Saturday Morning: U.S. of Archie - VIDEOS
As we are in the midst of a long July 4th weekend, I thought it would be a good time to talk about a cartoon that combined an animated singing group with a bit of American history. I speak about The U.S. of Archie. Premiering during the 1974-75 season, this Saturday morning cartoon not only continued the long-running Archie franchise on television, but it also grabbed onto the coattails of the upcoming American Bicentennial.
U.S. of Archie featured Archie Andrews, Reggie, Jughead, Betty Veronica, and the rest of the kids from Riverdale High as they re-enacted many famous events from American history. Some of the topics covered during the series were the Underground Railroad, the Gold Rush, the writing of the Star-Spangled Banner, and the invention of the telephone, Plenty of historical figures were featured, including Benjamin Franklin, George Washington Carver, Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, and Teddy Roosevelt.
Archie and the gang portrayed ancestors of themselves during these episodes, and would usually be part of the historical event in some way. While they remained fairly cartoonish in style, the historical figures on the series were designed to be more realistic in nature.
Lou Scheimer and Norm Prescott, the producers of the show and the force behind Filmation Associates, tried to keep the historical events as accurate as possible in order to provide the most educational value for the viewers. For instance, in the episode "The Star Spangled Banner" Francis Scott Key is shown writing the lyrics of the song on an envelope just as history had told.
Because the show leaned more towards education and less towards comedy and music (although, there was a musical segment at he end of each episode), U.S. of Archie wasn't as big of a success as previous incarnations of the Archie series were. By the end of 1974 the show was relegated to Sunday mornings and it remained there until 1976.
There aren't many examples of the show found on the Internet. However, thanks to the wonderful packrat known as YouTube, below are two examples of the music videos played at the end of U.S. of Archie episodes.