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.|
Archie’s 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 newspaper.
|Just an ordinary mall...isn't it?|
Archie’s 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.
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