There's a special kind of dissonance when the cartoony world of comics and the real-life world of business collide, and while the results may not be 'stupid' in the classic sense, the hijacking of comic books in the service of commerce always generates an off-kilter strangeness. Especially when they're beloved comic characters stretching themselves into new, unfamiliar, yet potentially very profitable territory.
If you're my age you saw Josie on television way before you ever knew there was a Josie comic book, and the folks at Archie Comics were on hand to capture the very first meeting between that popular teen rock combo, the Pussycats, and the people who would soon be turning them into animated cartoons, the fine folks at Hanna-Barbera! It's like a dream come true! When can we meet Huckleberry Hound?
And there they are in the flesh, the men who gave the world the Jetsons, the Cattanooga Cats, Jonny Quest, Touche Turtle, Scooby's All-Star Laff-A-Lympics, The Robonic Stooges, Fred And Barney Meet The Schmoo, and The Great Grape Ape - Bill Hanna and Joe Barbera, rendered in slightly more realistic fashion by the overworked Dan DeCarlo. And yes, someone is missing; Pepper and Sock, dropped like a bad transmission right out of Josie comics for no good reason whatsoever.
Alex and Alexandra arrive by chaffeured limo to show everybody how rich and glamorous they are. You'd think by this time Josie would have filed some sort of restraining order... but then again, Alexandra DOES have mysterious witch powers. Best to not think about it too much.
What's that, Joe? This business of Alexandra and Alex annoying Josie and the Pussycats has the makings of a great story line? We should use it in every single episode of Josie & The Pussycats we make? Sure! No one will ever get tired of it!
Alexandra has a few words with Joe Ruby and Bill Spears -she's advising them to start their own animation studio and produce winners like Fangface, Goldie Gold & Action Jack, the Mister T and Chuck Norris cartoons, and that eternal classic Turbo Teen. Thanks Alexandra, thanks a lot.
I think the Asian guy here is Iwao Takamoto, who designed Scooby-Doo and Penelope Pitstop! Don't hassle Iwao, girlie - he worked on Sleeping Beauty and can turn you into a horrifying Cinemascope dragon if he feels like it!
From what I understand of the Hollywood TV animation industry, Alexandra's nit-picky micromanaging is pretty standard behavior. And just wait until you have to get all this past Standards & Practices!
And here we'll see a completed film of today's work, which was storyboarded, key animated, in-betweened, inked, painted, shot, sound-mixed, edited, and printed and developed, all in the 20 minutes we've been wandering around the studio. It's that easy, kids!
"a team of animation professionals made a short film about me? Why I've never been so insulted!" Settle down there Alexandra. Glad to see Hanna and Barbera know how to soothe the fragile egos of Hollywood superstars, wannabe Hollywood superstars, and comic book second bananas who are about to become TV cartoon second bananas. You wouldn't believe what prima donnas Batman and Robin were during their appearance on Scooby-Doo!
Be sure and catch Josie & The Pussycats Sept. 12 on CBS! Then watch as we blast them into outer space, let them simmer for a few decades, and then make a live-action feature film about them.
But it's not just TV cartoons that can be utilized to wring profit from venerable comic book characters. Many opportunities for licensing, merchandising, and corporate synergy are out there, waiting to be utilized by innovative entrepreneurs. Or, if it's the 1970s, you do what Minnie Pearl, Roy Rogers, Johnny Carson, Mahalia Jackson, and Kenny Rogers did - open a restaurant!
Yes, it's the early 1970s and America wants a family restaurant made in the image of their favorite teenager - no, not David Cassidy. Archie!
The actual mayor of Joliet, Illinois is a special guest in this Archie comic. How many American mayors can make this claim?
Even the presence of Bob Anderson, real-life president of the First National Bank of Joliet, cannot divert Jughead away from his obsession with food.
Suddenly the world holds its breath as the suspense mounts. All eyes are on the ticking clock. Oh, WHEN will it finally be time to open this suburban Illinois family restaurant?? WHEN, O LORD?
Oh crap, Jughead went ahead and fired up the grill and now we have to clean up. Suddenly I realize why this is called "Archie's Restaurant" - because Archie is the only employee. Well, teenagers work cheap.
I believe it's section 6 paragraph 3 of the city charter that states in case of emergency all municipal powers will be left in the hands of a squinty teenager in a dumb hat.
And the restaurant is successfully opened and everybody eats hamburgers. Somewhere in Riverdale, Pop Tate is WICKED PISSED that he was completely left out of this franchise opportunity. And Jughead ordered and ate lots of local Joliet food. Mmmm-mmmm good.
EDITOR'S NOTE: There is - or WAS - a real, actual Archie's Restaurant in Joliet, as well as others in exotic locales like Merrillville, Indiana. I believe now the Joliet location is a Walgreen's. Archie's experiment in restaurant franchising didn't pan out- reportedly the operators were less than honest in their dealings with the Archie home office, and the Joliet restaurant closed down after a child was killed in the men's room. Or so the story goes... it was the 1970s, urban legends like that were a dime a dozen. Not that celebrities and licenses have learned anything; ribbons are cut on future failures like Planet Hollywood every day of the week. So maybe Archie's Restaurant was just ahead of its time!
PREVIOUS STUPID COMICS
NEXT STUPID COMICS
BACK TO STUPID COMICS INDEX
BACK TO MAIN INDEX