Archie and his friends made their comic book debut in 1941. In 1968, Filmation took on the task of bringing the characters to animated form with The Archie Show.
Archie, Veronica, Betty, Reggie and Jughead attended Riverdale High School, they enjoyed spending time together as most teens do, and their hangout of choice was Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe. All-American boy Archie formed the nucleus of the group. Superficial, brunette beauty Veronica and blond-haired Betty vied for the affections of Archie, but were otherwise good friends. Self-absorbed, troublemaker Reggie did his best to steal the attention of Veronica, but she only had eyes for Archie. Reggie’s penchant for selfish schemes and underhanded tricks was the cause for most of the gang’s comic misadventures. Unfortunately for Reggie, his shenanigans always backfired and he ended up getting the worst of every situation. The last of the friends was Jughead, who had a huge appetite but a small intellect. He also had a white sheepdog named Hot Dog, who normally accompanied the gang. In many situations viewers were privy to Hot Dog’s thoughts, presented as dialogue spoken directly to the audience.
A number of secondary characters made regular spot appearances on the show. Associated with Riverdale High were teachers Miss Grundy and Coach Kleats, Principal Mr. Weatherbee, jock Big Moose and the school’s self-described genius Dilton Doily. The kids’ parents were also seen on occasion, along with Pops, the owner of Pop’s Chok’lit Shoppe.
Each episode consisted of two, 8-minute stories separated by three short segments. The first short segment was called the “dance of the week,” where one or more of the kids taught the audience a new dance step. This was followed by a song performed by the entire gang. Although the series is in large part remembered for its music (performed by a real live band called The Archies), Archie and his friends didn’t actually perform in a band during the regular part of the show; they were only shown performing during the musical segment at the mid-point in the show. The third segment consisted of a very short skit in which some type of joke was told or played out.
After the show’s initial season, new episodes continued to be produced under a variety of titles and formats (that changed almost yearly) until 1978. New versions of the show included The Archie Comedy Hour (1969), Archie’s Fun House (1970), Archie’s TV Funnies (1971), Everything’s Archie (1973), The U.S. of Archie (1974), The New Archie/Sabrina Hour (1977) and Archie’s Bang-Shang Lalapalooza Show (1977). After a ten year hiatus a new version of the series was produced called The New Archies (1987), followed twelve years later by Archie’s Weird Mysteries (1999).