If I’m waiting on line in a supermarket and happen to catch a glimpse of an Archies comic book it instantly brings back memories of my childhood. Along with Elvis records (remember those?), TV Guide and Hollywood magazines whatever money I got my hands on was spent on The Archies. That’s why I wanted to pay tribute to the day when the Archies gang debuted on radio. Here’s the story in brief…
The character of Archie Andrews was introduced to the world just two weeks after Pearl Harbor by Pep Comics. Along with his friends at Riverdale High School, Archie was an instant hit as a comic character who – in many ways – became the ideal symbol of the American teenager of the 1940s. Archie’s best friend is the laid back and lazy Jughead Jones, he was forever in a lovesick stupor dividing his attentions between Betty Cooper and Veronica Lodge – the former a blonde “girl next door” and the latter a beautiful, stuck-up rich girl. Like most I suppose, I always wanted Archie to end up with Betty, but couldn’t help but enjoy the games Veronica continually played with his affections.
The exploits of Archie Andrews, as was the case in the comics (and I haven’t read them in years despite still seeing them in supermarkets) revolved around his life as a student at Riverdale High, for which he had unending loyalty, and the problems of teenagers dealing with parents. The Archies’ world has always offered a heartwarming mix from everyday Americana and values that families recognized mixed with the teenage angst that made the characters and stories instant hits with teenagers. Because of the connection with audiences, the Pep Comic characters made their way to daily newspaper strips and then radio less than a year after they debuted.
The Archie Andrews radio show debuted on the NBC Blue Network on May 31, 1943, switched to Mutual in 1944, and then continued on NBC from 1945 until September 5, 1953. The program’s original announcer was Kenneth Banghart, later succeeded by Bob Shepard (who would become the voice of the New York Yankees) and Dick Dudley. Archie was first played by Charles Mullen, Jack Grimes and Burt Boyar, with Bob Hastings as the title character during the show’s run on NBC. Jughead was portrayed by Hal Stone and Cameron Andrews.
The following article is from “Tune In” Magazine, March 1944 during Jack Grimes’ stint as Archie:
Now relax, Archie, reee-lax!
Click on the title to listen to Archie Andrews on OTR:
You can listen to many more installments of Archie Andrews here, along with accessing more details about the show’s cast.
What a coincidence. I don’t know your Archie Andrews , but back in the 50s , one of the most popular BBC Radio shows was called Educating Archie – Archie being ventriloquist Peter Brough’s dummy, whose name was Archie Andrews!
The English Archie first surfaced around 1946.
Now I’m wondering if Peter Brough knew the name from the US series.
How interesting, Vienna! I wonder if they’re connected somehow.
Oh my goodness! I can’t believe this…just last week I was sorting books and I found a huge pile of Archie comics and immediately went down memory lane. And now your great article! Things are just meant to be. I haven’t seen them in many, many years and had totally forgotten about Veronica and some other characters. In the same pile, wait for it, were also “Spooky”,”Casper the friendly Ghost” and “Hotstuff” comics…they were slightly less cool than Archie but still secretly read by all. Thanks for this!
How fun! I wish I still had the comic books, but as with all things they disappeared through the years. Thanks for your comments and I’m glad you enjoyed this. 🙂
Is it just me or does Gloria Mann even look a bit like Veronica. Just straighten her hair! Anyway, I love the Archie Andrews radio show. I used to listen to it all one summer. I may be mistaken, but I think Archie Comics had episodes available on their web site at one point.