Monday, July 21, 2014


Today’s bloggy thing continues my 138-plus-part series on the comic books that hit the newsstands in the month of July 1963. That month was pivotal to my comic-book career because it was the month when Fantastic Four Annual #1 ignited my desire to write comics.  I’ve added the “plus” to my description of this series because there may be a few issues I missed in my initial explorations.

Archie’s Pals ‘N’ Gals was launched in 1952 and ran to September, 1991 for a total of 224 issues. The first 83 issues were at least 52 pages and were designated as “Archie Giant Series” on the cover. This should not be confused with the Archie Giant Series Magazine title that featured a variety of titles, such as Betty and Veronica Summer Fun and Archie’s Christmas Stocking.

Archie’s Pals ‘N’ Gals #26 [Fall, 1963] was a 68-page issue with a cover featuring the Thinker statue that appeared in the earliest episodes of The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis television show.  Makes me want to write an Archie/Dobie crossover.

The inside front cover of the issue advertises a “Treasure Chest of Fun.” The fun comes from the variety of novelty items offered by Honor House Product Corporation. These items included a silent dog whistle ($1), See-Behind glasses (75 cents), a bank vault with an alarm ($1.49), and an atomic smoke bomb (20 cents).

Archie is possessive of Veronica and seemingly feared by the other boys in “Brute Farce” (6 pages). The fear is feigned on account of Veronica has made its clear she won’t date (secretly) any guy that doesn’t go along with this routine. The Grand Comics Database has not yet indexed this issue, so I can’t give you definitive writer and artist credits on this or any other story in the issue.  If I had to guess I would go with Frank Doyle as the writer (because the story builds so nicely to its punch panel) and Dan DeCarlo as the penciler.

Next is a full-page subscription ad for Archie’s Pals ‘N’ Gals. In 1963, you could get five giant-sized issues for a dollar.

Jughead stars in “A Matter of Competition!” (6 pages). When all of the girls are smitten with the handsome new history teacher, Archie and the boys can’t get a date to save their lives. Jughead makes an off-handed remark that the only way to change that is to get this new teacher transferred. Archie’s father has a cousin on the school board and, in a shocking abuse of power, that cousin does get the teacher transferred. His replacement is even more handsome.

Jughead also stars in two half-page gags: “Female Fearful” and “No Hits..No Runs...Nothin!”

Next is Archie in “Mister Clean” (6 pages). The story starts with  Veronica looking Laura Petrie hot as she vacuums. Before the story  is finished, the bumbling Archie manages to prevent Veronica’s dad from being taken by a phony diamond merchant.

Archie loses whatever points he gained with Mr. Lodge in the three-page “Caddy-Baddy!” Mr. Lodge is playing against someone he wants to sign a million-dollar contract. Mr Lodge knows he has to lose if he wants to make that deal. He figures having Archie as his caddy makes that a sure thing. Yeah, that will work.

“Archie Club News” (2 pages) has three cash-winning club members. Cathy Webb (Roanoke, Virginia) won $5 for writing about her family vacation. Barbie Williams (Santa Barbara, California) won $3 with her descriptions of what goes on around her house. Linda Cole (Los Angeles, California) wins $2 for her jokes.

Li’l Jinx stars in “A Helping Hand,” a single-page gag strip by Joe Edwards, who wrote and drew all but one Li’l Jinx story or strip during the character’s long run.

Another house ad. For a quarter each, fans could order any of eight Archie Giant Series comics: Archie Annual #15, Archie Giant Series Magazine #22 (Archie’s Jokes), The Adventures of Little Archie #29, Archie Giant Series Magazine #24 (The World of Jughead), Archie Giant Series Magazine #20 (Archie’s Christmas Stocking), Archie Giant Series Magazine #21 (Betty and Veronica Spectacular), Archie Giant Series Magazine #23 (Betty and Veronica Summer Fun) and the issue I’m writing about today.

Archie stars in and wears “The Helmet” (5 pages). The helmet is a safari helmet that offers protection from the sun, can serve as a weapon and attracts lovely young ladies. Veronica takes issue with that last one.

Another one-page Jughead gag: “Food for Thought”. The gags in this issue are disappointing, a contrast to the mostly excellent longer stories.

Jughead stars in “Blood Brothers” (3 pages). Researches are taking blood from the male students for a study. When they get to Jughead,the sample consists of hamburger gravy.

Two half-page paid ads are next. Archie speaks for U.S. Royal Bike Tires on the top half of the page. Below, the Ed Sale Studio says it can teach you play guitar in seven days or it will refund your
$2.98 payment.

Archie stars in :The Other Cheek” (6 pages) wherein Reggie tries to con both Archie and Principal Weatherbee. Guess who ends up with a week’s detention?

Two more half-page ads. The top half offers Kissing Dolls for half a buck. You get a complete set: one girl and one boy. Yeah, I know.It was 1963.

The bottom half of the page offers “100 Little Dolls” for $1. They are made of “genuine Styrene plastic and hard synthetic rubber.” I think I might have dated a woman like that. Once.

Betty and Veronica star in “Splinter Group” (6 pages). Archie gets a splinter in his finger. Veronica takes him to the nurse’s office.The nurse is gorgeous and kisses Archie’s boo-boo. I’m guessing she loses her job because, when Archie gets another splinter, the new nurse is somewhat less than gorgeous.

That’s followed by a Betty and Veronica Pin-Up page, another Li’l Jinx gag page and a paid ad for the “Magic Art Reproducer” that we have discussed in a previous July 1963 installment.

Archie gets caught whispering in Miss Grundy’s class in “Sound Off”(6 pages). She and the principal try to punish him by not allowing him to speak. This backfires on Weatherbee.

A full-page ad drawn by Kurt Schaffenberger showcases Gilbert Auto-Rama”s “Fly-Over Chicane.” The boys racing their motorized vehicles have big smiles on their faces. Like when you and your pals found that copy of Playboy.

Archie stars in the three-page “Be Prepared!” He and Mr. Lodge do some bonding over Veronica’s being ill. It’s nice while it lasts.If there had been a fourth page, Lodge would have had Archie shot. Oh, what? Too soon?

House ad. If you ordered a 10-issue sub to Archie, Jughead, Laugh, Pep, Betty and Veronica, Life with Archie, Archie’s Joke Book or Archie’s Madhouse, you would have gotten the free gift of a lucky penny horseshoe. The ad claims it’s Archie’s favorite lucky pocket piece. That covered the first person who subscribed, but what about the others? And how many lucky pocket pieces did Archie have? And, if he hadn’t given them away, would he be alive today. Oh, really?Still too soon?

On the inside back cover, the National Youth Sales Club would have awarded you great prizes or big cash profits for selling Christmas and All-Occasion Greeting Cards. I wonder if they had a card that you could send to a kid who got taken by this scam.

The back cover advertises Daisy B*B rifles and an indoor range to shoot at. What could possibly go wrong? Don’t worry. I’m not going to make another joke about Archie getting shot dead. Thanks to that damn Obama, I’m only allowed a two-joke clip.

Gosh, hasn’t this trip back to the summer of 1963 been great fun?Wouldn’t you like to do it again soon? I know I would. Keep reading the bloggy thing for more fun from the past, from the present and from the future.    

© 2014 Tony Isabella


  1. I was taken with your off-hand proposal for an Archie/Dobie crossover. In the DC/Marvel Tradition, you could feature:

    Jughead Vs. Maynard!
    Veronica Vs. Thalia!
    Betty Vs. Zelda!
    Reggie Vs. Milton Armatige!

    The possibilities are limitless! (Unlike the audience.)

    Steve Leavell

  2. I realize that "Archie’s Pals ‘N’ Gales" was a typo, but given our extreme weather patterns these days it has definite possibilities. In fact, once Jon Goldwater gets wind of it, I bet the concept will blow him away. He'll probably ask you and Bob Ingersoll to give it a whirl. I anticipate a flurry of sales. It could be a total rainmaker for the company as long as the pressure doesn't get to you.