1969 continued to be a banner year for the Archie Comics
characters. The Archie Show
was still doing well in the ratings, and the virtual The Archies
band managed by Don Kirschner
was working on their second (Everything’s Archie
) and third (Jingle Jangle
) album, and had scored a major milestone with their third single, “Sugar, Sugar
”, which hit #1 on the U.S. Billboard
and U.K. Singles chart
for four and eight weeks, respectively, and was certified gold. They would score another gold with the single “Jingle Jangle
” later in the year, while charting in the top 40 with two more singles. “Sugar, Sugar” even led them to yet another appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show,
and was brought up into space by Apollo 12
astronauts Alan Bean
and Pete Conrad
. Eager to keep the ball rolling, CBS
to continue and expand with The Archies.
|The Archies are back and still rockin'.|
The result was the second incarnation of The Archie Show, The Archie Comedy Hour.
Along with reruns from The Archie Show, Comedy Hour
incorporated new segments that were mostly one-off gags rather than story driven, such as “Dilton Doiley’s Inventions”. “The Funhouse” joke segment in the middle of the hour was modeled after Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In
. Additionally, there were music segments designed to showcase the new music from The Archies.
|Advertising mock-up introducing Sabrina.|
Comedy Hour also gave
Filmation a chance to fulfill an itch. For a long time, producer Lou Scheimer had been trying to secure the rights to
adapt the sitcom Bewitched
into an animated series;
continuing Filmation’s trend of banking on established properties and their
audiences. While perusing some Archie comics on vacation, CBS head daytime
Silverman discovered that Archie
themselves had their own witch character, and alerted Scheimer to the
fact. After securing the rights from publisher John Goldwater, Scheimer immediately set Jack Mendelsohn to develop Sabrina, the Teenage Witch for
inclusion within the Comedy Hour.
|Archie and the gang getting to know the new girl in school.|
Unlike the comics where Sabrina (Jane Webb) was a half-mortal sent to live with her witch aunts, the series’ intro stated that Sabrina was created accidentally when said aunts Hilda and Zelda (both also Webb) mixed the wrong ingredients into their brew. So, instead of gaining a fellow wicked witch, they found themselves with a groovy teen who liked hanging out with her friends at Riverdale High as much as using her magic to help them (in secret, of course). Much like the comics, however, Sabrina’s efforts often ended up making situations worse. Sabrina’s adventures often featured as much of the Archie cast as her own, which included her magical cat, Salem (Dallas McKennon); oblivious boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle (Don Messick); best friend, Ophelia (created for the show, voiced by Treva Frazee); and warlock cousin, Ambrose (John Erwin). Occasionally, Sabrina even had to put up with head witch Della (Webb) and her bratty nephew, Hexter (Erwin). Sabrina’s segments bookended the hour with an additional short segment of her demonstrating magic tricks to the audience.
|Reggie is certain there's something peculiar about Sabrina.| The Archie Comedy Hour
debuted on CBS on September 13, 1969. However, canonically, it was preceded by a prime-time special that aired the following night: Archie and His New Pals
. The special saw Sabrina coming to Riverdale High just as Reggie (Erwin) and Big Moose (Howard Morris) were set to run against each other for class president. While Sabrina was technically the only “new pal” introduced in the special, its title was actually based on the special’s sponsor: Pals Vitamins
. Unlike The Archie Show, this time around one of the Archie writers was employed in George Gladir
, co-creator of Sabrina. Additional writers included Bob Ogle
, Jim Ryan
, Bill Danch
and Mendelsohn. Legendary animator Don Bluth
, still early in his career, worked as a designer. While The Archies’ music was written by Jeff Barry
, Ritchie Adams
and Mark Barkan
and performed by studio musicians Gary Chester
on drums, Dave Appell
on guitars, Joey Macho
on bass, and Ron Frangipane
on keyboards with Ron Dante and Toni Wine on vocals, Ray Ellis
composed the rest of the music.
|Hilda, Zelda and Salem.|
Sabrina proved popular right out of the gate, prompting Filmation to produce more episodes with her and spin her off into her own series the following year. She was combined with the original concept, The Groovie Goolies,
to make the new hour-long program Sabrina and the Groovie Goolies
(sometimes known as The Sabrina Comedy Hour
). The Archie format was adjusted again to feature more music and more comedy routines rather than typical stories in Archie’s Fun House featuring the Giant Juke Box
. That same year, “Jingle Jangle” was featured on The Ed Sullivan
show in January while the special was rerun on March 22nd
as The Archie Sugar, Sugar, Jingle Jangle Show
with different opening and closing songs.
|Sabrina grooving with Harvey.|
Archie Comics continued their staunch support of Filmation and their programs. Along with blurbs about the shows on their covers, “Sugar, Sugar” was woven into practically any story that featured music or The Archies playing; starting with Archie’s Pals ‘n’ Gals #57
Further, Archie began publication of a new title called Archie’s TV Laugh-Out
(a play on Laugh-In
) that primarily showcased their television characters (although, really, it wasn’t any different than any other Archie title besides the combination of all the characters into one book). It ran for 106 issues, ending in 1986, and some stories were collected into a digital trade
for Archie's 75th anniversary. Comedy Hour
and TV Laugh-Out
simultaneously introduced the characters of Ambrose and Harvey; both created for the show that became permanent additions to the Sabrina mythos. While cover-dated for that December, Laugh-Out
’s first issue
actually went on sale just two weeks after Comedy Hour
|Archie's TV Laugh-Out #1.| Post Cereal ran a promotion
that included records of “Everything’s Archie
”, “Boys & Girls
” or “Hide and Seek
” that could be cut out of the back of the boxes of select cereals; a set of 10 metal pins; Jughead’s hat; iron-on images; stationary; Archie’s car
; temporary tattoos; and jumping figurines
. Unfortunately, no home releases of the Archie portions of the show or short segments are known to exist. When the series was sold into syndication, the shows were cut up and merged into a package called The Archies
. Those segments continued to live on in television while the rest wound up on the cutting room floor. When Hallmark
purchased Filmation’s assets from then-owner L’Oréal
in 1995, they converted everything to digital and PAL-region formats and discarded all of the originals. The restored special—sans the Pals promotional material—and the music segments for “Sugar, Sugar”, “Jingle Jangle” and “Get on the Line
” were included as bonus features on the Archie’s Funhouse complete series DVD
from Classic Media in 2008. Four additional segments were featured across all four of the Archie & Friends
compilation DVDs. The segment for “You Know I Love You
” was recovered from an overseas broadcast and uploaded to YouTube
. The Sabrina segments, which continued to air in reruns as part of her own show, were released as part of the Archie & Friends
compilations Sabrina the Teenage Witch
and Archie’s Classic Cartoons
, as well as in a complete series DVD set
by Classic Media in 2012 and a 10 episode collection
from 20th Century Fox
. The set was reissued by Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
in 2019, including the first episode of The New Archie and Sabrina Hour
(also known as The Archie and Sabrina Surprise Package
“The Fairy Godmother / Hiccups” (9/13/69) – Sabrina uses magic to get Spencer to take Ophelia to the school dance. / Sabrina’s hiccups causes her magic to go out of control.
“Which Witch is Which? / The Basketball Game” (9/20/69) – A magical mishap causes Hilda to get Sabrina’s face. / Sabrina attempts to use magic to stifle the opposing team’s cheating during a basketball game.
“Will the Real Weatherbee Stand Up? / Caveman” (9/27/69) – When the school ends up short-staffed, Sabrina duplicates Mr. Weatherbee to help out. / Attempting to help Sabrina with her history homework causes Ambrose to bring a caveman into the present.
“Paint Story / Aunt Zelda’s Broom” (10/4/69) – Sabrina joins the others in painting Mr. Weatherbee’s house. / Sabrina tries to get Zelda her broom for a race in the other world.
“Cinderella Story / What the Hex is Going On?” (10/11/69) – Sabrina’s magic goes wild during the costume ball. / Hilda hexes Jughead after he speaks ill about witches.
“Wishbone / Babysitter” (10/18/69) – Hot Dog Jr. and Chili Dog find a magic soup bone that grants wishes. / Sabrina has to babysit Della’s wicked nephew, Hexter.
“Carnival / Stage Fright” (10/25/69) – A comet passes by overhead that causes everything a witch does to be backwards. / Hilda lands the role of a witch in a play.
“Pet Show / Funny Bunny” (11/1/69) – Sabrina enters Salem in a pet show just as a cosmic constellation occurs that causes witches’ cats to be rambunctious. / Sabrina tries to help Jughead be successful, but instead turns him into a rabbit.
“Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow / A Witch in Time” (11/8/69) – Sabrina tries to change Mr. Weatherbee’s mind about people with long hair. / Della decides Hilda and Zelda aren’t witch enough to watch over Sabrina and assigns her a new guardian.
“When the Cat’s Away / Costume Party” (11/15/69) – Sabrina and Salem trade places. / Sabrina realizes the gang is holding their costume party at the home of the Witches’ Convention.
“Let’s Have a Hand for Jughead / The New Freeway” (11/22/69) – Sabrina tries to help Big Ethel attract Jughead. / The Spellmans must save their house from the construction of a new freeway.
“Blue Whale / Football Game” (11/29/69) – At the aquarium, Hexter decides to help out a homesick whale. / Hilda attends the school football game and unwittingly helps the opposing team win.
“Town Beautiful / Horse’s Mouth” (12/6/69) – A pair of bikers undermine the gang’s efforts at beautifying the town. / Sabrina grants a horse the gift of speech to help get a law changed.
“Birdman of Riverdale / Hoedown Showdown” (12/13/69) – Sabrina learns some secrets about a grumpy old man. / The gang helps Moose’s uncle with his harvest so he won’t lose the farm.
“Spooky Spokes / You Oughta Be in Pictures” (12/20/69) – Sabrina accidentally gives away Ambrose’s motorcycle and tries to get it back. / Sabrina helps the gang with their movie.
“The Generation Flap / School Daze” (12/27/69) – Sabrina arranges a birthday party for Archie on the same night her aunts arranged a magic seminar. / Hexter goes to Riverdale High after shrinking Sabrina down to doll size.
“Ug at the Bat / Computerized Moose” (1/3/70) – Hilda makes Sabrina take the caveman to school where he turns out to be a natural batter in baseball. / Moose becomes super-intelligent after an accident with the school’s computer.
“Archie and His New Pals” (9/14/69) – Sabrina starts at Riverdale High just as a heated election is about to begin between Reggie and Moose for class president.
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