August 27, 2019 posted by Greg Ehrbar

50 Years Ago: When the Animated “Archies” Ruled TV & Pop Music

Even The Beatles couldn’t beat “Sugar, Sugar” for the number one hit of 1969, when Archie and company enjoyed a highly unique success, much imitated but never equaled.

The Archies
Kirshner Records KES-105 (12” 33 1/3 RPM / Stereo)
Reissued as: “Archie’s Party”

Released in 1969. Music Supervision: Don Kirshner. Producer: Jeff Barry. Lead Vocals; Ron Dante, Toni Wine. Engineer: Fred Weinberg. Running Time: 31 minutes.

Songs: “Jingle Jangle,” “Nursery Rhymes,” “Get on the Line,” “You Know I Love You” by Jeff Barry, Andy Kim; “Everything’s Alright” by Ron Dante; “She’s Putting Me Through Changes” by Jeff Barry, Andy Kim, Neal Ford: “Justine,” “Whoopie Tie Ai A,” “Senorita Rita,” “Archie’s Party” by Jeff Barry; “Look Before You Leap,” “Sugar and Spice” by Ron Dante, Gene Allan.

“This has been the year of the Astronauts landing on the moon, the Mets, and The Archies. Not only are all three sensational but each one holds a promise of more to come.”

So reads the liner notes of 1969’s Jingle Jangle album. The Archies did indeed record two more albums and a few singles. Ron Dante made several albums and singles on his own, as well as an album of Archie Christmas songs with Betty and Veronica. Upon reading this 50 years ago, it seemed promotional puffery, even to an adolescent (equating The Archies with the Mets and the space program?). How the world has changed. Who knew how prescient, at least in some ways, it would turn out to be?

“Jingle Jangle” was The Archies’ second highest-charting single, reaching number 10 (their first, “Bang Shang A-Lang,” reached number 22). In some ways, it’s an arguably better record than “Sugar, Sugar,” with a spectacular production of such sheer exuberance that the few attempts to cover the melody fall short—whereas “Sugar, Sugar” has enjoyed repeated success in remakes, most notably the hit version by Wilson Pickett.

Even Kurt Russell recorded his version of “Sugar, Sugar” for a self-titled album back in his Computer Wore Tennis Shoes days (many a TV talk show has sought to embarrass him by producing the cover on camera). Russell performed the song live at Disneyland for an episode of The Wonderful World of Disney promoting the opening of The Haunted Mansion (also celebrating 50 years) hosted by The Osmond Brothers. This clip was shown to Walt Disney World Guests on a then-new “videodisc machine” in the mid-70s as they departed Space Mountain on a moving platform, marveling at futuristic creations.

The Archies’ Jingle Jangle album came along as “Sugar, Sugar” was still playing nationally on radio stations the summer of 1969 (it was also number one in the U.K., Canada, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Norway, South Africa, Austria and Belgium.) Archie comic books were promoting the new hour-long Archie Comedy Hour on CBS Saturday Morning. On September 14, CBS broadcast a 30-minute primetime Filmation special called Archie and His New Pals, the logo font displaying the word “Pals” just like the new children’s chewable vitamin, which sponsored the program.

The special exemplified the pinnacle that both the animated and vinyl Archie had reached, and how it was branching out. Sabrina was introduced as a new Riverdale student and Moose was running for class president. The “Archie Club News” in the comic books ran reader reviews. Though the song, “You Need an Image” was never released (quite a few songs from the animated Archie shows were never commercially released), both “Sugar, Sugar” and “Jingle Jangle” were showcased. When the special was rerun, the title was changed to Archie’s Sugar Sugar Jingle Jangle Show. Both versions used the same opening as The Archie Comedy Hour, as seen here:

The Archie Comedy Hour got most of its songs from the Jingle Jangle LP, but unlike the previous series, Sabrina, Harvey, Hot Dog Junior, Chili Dog and other recently introduced characters new to the series were added to the music segments. Some of the cartoon adventures combined the Sabrina characters with the Archie characters, as the tie-in comic book “Archie’s T.V. Laugh-Out” did at first, but eventually the two “universes” stayed separate with few exceptions.

Because there could be no photo of Ron Dante or the studio performers, the cover of Jingle Jangle is a close-up of a generic pop art building toy. Very much of the day, it is reminiscent of a much more ubiquitous Parker Brothers product called “Deelie Bobbers,” a set of far-out interlocking plastic flowers that came in a groovy little drawstring bag.

“Jingle Jangle”

Ron Dante is almost (or perhaps all) of the voices heard on this production. Perhaps someday he can explain all of the chatter in the background of “Archie’s Party!”


Ray Dorey and The Peter Pan Players
Peter Pan Records #8087 (12” 33 1/3 RPM LP / Stereo)

Released in 1969. Executive Producer: Martin Kasen. Producer: Arthur Korb. Arranger/Conductors: Charles Grean, Dick Wright. Writer: Ruth Roberts. Publisher: Michael Brent Publications. Running Time: 38 minutes.

Songs: “Sugar, Sugar” by Jeff Barry, Andy Kim; “Melvin the Magnificent,” “Everybody Picks on Me,” “The African Explorer,” “I’m Off to Fly to the Moon,” “The Biggest Man of All,” “The Things I’d Like to Be,” “The Circus Parade,” “The Funniest Fella a Fella Can Find,” “Funny Man,” “Let’s Be Partners” by Ruth Roberts.

Peter Pan Records dials up the crazy with this wildly incongruous album that is basically a school play about a clown looking for employment with “Sugar, Sugar tacked on to the beginning and completely forgotten afterward.

Writer/composer/lyricist Ruth Roberts, who quite possibly is the same Ruth Roberts who was the story editor for TV’s long running Loretta Young Show, created a cottage industry with children’s musicals through Michael Brent Publications, Inc. These little shows were printed as scripts and sold to schools and community groups, like the Samuel French company does with Broadway plays.

The musicals made their way to several children’s records. The work of Ruth Roberts turns up on such labels as Golden and MGM in addition to Peter Pan and the Michael Brent company’s own label, which would send out samplers to show how these plays would sound by recording them with professionals.

A Circus Story with Songs Featuring Sugar, Sugar could really be called “Melvin the Magnificent.” It’s told and sung by Ray Dorey, who almost never gets printed credit but has performed on hundreds of Peter Pan Records (including the Grasshopper songs that don’t feature Eddie Maynard, who has a higher voice). He has a baritone similar to Bill Lee and is usually present on any song album produced by Arthur Korb. As Melvin, he and the chorus explore the various careers Melvin might consider before he finally realizes that… guess what?

This is “Sugar Sugar” as interpreted by Filmation:

An interesting note about arranger/conductor Charles Grean: among his numerous recording credits, he had a hit recording 50 years ago with the Grammy-nominated “Quentin’s Theme” from the classic TV horror serial Dark Shadows under the name “The Charles Randolph Grean Sounde.”

“Sugar Sugar: A Circus Story with Songs”

Check out the mellow version of the Peter Pan Players on “Sugar Sugar.” This was also released on 45 RPM singles and also on another Peter Pan LP called All-Time Children’s Hits, Vol. II.


  • Legitimate opaque blue vinyl:The Definitive Archies-Greatest Hits & More. 14 tracks. From Real Gone Music-a reputable company from the folks who were Collector’s Choice. 1000 copies. Extensive liner notes from Ed Osborne. Release 9/13/19 with preorders now.

    • Thanks for the heads-up — just ordered it!

  • What with all the golden anniversaries being acknowledged this year — the moon landing, Woodstock, the Manson family murders — I suppose it’s inevitable that the Archies receive their due. (And yet the 50th anniversary of Zager & Evans’s “In the Year 2525” passed completely unnoticed.)

    The weirdest thing about the Peter Pan version of “Sugar, Sugar” is the line “I just can’t believe the loneliness of loving you”, instead of “loveliness”. Obviously there was a typo on the lyric sheet that nobody caught.

    Funny, I don’t recall Kurt Russell singing in any of his Disney movies. Just imagine how a big musical production number might have livened up “The Barefoot Executive”.

    • Kurt Russell sang (and danced with Goldie Hawn before they were a couple) in the Disney / Sherman brothers musical “The One and Only, Genuine, Original Family Band.” He was part of the ensemble, but he’s definitely on the soundtrack, though he has no solos except for when he exclaims “Presto, change-o!” in the song, “Ten Feet Off the Ground.”

      Lots of animation-related people in that particular scene: Pamelyn Ferdin (Lucy in “A Boy Named Charlie Brown” and other Peanuts films, Fern in Hanna-Barbera’s “Charlotte’s Web”), Bobby Riha (Hanna-Barbera’s “Jack and the Beanstalk”) and William Woodson, narrator of “Super Friends.”

    • Thank you, I haven’t seen that movie in many years and had forgotten that Kurt Russell was in it; but I remember that song (“That’s how music magic is made!”), and I remember Pamelyn Ferdin, the hardest-working little girl in show business. Another animation connection: Pam was one of the hosts of “Curiosity Shop”, a Saturday morning show executive-produced by Chuck Jones, that showcased some very cool short animated films. Jones didn’t think much of it, but my family loved it, and I wish I could see it again — but I probably never will!

  • Don Kirshner was the king of made-for-TV pop music in the late 1960s, first over at Screen Gems with “The Monkees” and then with Filmation and “The Archies”.

    Filmation also benefited here from Archie being the studio’s first cartoon comedy effort, so all of the stock walks, looks and backgrounds the studio used over and over again through the mid’1970s were new to the show (Filmation and various network execs also attempted to catch lightning in a bottle over and over again over the next few years, with Saturday morning shows that featured characters who sometime during the episode would get their guitars and drum sets and do a song, where in Filmation’s case, the various characters were simply re-animated over the original drawings for Archie, Betty, Veronica and Reggie that were produced for this show).

  • I am still diligent in trying to find the missing animated song segments from “The Archie Comedy Hour.” These segments have been missing for decades. They were not included in the syndication bundle of 1976… the animation was included, but new “songs” with Dal McKennon’s voice were super-imposed over them. However, they WERE included in the non-USA show “The Archie / Sabrina Show” from 1973 (not to be confused with “The New Archie / Sabrina Hour” from 1977) that was sort of a 30-minute repackaging of “Comedy Hour” for non-USA markets. They were also included in the short-lived compilation show “Everything’s Archie”, also from 1973. That was the last time the animated song segments from “Comedy Hour” were seen on TV. So far, the animated song segments from “Sugar, Sugar” and “Jingle Jangle” have shown up, as well as “Get On The Line” (used during the closing credits of “New Pals”), and I did locate the segment for “You Know I Love You” from a posted video of the “The Archie / Sabrina Show” from a South American market, but at least the song part was still in English. This still leaves about 12 on the song segments missing, including “Nursery Rhyme” which used a completely different intro for the TV show version than it did on the LP. There is a YouTube user who is posting animated song segments of the missing songs using animation footage from other songs presented on “Archie’s Funhouse” and “The Archie Show”, but these are not the original songs segments containing original animation artwork, so of it unique to those songs and never shown again. I fear they are forever lost, but I will keep looking for them.

    • I remember having seen circa 1972 in my native Spain THE ARCHE/SABRINA SHOW. It was made up of 26 half-hour episodes re-packaging the contents of THE ARCHIE COMEDY HOUR like this: episodes 1-16 had each one Sabrina segment plus short segments with the Archie gang (“Betty’s Diary”, “Sabrina’s Magic Tricks”, “The Little Archies”, etc.) and the “Side Show” jokes. Episodes 17-25 had each two Sabrina segments with one song by the Archies sandwiched between both (this means that at least nine of the “lost” song segments were shown in THE ARCHE/SABRINA SHOW). Episode 26 was the “Archie and his New Friends” special (ironically, despite being the final episode, actually it was chronogically the first one, since it introduced Sabrina as she joins Riverdale High). THE ARCHE/SABRINA SHOW was re-run in Spain circa 1993; since at that time I had already a VCR, I regret deeply not having videotaped the episodes; had I known that the song segments featured on that show were officially “lost” (at least in the U.S.), I would have religiously taped them.

  • And of course, this was also a big part of the inspiration for the most successful show of all, Scooby (who would go on to host the missing part of the Archie universe, Josie, having been picked up by Scooby’s HB Productions, and the musical pieces produced for an early conception of the show used for second season chase scenes)

  • Sugar Sugar and Jingle Jangle have that “tube” sound. So mellow.

  • The toy depicted on the Jingle Jangle album cover was actually a branded building set called Crystal Climbers. I had a set of them about the time this album was released.

    It should also be mentioned that 1969 was a very good year for Ron Dante, who did the singing voice of Archie. He also had a hit that same fall with a song called Tracy, using the name of the Cuff Links.

    • Thanks for finally solving the “Not the Deelie Bobbers” mystery for me! I was hoping someone would!

      Ron also had another single that year under the name the “Pearly Gate” called Free as well and other non-charting records, plus was in the novelty group The Detergents and sang on Hanna-Barbera’s The Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan.

      The Archies and the space program really came together in this commercial for Tang, which features Ron singing a tune very much like “Bang Shang A-Lang.” His voice — and the Archie phenomenon — were almost everywhere that year, though 1969 is usually remembered for so many other things.

    • Thank you!!! It would have driven me up the wall had someone not given the answer– think there must have been a set around the house at some time, it looks so familiar.

  • I semi-fondly recall Filmation’s “The Hardy Boys”, which adapted two Hardy Boys novels in each half-hour episode. The writing and animation don’t age well, but the visual attempts at 60s hip — especially in the animated scene transitions — are still amusing.

    Every already truncated mystery shoehorned in a song. The stock animation always showed a nightclub/disco, and the Archie moves were complemented by rotoscopes of a live girl dancing and optical tricks reminiscent of the old Smothers Brothers hour. One story had them giving a concert in a prison, and they still used the nightclub/disco backgrounds.

    As “realistic” heroes they couldn’t do goofy novelty songs like the Archies, and of course hard-edged and sexy were out. Consequently a lot of the songs sounded like shampoo commercials.

    “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kids” from HB was a nervy blend of Scooby Doo, James Bond, the Archies, and lawyer-baiting riff on a famous movie title. It seemed to arrive when the whole gotta-have-a-band thing was winding down.

    Oddest one, for me at least, was “The Beagles”, a late entry from Total Television and formatted like Underdog. The title riffed on The Beatles — old news by then — while the Beagles themselves were a 50s-style folk-rock duo. Their design and speaking voices placed them as older than the Brothers Smothers; they had sitcom adventures; and they just seemed weirdly out of time and place on Saturday morning.

  • Another tie-in with the New York Mets: Ruth Roberts co-wrote (with Bill Katz) their fight song, “Meet the Mets.”

  • Oh god… that awful clown cover of Sugar Sugar… it’s not even funny IRONICALLY.

  • I remember that TV special with Kurt Russell and the Osmonds. They ran it on the Disney Channel back when they still showed old Disney shows.

  • My friend Dallas McKennon voiced Archie in the non-singing cartoons. He also voiced Hot Dog, Coach Cleat and Principle Weatherbee.

  • That Sugar Sugar Filmation Archie clip I recall being from a prime-time show, perhaps a fall Friday preview show to introduce Sabrina. I’m sure Sugar Sugar was first a montage on the regular Everything’s Archie cartoon.

    These are great tunes despite the cartoon avatar. They hold up very well as classic rock with anything that was on the charts back then as and not merely “bubble gum”.

  • I need to listen to Wilson Pickett’s version to wash that muzaky Peter Pan version from my brain.

  • I was part of the Saturday-morning generation; only four at the time, there was NO escaping “Sugar Sugar” in the fall of 1969!

  • I was a writer/producer for Super K Productions, back in 1968-69. They started that era of the “bubblegum music”, with the 1910 Fruitgum Company (Simon Says, 1-2-3 Red Light), The Ohio Express (Yummy Yummy Yummy, Chewy Chewy) and several others. My friend Steve Tudanger was one of the background vocalists on Sugar Sugar. I used tell people that he was an Archie. Toni Wine, who was Betty and/or Veronica, also was the writer of Groovy Kind Of Love, Candida, Black Pearl & has had records out under her own name. Fun times.

  • 50 years ago In Fall 1969 on CBS’s Saturday Morning lineup was the debut of two Saturday Morning powerhouses, as “THE ARCHIE SHOW”, which debuted on Sept. 14. 1968 in its original half-hour format later became “THE ARCHIE COMEDY HOUR” from Filmation Associates, while Hanna-Barbera’s “SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU?” also made its CBS debut ( before moving to ABC in Fall 1976) and both these shows became the new faces of Saturday Morning TV domination, but “THE ARCHIE COMEDY HOUR” also introduced Saturday Morning viewers to “Sabrina, The Tenn Age Witch” and several new characters to Archie’s highly successful animated community. But the guiding light with The Archies was the bubble gum music, and “Sugar, Sugar” became part of Billboard’s Top 20 hits in the nation-thanks in part, to music supervisor Don Kirshner, and vocalist, Ron Dante, who was also “The Cuff-Links” with “Tracy” in 1969.

    Ironically, CBS’s Fall 1969 lineup on Saturday Mornings was reruns of “THE MONKEES”, the former NBC series that won an Emmy, and also exploited the musical talents of four guys who would become top rock legends with numerous hit records, also produced by Don Kirshner. the popularity of The Archies was so big in Fall 1969, that ABC-TV’s new series, “THE MUSIC SCENE”, a music variety series that was produced by the same people who did “THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR” on CBS, even showed an animated clip from “Sugar, Sugar”, and that was highly rare, given that The Archies were glowing brightly on CBS! but Filmation Associates, under the creative trio of Lou Scheimer, Norm Prescott, and Hal Sutherland had also launched an ABC Saturday Morning cartoon series that same Fall season called “THE HARDY BOYS”-the first animated series that used a live-action credit opening and also featured bubble gum rock music by the Hardy Boys group, whose characters were loosely based on Franklin W Dixion’s young crime-fighting sleuths.

    “THE HARDY BOYS”, like “THE ARCHIE COMEDY HOUR”, used rock music, just like ABC’s “THE CATTANOOGA CATS SHOW” that same season from Hanna-Barbera Productions, but while Saturday Morning cartoons had removed all the superhero and adventure shows that were violent (angry parents complained about the violence in the cartoons in 1968) The Archies and Scooby-Doo would become the dominators of weekend TV over the next decade, but Don Kirshner’s Calendar Records lable had released some five LPs of The Archies, and in Fall 1970, “ARCHIE’S FUNHOUSE” on CBS concluded all the music from vocalist Ron Dante, and in the following TV seasons, the Filmation-produced series expanded into other formats and was later picked up on it’s final TV season on NBC Saturday Mornings in Fall 1977, but all the Archie fun glowed very brightly 50 years ago in Fall 1969!

  • Great article! Thanks for sharing! I might add that thanks to The Archies’ success, H-B, Rankin-Bass and the other competitive studios had to step up their game and bring in the big guns in terms of music producers, writers, and top singing talent, etc. I don’t think H-B really thought Filmation was a contender, until The Archie Show came along and delivered solid ratings year after year. It was a great time to be a kid during this era with so much great music on Saturday morning!

  • Wow! This version of “Archie” is a million miles away from what they show on “Riverdale”!

    • I wouldn’t watch “Riverdale” by accident

  • I found this bootleg album version of the Chan Clan being described as the “Lost Album.” Check out the link below.

    Don Kirshner’s team worked on the Chan Clan LP. I wonder why Hanna-Barbera didn’t release A Chan Clan Album with the awesome Ron Dante vocals? Don Kirshner’s team worked on the Harlem Globetrotter’s album produced by Jeff Barry in 1970 for Hanna-Barbera as well.

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