For the history of Archie, check out the post here.
From the late 60s through the late 80s, Archie and his
friends had a good run on Saturday morning television. They were everyday high
school kids with a band, hosts of a variety show, managers of a television
station, historical figures and even middle school kids. For their last Saturday
outing in the 20th Century, DiC Entertainment
decided to put the Archie kids up against the paranormal in a blending of the X-Files and Scooby-Doo concepts.
|Veronica's size matches her ego.
Weird Mysteries was centered around the idyllic town of Riverdale at a time
when it was invaded by some unexpected and unwanted visitors. A lab accident at
Riverdale High caused Riverdale to become a magnet for monsters, aliens and the
supernatural. Archie Andrews (Andy Rannells), a reporter for the Riverdale High
newspaper, took it upon himself to investigate the weirdness around town and often
dragged his skeptical friends Betty (America Young), Veronica (Camille
Schmidt), Jughead (Chris Lundquist), Reggie (Paul Sosso) and Dilton (Ben Beck) into
it. The show featured a collection of Archie
supporting characters, including Principal Waldo Weatherbee (Tony Wike),
teacher Geraldine Grundy and local food slinger Pop Tate (Ryle Smith), as well as some new
characters in Archie’s supernatural advisor, Dr. Beaumont (Jerry Longe), and Lucinda, who
practiced voodoo magic and made potions. Each episode opened with a brief
description of the plot and a montage of scenes in a frame that resembled a
|Just an ordinary mall...isn't it?
Weird Mysteries became the first new offering for the fledgling PAX (now Ion Television) network’s Saturday
morning line-up when it debuted on October 2, 1999, accompanied before and
after by infomercials. However, PAX removed it from their schedule after the
first 14 of the 40 produced episodes aired. The remainder of the episodes was
seen on weekdays and in syndication. Because each episode had a built-in
lesson, the show was deemed to meet the FCC’s
educational and informational children’s programming requirements
and was used by various networks to fulfill their obligations. The series was
written by Michael Patrick Dobkins, Brian Swenlin, Jymn Magon, Don Gillies, Phil Harnage, Frank Santopadre, and James W. Bates and was produced
by DiC’s French subsidiary, Les Studios
Tex.. The theme was written and performed by Mike Piccirillo, who also scored
the series with Jean-Michel Guirao.
|The comic series.
To tie into the series, Archie
Comics produced an ashcan-sized
comic with the same name in 1999, written by Paul Castiglia with art
by Bill Golliher and Rich Koslowski. It served as
a prelude to an ongoing
series that debuted in 2000, with a majority of the art being handled by Fernando Ruiz. The comic featured
both original stories and adaptations of some episodes. After the show was
cancelled, the “Weird” was removed from the title and the format changed to
reflect the Archie gang being taught forensics by two crime scene investigators
and their using those skills to solve more mundane mysteries. The comic was
eventually cancelled with issue 34. Various issues were later collected in 2011 as
part of the Archie and Friends All-Stars series
of trade paperbacks.
|Eat your heart out, Twilight.
In 2000, Universal Studios combined the
Riverdale vampires story arc, “Scarlet Night”, “I Was a Teenage Vampire” and
“Halloween of Horror”, into a single movie and released it to VHS as Archie and the Riverdale Vampires. Anchor Bay Kids
Entertainment acquired the United Kingdom rights and released eight
episodes over two
volumes on DVD. In 2005, Boulevard released four episodes over two
discs, while MRA
Entertainment released 18 episodes across six volumes in Australia. In 2008,
North America finally saw a DVD release of the series when DHX Media released two four-episode
collections called The Haunting of Riverdale and Spells Spell Trouble!. In 2011, Gaiam
Entertainment released Saturday Morning Cartoon Classics, a compilation of various former DiC
properties that included several episodes of Weird Mysteries. In 2012, Mill
Creek Entertainment produced a complete
series DVD set as well as a 10-episode Best Of collection on the same day and the episode “Halloween of Horror”
as part of the compilation DVD, Cookie Jar Halloween Cartoon Collection.
In 2002, a semi-sequel movie was produced for Nickelodeon’s Sunday Movie Toons. The Archies in Jugman featured the same actors and basic character models, although they were given new outfits. It followed the Archie gang as they pursued a defrosted caveman that resembled Jughead. MGM Home Entertainment released the film to VHS and DVD shortly after its premiere, with Gaiam re-releasing it in 2008 on DVD along with the other Sunday Movie Toons as both a standalone film and paired with Inspector Gadget’s Last Case.
Originally posted in 2015. Updated in 2018.