So now that we’re all engrossed and involved in Riverdale, and I’ve already talked about the other live action takes on Archie, let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at the many times Archie was on TV…as a cartoon character!
In my honest opinion, classic Archie works best as a Saturday Morning Cartoon. Filmation must have thought the same thing, and were the most successful at creating an extensive world of Archie cartoons. Archie’s Filmation career began on September 14, 1968 with…
The Archie Show (1968): The first time Archie and his pals appeared on TV. The show lasted only 17 episodes, but it was the first of it’s kind to include a laugh track. Cartoon shows up until the mid 1980’s would mimic this because of The Archie Show. The show revolved around The Archie’s, the fictional band lead by Archie himself. To go along with the idea of the band, there was a real life band called The Archie’s that provided the music for the show. “Sugar, Sugar” was a #1 hit on Billboard in 1969, a very impressive feat for a cartoon show. There was even an Archie’s band that toured, playing music from the show.
Archie And His New Pals (1969): A TV special which came out shortly after The Archie Show ended. The special was a means to introduce Sabrina into the cartoon universe.
The Archie Comedy Hour (1969): This was a spinoff of Archie And His New Pals. Each episode was one hour and contained two Sabrina segments. Sabrina was included due to Lou Scheimer wanting to do an animated Bewitched series, until it was pointed out to him that Sabrina could easily be incorporated into the Archie world, and she predates Bewitched by two years!
Archie’s Funhouse (1970): This show expanded on a feature in the previous series (“The Funhouse”). In this series, Archie appears on stage in front of a live action audience made up of kids, and introduces cartoons via his jukebox. There’s more music, but a lot of the cartoons are repeats of previous Archie cartoons.
Sabrina And The Groovy G00lies (1970): Sabrina’s first solo TV show! The show ran for 16 episodes and involved Sabrina involved a band of monsters. No really, they’re in a band. The show was expensive to make, and tried to replicate the success of the original Archie show. There was even a live action band that toured playing the music from the show. The Groovy Goolies had a spinoff movie in 1972 where they meet Daffy Duck and Porky Pig.
Sabrina The Teenage Witch (1971): Running for 23 episodes, Sabrina proved to the world she could hold her own without Archie. The show follows her adventures as a teenage witch, and was pretty successful as it’s own show.
Archie’s TV Funnies (1971): Archie and the gang are running a TV station, where they would show different cartoons of popular newspaper cartoon strips.
Everything’s Archie (1973): Previous episodes put into this “new” show.
The U.S. of Archie (1974): Archie and the gang are learning about important American moments. The cartoons feature ancestors of the gang (who all look like their modern counterparts and they were all friends! How super convenient!) It ran for 16 episodes, but wasn’t a hit.
The New Archie/Sabrina Hour (1977): This is the last in the line of Filmation Archie shows. Lasting 13 episodes, the series featured old cartoons and new ones that mainly focused on Sabrina. The show originally went for an hour, but due to low ratings it was split into two shows: Archie’s Bang-Shang Lalapalooza Show and Sabrina, Super Witch. The show ended in 1978, effectively ending the 10 year Archie/Filmation partnership.
You can buy a majority of these cartoons on DVD, but I consider them to be incomplete. A lot of the cartoons were sourced from PAL, and since so many of these cartoons went into syndication, some of the episodes are possibly missing. On top of that, the cartoons recycled old episodes. They were the TV equivalent of the digests. Some series never made it to (official) DVD either. I have yet to see The U.S of Archie on DVD, but has been on VHS. You can also find the record based off of the series.
Personally I would love to see a comprehensive and complete DVD box set of all the cartoons. I can live with the fact that they’re largely repeats of previous shows. These shows are highly regarded in the Archie fandom. I also think there needs to be one definitive “The Archie’s” album. The numerous best of albums available are fine, but they all have a few differences per album. Granted they all have “Sugar, Sugar”, but “You Make Me Wanna Dance” and “Seventeen Aint Young” aren’t available on every best of. Seriously Archie, you have gold with Riverdale. Why not capitalize on it and release comprehensive DVD and CD sets? Market it as “Before Riverdale” or what have you.