (or two, maybe) was a TV tie-in.

The television landscape isn’t much better. Riverdale is the only remaining series still on the air, down from three just last year. But it has been renewed for a sixth season, so that’s good.

Doing the Math

As before, let’s calculate the value of each storytelling format. They will be listed from best to worst value:

Archie Horror: Interview with the Vixen digital novel = $5.99/336 – $0.017827380952381 per page

Sabrina: Path of Night digital novel = $5.99/320 – $0.01871875 per page

Riverdale: The Poison Pen digital novel = $5.99/304 – $0.0197039473684211 per page

Katy Keene: Restless Hearts digital novel = $6.99/288 – $0.0242708333333333 per page

Archie Horror: Interview with the Vixen paperback novel = $9.99/336 – $0.0297321428571429 per page

Josie and the Pussycats (cartoon series) DVD = $10.43/344 = $0.0303197674418605 per minute

Sabrina: Path of Night paperback novel = $9.99/320 – $0.03121875 per page

Riverdale: The Poison Pen paperback novel = $9.99/304 – $0.0328618421052632 per page

Riverdale season 3 Blu-ray = $31.12/929 = $0.0334983853606028 per minute

Katy Keene: Restless Hearts paperback novel = $10.25/288 – $0.0355902777777778 per page

Riverdale season 4 HD or SD full season = $28.99/(42*19) = $0.036328320802005 per minute

Josie and the Pussycats (2001) digital film rental = $3.99/98 = $0.0407142857142857 per minute

Katy Keene HD or SD full season = $24.99/(42*13) = $0.0457692307692308 per minute

Riverdale season 4 SD single episode = $1.99/42 = $0.0473809523809524 per minute

Josie and the Pussycats (cartoon series) Blu-ray = $19.76/344 = $0.0574418604651163 per minute

Riverdale season 4 HD single episode = $2.99/42 = $0.0711904761904762 per minute

Sabrina: Something Wicked digital collection = $10.99/110* = $0.0763194444444444 per page

The Riverdale Diaries: Hello, Betty! paperback OGN = $11.68/128*** = $0.09125 per page

Sabrina: Something Wicked trade paperback collection = $14.99/110* = $0.0999090909090909 per page

Josie and the Pussycats (2001) DVD = $9.99/98 = $0.1019387755102041 per minute

B&V: The Bond of Friendship digital OGN = $12.99/111** = $0.117027027027027 per page

B&V: The Bond of Friendship paperback OGN = $14.99/111** = $0.135045045045045 per page

Josie and the Pussycats (2001) digital film purchase = $14.99/98 = $0.1529591836734694 per minute

The Riverdale Diaries: Hello, Betty! hardcover OGN = $24.99/128*** = $0.195234375 per page

monthly comic book = $3.99/20 = $0.1995 per page

*I don’t have this collection and am using an estimated page count based on an assumption of 20 story pages per issue.

**I’m using the total number of full-artwork pages related to the story itself only, excluding the cover page.

***I don’t have this book and am going by Amazon’s listed page count, which is likely inflated.

As you can see, the best value for the consumer is in digital novels, followed (roughly) by physical novels, TV DVDs, TV Blu-rays, full digital seasons, digital movie rentals, single digital episodes, digital comic collections, trade paperback collections, movie DVDs, digital OGNs, paperback OGNs, digital movie purchases, hardcover OGNs, and finally, right at the bottom at worst value, single-issue comic books.

The Future

I don’t know what the future holds for the Archieverse. However, based on current trends, I can make some guesses as to what might happen:

The floppy format, except for full-sized reprints of digest stories and the occasional one-shot, will go away.

The digests will continue with new short stories thrown in.

There will be a greater focus on original graphic novels. Indeed, a new one based on Riverdale (The Ties That Bind) is scheduled for May 4, and a second entry in The Riverdale Diaries (Starring Veronica) is scheduled for November 16. It makes sense to go in this direction. While they’re a bit more expensive than collections, it’s a good way to ditch the floppy format (and the comic shop ghetto) entirely. There might even be OGNs done in the classic style, though I wouldn’t hold my breath.

While Archie’s TV fortunes have been reduced, I could imagine Katy Keene and even Sabrina Spellman making guest appearances on Riverdale. Their stories could even conceivably continue in novels. Speaking of which…

Novels, novels, novels. I can’t emphasize this enough. Novels are the best value for the consumer, and they’re probably the cheapest to produce. Continue with the horror titles and TV tie-ins. There could even be an Archie Novelverse with its own cohesive continuity. Novels can provide hours upon hours of entertainment at a fraction of the price compared to comics and even television.

Conclusion

So that’s my take on where Archie has recently been, where it is right now, and where it might be headed. I want to see the characters continue in some form, even if the current flavor is grittiness and horror. While I love the characters in comic format, it’s because I love the characters, not because of the format itself. I would gladly wait months for a new novel or OGN to come out – and months between TV seasons – just to visit Riverdale again.

One thing’s for sure: if the Archieverse is to survive, the visits to Riverdale had better be well worth it.

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Essay – Are Floppy Comics Worth It?

Introduction

For over a decade, I have followed the monthly sales charts of comic books in the North American direct market (meaning the local comic shop; no subscription, digital, or newsstands sales). I have long thought the monthly comic book is doomed.

Recently, I read an article that indicates there is indeed trouble for the format and the stores that carry them.

In this essay, I will be exploring, specifically, comic books from Archie Comics.

My Comic-Collecting Background

I got into Archie through one specific digest, which my mom bought for me at the supermarket. She got me another one later. Those two digests were my only Archies for a while. My sister got me a subscription to the regular floppy “Archie” title around 1993 (I remember seeing the ad for the “Super Mario Bros.” movie).

I started buying regular floppy comics, this time exclusively starring the female characters, in December of 1998 and kept it up until around 2001 or 2002. Then I sold a bunch. Then I got back into it. I wasn’t buying just Archie. I was buying pretty much every female-centric title from DC and Marvel – as well as “Witchblade”, “Tomb Raider”, “Fathom”, and various adaptations of 1980s cartoon properties. A lot of these went unread. During this time, I would drive way out of my way (sometimes an hour away) to get to the nearest comic-carrying bookstore to buy goddamn comic books. At least, they were usually just monthly trips.

Around 2005, I sold most of these and quit the habit.

I got back into digests around 2008 and started buying the AU horror titles in 2013. I also started getting into the last few issues of the Classic Archie titles in 2015. Then came New Riverdale. There was also a new “Tomb Raider” title, “Power Rangers Pink” (Kimberly!), “Back to the Future” (new, canon Jennifer Parker content!), a “Jem and the Holograms” comic (finally!), and so on. At least, I stayed the fuck away from superheroes this time. With no local comic shop, I bought these online through TFAW. If I risked waiting a week or two to combine multiple comics into one order (to save on shipping), I risked an issue no longer being available. If I bought only one issue in a single week, the added shipping basically meant I was paying around $7.00 for a motherfucking 20-page comic book.

In December of 2016, I quit buying physical comic books cold turkey. At the same time, I stopped using my credit card, so that would be one less thing that would be showing up in the mail on a monthly basis. I was helping the environment! Try it! 🙂

I also gave away all of the issues that I’d bought of New Riverdale “Jughead” – along with a bunch of DVDs, most of my digests, and some video games – to a local thrift store.

Yeah, most of those comics had gone unread.

So far, with the exception of the first issue of “Your Pal Archie”, I haven’t bought any digital comics. I can’t really say I miss it either.

Archie Comics’ Problems

The first sign of trouble came when there was a five-month gap between issues #6 (July 23) and #7 (December 10) of “Afterlife with Archie” in 2014.

Likewise, there was a six-month gap between issues #1 (October 8, 2014) and #2 (April 15, 2015) of Archie’s second AU horror title, “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”.

There was also a five-month gap until issue #8 of “Afterlife with Archie” (May 6, 2015).

Issue #3 of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” came out only one month after #2 (May 27), followed by #4 two months later (July 29). Not bad.

But…

Archie Comics attracted criticism for launching a Kickstarter to help fund production of “Jughead”, “Betty and Veronica”, and a post-college Classic Archie title called “Life With Kevin” (from Kevin Keller’s creator, writer/artist Dan Parent). The Kickstarter was finally cancelled in mid-2015, and the titles were delayed. I’ll discuss the first two below. Regarding “Life With Kevin”, it did only three issues from June 22 to December 28 of 2016, and there’s been nothing since. It’s likely been cancelled.

The final story arc of the Classic “Betty and Veronica” title had been delayed for so long that the final issue didn’t come out until October 21, 2015 – after the first three issues of New Riverdale “Archie” and the first issue of New Riverdale “Jughead” had already come out.

While “Archie” and “Jughead” came out regularly, the horror titles went completely off the rails. Issue #5 of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” didn’t come out until nearly ten months after #4 (May 18, 2016). This was followed one week later by the long-delayed issue #9 of “Afterlife with Archie” (over one year since the previous issue).

Issue #6 of “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” came out on July 13, 2016, about two months after issue #5. It looked like things were getting back on track. It would be nearly one year (July 5, 2017) before issue #7 was farted out.

Issue #10 of “Afterlife with Archie” came out just over three months after #9 (August 31, 2016). Things were looking good here, too. That’s been the last issue to date.

Over at New Riverdale, the long-delayed “Betty and Veronica” title debuted on July 20, 2016 – from a writer/artist that attracted controversy from the moment that he was announced (Adam Hughes). Issue #2 was delayed for nearly four months until November 9. Then nothing until Hughes farted out issue #3 over seven months later (June 14, 2017), hastily wrapping up his story arc with a “Never mind, it was all for show” excuse that doesn’t hold water. He’s off the book, and there hasn’t been a new issue since then, leading to speculation that the title’s been cancelled.

Speaking of cancellations:

On December 12, 2016, Archie Comics announced four one-shots: Jughead: The Hunger (an AU horror story in which Jughead becomes a werewolf), Sabrina the Teenage Witch: Back to School, Little Josie and the Pussycats, and Little Sabrina. Only “Jughead: The Hunger” came out (March 29, 2017). By May 30, the other three one-shots had been cancelled.

On June 23, 2017, Mark Waid off-handedly mentioned in an interview that “Jughead” was “on hiatus” (read: cancelled after 16 issues) and also mentioned “Archie” is “the only ‘New Riverdale’ series”, which basically confirms the cancellations of not only “Betty and Veronica” (after 3 issues) but also “Josie and the Pussycats” (after 8 issues).

There was a “Reggie and Me” miniseries that ran from December 7, 2016, to May 3, 2017, putting out five issues, but no one really noticed them. Ditto for the Big Moose one-shot on April 26. On July 11, Archie Comics announced ongoing titles based on “Jughead: The Hunger” and the “The Archies” one-shot from May 24. They can barely keep titles coming out regularly – and sticking around – as it is. How are they gonna handle two more? I’ll believe it when I see it.

In May, rumors swirled that the long-running “Sonic the Hedgehog” comic book, the longest-running comic book based on a video game (with a combined total of well over 500 issues, once you account for the main series, miniseries, spin-offs, crossovers, and one-shots), had been cancelled after a run that stretched back to 1992. The cancellation was officially confirmed on July 19. Sega had pulled the Sonic license from Archie. There’s no official explanation but plenty of rumors: licensing fees, the above-mentioned Kickstarter backlash, “Riverdale”, and a lawsuit. Whatever the cause, an era has come to an end.

So, after all of that, what does Archie Comics have left? “Archie”. Some digests, which contain mostly reprints but also some new stories set in Classic Archie continuity. “Your Pal Archie”. And an ongoing “Riverdale” comic series that started on April 5 after a one-shot on March 1. Oh, and there’s also “Road to Riverdale” and “Riverdale Digest”, which are both just reprints of New Riverdale comics (seriously, they’re the same thing). That’s about it.

Doing the Math

An issue of a New Riverdale title (also known as “Archie”) or “Your Pal Archie” costs $3.99 and is 20 pages long. You’re paying nearly 20 cents for each page of story. Remember Jughead falling down the cliff? That shit cost me 20 cents. The whole sequence of Jughead trying to drive Archie’s car? $1.00.

Let’s look at the “xoxo, Betty and Veronica” novels. This was a series of three novels that were published in 2011 as part of Archie Comics’ 70th anniversary celebration. They’re similar to the old “Riverdale High” novels that were published from 1991 to 1992 as part of Archie Comics’ 50th anniversary celebration. There are some differences, such as third person instead of first, no full-page illustrations, and authors other than the regular comic writers. Still, they’re pretty enjoyable.

Let’s assume one page of prose equals one comic page. I realize one comic page can be novelized in far less than one page of prose, but let’s keep it simple for this essay. Each novel is around 156 pages long and priced at $4.99. That’s like getting a little over 7 issues for $4.99 – or a single issue for a little over 70 cents. I’m talking old-school 22-page issues. It’s be like getting a modern 20-page issue for about 64 cents. Yes, I realize you don’t see the characters and have to, y’know, use your imagination, but I’m doing this to illustrate how much more of a value that novels are compared to comic books.

Even the old “Riverdale High” novels were a better value than the comic books of the time. I’ll use “Bad News Boyfriend” as an example. At $2.99 each and with 124 pages (mostly prose, but also some illustrated), that’s like getting a little over 5 issues for $2.99 – or a single issue for 53 cents. A regular comic book from Archie cost $1.00 in 1991. The trade paperback of the corresponding 2007 comic adaptation retails for $7.95.

Now, let’s look at “Riverdale”. One episode is 40+ minutes long, so let’s consider that to be roughly equal to two issues of a comic book. Setting aside the fact that you can watch it for free online (if you’re willing to wait one day), you can buy an episode on the day before it’s televised on Amazon Video (at least, those are the release dates that the site provides) for $2.99. That’s like getting 2 issues for $2.99 – or 1 issue for $1.50.

Finally, let’s pretend “Your Pal Archie” is a television series. A typical episode would feature a complete 12-minute story, a partial 8-minute story (to be continued in the next episode), and one of the segments from the old Filmation cartoon tacked on as a “bonus”. Each episode would retail for $3.99. Would you buy it or wait for the complete season to come out on Blu-ray?

Price per page/minute (in descending order from best value to worst value):

Riverdale High novel (1991) = $2.99/124 – $0.0241129032258065 per page
xoxo, Betty and Veronica novel (2011) = $4.99/156 = $0.0319871794871795 per page
monthly comic book (1991) = $1.00/22 = $0.0454545454545455 per page
trade paperback collection (2007) = $7.95/110* = $0.0722727272727273 per page
Riverdale = $2.99/40 = $0.07475 per minute
monthly comic book (2017) = $3.99/20 = $0.1995 per page

*I’m using the cumulative total pages in the original digest printings.

Conclusion

So, yeah, there it is. Monthly comic books aren’t a good value, no matter how you look at it. And comics from Archie are worse. Other publishers at least reduce the price of earlier issues of ongoing series, but every New Riverdale, “Afterlife with Archie”, and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina” issue is still the same price as on release day.

And this is just Archie, which cancels and delays issues and has cancelled some series (while others might as well be cancelled). If you were a follower of DC or Marvel, which each puts out a cumulative total of dozens of titles per month, ranging in price from $2.99 (more commonly $3.99) to $10 (Ten Motherfucking Dollars!), then you’d go broke trying to keep up.

In this climate, it’s no wonder that more and more people are dropping monthly installments and waiting for the trade. The days of the monthly comic book surely are numbered.

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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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Archie Pilot – The Electric Cupid (1964)

Writer: Ray Allen
Director: Gene Nelson
Original Air Date: unaired?
Length: 34:20

If I had known this was on YouTube (believe me, I looked), I would have reviewed it far earlier.

This was the second attempt to create an Archie television series. The first was a 1962 pilot called “Life with Archie” (which IMDb calls a “TV movie”, implying it actually aired), starring Frank Bank (Clarence Rutherford of “Leave It to Beaver”). According to IMDb: “According to Frank Bank, the pilot was not picked up because the sponsors felt that viewers would still see him as “Lumpy” from Leave It to Beaver (1957).” It’s the general belief that the 1962 pilot has never seen the light of day (though I’ve seen one person claim to have it). I have no info on the plot of the pilot. According to IMDb, ABC produced it. Supposedly, IMDb’s cast list for this pilot is mostly wrong. According to second-hand info, quoting an audio interview with Frank Bank from one of the “Leave It to Beaver” DVD sets, Desilu produced this pilot. Frank said it was “funny and cool” and also said “I thought it was a good show.” He mentioned the cast. In addition to him, “Jimmy Hawkings” (possibly Jimmy Hawkins) was Jughead, Norm Grabowski was Moose, Cheryl Holdridge was Betty (and the only actor to come back in the 1964 pilot), Barbara Parkins was Veronica, and Paul Ford was Mr. Weatherbee.

The second pilot (which I’m reviewing today), called “Archie” but also known as “The Electric Cupid”, is from 1964. According to IMDb, Screen Gems produced it, and ABC distributed it. However, IMDb also gives a runtime of 43 minutes (which is far longer than the version that I downloaded). If it indeed aired as a “TV movie” as IMDb claims, it would have been packed with commercials. I realize my copy might be incomplete (it’s definitely an unusual length), but it feels (mostly) complete to me, and I can’t find a version that’s any longer. Whatever the case, I’m guessing, if the series had been picked up, it would have been a standard half-hour sitcom with a runtime of 20+ minutes. I’m relying on IMDb for some of the cast members of this pilot, because the pilot itself refuses to credit them (see the credits note near the end of the review). Finally, because IMDb incorrectly claims more cast overlap between the two pilots than there actually was, the number of credits for Veronica, Mr. Andrews, and Mr. Weatherbee’s actors is actually one less than what I report below.

Archie-Pilot-1964-01-Andrews-house
The pilot opens with a shot of the Andrews’ house. A logo from the group that uploaded this pilot is in the lower-right corner for a few seconds. Sorry about that.

Archie-Pilot-1964-02-Mary-Fred
Mary comes by with the coffee for breakfast. Fred notes Mary hasn’t called Archie yet. Mary checks her watch and says Archie still has “almost a whole minute” and talks about the value of sleep.

Archie-Pilot-1964-03-Mary
Mary Andrews is played by Jean Vander Pyl, the voice of Wilma Flintstone. That was actually her sole role in the last few years of her life. She died on April 10, 1999, at age 79, having racked up 87 credits in a career that spanned 1954-1997.

Archie-Pilot-1964-04-Fred
Fred Andrews is played by William Schallert. He racked up a whopping 382 credits in a huge career that spanned 1947-2014. He died on May 8, 2016, at the age of 93.

They have a bit of a discussion about Archie and Benjamin Franklin.

Archie-Pilot-1964-05-Mary-letter
Mary finds a note attached to a control of some kind (which, somehow, neither of them noticed earlier). In this particular incarnation, contrary to every other depiction, Archie is really interested in science and is an amateur inventor (kind of like Dilton Doiley, I guess). He invites his mom to try out “the newest miracle” by pushing the button when it’s time for him to get up.

Archie-Pilot-1964-06-Fred-curious
Fred’s curiosity is piqued.

Archie-Pilot-1964-07-Mary-pushes
Mary pushes the button.

Archie-Pilot-1964-08-transition
There’s then a neat special effect (which I initially mistook for tape damage) where the audience basically goes up to the second floor to check on Archie.

Archie-Pilot-1964-09-machine
Archie’s machine starts up.

Archie-Pilot-1964-10-Archie-asleepArchie-Pilot-1964-11-tape
A pre-recorded tape starts playing, giving the impression that Archie is actually waking up. How Archie is not actually waking up, due to all of this noise, is anyone’s guess.

Archie-Pilot-1964-12-shoes
The machine also moves Archie’s shoes to make it seem like he’s walking around.

Downstairs, Mary and Fred are impressed.

Upstairs, the machine releases the shade on Archie’s window, letting it open. It also somehow shuts the window.

Downstairs, Mary wishes Archie would fix the window shade and remember to stop banging the window.

Archie-Pilot-1964-13-shower
Upstairs, the machine turns on Archie’s shower. Archie starts singing on the tape.

Downstairs, Fred is having his doubts. He knows Archie doesn’t drink (this was in 1964, but even then it was an issue that had to be considered), and he dismisses the ideas that he brought his entire class home to spend the night or has a horse in his room, but then he suddenly changes his mind, because he hears Archie tap-dancing in the shower with his shoes on. He goes upstairs to investigate, but Mary think he’s being silly and tells Fred to tell Archie that she’s putting his breakfast on the table.

Archie-Pilot-1964-14-Fred-blocked
Fred is denied entry to Archie’s bedroom.

He finally gets in, gets past the machine, shuts off the shower, and wakes Archie up.

Archie-Pilot-1964-15-Archie-turns-off
He has Archie turn the machine off. Archie is impressed that his machine worked. Fred’s like “What the fuck?”

Archie-Pilot-1964-16-Archie
Archie’s like “I needed extra sleep. I was up ’til four.”

Archie Andrews is played by John Simpson. This was his first role. After this pilot wasn’t picked up to series, his sole other acting role was as a zombie in “Night of the Living Dead”, four years later. IMDb gives an “alternative name” of Paul Simpson and says he’s a retired calculus teacher living in Clymer, Pennsylvania.

Fred brings up Archie’s hero:

Archie-Pilot-1964-17-Ben-Franklin
They exchange quotes. Fred’s like “What were you doing up that late?” Archie’s like “Building this.” Ha.

Fred gives up and leaves. Fade out.

The opening title sequence consists of a series of characters, each saying “Archie” in a different way:

Archie-Pilot-1964-18-BettyArchie-Pilot-1964-19-FredArchie-Pilot-1964-20-JugheadArchie-Pilot-1964-21-GrundyArchie-Pilot-1964-22-MaryArchie-Pilot-1964-23-WeatherbeeArchie-Pilot-1964-24-VeronicaArchie-Pilot-1964-25-Archie
“That’s me!”

Archie-Pilot-1964-26-Archie-titleArchie-Pilot-1964-27-John-Simpson
The opening theme song starts up. It’s a typical theme song from that era. Kinda goofy but fun. It sounds kind of like a commercial jingle.

The picture cuts out shortly before the song abruptly ends. Keep in mind that this is just a pilot.

Archie-Pilot-1964-28-Archie-Fred
Fade in. Archie’s eating breakfast. Fred is drinking coffee and reading his newspaper (happily? unhappily?).

Archie starts talking about “talking man to man” and “bridg[ing] the gulf between the generations”. He also mentions Fred is a psychologist. Fred cuts through the bullshit and immediately turns down whatever Archie wants before he even asks it. After a bit of dry humor, Fred points out that Archie got his full allowance only three days ago. Archie explain Betty asked him to take her to the “PTA Get Acquainted Party”, and he’s gotta get her a corsage. Fred’s like “Tough shit.” (Side note: “scooties” is mid-1960s teen slang for dollars.)

Fred foresees Veronica making Archie take him and advises not asking Betty (I thought Betty asked him) until he knows Veronica won’t pull some shit. Archie gives the typical line about being unable to make up his mind between them. Fred finds this amusing.

Archie asks Fred how to know who’s the right girl. Fred gives us a fun word to use: propinquity. Yeah, he believes proximity, not any other factor, is responsible for pairing people up.

Archie-Pilot-1964-29-Mary
“Oh?”

Archie-Pilot-1964-30-Fred-oops
“Oh, shit.”

Archie-Pilot-1964-31-Mary-Fred
Fred quickly makes an exception for himself and Mary. They’re totally soulmates. But then Fred mentions the “remarkable coincidence” that she “happened to live in the next block”.

Archie-Pilot-1964-32-Mary-tongue
The doorbell (which sounds like a telephone) rings. Archie gets up and opens the door.

Archie-Pilot-1964-33-Betty-Archie
It’s Betty, here to pick up Archie, so they can walk to school together.

Betty Cooper is played by Cheryl Holdridge. She had a sporadic career, racking up only 28 credits from 1956 to 2000 (with the vast majority of her work being in the 1960s). She died on January 6, 2009, at the too-young age of 64.

Mary gets on Archie’s case for not carrying Betty’s books. Betty says they’re all Archie’s books; he left them over at her house last night. How does one manage to do that? And where are Betty’s books? AND WHY THE FUCK ISN’T ARCHIE CARRYING HIS OWN BOOKS?!

Anyway, Betty and Archie leave, and Fred makes a “joke” about Betty not holding the door open for Archie.

Fade out. Fade back in.

Archie-Pilot-1964-34-Riverdale-High-School
We get an exterior shot of Riverdale High School.

Archie-Pilot-1964-35-Weatherbee
In his office, a weary Mr. Weatherbee looks at the incoming students and then talks to himself about his problems. When I say talks to himself, I mean he has a back-and-forth conversation with himself. We actually hear his inner voice respond. It basically boils down to Archie being the source of his problems. Oh, and Riverdale High’s student population is 800.

Mr. Weatherbee is played by Roland Winters. He racked up 102 credits (plus he wrote 3 stories for theater-based shows) in a career that spanned 1941-1982. He died on October 22, 1989, at the age of 84.

Archie-Pilot-1964-36-Betty-Archie-Veronica
As Betty and Archie walk down a hall, they’re joined by Veronica, who hands Archie a blueprint. Archie gives an extra book to Betty to carry, so he can take a look at the blueprint. Ass.

Archie-Pilot-1964-37-gang
Jughead comes by and asks Archie about it.

Archie-Pilot-1964-38-Archie-Veronica
Archie explains they’re the plans for the new “electronic computing machine” that Mr. Lodge put in his bank. Veronica borrowed them for Archie. Why would Mr. Lodge let Archie, of all people, get a hold of this? Or does he not know Archie has it?

Veronica Lodge is played by Mikki Jamison. She racked up 22 credits in a career that spanned 1962-1978. She died on June 10, 2013, at the too-young age of 70.

Archie-Pilot-1964-39-Veronica-Jughead
Veronica casually pulls Jughead out of the way of her locker. I fucking love that.

Archie-Pilot-1964-40-Veronica-Betty
Veronica, in the most seductive, come-fuck-me way possible, suggests Archie drop the plans by her house this evening. Archie agrees, saying it’s the least that he could do. Oh, I’m sure that you’ll be doing plenty more, Arch. Betty sees this for what it is but doesn’t say anything.

Archie-Pilot-1964-41-Archie-Jughead
Archie and Jughead orgasm over computers for a bit. Archie wants to use the bank’s computer. Jughead asks what he’d use it for. Archie doesn’t know yet.

Jughead Jones is played by Jerry Brite. This pilot was literally his only role. IMDb doesn’t even claim he was in the 1962 pilot.

Archie-Pilot-1964-42-Weatherbee
More of Mr. Weatherbee talking to himself about Archie.

Archie-Pilot-1964-43-class
Class is about to start.

Archie-Pilot-1964-44-Grundy
Miss Grundy is played by Mary Grace Canfield. She racked up 44 credits in a career that spanned 1954-1993. Her most famous roles are probably Harriet Kravitz on “Bewitched” and Ralph Monroe on “Green Acres”. Further witchy work includes a guest spot on “Tabitha” (the “Bewitched” spinoff). She died on February 15, 2014, at the age of 89.

Archie-Pilot-1964-45-class-2
She reads a “social note” from the PTA president, Mrs. Finch, even though the note itself was actually written by Mr. Weatherbee. Why does Miss Grundy have to read this? Why doesn’t Mr. Weatherbee announce it to the entire school over the intercom? Anyway, there’s a PTA Get-Together Party this Saturday night. Oh, and Mr. Weatherbee’s initials are L.J.; I guess they hadn’t decided on his first name being Waldo yet. Insert “Where’s Waldo?” joke here.

Archie-Pilot-1964-46-Jughead
Jughead whispers advice about getting an A for the semester: fix it so Miss Grundy has a date with Mr. Weatherbee.

Archie-Pilot-1964-47-Grundy-smiles
Miss Grundy makes a sarcastic comment about the students’ lack of enthusiasm for the dance. She has to go into the next classroom for a moment and tells them to start reading chapter 14 or daydream about the dance. She then suddenly gets all serious and leaves.

Archie-Pilot-1964-48-Jughead-Buffie
Jughead asks a girl named Buffie to the party. She playfully tells him that he’s “so funny” (which is a really nice way of saying “Fuck off”). Jughead, uncharacteristically, says he’s a “lover”, not a comedian.

Buffie is played by Kathy Bennett. She had a very short, albeit very prolific, career, racking up 12 credits (16 separate roles) from 1962 to 1964. This was her next-to-last role. No idea what happened to her.

Archie-Pilot-1964-49-Jughead-Buffie-Reggie
Reggie comes by and says, for a lover, Jughead’s pretty funny. Buffie finds that hilarious. Jughead doesn’t.

Reggie Mantle is played by Wayne Adams. He acted in only 3 things from 1963 to 1965 (this being his middle role).

Archie-Pilot-1964-50-Veronica-Reggie
Reggie asks Veronica to the party. Veronica want to go with Archie.

Archie-Pilot-1964-51-gang
Betty tells “dear heart” that Archie’s taking her. What’s with the romantic-sounding nickname?

Archie-Pilot-1964-52-Veronica-ha
“Ha!”

Archie-Pilot-1964-53-Betty-angry
“Fuck off.”

Archie tells them to calm the fuck down. Jughead guesses even Rock Hudson doesn’t have Archie’s kind of trouble. Sometimes, Archie doesn’t think they care about him; they’re the Giants and the Packers, and he’s just their football. That’s…actually pretty accurate.

Veronica asks Betty to bet her allowance against Veronica’s over Archie not taking Veronica, giving Betty considerable odds. Betty starts getting into Veronica’s dad’s wealth, and Archie tells them to either stop fighting or stop being best friends. Both of them tell him to fuck off.

Miss Grundy returns. Everyone returns to their seats.

Archie-Pilot-1964-54-Grundy-desk
She wants to get started on the chapter and tells everyone to keep quiet.

Archie-Pilot-1964-55-ReggieArchie-Pilot-1964-56-Archie
Reggie points at Archie, and a sound effect tries to convince us that he threw something at him. Archie yells.

Miss Grundy yells at Archie. Betty takes the blame. Miss Grundy tells Betty to “subdue [her] protective instincts” and sends Archie to the principal’s office. Jughead protests, saying Archie is a “three-time loser”. What the fuck does that have to do with anything? Archie picks up his stuff and leaves. The rest of the students sing the funeral march as he walks out. Miss Grundy tells them to shut the fuck up and tells Archie to just follow the rug that he’s worn (despite the fact that there aren’t rugs in the hallways). Why doesn’t Archie explain what happened? Also, Veronica must have seen it. Why doesn’t she say anything?

During the transition to the next scene, the music score picks up the funeral march. That’s pretty cool.

Archie-Pilot-1964-57-Archie-Kenney
Archie walks into the main office and over to Mr. Weatherbee’s receptionist, Miss Kenny (in the comics, the receptionist is Miss Phlips, though I don’t know if she’d appeared yet in the comics or not). Archie flirts with her for a bit. He asks about the mood of “the warden”. She says rough, adding Mrs. Finch is in there.

Miss Kenney is played by Maggie Pierce. She racked up 43 credits in a career that spanned 1959-1967. She died on April 5, 2010, at the age of 78.

Archie-Pilot-1964-58-Archie-listens
Archie goes and listens in on the conversation.

Archie-Pilot-1964-59-Weatherbee-Finch
Basically, Mrs. Finch is on Mr. Weatherbee’s case for not pushing kids to attend the party, and Mr. Weatherbee’s like “Fuck off, it’s their choice.”

Archie-Pilot-1964-60-Finch
Mrs. Finch is played by Harriet E. MacGibbon. She racked up 52 credits in a career that spanned 1930-1980. She died on February 8, 1987, at the age of 81.

Anyway, Mr. Weatherbee has to put up with both Mrs. Finch and his inner voice. Mrs. Finch is concerned that only the popular students, not the shy ones, always attend.

Archie-Pilot-1964-61-Archie-listens-2
Why the fuck is Archie sitting like that?

Anyway, he has an idea of how to get out of trouble.

Archie-Pilot-1964-62-Weatherbee-Archie
“ZOMG! Best. Idea. EVER!”

Yeah, Archie wants to use the bank’s “electrical computer” to pair the students up in an early version of computer matchmaking.

Ignoring Mr. Weatherbee’s protests and appealing to Mrs. Finch, Archie pitches his idea. Mr. Weatherbee says a computer won’t drag the shy students to the dance. Archie says it will give them an excuse, and then he brings up propinquity. Mrs. Finch mentions her late husband and her grew up only three doors apart.

Mrs. Finch is sold on the idea, tells Mr. Weatherbee that he will cooperate, tells Archie that he’s “a nice boy”, thanks him, and leaves.

Mr. Weatherbee is about to go out and ask Miss Kenney but then figures out on his own that Archie had been listening in. Archie doesn’t deny it and wants to start putting their idea into action. They banter for a bit about terminology and Mr. Weatherbee’s worries and their supposed friendship, and then Mr. Weatherbee tells Archie to get the fuck out without asking why he was in the office in the first place.

Archie-Pilot-1964-63-gangArchie-Pilot-1964-64-crowdArchie-Pilot-1964-65-Archie-Betty-VeronicaArchie-Pilot-1964-66-gang-2Archie-Pilot-1964-67-gang-3
During lunch, the gang is making a big spectacle of handing out computer cards to the students. Apparently, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead are to punch the cards according to each student’s size, weight, hobbies, likes, and dislikes. Do they even know how to do that? Did they take a crash course in computing? Anyway, on Friday afternoon, in the gym, an “electronic computer” will match them with their perfect date for the Get Acquainted Party.

Archie-Pilot-1964-68-Veronica-card
Veronica seductively rubs her card on two guys like it’s dripping with her cum or something, and she gets them to each pay a nickel in the hope of getting paired with her. Archie praises this tactic.

Oh, and “chappies” is mid-1960s slang for guys, apparently.

Jughead announces the arrival of “the champ of the bashful ones”:

Archie-Pilot-1964-69-Mildred
Mildred. She’s played by Karen Green. She racked up 28 credits in a sporadic career that spanned 1952-2006 (mostly in the 1950s and 1960s, though the 1970s was technically her only inactive decade). No idea what happened to her.

Archie calls out to Mildred. She runs away. He gives chase.

Archie-Pilot-1964-70-Mildred-Archie
He offers her a card (unpunched, I guess). She snatches it and runs away.

Archie-Pilot-1964-71-Archie-girls
Archie gets two girls to agree to his scheme. The one in the glasses didn’t want to “break training” (I think that’s what she said), but the other says “I will if you will”, and that convinces her. I have no idea what that was about. The actors are uncredited.

Archie-Pilot-1964-72-nosey-guy
One guy claims he bought his “ticket” (maybe he means for the dance, but that’s not relevant here) purely out of scientific curiosity; he wants to see how the computer works. Archie promises he’ll see it and get a perfect date on Friday afternoon. I thought this was going to lead to some kind of investigation subplot, but the guy just accepts it and thanks Archie. The actor is uncredited.

Veronica takes Archie aside to speak with him privately.

Archie-Pilot-1964-73-Archie-Veronica
“So, um, hehe, I totally lied; you can’t use the computer; I fully admit I’m a fucking bitch, but you didn’t wanna go with me, so I didn’t ask Daddy.”

Archie basically reiterates what Veronica just said, like he’s just coming to this realization.

Archie-Pilot-1964-74-Archie-Veronica-2
A self-satisfied Veronica congratulates “chappie” on his amazing intellect.

Archie doesn’t want to break his date with Betty and appeals to Veronica to look at the “poor, bashful kids” and think about their hopes of getting laid. Veronica is unmoved. Archie leaves in frustration and takes Betty behind the stage to break their date privately. Betty slaps him (off-screen).

Archie-Pilot-1964-75-Veronica-pleased
Veronica is pleased.

Archie runs after Betty.

Archie-Pilot-1964-76-Jughead-Veronica
Jughead comes by and asks what “sparked” that. Veronica says electricity is wonderful, but there are some things that a girl just has to handle herself.

Archie-Pilot-1964-77-Betty-ArchieArchie-Pilot-1964-78-Betty-upset
Archie catches up with Betty and apologizes to her. She’s still pissed at him. We learn she was crazy about him even before his voice changed.

Archie-Pilot-1964-79-Veronica-guy
Veronica tells “chappie” to leave everything to the “magic machine”. Was the term “chappie” really common back then?

Archie-Pilot-1964-80-Veronica-Reggie
Reggie comes over and feeds Veronica a lie about overhearing Archie planning to take Betty to the dance once he’s done with the computer.

Archie-Pilot-1964-81-Betty-ArchieArchie-Pilot-1964-82-Betty-Archie-2
Archie tells Betty that he’s gonna put a card in for her to guarantee her a date for the party.

Archie-Pilot-1964-83-Betty-laughs
Betty laughs it off.

Reggie spins it as Betty and Archie laughing at Veronica. Betty goes into the school. Reggie suggests Veronica “beat Archie to the punch” by telling him that she’s going to the party with Reggie.

Archie-Pilot-1964-84-Veronica-Reggie
“Nose out, Reggie!” I guess that’s mid-1960s slang for “Mind your own fucking business!”

Veronica takes Archie behind the stage and slaps him (off-screen).

Archie-Pilot-1964-85-Weatherbee-Grundy
In Mr. Weatherbee’s office, he’s on the phone with Mrs. Finch and giving her a positive update regarding the dance – but then has a hard time ending the conversation.

Archie-Pilot-1964-86-Grundy
It seems the beginning of this scene was cut (I guess), because Miss Grundy tries to resume a conversation from before the phone call. She mentions she argued with Mr. Weatherbee about Archie’s plan, but she still doesn’t have a partner for the party.

Archie-Pilot-1964-87-Weatherbee
“Get the fuck out.” Damn, dude, can’t you tell she wants you?

Miss Grundy leaves, disappointed.

Fade out. Fade back in.

Archie-Pilot-1964-88-Andrews-houseArchie-Pilot-1964-89-Jughead-Archie
That night, Archie’s got Jughead over. Archie’s working on a scheme. Jughead suggests calling Veronica again. Archie refuses to beg after Veronica’s turned him down eleven times already.

Archie-Pilot-1964-90-computer
Archie’s plan is to make a fake computer, and Jughead will sit inside it and pair up the students (this isn’t stated yet, but it will become apparent soon).

Archie-Pilot-1964-91-Jughead-Archie-Fred
Fred comes in. Jughead and Fred impersonate German scientists.

They do a test run:

Archie-Pilot-1964-92-Jughead-insideArchie-Pilot-1964-93-Archie-cardsArchie-Pilot-1964-94-Jughead-inside-2Archie-Pilot-1964-95-computerArchie-Pilot-1964-96-cardsArchie-Pilot-1964-97-Fred-Archie
Fred compliments them. Archie asks his dad about the (unseen) ethical question (regarding what they’re doing) that he’d asked earlier (was something cut?). Fred’s okay with it, justifying it as a means of getting boys and girls together, so propinquity can take over. He then lists a bunch of “illusions” in romance: music, flowers, perfume, and the moon. Archie is surprised but pleased, because he “knew” he was “right all along” but appreciates his dad explaining why.

Archie-Pilot-1964-98-Fred-Mary
Later, downstairs, Fred asks Mary if they over-Spocked Archie. Mary laughs and says she thinks they Spocked him just right. They hear some sound effects or whatever coming from upstairs (it goes unexplained; probably has to do with the “computer”).

Fade out. Fade back in.

Archie-Pilot-1964-99-Riverdale-High-SchoolArchie-Pilot-1964-100-matching
The next day (I guess), Archie is having the “computer” pair the students up.

Archie-Pilot-1964-101-amused
At least one girl seems amused by the whole thing.

Anyway, the next named couple is:

Archie-Pilot-1964-102-Roger-Heather
Roger (the science dude from earlier) and Heather. The actors aren’t credited.

Archie-Pilot-1964-103-Reggie-Veronica
Veronica is curious about Archie’s computer, but Reggie had been under the impression that it’s her dad’s. Reggie excuses himself and walks off.

The next “perfect date” is:

Archie-Pilot-1964-104-Buffie-happy
Buffie…

Archie-Pilot-1964-105-Buffie-upset
…and Jughead

Archie-Pilot-1964-106-Jughead-pleased
Jughead’s pleased with himself, of course, but this actually surprises Archie, and Reggie keeps an eye out.

Buffie questions Archie about the outcome, and Archie just says it’s “what the machine says, and science can’t be wrong”. Buffie’s in disbelief but tries to accept it. Jughead’s still pleased with himself. Archie says “Jughead isn’t here today, but he’ll be fine for the party.” This arouses Reggie’s suspicion, and he walks off.

The next couple is:

Archie-Pilot-1964-107-Bernard-Luna
Bernard (a geophysics nerd) and Luna (an idiot). The other students groan and express their disapproval. The actors aren’t credited.

Archie asks if everybody’s happy, and they all (improbably) say yeah and wave their cards in excitement.

Archie-Pilot-1964-108-Archie-shut-up
Archie waits for the other students to leave. Before all of them do, Jughead demands to be let out, but Archie tells him to shut the fuck up.

Archie-Pilot-1964-109-Archie-lets-Jughead-out
Finally, when the room is clear, Archie opens the back panel to let Jughead out.

Archie-Pilot-1964-110-Weatherbee-Reggie
Mr. Weatherbee and Reggie come in. Mr. Weatherbee thanks him and, over his protests, sends him away. Archie puts the panel back on, trapping Jughead inside the box.

Archie-Pilot-1964-111-Weatherbee-Archie
Archie nervously touts success and wants to fucking leave, but Mr. Weatherbee wants to see the inside of the computer. Archie tries to stop him, citing the delicate technology. Mr. Weatherbee brings up the cheap plywood box that supposedly houses the expensive machinery. Archie tries to quote Ben Franklin, but Jughead responds to Mr. Weatherbee’s knocks with knocks of his own and then yells out. Archie still tries to convince him that nothing’s up. Mr. Weatherbee finally has enough and…

Archie-Pilot-1964-112-Weatherbee-JugheadArchie-Pilot-1964-113-Jughead-Archie
Archie still tries to lie. Mr. Weatherbee and Archie get Jughead out of the box. Mr. Weatherbee’s pissed, but Archie tries to spin it as their “secret”. He then quotes Ben Franklin, basically threatening Mr. Weatherbee’s and Jughead’s lives.

Archie-Pilot-1964-114-Weatherbee-shockedArchie-Pilot-1964-115-Weatherbee-upset
Mr. Weatherbee assures punishment for both of them. He and Archie help Jughead to his feet. Mr. Weatherbee throws Jughead out and tells Archie to report to his office in five minutes. If Jughead’s being punished too, why wasn’t he told to report to the office?

After Archie leaves, Mr. Weatherbee gets in a short, frustrating conversation with his inner voice.

Archie-Pilot-1964-116-Weatherbee-Archie
Later, in Mr. Weatherbee’s office, Archie tries to talk him out of punishing him.

Archie-Pilot-1964-117-Archie-window
He raises the blinds and looks out at the “poor kids”, who will soon be “disappointed”. He invites Mr. Weatherbee to join him. He does – over a warning from his inner voice.

Archie-Pilot-1964-118-Weatherbee-Archie-windowArchie-Pilot-1964-119-students
Archie brings up the happiness of the previously dateless students and then brings up his father’s reasoning of a lot of illusion in romance: Brahms’ music, perfume, a bouquet of flowers, and the moon. Mr. Weatherbee’s inner voice warns him, and Mr. Weatherbee tells him to shut up, which shocks Archie. Mr. Weatherbee comes around to Archie’s way of thinking. Archie compliments the “highest type educator” for being “always willing to learn”.

Archie-Pilot-1964-120-Weatherbee-Archie-out
“Get the fuck out, asshole.”

After Archie leaves, Mr. Weatherbee sits down, and his inner voice repeats a claim from earlier that Mr. Weatherbee likes Archie.

Archie-Pilot-1964-121-Weatherbee-smiles
Fade out. Fade back in.

Archie-Pilot-1964-122-Riverdale-High-School
Archie watches the students walk into the school and is upset that he doesn’t have a date.

Archie-Pilot-1964-123-Jughead-Buffie
Archie sees Jughead and Buffie arrive, so he quickly hides. Why? Is he afraid that she’ll be upset? Well, she’s not. They actually seem to be getting along just fine. Of course, it’s all built on a lie, but y’know.

Archie-Pilot-1964-124-Betty-Veronica-dates
Archie comes out of hiding, sees Betty and Veronica arrive with their dates, and hides again. The girls don’t care for their dates. They also insult Archie.

Archie-Pilot-1964-125-Archie-perplexed
And Archie’s actually perplexed at this.

Archie-Pilot-1964-126-Weatherbee-Grundy
Miss Grundy arrives – to Mr. Weatherbee’s delight. She was coming alone, but he takes her inside as his date. This makes Archie happy. Propinquity at work.

Archie-Pilot-1964-127-Weatherbee-ladies
Due to the success of the dance, Mr. Weatherbee is suddenly popular with the ladies. Miss Grundy is amused.

Archie-Pilot-1964-128-Mildred-watches
Mildred watches the dates go in and then notices Archie. She ducks to avoid being seen. Archie’s upset about Mr. Weatherbee getting the credit for the dance’s success.

Archie-Pilot-1964-129-Mildred-Archie
He sees Mildred and gets her out of the bushes. They talk for a while. Mildred was too bashful to come to the school yesterday, when the cards were matched. Archie apologizes for prying. She runs away, upset. Archie gives chase.

Archie-Pilot-1964-130-cards
He catches up with her and reveals their cards match perfectly, saying she was supposed to be his date. If he really did plan this out, it’s a nice thing for him to do, but keep in mind that he probably had his card punched to match hers only after Betty and Veronica dumped his ass.

Archie-Pilot-1964-131-Mildred
Mildred doesn’t wanna go.

Archie-Pilot-1964-132-ArchieArchie-Pilot-1964-133-Mildred-happy
Archie says she’d ruin his evening, so she agrees to go with him.

Archie-Pilot-1964-134-Archie-Mildred
Archie and Mildred go into the dance together. The audience applauds. The theme song reprises in a fuller version. The end credits come on. Only Miss Grundy, Mary Andrews, Jughead, Miss Kenney, Mrs. Finch, Buffie, Mildred, and Reggie’s actors are credited, surprisingly (plus Archie’s actor in the opening theme). It abruptly cuts off after a while.

So that’s the second attempt to bring Archie to television. I think it’s pretty good. It’s entertaining enough. The cast was good in their roles. If it was made today, the plot would be modernized to Archie running a fraudulent dating site, and Nickelodeon would be the only channel that would air it. Still, I wish it had gone to series back in the day. It was no worse than anything that was airing at the time.

Tune in next Wednesday!

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Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch, Episode 03 – Ice Giant for Tea

Nine years after the end of the last Sabrina series, Sabrina Spellman returned to television in a 3-D computer-animated series called “Sabrina: Secrets of a Teenage Witch“, which ran for 26 episodes (the same length as “Sabrina’s Secret Life”) from Saturday, October 12, 2013, to Saturday, June 7, 2014.

This new series was developed by Pamela Hickey and Dennys McCoy and produced by Archie Comics, MoonScoop Group (a now-defunct French animation and production company that was founded in 2003 (with roots going back to 1984) and was bought by Mike and Liz Young of Ellipsanime for $820,518 and re-branded as Splash Entertainment on February 4, 2014, which likely is the reason why there was never a second season), and DSK Group (a business conglomerate headquartered in India).

The series premiered on Hub Network. Similar to the issue with PAX back when “Archie’s Weird Mysteries” first aired, a lot of people didn’t know what Hub Network was. It was the 2013-2014 iteration of the network that was previously known as Discovery Kids (1996-2010) and The Hub (2010-2013) and is now known as Discovery Family (2014-present).

The premise is similar to that of “Sabrina’s Secret Life”, except Witch School is in Witch World, not in the basement of Greendale High School, and Sabrina has more than one classmate. Also, in this incarnation only, Sabrina is a witch princess, destined to rule Witch World one day as queen.

Some of the characters in this series were pulled from the manga iteration of the comics (which I’d mentioned previously). Shinji is based on Shinji Yamagi, a fellow teenage witch that attends spellcasting school with Sabrina. He competes with Harvey for Sabrina’s affections. The version on this show is Enchantra’s son. Amy is based on Amy Reinhardt, a popular girl that competes with Sabrina for Harvey’s affections. The version on this show competes with Sabrina for Jim’s affections. Side note: Amy is similar to Libby Chessler from the live-action series, but the manga-inspired comics actually integrated Libby into the comic continuity.

Former Disney Channel star and current pop singer Ashley Tisdale was cast in the crucial role of Sabrina. Here is the entire main voice cast:

Ashley Tisdale – Sabrina Spellman
Ian James Corlett – Salem / Professor Geist
Tabitha St. Germain – Hilda Spellman / Veralupa (half-human/half-werewolf friend of Sabrina’s)
Erin Matthews – Zelda Spellman / Jessie
Maryke Hendrikse – Amy/Londa
Kathleen Barr – Enchantra / Tiffany Titan (security officer at Greendale High) / Zanda
Matthew Erickson – Harvey Kinkle
Andrew Francis – Ambrose
James Higuchi – Shinji
David A. Kaye – Jim
Jamie Leipert (uncredited) – Spugent (according IMDb and to Wikipedia)
Rebecca Shoichet – Spella (Enchantra’s older sister, Shinji’s maternal aunt)

The series never received a proper DVD release. However, three compilation movies exist, editing together three or four episodes each. Two were released on DVD, and one is exclusive to Amazon Video:

Sabrina-A-Witch-and-the-WerewolfSabrina-Magic-of-the-Red-RoseSabrina-The-Troll-Princess
I chose this particular episode to review, because it’s the first stand-alone episode that I happened to watch.

Writers: Pamela Hickey & Dennys McCoy (head), Dan Wicksman & Noria Wicksman
Director: Trevor Wall
Original Air Date: Saturday, October 26, 2013
Length: 22:00

SSoaTW-03-01-Londa-Zanda-flyingThe episode opens with two witches named Londa and Zanda flying.

SSoaTW-03-02-trollA troll is after them.

SSoaTW-03-03-Londa-Zanda-broomsSSoaTW-03-04-Londa-wandLonda declares she’s gonna roast the troll but ends up making it even madder.

SSoaTW-03-05-crumblesHowever, Londa actually destroyed the troll’s weapon.

SSoaTW-03-06-Londa-Zanda-yeahSSoaTW-03-07-Geist-1It turns out that their teacher, Professor Geist, was reviewing their actions in their “fighting in pairs” exam. He praises them. For some reason, he has a Scottish accent.

SSoaTW-03-08-Geist-2Also, he’s missing the lower half of his body. Sure, why not?

Sabrina offers to gives the girls a high five, but they think Sabrina thinks their names are High and Five. How the fuck can people be that dumb? Also, witches have never heard of high fives?

SSoaTW-03-09-Sabrina-AmbroseSabrina tries to explain the high five to them but is confused about it herself.

The blond guy sitting next to Sabrina is her cousin Ambrose. Quite a bit of an upgrade from the Filmation series:

sabrina-1969-59-ambrose-bagSSoaTW-03-10-Shinji-boastsShinji isn’t impressed and boasts about completing the exam faster than anyone so far.

Professor Geist pairs Ambrose and Sabrina together and has them pick a monster. Sabrina lets Ambrose pick it.

SSoaTW-03-11-Ambrose-talks-trashAmbrose starts talking trash but then gets afraid that he’ll choose the ice giant.

SSoaTW-03-12-SabrinaSSoaTW-03-13-ice-giant-cardSabrina is happy to report he chose the ice giant.

SSoaTW-03-14-Ambrose-scaredAmbrose gets a chill, hugs himself, and calls for his mommy. I love Sabrina’s expression, like she’s thinking “Bitch, please.”

The theme song, written by Noam Kaniel and Nicholas Varley and performed by Bridgette Hammers (with background vocals by Noam Kaniel), is pretty catchy. It runs one minute. My only complaint: Why didn’t they get Ashley Tisdale herself to record the song? Girl’s a pop singer!

SSoaTW-03-15-theme-01SSoaTW-03-16-theme-02SSoaTW-03-17-theme-03SSoaTW-03-18-theme-04SSoaTW-03-19-theme-05SSoaTW-03-20-theme-06SSoaTW-03-21-theme-07SSoaTW-03-22-theme-08SSoaTW-03-23-theme-09SSoaTW-03-24-theme-10SSoaTW-03-25-theme-11SSoaTW-03-26-theme-12SSoaTW-03-27-theme-13SSoaTW-03-28-theme-14SSoaTW-03-29-theme-15SSoaTW-03-30-theme-16SSoaTW-03-31-theme-17SSoaTW-03-32-theme-18SSoaTW-03-33-theme-19SSoaTW-03-34-theme-20SSoaTW-03-35-theme-21SSoaTW-03-36-theme-22SSoaTW-03-37-theme-23The sequence uses the interesting approach of showing Sabrina’s human life as sketches in her notebook and then switching to her magic book and a completely different style to show her witch life.

SSoaTW-03-38-titleSSoaTW-03-39-Sabrina-AmbroseAfter the theme song, Ambrose flatters Sabrina, and it takes her a moment to realize he’s talking about her.

SSoaTW-03-40-classroomLooks like being Enchantra’s son gives Shinji quite a few perks, such as a desk to himself, away from the other students. They’re literally beneath him.

SSoaTW-03-41-Shinji-boastsSpeaking of Shinji, he boasts he’s the best witch and insults Sabrina.

SSoaTW-03-42-Sabrina-castsSSoaTW-03-43-Londa-Zanda-laughSSoaTW-03-44-Shinji-earsSSoaTW-03-45-Londa-Zanda-laughSSoaTW-03-46-Shinji-tailThat’s what happens, man.

Sabrina asks Ambrose why he’s so worried about the ice giant. When he was a kid, his parents used the ice giant as a threat to get him to eat his “blood root”.

SSoaTW-03-47-Sabrina-high-fiveSabrina tries to encourage Ambrose and wants him to give her a high five.

SSoaTW-03-48-Ambrose-cluelessAmbrose is clueless, so Sabrina decides to go over the rules of the high five…some other time.

SSoaTW-03-49-houseWow, the Spellmans’ house has really been downgraded for this series. Check out their house in previous incarnations:

sabrina-1969-02-housesabrina-movie-080-housesabrina-001-47-house-daySSL-07-31-Spellman-houseSSoaTW-03-50-Salem-asleepSalem is asleep. You just know something’s gonna happen.

SSoaTW-03-51-Sabrina-jumpsOn this series, Sabrina has a scooter, and she likes to drive to and from Witch World on it at high speeds and jump off it like an action star before it crashes (in this case, into Salem).

SSoaTW-03-52-Sabrina-helmet“Oopsie.”

SSoaTW-03-53-house-interiorSSoaTW-03-54-Sabrina-drinksSSoaTW-03-55-Sabrina-excitedLater, Sabrina’s human friend, Marnie Jenny Valerie Chloe Roxie Jessie, is over and asks Sabrina how Witch School went. Sabrina replies while preparing magical drinks for the two of them.

SSoaTW-03-56-Jessie-SabrinaJessie mentions she’s directing the school play, and Sabrina gets a funny line in. Jessie invites Sabrina to watch a rehearsal. It’s a British play called “Clotted Cream and Jam”. Sabrina enthusiastically agrees.

SSoaTW-03-57-Greendale-High-SchoolSSoaTW-03-58-Jim-rehearsesSSoaTW-03-59-Jim-rehearses-2Later, at Greendale High School, Sabrina attends the rehearsal. Sabrina’s love interest, Jim, is playing one of the leads.

SSoaTW-03-60-Amy-Jim-rehearsePopular girl Katy Lemore Libby Chessler Gem Stone Portia Cassandra Amy is playing the other lead (Jim’s character’s wife). Both of them are doing bad British accents. Jessie loves it.

SSoaTW-03-61-Amy-noAmy’s “not feelin’ it”, though. She wants to wear her costume, despite the fact that this isn’t a dress rehearsal (she’s a “method actress”). Jessie tells Sabrina to give Amy the hat. Sabrina tosses the hat to Amy.

SSoaTW-03-62-Amy-hatAmy says she doesn’t play catch, because she’s an actress.

SSoaTW-03-63-Sabrina-Jessie“So…act like you’re playing catch.” I fucking love Sabrina.

SSoaTW-03-64-Amy-puckersSSoaTW-03-65-Jim-scaredAmy wants to do the kissing scene, which Jim is scared to do because of Sabrina’s presence.

SSoaTW-03-66-Jim-confusedHe looks to Sabrina for guidance. Sabrina seems to give the go-ahead but then…

SSoaTW-03-67-Sabrina-barfSSoaTW-03-68-Sabrina-clothesSabrina randomly stands up and leans against a rolling costume trunk (why’s it here?), sending it rolling. Jessie orders “Follow that trunk!” Jim does, pissing off Amy.

SSoaTW-03-69-trunk-doorsThere’s no way that a trunk of costumes could open the auditorium’s doors.

SSoaTW-03-70-Sabrina-chasesSabrina joins Jim in chasing after the trunk.

SSoaTW-03-71-Sabrina-magicAs the trunk rolls down the sidewalk, Sabrina decides to try some “magic heavy lifting”.

SSoaTW-03-72-Jim-dumpsterShe slightly moves a dumpster in an attempt to block the trunk, and Jim falls into it. Ha.

Off-screen costume carnage and exposition from Jim let us know the wardrobe trunk is now in Lake Greendale.

SSoaTW-03-73-Greendale-High-SchoolSSoaTW-03-74-groupBack in the auditorium, Jessie gets a phone call that makes her day worse.

SSoaTW-03-75-favorSSoaTW-03-76-Sabrina-scaredMarcy broke her leg, so Jessie asks Sabrina to play the maid. Sabrina has stage fright and pretends to pass out or something. I love her humor on this series.

Jessie begs her “best friend” to help her in her “hour of need”. Sabrina doesn’t agree, but Jessie goes ahead and announces her in the role.

SSoaTW-03-77-Sabrina-oh-shit“Oh, shit.”

Sharing the stage with Sabrina pisses Amy off. Sabrina’s unable to voice her objection to Jessie. Jessie makes an “artistic decision” to do a modern version of this play in modern clothes. Amy decides to keep her hat.

SSoaTW-03-78-groupHarvey comes in, announcing he’s taping the play for the school. Wait, wait, wait, taping? Are tape-based video cameras even made anymore?

SSoaTW-03-79-HarveySSoaTW-03-80-groupWow, they really nerded Harvey up for this series. He’s hoping the play will now include aliens, monsters, and special effects. Jessie’s like “Fuck no, just modern clothes.” Amy’s like “Except for my hat, bitch.”

Sabrina takes Jessie aside to chat.

SSoaTW-03-81-Jessie-SabrinaOutside, Sabrina brings up the scheduling conflict between the play and her exam. Jessie brings up Sabrina’s magic hourglass, which means eight hours in Witch World equals one hour here. Sabrina isn’t sure.

SSoaTW-03-82-Ambrose-GeistOne week later, Ambrose nervously wonders when Sabrina will get here.

SSoaTW-03-83-houseSeriously, this house looks like a dump.

SSoaTW-03-84-aunts-SabrinaThe play’s in less than an hour, so Sabrina has nearly eight hours for her exam with Ambrose.

SSoaTW-03-85-Sabrina-auntsHilda and Zelda give Sabrina some last-minute pointers. Sabrina thanks them.

Zelda has a New York accent on this series, which is a really odd choice for someone from another dimension (though no more so than a Scottish accent).

SSoaTW-03-86-Shinji-doorSSoaTW-03-87-ShinjiIn Witch World, Shinji does a spell to lock the door between Sabrina’s house and Witch World to prevent her from taking her exam (he’s so insecure over her upstaging him).

Oh, and the goblin that he’d caught during his exam sneezes blue snot on him. Whatever.

SSoaTW-03-88-hourglassBack home, Sabrina flips her magic hourglass and then tears off on her scooter like a fucking maniac.

SSoaTW-03-89-no-goSSoaTW-03-90-Sabrina-hex“What the hex?!” Okay, that’s cute. 🙂

Sabrina whips out her wand and shoots her magic all over that goo, but it doesn’t work. She has a good sense of humor about it, though.

SSoaTW-03-91-Zelda-pissedHilda identifies the goo, and Zelda’s pissed about having to clean it up, which will take them at least a day. Sabrina brings up Ambrose and the ice giant. Hilda proposes a solution.

SSoaTW-03-92-teleport-broochThe solution is a teleport brooch, activated by a dusting of dwarf toenails. Of course.

Zelda recommends a barf bag, but Sabrina tries out the brooch and likes it. Hilda mentions the brooch cancels out the power of the magic hourglass, so time passes at the same rate in both worlds.

SSoaTW-03-93-Sabrina-pissed“What the fuck, bitches?!”

Zelda offers Sabrina another barf bag.

SSoaTW-03-94-Ambrose-ShinjiIn Witch World, Shinji shows up to taunt Ambrose over Sabrina’s absence. Geist is like “What the fuck?”

SSoaTW-03-95-ShinjiShinji actually exclaims “Long live the me!” For fuck’s sake…

SSoaTW-03-96-Ambrose-SabrinaSabrina suddenly bamfs in and apologizes for being late. Shinji’s like “What the fuck?!”

SSoaTW-03-97-Ambrose-hugs-SabrinaAmbrose hugs Sabrina and thanks “the skies”. Really? That’s so obviously euphemistic and intended to be inoffensive. Why not say “Thank the Goddess” or “Thank the Lady”? Real witches generally worship a female deity.

Ambrose manages to compose himself and tries a more subdued reaction, calling her “Brina” (like Harvey did back in the day), which I still find weird. I love how Sabrina casually cleans herself (of cooties, I guess).

Geist tells them to not “shilly-shally”. Nice try, but nobody gives that advice quite like Tifa Lockhart.

Shinji makes a shitty attempt at a burn and then takes off. Geist acts like a ring announcer and then gets the fuck away.

SSoaTW-03-99-ice-giantThe ice giant shows up. Did he politely wait until Geist left, or did Geist know when he’d be showing up?

Anyway, the ice giant lets out a mighty roar, and Sabrina is casually impressed by it and appreciative of Ambrose’s terror. I fucking love Sabrina on this series.

Ambrose is glad that Sabrina’s here, but she informs him that she “may have to duck out from time to time”.

SSoaTW-03-100-Sabrina-Ambrose-ice-giantShe then tells him to literally “Duck!”, and they avoid getting hit. Sabrina gets up but gets knocked on her ass again.

SSoaTW-03-101-Sabrina-wandSSoaTW-03-102-Sabrina-zapsShe heats up the ice and makes the ice giant fall through (somehow not melting him in the process).

SSoaTW-03-103-Sabrina-reminderSSoaTW-03-104-clock“The fuck?! Whoops, sorry, Ambrose, I’m outty!”

SSoaTW-03-105-Sabrina-castsSSoaTW-03-106-ice-giant-thrownAs a parting gift, Sabrina tosses the ice giant into the distance.

SSoaTW-03-107-Shinji-seesShinji sees Sabrina bamf out and figures out that she used a magic brooch to bypass the portal.

SSoaTW-03-108-Greendale-High-SchoolSSoaTW-03-109-audienceSSoaTW-03-110-Jim-AmyAt Greendale High School, the audience is inexplicably enthusiastic about this play about stuffy British aristocrats.

SSoaTW-03-111-Sabrina-JessieBackstage, Jessie is worriedly pacing. Sabrina bamfs in. Jessie’s like “Bitch, where the fuck you been?!” Sabrina apologizes, saying she lost track of time, which isn’t true, since she has an automatic reminder.

SSoaTW-03-112-Jessie-pushes-SabrinaJessie pushes Sabrina toward the stage.

SSoaTW-03-113-Sabrina-Jim-AmyThe audience applauds as Sabrina walks on.

SSoaTW-03-114-Hilda-cheersHilda is especially enthusiastic, telling Sabrina to “go for a touchdown”. Zelda corrects her.

SSoaTW-03-115-Harvey-boredMeanwhile, Harvey is bored, because this play sucks ass.

SSoaTW-03-116-AmyAmy is looking forward to bossing Sabrina around.

SSoaTW-03-117-Sabrina-actsSabrina’s acting is comedically horrible.

Amy’s next line insults Sabrina, and I can’t tell if it’s part of the script or if she improvised it, but it gets a laugh out of the audience.

SSoaTW-03-118-Sabrina-curtsiesSabrina curtsies and nervously goes backstage.

Backstage, Jessie is happy for Sabrina, and Sabrina quickly bamfs out.

SSoaTW-03-119-Jessie-shockedFor some reason, this shocks Jessie.

Back in Witch World, Ambrose isn’t doing well against the ice giant, who knocks him on his ass. Ambrose nervously tries to distract the ice giant by pointing to a non-existent squirrel. For some reason, the ice giant actually briefly looks, but it doesn’t help Ambrose.

SSoaTW-03-120-ice-giant-hitSSoaTW-03-121-Sabrina-wandSabrina announces her “dramatic entrance” with a blast from her wand.

SSoaTW-03-122-Ambrose-ice-ballThe ice giant gets pissed and throws a series of giant ice balls at Ambrose, barely missing him. This monster’s got shitty aim. Ambrose runs away in terror, promising to eat his blood root.

SSoaTW-03-123-Sabrina-backflipSabrina, in contrast, uses her acrobatic talent (a tradition from the live-action movie and series) to avoid getting hit.

SSoaTW-03-124-Sabrina-landsSSoaTW-03-125-Sabrina-tauntsShe also casually taunts the ice giant.

SSoaTW-03-126-Shinji-castsShinji has been observing all of this and casts a spell to give the ice giant “a little help”.

It doesn’t seem to make any difference, though. The ice giant still somehow manages to miss Sabrina and Ambrose. One of the ice balls goes past them in slo-mo, and I can’t tell if that was the result of Shinji’s spell or for dramatic effect.

SSoaTW-03-127-broochUnfortunately, Sabrina’s brooch gets hit and broken. Sabrina hopes it came with a warranty.

SSoaTW-03-128-Sabrina-bamfsShe charges up an attack but then bamfs out without warning.

SSoaTW-03-129-Sabrina-attacksSSoaTW-03-130-audienceSSoaTW-03-131-audience-shockedShe bamfs into the auditorium, and her attack flies past the audience and hits the wall.

Jessie runs over to Sabrina and is like “What the fuck?!”

SSoaTW-03-132-Jessie-upsetThen she gets upset, because her play is “ruined”. Because that’s the most pressing concern.

SSoaTW-03-133-Sabrina-actionSabrina has an idea, though.

SSoaTW-03-134-Sabrina-Jim-AmySSoaTW-03-135-Sabrina-bullshitsSSoaTW-03-136-Sabrina-bullshits-2SSoaTW-03-137-Sabrina-bullshits-3She works the magic into the play as an alien invasion storyline. Naturally. Sabrina is a horrible actor, but it’s so fun to watch her try to bullshit everyone.

SSoaTW-03-138-Jessie-shockedJessie is shocked and horrified by Sabrina’s rewrite.

SSoaTW-03-139-audience-approvesThe audience, particularly Harvey, loves it, though. They even let out a gasp at the sheer cleverness of this plot twist.

SSoaTW-03-140-Jim-AmyJim tries to play along, but he’s clearly thrown off by all of this, and you can practically hear “This is most unorthodox!” in your head.

SSoaTW-03-141-SabrinaSabrina continues bullshitting.

SSoaTW-03-142-AmyAmy’s character gets into an argument with Sabrina’s character.

SSoaTW-03-143-SabrinaSabrina barely misses a beat and continues piling on the bullshit. For those of you that are curious, this play now involves aliens invading 19th-century England to pay their respects to Shakespeare.

SSoaTW-03-144-Harvey-reviewsThe aunts (particularly Hilda) and Harvey love it. Kudos to the music department for the weird, alien-sounding music.

SSoaTW-03-145-Amy-arguesAmy’s like “Bitch, what the fuck are you doing to this play?!” Jim tries to give Sabrina an opportunity to take back her story.

SSoaTW-03-146-Amy-FrenchAmy hastily blames the French. Kudos to music again for inserting a bit of “La Marseillaise“.

Sabrina says she’ll get back to them about that and runs backstage.

SSoaTW-03-147-Sabrina-hits-broochShe repeatedly hits her brooch (a guaranteed fix), and Jessie’s like “Bitch, what the fuck’s going on?!”

SSoaTW-03-148-Sabrina-audienceOkay, correction: “backstage” is actually off to the side of the stage and in full fucking view of the audience. How has the audience not seen her bamf in and out so far?

Anyway, Sabrina blames it on a “wardrobe malfunction”. She hopes Ambrose is okay.

In Witch World, Ambrose is still running away from the ice giant and crying out for Sabrina.

SSoaTW-03-149-Greendale-High-SchoolSSoaTW-03-150-Sabrina-pissedBack at Greendale High School, Sabrina is getting pissed at her brooch.

SSoaTW-03-151-Sabrina-JessieJessie comes by with a tray for Sabrina in time for “the tea and crumpets scene”.

SSoaTW-03-152-Sabrina-salutesSabrina fumbles for words and then gives Jessie a salute.

SSoaTW-03-153-Amy-overactsAmy is overacting in the hope of fucking Jim right on the stage.

SSoaTW-03-154-Sabrina-crumpetblocksUnfortunately, she’s crumpetblocked by Sabrina.

SSoaTW-03-155-Sabrina-tray“THIS IS SOME GOOD SHIT, YO! YOU SHOULD TOTALLY HAVE SOME!”

SSoaTW-03-156-Sabrina-bamfsSabrina suddenly bamfs out. Without warning. In front of everyone.

SSoaTW-03-157-audience-gaspsThe audience gasps. Zelda is rightly worried. Hilda seems…pleased? Harvey calls these the best special effects ever. Amy asks what the fuck’s going on.

SSoaTW-03-158-Jessie-leverSSoaTW-03-159-trap-doorJessie happens to see the lever for the trap door and gives that as the explanation, despite the fact that Sabrina very clearly vanished in plain sight. They seem to buy it. Jim gets back into character and claims the “maid” has been abducted by the aliens. Amy gets back into character and gives a line that gets a good laugh from the audience.

SSoaTW-03-160-ice-giant-AmbroseBack in Witch World, Ambrose is facing certain death.

SSoaTW-03-161-Sabrina-traySabrina suddenly bamfs in and jokes around with the ice giant. The ice giant drops Ambrose and goes after Sabrina. He suddenly grabs her tray and…

SSoaTW-03-162-ice-giant-tray“Om-nom-nom-nom!”

Sabrina’s like “Huh. Okay. Gotta remember that one. Might be on a test someday.”

SSoaTW-03-163-Sabrina-Ambrose-runAfter he finishes his tea and crumpets, the ice giant roars and starts throwing ice balls at Sabrina and Ambrose, so they run the fuck away. Oh, and they can jump really high too. Witch power?

SSoaTW-03-164-Sabrina-chargesSabrina charges up an attack (she can fire from the palms of her hands on this series), but something goes wrong.

SSoaTW-03-165-Amy-JimSSoaTW-03-166-Amy-Sabrina-JimBack at Greendale High School, Amy tries to get a little somethin’-somethin’ from Jim but is broochblocked by Sabrina. So that’s what was going on with her in the previous scene. Why didn’t it just show her bamfing out?

Jim discovers a force field is surrounding Sabrina and asks what the budget for this play is. I’m not going to criticize him for not knowing force fields don’t actually exist, because, until recently, I didn’t know anti-gravity chambers don’t actually exist. (The 1980s “Alvin and the Chipmunks” series had the military using one matter-of-factly.)

SSoaTW-03-167-Sabrina-helps-AmySabrina passes through the force field (Jim doesn’t question this) and helps Amy to her feet. Jim gets back into character and asks “the maid” if she was abducted. Sabrina plays along, figuring it’s as good a cover as any. The force field disappears, and Sabrina drops Amy on her ass.

SSoaTW-03-168-Sabrina-horrifiedSabrina is horrified at what she’s done.

SSoaTW-03-169-Amy-pissedAmy is pissed. I’m not sure if it’s because Sabrina dropped her or because the audience is laughing at her. Maybe both.

SSoaTW-03-170-Sabrina-Jim-help-AmySabrina and Jim help Amy to her feet. Jim, in character, questions Sabrina’s “strange garments”. Sabrina claims this is what they wear in “Alienland”.

SSoaTW-03-171-Amy-pissed-2She bamfs out without warning (and clearly not over the trap door). Jim freaks out and drops Amy, who lands on her ass again. The audience yucks it up.

Y’know, I actually feel sorry for Amy.

SSoaTW-03-172-Sabrina-AmbroseBack in Witch World, Ambrose is running away from the ice balls. Sabrina bamfs in, and Ambrose falls on his ass.

Sabrina jumps incredibly high to avoid an ice ball, and Ambrose runs away.

SSoaTW-03-173-Sabrina-lands“This is how you stylishly land, bitches!”

SSoaTW-03-174-Sabrina-ice-giantSabrina jumps on the ice giant and somehow manages to knock him on his ass.

Sabrina’s brooch goes off, so she figures the best course of action is to…

SSoaTW-03-175-Sabrina-tooth…stick her hand in the ice giant’s mouth and grab his tooth. Of course.

SSoaTW-03-176-Sabrina-ice-giantAs they’re about to bamf out, Sabrina says “Yep,…that’s happening.” What the fuck does she expect?

Ambrose runs by and wonders where the fuck they went.

SSoaTW-03-177-Greendale-High-SchoolSSoaTW-03-178-AmyBack at the play, Amy makes another attempt to kiss Jim but…

SSoaTW-03-179-Amy-kisses-ice-giantHa.

SSoaTW-03-180-audience-amazedThe audience is, once again, amazed.

Amy freaks out and runs away.

SSoaTW-03-181-Sabrina-actsSabrina goes into her bad acting again and passes the ice giant off as “the alien king”. Oh, and Amy’s “true love” for him melted his heart. Yeah.

SSoaTW-03-182-aunts-impressedThe aunts are impressed.

SSoaTW-03-183-Amy-wipesAmy spits and wipes away the ice giant’s…germs?

SSoaTW-03-184-groupShe then quits the “stupid play” and storms off.

SSoaTW-03-185-ice-giant-hurtAwww, the ice giant had fallen in love with her, and she’s broken his heart.

SSoaTW-03-186-ice-giant-Jim-SabrinaSabrina gets into character again (well, as much as a person of her acting ability is capable of doing) and tries to make the ice giant feel better while also wrapping up the damn play.

SSoaTW-03-187-Jim-Sabrina-hold-handsOh, and Jim and Sabrina’s characters are getting married. Yay.

SSoaTW-03-188-ice-giant-happyThis makes the ice giant happy.

SSoaTW-03-189-holding-handsSSoaTW-03-190-play-endsThey receive a standing ovation.

Harvey is brought to (invisible) tears.

SSoaTW-03-191-Jessie-yeahJessie is overjoyed that the play was a hit.

SSoaTW-03-192-Jim-SabrinaJim and Sabrina and pretty happy too.

SSoaTW-03-193-Sabrina-eyerollSabrina repeatedly tells Jessie to close the curtain and finally just does it magically. For some reason, this merits another standing ovation.

SSoaTW-03-194-Witch-SchoolLater, at Witch School, we hear Professor Geist praising one of his “finest students”.

SSoaTW-03-195-ice-giant-classIt turns out to be the ice giant, who’s apparently…practicing “Hamlet”. Okay.